Monthly Archives: October 2013

Testing for posting puzzles

It would be nice to post a puzzle from time to time. This is not a designed puzzle; it is a position from a game that I am just using as a test. It is however a real checkmate in 5.

The position arises after a fairly normal opening by white 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 but then black playing 3. … h6 4. d4 exd4 Now white sacrifices the pawn for development, and black forgets “a knight on the rim is dim” and attacks the bishop. This is a blunder by black.
5. c3 Na5 . White then sacrifices the bishop 6. Bxf7+ Kxf7 7. Ne5+
Then black makes another mistake Kf6 8. Qh5 and another, Ne7 and now it is all over.

But can you see how?

It is unfortunate that the tool I am using to display games does not allow you to move the pieces around.
You have to click on the question mark ‘?’ to reveal the winning line.

A quick and dirty game

Online I just played a quick game of chess and won against a higher rated player. It’s a bit meaningless due to short time controls and the lack of attention that is typically paid to blitz online chess games. But I am happy that a little attack on mine worked. I was black, and it’d be nice to see the game from the black side.

Let me put a little something extra into the blog post though, so there is something possibly worthwhile in here for someone that plays better chess than me and my opponent. You can “flip” the board by pressing the letter f on your keyboard! There – does that now make the post worthwhile? For more information like that, click on the square F8 or G8. You can also rotate the board by clicking on D7. (I don’t know why they used the letter f for flip, when the board is really rotated and not reflected!)

So now you can press f and see the game from my side. ūüôā

Denton v Marple

Denton v Marple

Draws seem to be quite common for Denton these days and tonight was a night of more draws.

Well, actually it was 6 wins I believe, 3 each, not a single drawn game, though the match was drawn.

This is my experiment with a panoramic picture of the match. Pablo had an interesting position – it was too complex for me to calculate who was winning. Early on I thought Pablo had a clear advantage. His opponent had a pawn which was advanced and isolated – I felt that eventually material would be swapped until its proximity to Pablo’s king would make it fall and Pablo would win.

Later it looked to me as if Pablo might create a devastating attack on the rook file. That is what made it interesting – the balance of power. I wondered (and I am not the only one) whether a back rank queen check might be the best way to play the position. I hope I get to see a PGN of the game, even if Pablo does not want to post a loss on the blog.

In a sense, posting a loss is safer than posting a win. If you post a win, someone can prepare a plan against you. If you have a loss, it is the loser that has to change his play.

So this is the position as best as I can remember it – well, from a photo actually – with a couple of moves that I think were played, and then with the queen check thrown in – which is not how the game went, but rather how it might have gone, for possible debate. Pablo might like to click on E7 to see the board from black’s side.

A final note. If Bxg4 was played as shown, it is worth noting that Bc6 is reportedly stronger. The difference might even be between a theoretical win and a theoretical draw, though there are too many pieces on the board to be able to prove it.

Unusual Opening!

Ivan @ Urmston

This is my game from Urmston.
It was a tough game for me. At many times during the game I felt I was playing someone
better than I was. But you have good days and bad days, and this was one of the days where
my mistakes were not huge blunders (at my level) and didn’t get punished.

It helped that Pablo had been through a French defence game just the day before and that
I’d posted it on the internet. I could at least confidently knock out the first half dozen
moves without losing any time on my clock.

Then after 6. … Qc7 I thought Pablo had played Qb6 and I was on my own. Actually it did
not occur to me at all that Pablo had won as black and I was playing white – the LOSING
side. How silly of me! I was just happy that I knew the opening. Doh!

I played a4. A move I had seen somewhere before. The intention I thought was that if the
pawns exchange, then Ba3 would prevent kingside castling. Then I played Bd3 thinking he’d be
castling kingside and it’d help in an attack. I didn’t mind if the bishop would be kicked back to
e2 by c4 as cxd was a worry that would go away.

Black developed with Nc6 attacking d4. I had just blocked my queen from defending d4 so I
had a choice of Ne2 or Nf6, both stopping my queen coming out, or Be3. I didnt like Be3
either, as I was thinking somewhere down the line he might have Qc3+ forcing the king to
move or winning my rook or making the bishop come back and being on d4 or e5 with his

Then came a little revelation and the idea for a move I don’t remember ever playing before
– X-ray defence! I played Bb2: X-ray defence of d4 and further along e5. It also covered
c3. I was quite proud of that until an hour after the game when Tim said “rubbish, the
point of a4 is Ba3!”

This post will take forever if I comment on every move, so fast forward to 11. O-O O-O-O.
He had castled queenside. I am happy I didn’t play Qg4 earlier as I wanted him to commit
to one side before I commit my pieces to one side of the pawn diagonal or the other. It
now seems I need to attack queenside, eg up the a and b files. I decided to get my bishop
across the pawn diagonal before he could play c4 and close it off.

12. Bb5 Nf5

I looked at this knight and thought where can it go apart from back again? I considered
g4. With no black pieces across the pawn line I thought it wasn’t as dangerous as it

13. Ba3
I wanted to attack e7, the retreat square of the knight on f5.

13. … cxd4
14. g4

I played this too quickly without due consideration. Having taken my bishop away from d4
earlier I wanted to remove an attacker on d4.

