The Wellington Chess Club

Club Champs 2015

Nic Croad annotates his 7th round game with Anthony Ker

Ker, Anthony - Croad, Nicolas Club Championship 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nxc6 bxc6 6.e5 Qe7 7.Qe2 Nd5 8.c4 Ba6 9.b3 g5!? One of the more challenging systems available against the Scotch game in this position.  10.g3 Bg7 11.Bb2 O-O-O 12.Bg2 Rde8 13.O-O Bxe5 14.Qxe5 Qxe5 15.Bxe5 Rxe5 16.cxd5 Bxf1 17.Kxf1 cxd5 Reaching an endgame, which I had looked at in my preparations and which is probably about balanced.  18.Nc3 c6 19.Rc1 Kd8

Moves are clickable

This position has been played in many games before though my direct preparation stopped at this point.  20.Ne2 Rhe8 21.Nd4 g4 22.b4 h5 This is the first new move in the game.   An earlier game ended in a draw following  22...a6 23.a4 Ke7 24.b5 axb5 25.axb5 cxb5 26.Nxb5 Rb8 1/2-1/2 Broekmeulen,J-Gharamian,T/Bethune 2003/CBM 098 ext  23.h4 gxh3 24.Bxh3 h4 25.g4 White gets into trouble if he simply tries to take this pawn with the knight  25.Nf3? Re2 26.gxh4 Rxa2 -/+ Though an alternative is  25.gxh4 Re4 26.Nf5 Rxb4 = but with the White king quite exposed the passed pawn does not equate to an advantage.  25...Re4 26.Rd1


With the knight on d4 Black can't break into the White position.  26...Kc7 27.a3 Rf4!? Preparing R8e4 to knock the knight away from its central perch.  27...a5!? was a good alternative here.  28.Rd3 Rfe4 29.Nf3 29.Rd1 = 29...a5 30.b5


30...Rb8 My intuition pointed to  30...cxb5! 31.Rxd5 but I didn't seriously consider the next move  31...Kc6! During the game I only considered  31...Rb8 and I think I found  32.Ne5 d6 33.Nxf7 which didn't seem that promising  33...Ra4 34.Nxd6 b4 35.axb4 axb4 36.Nc4 = 32.Rd3 d5 33.Nxh4 b4 -/+ 31.bxc6 dxc6 32.Nxh4 a4 33.Rf3 Rb3 Here I wanted to play  33...Re7 34.Nf5 but didn't notice  34...Rb3!! -/+ 34.Rxf7+ Kb6 35.Nf3 35.Rf3? d4! -+ 35...Rxa3 36.g5 Ra1+ 37.Kg2


37...Re8?! It seems that  37...a3! was the better move here, but with many tricky variations.  38.Rf8 38.g6 Re8 39.g7 Rg8 40.Be6 a2 41.Re7 Rxg7+ 42.Rxg7 Rd1 -+ 38.Bc8 Re8 39.Rb7+ Kc5 40.Bf5 Ra8 41.Nd2 Rd1 -+ 38...Ra4! 39.g6 Ra7 40.Nd4 Re1 41.Rc8 Kc5 42.Nxc6 a2 43.Nxa7+ Kb6 44.g7 a1=Q 45.Rb8+ Ka6 46.g8=Q Rg1+ 47.Kh2 Rxg8 48.Rxg8 Kxa7 -/+ This still could prove difficult for Black to win. If the bishop can sacrifice itself for the d-pawn it looks like a fortress.  38.Bd7 Rg8 White has amazing counterplay after  38...Rd8 39.Nd4!! Other moves leave White much worse  39...a3 40.Bxc6 a2 40...Re1 41.Rf6 Kc5 42.Nc2 a2 43.Ba4 Rc8 = 41.Rb7+ Ka6 42.Rb4 Rg1+ White has a mating net, which he can execute after the blunder  42...Re1?? 43.Bb7+ Ka5 44.Nc6# 43.Kf3 Rf8+ 44.Ke3 Re1+ 45.Kd2 Rd1+ 46.Kxd1 a1=Q+ 47.Ke2 Qc3 and the mating net is still helpful  48.Bb7+ Ka5 49.Nc6+ Qxc6 50.Bxc6 Kxb4 51.Bxd5 Rf5 = 39.Rf6 Rc1 40.Be6 Rd8 41.g6 a3


I had already seen my 43rd move so was fairly happy with my position here  42.Bxd5 Rxd5 43.g7 Rg1+! 43...a2 44.g8=Q a1=Q Anthony was looking forward to this position when something might turn up for White.  45.Qb8+ Kc5 46.Qf8+ Kb6 = or it turns out its a draw (White could choose to play on with little risk even here).  44.Kxg1 44.Nxg1 Rg5+ 45.Kf3 a2 -+ 44...a2 45.Rxc6+ Reaching a position where Black can't expect to win despite a small material advantage.  45.g8=Q a1=Q+ 46.Kg2 Qxf6 -/+ Black still has quite good winning chances here.  45...Kxc6 46.g8=Q a1=Q+ 47.Kg2 Qf6 I offered a draw here as there are no real chances to win if White elects to start checking the Black king. Exchanging queen's leads to an un-winnable endgame, do Black can't block with the queen. 1/2-1/2

Ian Sellen beat Bill Forster in assured style in this delayed round 2 encounter. I couldn't resist adding a few comments (marked as Bill:) to Ian's annotations.

