Category Archives: Ivan Urwin

Bolton Easter Chess Congress 2016 – Nxe4 :)

I took part in my second chess congress today and scored 3½ points from 5 games.

Friday win, loss,
Saturday win,
Sunday draw, win

That’s how it went.

The Saturday win was against a child. I thought I had checkmate in about 2 moves, but he kept sacrificing material to stay alive and wriggled around for about 7 moves. I think he will make a good player, as he saw all the threats, …, he just needed to see them sooner, and that will come with experience.

But the game I enjoyed the most was Sunday’s. My opponent was a little higher rated than I am, so that made it a tough game. He had the advantage in the middle game, according to some computer analysis, so its also pleasing to fight back, and without any great blunder, claw things back little by little.

The game went to a rather unusual endgame, king and two knights plus lots of pawns each. My king seemed to defend the root of my pawn chains in a V shape where his king could not be on both edges of the board (top of the V) to defend the roots of his chains, and that advantage gave me a win.

The position above occurred in the game. I had played Nc5 and regretted it, when he had replied Nc8. He threatens to take my d pawn with check. If I push it, he can fork me and capture it. If I push my b pawn which is the next closest to queening, I am not much better off with an identical situation in mirror image.

I calculated Nxe4, which I think surprised Eric from our club, who was watching.

My idea was, that it
it protects against an immediate Nxd6 by black,
it allows white to play Kc5, preventing the black knight checks and 7th rank protection.
it neutralizes blacks king side pawn majority,
it leaves black with a blocked f pawn and no semi-passed pawns.

I calculated black then needs 4 king moves to clear a path for queening and another 3 pawn pushes to advance his pawn to the eighth rank. 7 moves in total. White needs Kc5 and 3 pawn pushes to queen his b pawn, a total of 4 or five if you count the capture Nxe4.

A grand master once said not to look for the best move, but to look for an executable plan.
It might not be best play, nor the computer move. But Nxe4 reduced the complexity of calculation to something my brain could handle and gave me a way to actually win my won position.

Paranoia Nightmare scenario


My nightmare scenario that I was trying to avoid was that my knight would be distracted on Black’s side of the board, and that he could then exploit his king side majority. Trying to turn that into an illustation was not easy, as there are many variations, and the worry is that he will execute a variation that you didn’t see. In practice there would have been unforseen checks (which I have to show to keep the diagram legal chess), so it was not perhaps as dangerous as I imaginined. Some of the moves above are rubbish, but they give you an idea of my worries!

Oh, Francis Moan played in the Bolton Chess Congress. I didn’t get to speak to him as he was playing at the time. Nice to see you are well Francis.

Unsound experimental Sacrifice

I beat a much higher rated play online today. Whooppee.
I think he was just experimenting, and it didn’t work.
Not great chess – just a quick game, but a win is a win.
 [Site “”]
[Date “2016.03.21”]
[White “cimtolga”]
[Black “IvanUrwin”]
[Result “0-1”]
[WhiteElo “2330”]
[BlackElo “1835”]
[PlyCount “58”]
[Variant “Standard”]
[TimeControl “300+5”]
[ECO “A65”]
[Opening “Benoni Defense: King’s Pawn Line”]
[Termination “Normal”]

My game from tonight

I had a great game tonight. My opponent made a mistake in the opening and lost a piece, but the game got even more interesting when I sacrificed a rook to trap his queen.
The game looks surprisingly short – just 16 moves – but don’t be fooled. There was a fair bit of thought that went into those 16 moves, mainly by my opponent as I knew the opening until I sacrificed my rook, and even then, I did a lot of thinking on his time,

Tonight’s game

This is my game from tonight. It was hard fought I think. Although I appeared to be gifted a pawn fairly early on in the game, it seemed that I was under constant pressure from little tactics that would have allowed my opponent to get even or better, if I didn’t pay attention.

As far as I know I didn’t really blunder anywhere, although what I did play was not always best play.

Here’s the game – for what it’s worth. I post it not because it will interest anyone, but because I am proud of my achievement – a win against an opponent that takes chess seriously and that I respect a lot.


Oops. I missed 19 Qxh2. Luckily, so did my opponent. Hmm, I am not so proud of my win now 🙁


voeux 2016-2

Ivan’s 2015

A new year started, filled with things that haven’t yet happened.

And what about the one just gone?
Well, it came and went quite quickly it seems. That’s not a bad thing as I am working my way out of debt now that I am working again, and I’ve a bit over a year to go.

Tax form, best forgotten.

I went to Dover for the weekend and had a great meal in a Chinese restaurant. It was my kind of place – fixed price and eat as much as you like. The film ’50 shades of Grey’ had been released and I remember a quite decorative display in a lingerie shop.