14. … Nxe5

I was shocked. I had not considered this. Then when I started to calculate variations I
started smiling inwardly. I thought I was winning a piece by swapping off the knights and
then taking his. If I am winning material, take the bishops off too. The bishop swap is
with check so it gives him less choice of move order. But the knight on e5 protects the
bishop on d7 so I had to take the knight first.

15. Nxe5  Qxe5
16. Bxd7+ Rxd7
17. gxf5  dxc3

And at this point I realise I have a piece for three pawns and the fourth pawn is looking
precarious too. The defensive wall of pawns has been breached by his queen, and if I am
not careful Qg4+ Kh1 Qf3+ Kg2 Qg4+ type … perpetual checks will give him the minimum of
a draw.

18. Bc5
A bad move with the intention of either taking a7 or going to d4 to win back c3.

18. … d4
19. Bxa7
This is no good, because of Qa5, but I got away with it!

19. … Qd6
I didn’t see the reason for doubling up behind the d pawn, since if it advances and I swap
it off, the c file will be the critical file I think.

20. a5
For the safety of my bishop. Now it can go to b6 if necessary. Notice that I have been
ignoring the pawn on f5. If I swap it off, I an just helping him open files for his rook.
If he takes it, he is closing them off more. I don’t want the rook on h8 in the game.

20. … e5
Thank you for making my pawn a little safer. Though it allows his queen to swing across
towards my open king, f5 covers g6, which is pure fortunate luck.

21. Qd3?

I still don’t really see what is wrong with this, but I remember computer analysis last
night said “no no no, not this move!”

21. … Qd5
Obvbiously planning e4.

22. Ra4.
I was happy with this, having visions of 23. … e4, 24. Rc4+ Kd8 25. Bb6+ Ke7, 26. Re1
pinning his pawn against his king and then later taking it.

22. … Rg8
Pointless I thought, so I was happy again.

23. Rc4+
Played a bit quickly and then I was kicking myself.

23. … Rc7 of course.
Now all the tempi required to lift the rook and swing it across are lost as I feel forced
to swap off.

24. Rxc7+ Kxc7
25. Rb1
starting again with the other rook.

25. … f6
Another wasted move I thought. It seems we are both wasting tempi after some hard thinking

26. Rb5
Now things are getting hot. I think this was a serious threat that needed some sort of
defence against it instead of f6. I was thinking of putting a smiley into the commentary.
I guess an exclamation mark after your own move is the chess equivalent of smiley!

26. … e4
An attempt to parry the threat. He’s thinking take my queen and I will take yours. But in
his haste to get out of a bad situation, he has possibly made it worse. He has missed …

27. Qg3+
27. … Qd6
Reduces his losses.

28. Rxb7+
This is a deflection to pick up his queen.

28. …¬† Kxb7
29. Qxd6

29. … Kxa7
I am not phased by the loss of the bishop, because

30. Qxd4+ makes his three advanced pawns become two isolated pawns and delivers check.
There could be plenty more checks coming from the queen and on a light square his rook
would fall to a fork, eg Ka8 Qd5+ followed by Qxg8. I would soon pick up his most
threatening remaining pawn, e4.

At this point black resigned.

I was lucky that my mistakes went unpunished.
For an impartial analysis, see here.

Manchester League A Division Round Up: Week 3

Week 3 of this hard contested league saw the first traditional heavyweight derby between 3C’s 1 and Bolton 1 and Bolton who had just beat Urmston without their IM board 1, Jeff Horner, but for this game they had an even stronger team out, although when¬†playing last season’s double winners away from home you need all the help you can get!

Now you will never guess what happened: every single board was drawn!! Bolton switched their top 2 around, so Joe McPhillips the wonderkid who has already drawn with Nigel Short in a serious game with black kept his¬†place on board 1 and drew with 3C’s wonderkid Andy Horton. John Bentley held Jeff to a draw; I have been told that Jeff missed a win. John Hall vs Jamie Horton was board 3 – I think Jamie won the last meeting. 4 was more of an expected draw: Mitchell Burke and Harry Lamb are both solid and very similar grades. 5 saw 1 of Harry’s son’s, Michael drawing with Daniel Abbas who was fresh from a great win over Laszlo. 6 saw a draw between Alan Gardner and Phil Adams and lastly 7 was a draw between Jake Manton and Iain McGlory, who when they¬†played about 2 years ago, Iain won in 19 moves with the wing gambit and the e-mail about it was titled the ‘wong gambit’. The average grades for both teams was 188.3 for 3C’s and 187 for Bolton so maybe 7 draws isn’t a massive surprise, it also shows how much quality teams¬†possess in the Manchester league!

So a great start from Bolton 1 who got a strong team out this time and were rewarded for it. Sounds like the games were hard fought but neither side could find a cutting edge. A slow start from 3C’s but they can be even stronger, and if they can get GM Stephen Gordon out for some of the big games then another title should be theirs.