Bill Forster - Ian Sellen Club Championship 2015

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 O-O 7.Bd3 c6 8.Nf3 Re8 Bill does not usually play the Queen's Gambit, but he had done a little bit of preparation on it for this game. Afterwards he pointed out that I deviated from book with this move, and correct is Nbd7. I wouldn't have had a clue!  9.Ne5 Too tempting! Slightly better is Qc2 straight away Bill: A little knowledge is dangerous - I decided I needed to punish the absence of a Knight on d7 by getting in f4 before Black can exchange, but it turns out my kingside attack is premature  9...Nbd7 10.f4 Nxe5 11.fxe5 Ng4

Moves are clickable

The only decent move. Bill probably thought that I would grovel back on d7, because that's more my style. (Bill: You're right I totally did)  12.Bf4 f6!? 12...Bh4+ 13.g3 13.Bg3 Nxe3 -+ 13...g5 14.gxh4 gxf4 15.exf4 Qxh4+ 16.Kd2 is a reasonable line for black. From this point on we both, but particularly white, started using large amounts of time.  13.Qc2 I was worried about  13.e6 Bxe6 14.h3 Nh6 15.Bxh6 gxh6 but the computer thinks this is equal. I don't think Bill even considered this. I was less worried about my opponent taking my h pawn because I couldn't see how he could follow up the attack.  13...fxe5 14.Bxh7+ Kh8 15.dxe5 Bg5! attacking the pawn on e3  16.Qg6? 16.O-O Nxe3 17.Qg6 Bxf4 18.Rxf4 Rxe5 black has a safe extra pawn but this is better for white than the game.  16...Bh4+ not terrible, but much better is   16...Bxf4! 17.exf4 Re6 18.Qc2 18.Qxg4 Rxe5+ 18.Qh5 Rh6 18...Qh4+ 19.g3 Qxh7 black is a piece for a pawn up!  17.g3 Nxe5


18.Qc2 the best move. Also possible is  18.Bxe5 Rxe5 19.O-O-O Bg5 but not  18.Qh5?? Bg4 19.Qxe5 Rxe5 20.Bxe5 Kxh7 Bill: It was only at this point I realised I was in real trouble. Going back to c2 was a real admission that my play to date had been bankrupt. I had one interesting idea in the whole game. I saw that after  18.Bxe5 Rxe5 19.gxh4 Qxh4+ 20.Qg3 unfortunately White has  20...Rxe3+! but I noticed there is a surprising upside to this for White  21.Kf2 Rxg3 22.hxg3 finally ignites some h file action for me and I am not *that* much material down. After something like  22...Qf6+? 23.Kg2 White gets some real chances with Raf1 coming. But unfortunately Black has much better 22nd moves that will quickly kill me off  18...Nc4 18...Bg5 is slightly better according to Houdini  19.O-O-O Bg5 20.Rde1 A little bit grovelly, especially as white cannot keep the e3 pawn  20.Rd4 Nxe3 21.Qg6 Bf5 is quite an interesting line, but black is still winning  20...Nxe3 21.Bxe3 Rxe3 21...Bxe3+ is similar  22.Kb1 Qe7 23.Rxe3 Qxe3 24.Rf1 Bh3 24...Bf6 25.Bg6 Bh3 25.Rd1?! The computer really wants white to play  25.Nd1 e.g.  25...Qe7 26.Rf2 Rf8 27.Bd3 Bg4 black is winning but not as much as in the game  25...Rf8 and now all my pieces are looking beautifully active. Bill: Ian played very well in this game - refuting my artificial play to obtain a solid positional advantage that he rather remorselessly converts.   26.a3?! Rf2 26...Bg4! 27.Rh1 Rf2 28.Qd3 Bf3 29.Rg1 white will lose a lot of materia le.g.  29...d4 30.Qxe3 Bxe3 31.Bd3 Rxb2+ 32.Kxb2 dxc3+ 33.Kxc3 Bxg1 27.Qg6 Bf5+ I take the opportunity to cash in some material gain, but  27...Bf6! is the best move  28.Qxf5 Rxf5 29.Bxf5 Bf6 30.Rd3 Qe5 31.g4 Kg8 I was worried about tactical tricks down the h file, but actually  31...Qxh2 32.g5 Qg1+ 33.Ka2 Qxg5 is perfectly winning for black  32.h3 Kf8 time to get the king out of his little hole.  33.Rd2 Qf4 34.Rd3 Ke8 again worrying about tactical tricks, this time involving a knight fork on d5, but  34...Ke7 35.Rxd5 black can play  35...Bxc3 36.Rd7+ Ke8 37.bxc3 g6 38.Be6 Qe4+ From now on, I play not necessarily the best moves, but the safest I can think of, because I have squandered too many promising positions in this tournament.  35.Bg6+ Kd8 36.Bf5 Bxc3 37.Rxc3 d4 38.Rc4 Kc7 39.Rc1 Qe3 40.Rd1 c5 41.Rc1 Kd6 42.h4 Kd5 43.Bc8 b5 44.Bb7+ Kd6 45.Ba6? Trapping his own bishop, but the position was hopeless anyway.  45...Kc6? Better  45...Qe4+ 46.Ka2 Qc6 and the bishop dies  46.a4 bxa4 47.Rf1 Kb6 48.Bc4 Ka5 49.Rc1 Qe4+ 50.Ka1 d3 Even I would find it difficult to lose from here. Bill: You know that when you are desperately looking for stalemate ideas even though you still have a few bits that can move that it's probably past time to resign. 0-1

Ian Sellen annotates his round 6 loss to Anthony Ker

Ian Sellen - Anthony Ker Club Championship 2015

1.c4 d6 2.g3 e5 3.Bg2 f5 4.e3 Nf6 5.d4 Be7 6.Nc3 c6 7.Nge2 O-O 8.O-O Na6 9.Bd2 Be6 10.d5 cxd5 11.Nxd5 Nxd5 12.cxd5 Bd7 13.Nc3 white should probably prevent ...Nc5 with b4   13...Nc5 heading for an annoying outpost on d3  14.b4 Nd3 15.Qb3 15.Bf3 Nxb4 16.Rb1 Nd3 17.Rxb7 computer line  15...e4

Moves are clickable

16.f4 Scott pointed out afterwards that  16.f3 is better, but black still has a slight edge  16...exf3?! black does not have to take this pawn, maybe  16...Bf6 is better. Or Anthony might have been worried that the knight has no squares to move to if he does not take  17.Bxf3 Qb6 18.Ne2 Ne5 19.Nd4 Bf6 20.Rac1 Nxf3+ 21.Nxf3 Rfe8 22.a4 Re4 22...a5 23.b5 Re4 24.Rc4 = 23.a5 Qb5 24.Rfe1 Rae8 25.Kf2 b6 This may not have been completely the best move, but my position is getting steadily worse. Time for some drastic action  26.axb6 Qxb6 27.Rc6!? Now the fun begins! White is slightly worse but gets some counterplay, thanks to the discovered check and the annoying passed pawn on c6  27...Bxc6 28.dxc6+ Kh8 29.Rc1 R8e7