February is also memorable for something else. Sophie’s mum went into the maternity unit to give birth to Sophie and I went to visit. We got to chat a little. I enjoy her company but we rarely communicate. I found out the first day we met that I enjoy her company. It’s saddens me that it’s a one way thing. I have since learned that she is a wonderful mother and I would like to see her, Sophie, and sister more often; but I don’t argue about it or push it, because I have another 18 years of this to get through as smoothly as possible.

The big event for me was the birth of my daughter Sophie at the start of March.
I am a proud dad. I had a few meals out when Sophie was quite young and they were great days. A few times we went to Frank and Benny’s in Denton where they play old 60s rock and roll music.
Sophie has a sister that likes dancing and we used to dance in the aisle, often getting in the way of the servers but they never complained.

I got back in touch with an old friend Lars.
And immediately lost touch again.

Had a bank holiday and cleaned the house a little. I even ended up buying a new vacuum cleaner. Okay, I admit it, I had a lot of help.

I am not sure of my dates, but sometime around June I went to Sheila’s birthday party. It was noticeable that all the chess players sat on the same table and we were all single. I got drunk, danced a bit, and generally had a good time.

I went to London for the weekend. It was nice to get away from life as usual. The weather wasn’t too bad and the main activity was walking around public parks and sight seeing. I remember a restaurant too where the pizza was so good I ate the same thing at the same place the night after.

I took part in the Manchester chess congress.
One of the games I lost was to an adolescent whose father is a grandmaster. He played a bishop sacrifice against me and that one move highlighted different chess abilities.
One of our players could not see the move after 5 minutes of studying the position.
Tim saw it immediately. And Ali looked, said well not a bishop sacrifice, laughed, and said that doesn’t work.

I also had a memorable day turning up to a work;s pub crawl on the real ale trail, and — me being different as usual — drinking cider instead of real ale, and only going to one of the pubs.

Sidonia’s wedding.

I went to the wedding of George and Sidonia, and outside the church was a boy
of about 10 with a crush on the bride, chanting her name over and over to himself to while the other lads were sword fighting using branches of fir trees. Kindred spirit.

Halloween. Sophie was dressed as a small Frankenstein with green war-paint smeared over her face with an appearance on her skin rather like grass stains after sitting on a damp lawn in white trousers. It was a rather special day. We were together for a long time enjoying each others company without the desparation to get back to mum, or crying for any of the reasons that babies do cry after a while. And for a change, Sophie’s sister was happy and busy enough to ignore me. No dancing required.

Bizarrely, what I remember most from November was an exchange of e-mails. Francis has not been to the chess club for some time. I certainly miss playing against him. He is a better player and I have a lot to learn from him, but I do beat him at times. I remember winning one game where he told me where I went wrong. He took back what he thought was his
mistake, in order to show me he really had a winning position, and lost again.
Okay, gloating and showing off over. Like I said, Francis is really a far better player
and I am sure I am not the only one at the club that misses him. Come back soon!

December is a basically Christmas and I am not a person that usually likes Christmas. This Christmas in some ways followed the usual pattern. Coming up to Christmas my regular Friday with Sophie didn’t happen. Okay, the mum had something on; I don’t like it, but I can understand it. Then the next week. And Christmas. And New Year. I spent my Christmas alone.

At work we had a few Christmassy events: meals out, a party, Secret Santa etc. But the dance floor was crowded and although it was fun, the dancing doesn’t match rock and rolling at Frank and Benny’s, waltzing down a street, or dancing with a bride on her wedding day.

January 2016.
I will be hanging my 2016 calendar in front of me at work, and starting the year in my brand new scarf and Xmassy pullover with a Reindeer on it: a present from my aunt. I shall wear the pullover for the 12 days of Xmas and the scarf for longer.

Every year I get a new year’s wish from my friend Christof. He takes photos of his friends and makes them look like classic works of art, war time picture etc. He can find hidden qualities and bring out the best in anyone. I have decorated this post with one of his pictures. Many thanks to Xtof and his lady friend for the picture and being allowed to use it.




Ivan Urwin’s game from last night

Well, according to the computer we both played well last night, up until I miscalculated how the endgame would progress. Mistakes show as steep slopes on the evaluation graph as someone makes a mistake, and the graph hovers around zero until half way through the endgame, where I miscalculate, leading to a lost position.

Match photo

Summer League 1st Team Round 1 (beat Rochdale 4½ – 1½)

Denton Chess Club’s first team had a match tonight. We were missing Pablo and at least another player, but we still managed to win. I say we because its my club. Maybe I should say they because its their team and I am about third team these days. Limit League might even be a better description of my performance.

Board 1. Sixten won his game. It appeared to be closer than it was perhaps, as later analysis with Ali seemed to show that from early on there was no adequate defence against Sixten’s attack. I thought at one time I saw a good move for Sixten that he missed. After the game I spoke him asking about the possibility of playing Nf6 after the exchange of queens. Not only had Sixten got the ability to remember the position, but in a few seconds of reflection he had remembered or calculated it better than I could with 5 minutes of staring at the board.