Urmston 2 vs Denton 2

Yesterday, Denton 2 travelled to Urmston to face the ‘dream teams’ 2nd team. It did not start well when one of the car’s that was going got stuck in traffic and ended up having to go Warrington at one¬†point or something, luckily they arrived just in time. After that¬†pasting in the cup the team were kicking off their league campaign tonight. The usual captain Arthur was unavailable so Dave Cook stepped in.

So after the teams were swapped it was apparent that they had quite a strong top end but there was 1 or 2 chances at the bottom. We lost the toss however so had 1 less white than them, and that became 2 when Girgio and Grant Randall agreed a draw very early on. The position was rather dry but a good draw for Girgio seeing as Grant gave me a very good game in the summer league. The board 1 game between Dennis Owen and John Ryan was interesting with John doing a risky e5 advance in a classical Tarrasch French which gives you a passed but isolated pawn and unleashes the bad bishop and he seemed to get enough play to hold the balance. I didnt like Dave Cook’s opening though vs Josh Pendlebury were he gave up his bishop to double whites pawns which is thematic in the Nimzo-Indian but then allowed him to undouble them leaving white with a nice bishop pair.

Then the match started to get interesting, Ivan’s opponent Mark Davis sacced a piece for 3 pawns in order to get some nice pawns and also Ivan had to g4 in front of his king, but it seems that blacks king was more exposed in a typical opposite sides castling Winawer. Dave Holt vs John Hopkins saw a closed Sicilian but it seems that John was doing all the queenside¬†pressing. Phil Boyd seemed to get into a passive position vs a Birds opening and Dennis Horton was starting to throw pawns. Eric had to face an unrated called Antonio and the game was a very blocked up Kings Indian.

So then I went to play against some kid they have and nearly lost! Then I came back and the remaining 6 games were still in progress. I started to dream of a win because Eric had won a¬†pawn and¬†pushed it all the way down to h2 and if he had have brought his rooks towards white’s king it would have been over fast, also Ivan’s piece was a lot more important than the pawns: they were going nowhere. Dave Cook had managed to gain the advantage with the superior minor piece but was way down on the clock as usual. John also winning chances with his passed pawn and he even offered Dennis his h7 pawn to try and remove the blockade but the bait wasn’t taken. It was only Dave and Phil’s positions that were looking a little iffy.

After a few adventures were Eric’s opponent sacced a pawn to get a passer but Eric easily defended and then the h2 pawn resulted in a nice deflection tactic were Eric took a pawn even though it was protected by a rook because the rook was immune due to Black playing h1= q with advantage. That meant white’s last asset was gone and in fact I think Antonio actually took the rook and Eric made a queen and then sacced it for the rook and queened another pawn, a nice pragmatic way of winning it! Also Ivan found a nice deflection tactic of his own to win the queen and the game and black’s open king in the end resulted in his doom. I was not getting carried away though despite being 3-1 up because all the other boards were mainly in Urmstons favour.

Then around the time control, Dave Holt played an unsound tactic due to there being a skewer and he lost the exchange as a result and worse was to follow. Phil Boyd was also under pressure and dropped a pawn with a bad position. Dave Cook decided to go and try and attack white’s king rather than trying to hold onto his queenside and he had a few nasty threats and his son Paul Cawley who is a strong 190 level player, and had come along to watch pointed out some strong moves to me that Dave actually seemed to be seeing but he had dropped under 5 minutes and his opponent had about 40.

The board 1 game got very sharp with the g2 and h7 pawns both being taken and both sides pushing their d and h pawns to try and get a queen but it got agreed drawn in the end because it looked like both pawns were likely to drop or be easily stopped and after that it was just the a and b pawns and a rook and bishop each so not exactly very good winning chances. Good draw for John: Dennis can hold his own in strong opens. However I had almost given up because Dave Holt ended up a rook down so lost in the end but he was playing a strong opponent and the stress from struggling to get there, must have played a factor.

However I returned to Phil’s game and he had swindled a draw! He was still a pawn down but managed to get a pawn to a3, tying the white knight down to a2 and his king could take care of whites 2 pawns god fighting spirit from Phil as always who never gives up. This meant we had at least a draw so we crowded around the ‘captain derby’ on bottom board and Dave Cook actually played well despite not having any time and Josh had to play accurately, he even tryed a cheeky draw offer which may have been accepted if the match didnt depend on it and if Dave had have had more than a few seconds! And sadly the inevitable happened and the game ends in a very tense and hard fought draw.

Overall I was very happy with the team, to go to one of the toughest places in the league down several players and get a draw is brilliant. They weren’t full strength either but on paper it would be a comfortable win for them with them outgrading us on almost every board and some by about 20 points. Urmstons 1st team is very strong so that pushes people down into the 2nd team. Urmston are likely to be up there at the end of the season, but if we can get Francis and Rostislav out for a few games then there will be more surprises! I noticed we was making quite a few bad positional errors but there was some nice tactical finds, and of course there is always room for improvement!