30.Qd3 I'd like to play Qd5 but this leads to disaster as I have to keep looking at the weakness on e3  30.Qd5?? Rxe3 31.Kg2 Re2+ 32.Kh3 Qf2 30...h6 31.b5 again not  31.Qxd6 Rxe3 31...d5 32.Kg2 Qd8 33.Rc5 d4? Anthony slips up slightly  33...Qb6 34.Rxd5 a6 with the move played, white is winning   34.exd4 Bxd4?? Anthony slips up big time! He shouldn't really be self-pinning like this.  35.c7?? Returning the favour. I don't need to look after e3 any more, and if  35.Bc3 , black can resign  35...Rxc7 36.Rxc7 Qxc7 37.Nxd4 Qd7 38.Bc3 Anthony pointed out afterwards that   38.Be3 is better, preventing f4 tricks  38...Qd5 39.Kf2 f4! 40.Qd2 Qg5 41.Kg2? Re3 42.Nf3 42.Nc2 better  42...Qxb5 43.Qd4? The losing move.  43.Qd8+ Kh7 44.Qc7 puts up a fight  43...Qb7! 44.Qxg7+ Qxg7 45.Bxg7+ Kxg7 46.gxf4 a5 47.Ne5 black can simply take the knight and push the pawn. I resigned without waiting for this 0-1

Andrew Brockway annotates his round 5 loss to Jesus Barazza

Barazza, Jesus - Brockway, Andrew Club Championship 2015

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 g6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4 Nf6 5.Be2 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Qa4 d6 7.e5 dxe5 8.Nxe5 Bd7 9.Nxd7 Qxd7 10.Be3 Bg7 11.Rd1 Qc8 12.Be2 O-O 13.O-O 5...Nc6 6.Qd1 Bg7 7.Nf3 d6 8.O-O O-O 9.h4 I thought this was a mistake. Weakens King-side and if move Bishop to g4 stops advance.   9...Bg4 9...Ng4 10.Nd5 Nge5 11.Nxe5 Nxe5 12.Bg5 10.Be3 Qa5 11.Re1 Qh5

Moves are clickable

12.g3 Here I was hasty. Computer suggests Rac8 or Rfd8. The other move I considered was Nd7.   12...Ne5 12...Nd7 13.Nd5 Nde5 14.Nxe5 Bxe2 15.Qxe2 Qxe5 12...d5 13.exd5 Rfd8 14.Nd4 Ne5 15.f3 13.Nxe5 Bxe2 14.Qxe2 Qxe5 15.Bf4 Here I also considered Qe6.   15...Qh5 15...Qc5 15...Qe6 16.Rad1 Nh5 17.Bd2 Rfc8 15...Qa5 16.e5 Qxe2 17.Rxe2 dxe5 17...Nh5 18.Bg5 f6 19.exf6 exf6 20.Bd2 18.Bxe5 I mis-calculated here. For some reason I was concerned with Bxf6 and also Knight d5 for white.   18...e6 18...Rfd8 19.Rd1 Rxd1+ 20.Nxd1 Rd8 21.Nc3 e6 19.Rd1 Rfd8 20.Red2 Rxd2


21.Rxd2 Here I thought swapping the knight for the bishop would result in a better ending for me. The flaw in this was I allowed white's rook to get to the 7th.   21...Ne4 21...Rc8 22.Bxf6 Bxf6 23.Rd7 22.Nxe4 Bxe5 23.c3 Rc8 24.Rd7 Rc7 Fatal mistake. I thoght Kh8 was ok - missed the rook check.   24...Rc4 25.f3 25.Ng5 Rc7 26.Rd8+ Kg7 27.Ne4 Rc4 28.Nd2 Rc7 25...f5 26.Ng5 Bxg3 27.h5 gxh5 28.Nxe6 Rc6 24...Rb8 25.Ng5 25.Nf6+ Kh8 25...Kf8 26.Nxh7+ 26.f4 Bd6 27.Rxd6 Ke7 28.Ne4 28.Nd5+ Kxd6 29.Nxc7 Kxc7 30.Kf2 Kd6 31.Ke3 e5 32.c4 a5 33.b3 exf4+ 34.Kxf4 f6 28...f5 29.Rd4 fxe4 30.Kf2 30.Rxe4 Rd7 31.Kf2 26.Rd8+ Kg7 27.Ne8+ Kh6 28.Nxc7 Bxc7 29.Rd7 1-0

In Round 2 Layla Timergazi bounced back from a round 1 loss with a nice counterpuncher's win against tough veteran Brian Nijman

Nijman, Brian - Timergazi, Layla Wellington Club Champs, A Grade 2015

1.g3 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.c4 d6 5.d4 O-O 6.O-O Nc6 7.d5 Nb8 8.Re1 Nbd7 9.Nc3 Nc5 10.e4 Surprisingly, this normal looking Kings Indian position hasn't occurred in my 4.5 million game database  10...Nfd7 11.Be3 a5 12.Bd4 e5 13.dxe6 Nxe6 14.Bxg7 Nxg7 15.e5 Ra6 16.Nb5 dxe5 17.Nxe5 Nxe5 18.Rxe5 Qf6 19.Qe1 Re6 20.Rxe6 Nxe6 21.b3 c6 22.Qc3 Qe7 23.Nd4 Nxd4 24.Qxd4 Rd8 25.Qb6 Qg5 26.h4 Qd2 27.a3 Re8 28.b4 a4

Moves are clickable

White must be careful since ...Qb2 is a significant threat.   29.Qc5? 29.b5! With immediate counterplay is one good move  29...Qb2! The problem is that the Black a-pawn gets very big very quickly  30.Rd1 Qxa3 31.h5 Qb3 32.Qd6 Qxc4? 33.Rd4? 33.h6! Was the last chance, it generates a real attack and gets White back into the game. The point is Black can't grab the long dark diagonal since if  33...Qc3? 34.Qe7! wins outright  33...Qe6 34.Qf4 a3 35.Re4