Board 2. Ali won. It looked to me to be all about queening a pawn at the end. But Ali showed after there were lines where he could trap the opponent’s queen too. All these games are way over my head.

Board 3 was Lazlo. I believe he messed up his opening and had a losing position. I only believe that because I heard him say so. Initially it looked good to me. But I think our top players are in book for longer than I am so he probably calls things opening that I would consider already part of the real game. Still, he pulled it back and went on to win.

So that is three wins.

Board 4, Tim is where it went a little wrong. Time trouble is his excuse. I thought he messed up a won position in the endgame (with just a minute left). Tim says he didn’t. Without the position its not possible to say now.

Board 5. John Ryan. I was sure he was winning early on. When I returned, he appeared to have the worst of it, and possibly be losing. He sacrificed a knight and obtained a perpetual check. I don’t know if it was forced from the sacrifice onwards, but it certainly was a move later.

Board 6. Dave Holt won too. I thought he missed a trick to cage in an enemy knight and win it. But even if he did, there is more than one way to skin a car, and he did.

Quiet afternnon with my son

Ivan – Happy New Year everybody

Hello all, Happy New Year!

It’s the end of the year and its been an eventful year.

The year started with large similarities and differences compared to the year before.
No Russian friend Lana around. That was a noticable similarity to 2013. I’d found a job. That was the huge difference. In fact, my mother wasn’t really around in 2014 so perhaps I should have been even lonelier than I was at the start of the year: I was alone with no Lana and no mum. But being busy at work probably stopped me dwelling on that too much.

I had a visit from my son Merlin and my boss at work organized an evening skiing at the Manchester indoor place Chill Factore. That was a memorably good evening and there is a video somewhere of Ryan from work falling over to help us remember it.

Another video surfaced. I had filmed Merlin aged around 3 years old throwing stones into the sea in Galway, Ireland. Merlin found the video and put it on Facebook. Around the year 2000, Merlin and I met a Japanese tourist Miwa. She photoed him rock climbing and her photo is on her Facebook page somewhere. Merlin and I are still in touch with Miwa and it’s really nice that the affinity between Merlin and Miwa has stood the test of time.

I’ve played chess at Denton chess club. Apologies to club members: the website failed to install an update to the blog and the blog was out of action. Also, I have tried to put the fixtures up, but they are not as easy to read as they were the year before. I had been unemployed and had the time to do a better job.

In the first half of the year my rating dropped. I lost a lot of games. My rating was high
and I was playing against higher rated players. After it dropped I started getting easier games.
Another reason for the easier games was new members at the club. We now have lots of foreign players from the university. They are extremely good – 1st team players – and the normal club members have been shifted downward. So now I have won some games and expect my rating to go back up.

Thanks to Stan and Phil from the club for lifts home, but also for the entertaining conversations
on the way back.

In the this summer I went to France. I had a horrible coach trip there and back, but went
to the Chien a Plumes music festival and paid some tax I owed. It was nice to see my friend
Christof again, watch his films and enjoy the company of other residents of the village.

My best friend Dave drove over a few times during the year to see me, drink and play snooker.
I have a present for Dave and keep forgetting to hand it over.

Half way through the year I met Yvonne online and invited her to visit me. She didn’t.
My birthday was approaching and I asked for a photo. I didn’t get that either. So I made
alternative birthday arrangements – hello Sophie.

I have done a long walk organized by Tameside council a few years running. The walk is at
the end of September. I fell off a wall and broke my wrist. It was a mess and spent 6 weeks
in plaster and a sling. It’s significantly better but I doubt it will ever be right.

Yvonne and I stayed in touch and I had hoped she’d be at my company’s Christmas do. To be fair she never confirmed she was coming along, but I kept the place booked in vain hope that she’d come along. I’m a romantic fool. My new year’s resolution is perhaps not to be!

Ivan Urwin versus P. Edhouse

This is my game from Tuesday. I know there are mistakes I made, but it was a hard fought game, and at times my brain was hurting from thinking at work and then thinking during the game so much. Maybe I should have a 5 minute rest during the game – go off and get a beer or something!

Anyway, I enjoyed it, which is the main thing. I enjoyed it tremendously. My opponent was a gentleman too. We were losing 4-0 and he could possibly have made it a 5-0 whitewash. We had 5 minutes each left on the clock and agreed a draw. I made some mistakes noting down the game. Some of the mistakes were writing Nf3 for blacks Nf6. Some were forgetting to say which knight or rook moved somewhere, when there were two possibilities. They are signs of tiredness, but worse than that was missing a knight fork: king and rook; and also missing that what I thought was a free pawn was just diverting a defender. Chess is odd in the way that you can try to analyse variations to great depth, and miss the simplest moves as a result.