35...a2! 36.Qc1 Qd7 37.Qa1 Rxe4 38.Bxe4 Qd2 39.Kg2 if  39.h6 f6! is most accurate since if  40.Qxf6 Qd1+ Qe1+ or Qc1+ also win as it happens, but this way denies White even any spite checks  41.Kg2 a1=Q finis  39...Be6 40.Qf6 now if  40.h6 simply  40...Qxh6 since the a-pawn is now secured  40...gxh5 41.Kh2 h6 42.Bg2 Qg5 43.Qb2 Qg7 and Black gets a second Queen 0-1

Julian Mazur Memorial 2015

Round 8

Congratulations to Russell Dive who won the Julian Mazur Memorial for 2015 with 7 from 8. Scott Wastney closed to within half a point by beating Ross Jackson quickly, while Russell was held to a draw by Brian Nijman (see below). Anthony Ker finished third with 6 points after a last round win against Nic Croad.

Brian Nijman annotates his draw with Russell Dive

Nijman, Brian - Dive, Russell Julian Mazur 2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 b6 3.Bg5 Ne4 4.Bf4 g6 5.Nbd2 Bb7 6.d5!? Nxd2 6...Bxd5? 7.Nxe4 Bxe4 8.Qd4 7.Qxd2 Bg7 8.O-O-O d6 9.h4 9.Bh6 is obvious, and is quite good after:  9...Bf6 10.e4 10.g4 [the move I analysed at the board  10...Rg8 11.e4 11.Ng5 Qd7 12.Nxh7 Bh8 13.Rg1 Na6 14.Ng5 Nc5 [White is somewhat better, but Black has prospects too, despite the pawn minus]  11.g5?! Bh8 11...Qd7 12.Kb1 Qxg4 13.Qe3 Ba6 14.Rg1 Qh5 15.Bg5 Bxf1 16.Bxf6 exf6 17.Rdxf1 Nd7 and Black is okay  10...Qd7 [to control g4 and prepare queenside castling  11.Kb1 Na6 12.Nd4 Bxd4 13.Qxd4 O-O-O 14.h4 Kb8 15.Rh3 is pleasant for White  9...h5 10.e4 Nd7 11.Nd4 a6 12.f3 Ne5 13.Kb1 c5 14.dxc6 Nxc6 15.Nxc6 Bxc6 16.Bc4 Qc7 17.Rhe1 b5 18.Bd5 Rc8 19.Re2 [I felt quite pleased about my position at this point, since it appears I have Russell under some pressure, but Houdini is comfortable enough with Black's position]  19...Qb7 20.Bg5 b4 21.Qd3 a5 22.Qb3 O-O 23.a4 [an important move from the standpoint of king security]  23...Rc7 24.g4 hxg4 25.fxg4 Bxd5 26.exd5 Be5 27.h5 Qa6

Moves are clickable

28.Rxe5?! The first move I considered, and which is the preference of Houndini is:  28.Qf3 , which, according to our silicon friend, is followed by:  28...Qc4 29.Rf2 Bd4 30.Rxd4 Qxd4 31.Bh6 Qf6 32.Qg2 Qh4 33.Bxf8 Kxf8 34.hxg6 f6 35.g5 Kg7 36.gxf6+ exf6 37.Re2 [White is clearly better, but getting to this point over-the-board would take some doing]  28...dxe5 29.d6? 29.Rh1 gxh5 30.Rxh5 Rfc8 31.Rh2 Qg6 32.Qh3 Qg7 33.Bc1 is relatively best, although Black is a little better  29...Qe2? [both players are basically playing on increment, and, as often the case, make back-to-back mistakes]  29...exd6 30.hxg6 Qc4 31.Qxc4 31.gxf7+ Rfxf7 32.Rxd6 Qxb3 33.cxb3 Rf1+ 34.Ka2 Rc2 is curtains  31...Rxc4 32.Rxd6 Rxg4 33.gxf7+ Kxf7 and Black should win  30.Rd2 = 30.dxc7 Qxd1+ 31.Ka2 = 30...Qf1+ 31.Ka2 exd6 32.Rxd6 gxh5 32...Qc4 is nothing special now, because White can recapture on b3 with the King  33.hxg6 fxg6 34.Rxg6+ Kf7 35.Rf6+ Kg7 36.Re6 is equal, because, once the Queens are exchanged, the e and g pawns will come off and the a5 pawn will soon follow   33.Rg6+ Kh7 34.Rh6+ Kg7 35.Qe3 [Black has to be careful about moves like Bf6+ followed by Qg5+ and mate, and therefore takes the perpetual check]  35...Qc4+ 36.Ka1 Qf1+ 37.Ka2 Qc4+ 38.Ka1 Qf1+ 39.Ka2 Qc4+ 1/2-1/2

Another endgame nightmare for the webmaster unfortunately.

Forster, Bill - Stone, Andrew Julian Mazur 2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Ok new plan, no more Veresovs, no more junk openings in general. Let's play real openings and principled moves.  2...g6 3.Nc3 d5 Of course the one small flaw in my otherwise cunning plan is that I don't know anything about real openings. Hmmmm, the Grunfeld. Well I do know one decent way of organising White's minor pieces, a small bit of knowledge retained from a post-mortem after being mercilessly crushed by Chris Bell in an interclub vs Upper Hutt about 30 years ago. I suspect that was the only other time I've ever ventured into a Grunfeld by the way.  4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Bc4 c5 8.Ne2 On this square the knight covers both c3 and d4 and can't be embarrased by ...Bg4 which was one of the (many) annoying things Chris Bell did.  8...Nc6 9.Be3 O-O 10.O-O Qc7

Moves are clickable

It turns out that I have managed to (almost - see below) reach an important Tabiya (basic opening position). The trouble with the Grunfeld is that White's impressive centre is going to be put under pressure. It's the sort of opening where some experience is definitely a plus.  11.Bf4 Not having experience, I went for a cheapo  11...Qd8 Hoping for  11...e5 12.Bg3 cxd4 13.cxd4 Nxd4?? when White has the surprising shot  14.Qxd4! exd4 15.Bxc7 and I calculated as far as  15...d3 16.Bxd3 Bxa1 17.Rxa1 with a winning position for White. Surprisingly, this line appears in my database as a junk internet game where White missed 14.Qxd4!  12.Be3 Qc7 Back to the pre-Tabiya. Since I was still clueless, it might have been best to save us both a lot of work and repeat again.   13.Qc2? This turns out to be a miserable move, scoring less than 30% in the database.   13.Rc1 Rd8 is almost always played, then we really do have a Tabiya, i.e. a standard position in which knowledgeable players start the real game.  13...Na5! This is the problem with Qc2, it deprives the bishop of a retreat path.  14.Bb3 I wish I were less honest, then I could avoid revealing the embarrassing truth behind this apparently obvious move.  I almost played  14.Bd3?? instead, after which I expected  14...cxd4?? 14...c4! is an obvious knockout  15.cxd4 Qxc2 16.Bxc2 which I evaluated as better for Black, and worse boring and depressing for me. I've been reading John Nunn's Lasker book, and in this situation it saved me, in a way that John Nunn would probably find disappointing and embarrassing. Apparently Lasker would employ the psychological trick of giving his opponent unexpected choices to give them a chance to waste time and energy, and possibly make mistakes. I decided Bb3 would force Black to choose between the line already given, which he can still play, and an alternative line that's probably even better for him, but more unbalanced and complex with more scope for interesting play   14...Nxb3 In reality of course I was not really making a Lasker like subtle ploy, I was simply playing a forced line, but what they hey, it led to an interesting game, and Andrew plays his part by keeping the Queens on.  15.Qxb3 cxd4 16.cxd4 Be6


Another lapse in my chess thinking helped keep me alive. When I was thinking about Bb3 or Bd3 I planned d5 at this point, not noticing it would expose my Ra1. If I had not lapsed in this way I would almost certainly have played Bd3 and lost immediately!  17.Qd1 It's very annoying how Black now gets time for Bc4. So annoying that I considered playing  17.d5 Bxa1 18.Rxa1 Bd7 as a sacrifice, but I wimped out. I decided ...f6 would shield the dark squares, and that before long the Black rooks would be rampant in the wide open queenside spaces  17...Bc4 18.Qd2 Black has a solid positional advantage with two good bishops, continuing pressure on my centre, and scope for an annoying Queenside advance. My space advantage means less than nothing as Black only has two minor pieces to find room for and they are now both menacingly posted.  18...Rfd8 19.Rfc1 b5 20.Rab1 Qd6 21.d5?! I knew I was in trouble, but at least it's getting a bit messy and there's scope for creating complications that could go either way. Advancing one of the phalanx pawns is double edged, but hopefully I will get to use my otherwise passive minor pieces now  21...Qa3 22.Nd4 Qd3! I missed this, which basically refutes 22.Nd4. Oh well, I now have to go all in  23.Nc6 Rd7 24.f3 e6? Not the best, the comp recommends swapping Queens first when Black profits from a d file pin against the undefended Bd2  25.Qf2? I in turn could have used a d file pin to equalise by playing.   25.Qxd3 Bxd3 26.dxe6 fxe6 27.Rd1 25...exd5 Play gets a bit random around here  26.Nb4 26.Rd1 is better  26...Qe2 26...Qa3 leads to Black hanging on to his extra pawn  27.Qxe2 Bxe2 28.Nxd5 Bc4 29.Rd1


Now I finally have a threat  29...Re8? Which Andrew saw, but then forgot about during a long think. (One of my favourite tricks actually)  To be fair, Stockfish only maintains an advantage for Black with the rather inhuman   29...Kh8 30.Nf6+ Bxf6 31.Rxd7 White should win from here, but let's not forget who's handling the White pieces  31...a5 32.Bd4 Be6 33.Rd6 Be7 34.Rb6 b4 35.Rb2 Rd8 36.Be3 Rd3 37.Kf2 Kg7 38.Rc2 a4 39.Ke2 Ra3 40.Bd4+ Kh6 41.Be3+ Kg7 42.Bd4+ Kh6


I now had my last decent think of the game. It looked to me as if the a-pawn is dropping and that I might be in real danger of losing. So the repetition was a bit tempting. Naturally Stockfish is completely sanguine and assigns the highest advantage to either player in the game to date to White here. Bloody computers. Suddenly though, I had a (brilliant?) idea  43.Rxe6!? Stockfish hates this move but what would he know about chess, really. Even in the light of day I quite fancy my concept.  43...fxe6 44.Bb2 Trapping the rook  44...Rxa2?? Andrew misses my idea  I expected  44...b3 45.Bxa3 bxc2 46.Bc1+ and my King will pick up the c-pawn. Compared to the position before 43.Rxe6 my material advantage is reduced but importantly all the drama has been sucked out of the position and I should win and certainly won't lose.  45.Bc1+ Andrew only considered  45.Bg7+ it's well known that strong backwards moves are easy to miss  45...Kg7 46.Rxa2 a3


The scene is set for another epic Forster late night time trouble endgame meltdown. If I had been able to summon up just a little brain power, I would have realised that b3 is not even a threat as I can then calmly play Rxa3. So I can just bring my King over, mop up the annoying pawns and win easily with my (let's not forget!) whole extra rook. Instead I see ghosts and think I have to give up most of my cunningly aquired material advantage  47.Bb2+?? This isn't even slightly logical, I am trying to leave Black with a b-pawn not a more remote a-pawn but if he moves his King I won't manage even that.  47...axb2 However it's much more sensible to grab the piece in case I come to my senses and realise that after  47...Kf7 48.Bc1 b3 49.Rxa3 is an easy win for White, as before  48.Rxb2 I am still winning, but some finesse and skill is required and I'm in full blown panic mode still and can't provide it.  48...h5 49.Kd3 Kf6 50.Kc4 g5 51.Rxb4 Bxb4 52.Kxb4 Ke5


I think that if I hadn't so recently been a whole rook up I might have summoned the presence of mind to realise that I can retreat my King in time and enjoy a simple extra pawn win. Now I violate one of my personal favourite endgame rules: When ahead don't get involved in commital tempo races unless absolutely necessary. Prefer calm positions, the ideal is serene symmetry plus your (hopefully winning) material advantage. Instead I commit to a mad race, going after the e6 pawn, whilst Black eats my pawns. I am a couple of tempi too slow.  53.Kc5?? g4!! The only drawing move, the rest is routine  54.Kc6 gxf3 55.gxf3 h4 56.Kd7 h3 57.Ke7 Kf4 58.Kxe6 Kxf3 59.e5 Kg2 60.Kf5 Kxh2 61.e6 Kg2 62.e7 h2 63.e8=Q h1=Q 64.Qe4+ Kg1 65.Qxh1+ Kxh1 1/2-1/2

Round 7

Ker, Anthony - Forster, Bill Julian Mazur 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 I didn't watch Anthony make this move carefully enough. I saw him grab something from his kingside and move it towards the queenside, and wrote down the expected Nxd4. Then I looked up and saw that I had to correct my scoresheet, and that, much worse, several hours of prep were wasted. I knew Anthony used to play the Scotch Gambit. I knew it wasn't very good. That was the extent of my book knowledge and in these sort of sharp positions that's definitely not ideal! Oh well, fall back to first principles - develop pieces, fight for central control, that sort of thing.  4...Nf6 5.O-O Bc5 6.e5 d5! An important resource and a good pattern to know - if you can react to e5 this way it's basically always the right thing to do. Of course you can't do it if you have a bishop on e7 or g7 because then White captures two pieces while you capture one.   7.exf6 dxc4 8.Re1+ Be6 Of course you have to let White have a pawn on g7 but its bark is worse than its bite (we're going to castle queenside) and in return you get a massive central presence  9.Ng5 Qd5 After Ng5 I deperately wanted to play  9...Qxf6?? of course, that way it looks as if I remain a pawn up, without the structural damage on g7, a big centre and even a development advantage. But why would a borderline genius like Anthony Ker allow such a thing? I smelled a big hairy rat. Eventually I saw the problem  10.Nxe6 fxe6 11.Qh5+ wins the bishop on c5  10.Nc3 Qf5 11.Nce4 O-O-O 12.fxg7 Rhg8 13.g4 This worried me, I have been compelled to put my Queen into an advanced spot and of course I was worried about it getting trapped (or driven from the defence of Bc5). So I was on the lookout for g4 but had discounted it now my Be6 is unpinned because I can take it with check. But of course then the Bc5 drops off.  13...Qe5 Phew, this is obviously forced, but it felt wrong and I was pleasantly surprised that I couldn't see a discovery that was going to hurt me. Actually I did see a way for White to win material, but I could see that it would rebound.  14.Nxe6 Bugger, I was hoping for  14.Nf3? Qxg7! Wins outright as it happens  not  14...Qd5 15.Nf6 15.Nxc5? White definitely can't take the bishop  15...Bxg4 My intention although Qxg4+ is even better  16.Kf1 and my intended  16...Qf6 not only wins the piece back, it's totally winning, Bh3+ is even better  14...fxe6 15.Bh6 I now settled into a long think. After a while I decided that I had to try to use the massed forces I have assembled in the centre for immediate counterplay, so on principle  15...d3! To my amazement Anthony replied instantaneously  16.c3!

Moves are clickable

It turns out that this position has been reached many times before, and d3 countered by c3 is more or less automatic. The computer confirms these are the best moves. As far as I know Anthony might well have been still in book! Basically we have been in standard Max Lange Attack theory the whole time. I thought we might have transposed into the Max Lange (a variation of the Two Knights defence), but I really wasn't sure. The last time I looked at it was when I annotated Stone-Van der Hoorn in the 2013 Autumn cup.  16...Bd6 This move has been played before by one of my chess heroes, in Marshall-Tarrasch Ostend 1910! 16...d2 is more common but the computer approves of Bd6. My idea was to force f4 to loosen the White king and to prevent Qf3 threatening Nf6  17.f4 Bc5+? This is a mistake, I wanted to pin the knight to stop Nf6, but after   17...Qd5 18.Nf6?? is a terrible mistake allowing mate in three after  18...Bc5+ Since the Bishop is heading to e7 anyway, I could have saved a tempo. The lesson is: Keep checks in reserve unless you have a good reason to play them immediately  18.Kg2 Qd5 19.Qf3 Be7 20.Rad1 A really complicated unbalanced position, with chances for both sides. Positions like this make chess a fun game. I took some time here trying to find a good plan, the knight on e4 is a great piece and restricts me a lot. Eventually I came up with  20...Rd7 21.Rf1 Bd8 22.h4 Rf7 I was pleased with this regrouping and I was rewarded with one of the slight sighs that is characteristic of Anthony if he isn't 100% happy. To be fair this is his only tell, apart from this he never shows any emotion. He sunk into a deep think here  23.Nd2?   After the game I said to Anthony that Nd2 must be wrong. He agreed and said he should have played  23.Ng5?? instead. What do you play then? he asked me. My intention was Bxg5 with the hope rather than the expectation of weathering the big pawn storm coming. But strangely  23...Rf6! is available, simply winning the bishop!  23...Bf6 Anthony missed this simple move, now Black is on top  24.Qxd5 exd5 25.g5 Bxg7 26.Bxg7 Rfxg7 27.Rde1 Re7 28.Rxe7 Nxe7 29.f5 h6!?


My last good idea in the game, I plan to give up my Knight to liquidate the kingside pawns, and then play an ending with 3 pawns for a piece. If the extra pawns are secure, that's normally a good strategy. Ironically it comes back to bite me later in the game.  30.f6 hxg5 Anthony missed this resource  31.f7 Avoiding my idea  31.fxe7 gxh4+ 32.Kh3 Re8 33.Rf7 Kd7 34.Kxh4 Rxe7 35.Rxe7+ Kxe7 And it will be hard for me to lose (although the way I play these endings with no time, anything is possible)  31...Rf8 32.h5? After this I should win  32...Nc6? My brain starts its characteristic late game meltdown - believe it or not my idea was to route the Knight to g6 - I didn't notice it could go there in one move as soon as the h pawn moves! The separated passers aren't actually dangerous and objectively Black is just two pawns up!   33.h6 Ne5 34.h7 Ng6 I've wasted two whole tempi that could have activated my king or secured my pawn chain, but I'm still better.  35.Kg3 Kd7 36.Rf5 Ke7? 36...Ke6! I didn't notice he was attacking d5!  37.Rxd5 Now the position is level again  37...c6 38.Rxg5 Kxf7 39.Nxc4 Rh8 40.Rh5 Kg7 41.Kf3 Rxh7 42.Rxh7+ Kxh7 43.Ke3


43...d2? I thought this pawn was doomed anyway, so why not slightly misplace one of the White pieces. But after this White is just a little better for the first time (my King is offside). This is all Anthony needs to win.  After the game Nic Croad pointed out  43...b5! and if the Knight moves I can hold the extra pawn with Ne5. White can draw if he plays accurately.  44.Nxd2 Kg7 45.Ne4 Kf8 46.Nd6 b5 47.Kd4 Ke7 48.Nc8+ Kd7 49.Nxa7 Kc7 My last mistake  49...Kd6! keeping the king out draws  50.Kc5 Ne5 I thought I'd trapped the Knight and was maybe even winning  51.Nxb5+! Bugger, I missed that idea.  51...cxb5 52.Kxb5 Now I am on the wrong end of the piece versus three extra pawns equation. Writing about a similar position in the NZ Chess Mag recently I said that this is like being staked out in the sun to be eaten alive by ants. Exactly how it felt.   52...Nd3 53.b4 Maybe there is some way to make life difficult for White, but I wasn't up to it. The only ideas I had were to organise a blockade or to sacrifice the Knight for two pawns at a time when the resulting position is a draw. I never came close to making either idea work, but Stockfish seems to be able to hold...   53...Ne5 ...although not after this  54.a4 Kb7 55.a5 Nd3 56.c4 Ne5 57.c5 Nc6 58.a6+ Kc7 59.Kc4 Ne5+ 60.Kd5 Nd3 61.b5 Nf4+ 62.Kc4 Ne6 63.b6+ Kb8 64.c6


Black has material equality but White has a slight positional advantage 1-0

Round 6

Round 6 of the Julian Mazur saw the four top seeds playing on the top two boards. I didn't see much of Dive-Croad, but it looked like a patented Dive big crush from a Maroczy-ish type setup. Nic either sacrificed or lost an exchange for insufficient (perhaps non-existent) compensation. Wastney-Ker saw the classic "Anthony's 5...c5 Pirc is a target for a well prepared player..." scenario played out yet again. Interestingly Scott varied from the 7.Qd4 system with which he has done very well, for the other main option at the Wellington Chess Club in this scenario, 6.Bb5+. (Ian Sellen scored with that one a couple of years ago, and even your humble webmaster has achieved a couple of winning positions - although sadly just one draw to show for it). I didn't see exactly what happened, but presumably things didn't go smoothly for White this time, Scott used a lot of time only to reach an inferior (although hugely complicated) ending. Very unusually, Anthony despite having plenty of clock time proceeded to butcher that ending.

This week I received two games, Phillip Coghini provides some quirky annotations for his nice crush against Ed Sarfas, and Josh Wight gained a nice scalp, accounting for the veteran Don Stracy.

Coghini, Phillip - Sarfas, Edward Julian Mazur Memorial 2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Nc3 Bb7 5.e3 Bb4 6.Bd2 O-O 7.Bd3 d6 8.Qe2 h6 9.e4 d5 10.e5 Interesting Fritzy prefers slightly cxd5, but I like e5  10...Bxc3 11.bxc3 Ughh, I had a wee think, normally I don't like double pawns but I gauged that double pawns are better than a lost tempo for the bishop which is only blocked by pawns on d4 and e5.  11...Ne4 Mr Sarfas places his cool Knight to its most devastating square - Fritzy likes this move too  12.O-O Nd7 13.Ne1

Moves are clickable

Re route the Knight to c2 then aim for e3, as well as create options to get rid of the pesty Knight (or make a decision) with f3.  13...Qh4 For Black... Fritzy gives huge advantage to Nxd2.  13...Nxd2 14.Qxd2 Nxe5! 14.f3 Nxd2 Yeap good move - damn I'll miss this bishop (Fritzy likes Blacks move too). Looks like my pawns on black squares are a surrogate for my now missing black bishop (albeit not as good).  15.Qxd2 c5 Fritzy suggests that dxc5 is better  16.Nc2 Wasn't sure if g3 or f4 is better - anyway the Ne1 is misplaced at least now it's doing something useful (if limited).  16...Rad8 Fritzy baby suggests cxd4 or dxc4 is winning advantage for black.  17.cxd5 I was proud of this move - it achieves a few things at once - get rid of the double pawns - also potentially wins a free tempo with c4 if Bxd5, and if exd5 blocks off the Bishop's diagonal and makes the Rd8 look a bit redundant, not to mention creates a potential passed pawn or kingside pawn majority of 4 to 3.  17...exd5 18.f4 Nb8 19.Ne3 Bc8 20.Rf2 f6 21.Nxd5!? With the threat of the pin with Bc4  21...fxe5 22.dxe5 Fritzy gives g3 with a huge advantage to white - so I'm an idiot! I was thinking it but not enough to execute - so I'm a feeble idiot.  22...Be6 23.c4 Nc6 24.g3 Qh5 25.Be4 Bf5 26.Qd3 Kh8 27.Bxf5 Rxf5 28.Qe4 Rff8 29.Re1 Nd4 30.Kg2 To improve the position of the King (ever so slowly) - but really to stop Qh3 - and support the future h3 move.  30...Rd7 ooh he's tempting me - I wasn't sure if I should move e6, but could see imaginary ghost with Rd6 and then kaa powl Rxe6  31.h3 Ne6 32.g4 Qh4 33.f5 Nd4 34.Nf4 This move gives white a winning advantage - just hope I don't stuff it up! As they say its harder to win a won game sometimes.  34...Kg8 35.Ng6 Qd8 36.e6 Re7 37.Nxf8 Damn Fritzy see's something better Qd5 instead of the greedy Nxf8.  37...Qxf8 38.Qd5 Qc8 39.Rd2 Kh7 40.h4 Qf8 41.Rf2 Qf6


42.Kg3 Fritzy gives g5 as stronger aarrgh  42.g5! hxg5 43.hxg5 Qxg5+ 44.Kh1 with Rh2 and Qd8 to come  42...Qf8 43.g5 Qb8+ 44.Kg4 Kg2 is stronger not the idiot move Kg4  44...Qe8 45.Rf4 h5+ 46.Kg3 Qb8 47.f6! gxf6 48.Re4 gxf6 is waaay better thanks to fritzy  48...fxg5 49.hxg5 Kg6 50.Re5 Qe8 51.Rf6+ Kg7 52.Qe4 Nc6 53.Rd5 Qb8+ 54.Kh3 Kg8 55.Rd7 Rg7 56.Rxg7+ Black resigns 1-0

Stracy - Wight Julian Mazur 2015

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 g6 4.c3 f5 5.d3 fxe4 6.dxe4 Bh6 7.Bd2 Qf6 8.Bxg8 Bxd2+ 9.Nbxd2 Rxg8 10.O-O Nc6 11.Re1 Be6 12.Nf1 O-O-O 13.Ne3 Rd7 14.Qd2 Rgd8 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.exd5 Ne7 17.Rad1 Kb8 18.c4 c6 19.Rc1 Rc8 20.Rc2 cxd5 21.cxd5 Rxc2 22.Qxc2 Nxd5 23.Qc4 Ne7 24.Rc1 Nc6 25.a3 Rc7 26.b4 Qd8 27.Qe4 Ne7 28.Qb1 Qc8 29.Rxc7 Qxc7 30.Qd1 Nf5 31.h3 Qc3 32.g4 Nd4

Moves are clickable

33.Nxd4 exd4! After some rather unconventional play, Josh has emerged with a winning material advantage He finishes the game in fine style.  34.Kg2 d3 35.Qf3 a6 36.Qf8+ Ka7 37.Qxd6 d2 38.Qd5 Qc6 0-1

Round 5

A theoretical battle on one of the top boards.

Wastney - Perry Julian Mazur 2015

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.O-O-O d5 10.Kb1 Nxd4 11.e5 Nf5 12.exf6 exf6 13.Bc5 d4 14.Bxf8 Qxf8 15.Nb5 Ne3 16.Rc1 This is all theory..  16...f5 16...Bh6 and eventually 1/2-1/2 in 71 was Short-Carlsen London 2009  17.Nxd4 f4 18.c3 Be6

Moves are clickable

The first new move of the game, and likely not the best option.   18...Qc5 and  18...Qd6 have been tried before  19.Nxe6 fxe6 20.Bd3 Rd8 21.Qe2 Qd6 22.Be4 b5 23.Qxb5 Rb8 24.Qe2 Qa3 25.Ka1 Qc5 26.Qa6 Nc4 27.Qxe6+ Kh8 28.b3 28.Rhd1! Nxb2 29.Qd6 and White takes over  28...Nd2 29.Kb2 Nc4+ Scott was concerned (I think - this is based on a chat after the game without reference to a board or scoresheet) about  29...Rc8 but the computer thinks Roger made the right decision to go for the repetition  30.a3! Bxc3+ 31.Ka2 and Black is not co-ordinating very well and the White rooks take over fairly soon  30.Ka1 Nd2 31.Kb2 Nc4+ 32.Ka1 Nd2 1/2-1/2

Andrew Brockway provides some very entertaining analysis of his battle with Brian Nijman.

Brockway, Andrew - Nijman, Brian Julian Mazur 2015

1.e4 Always good to play Brian. We have had a few enjoyable games. Normally with me on the losing side. I am ready for the Caro Kann, French Defence or Sicilian.   1...g6 Oops the Modern. Oh well, guess I will just have to play some sensible moves.   2.d4 Bg7 3.Nf3 c5 4.c3 cxd4 5.cxd4 d5 6.e5 Nc6 7.Nc3 Bg4 According to Hiarcs we are in a book position here so I can't have gone too far astray.   8.Be2 Out of the Hiarcs book now.   8...Bxf3 9.Bxf3 e6 Here I was concerned about the Knight getting to f5 but realised after Ne7 I could play Bg5, exchange and I thought my bishop would be better but Brian has a well placed knight and my d pawn would be weak.   10.O-O Nge7 11.Bg5 Qb6 12.Bxe7 Kxe7

Moves are clickable

Now I wasn't sure what to do. Could I let my b pawn drop and get play on the open file? (Yes according to the analysis below). I didn't fancy losing the d pawn and most likely the e pawn as well. So I pondered for a while and eventually spotted bxd5 which leads to quite a sharp position.   13.Bxd5 13.Ne2 Qxb2 14.Rb1 Qxa2 15.Rxb7+ Ke8 13...Rhd8 14.Na4 14.Bxc6 bxc6 14...Rxd4 15.Qf3 Qxc6 15...bxc6 16.Rfe1 16.Qxc6 bxc6 17.Rfe1 With an equal position according to Hiarcs.   15.Qe2 Rxd4 16.Rad1 Rad8 With an equal position according to Hiarcs.   14...Qb4 14...Qxd4 15.Qxd4 Nxd4 16.Bxb7 Rab8 17.Ba6 Bxe5 18.Rae1 15.a3 Again bxc6 (which I almost did this time) is better.   15...Qxd4 16.Bxc6 16.Qxd4 Nxd4 17.Bxb7 Rab8 18.Ba6 16...bxc6 17.Qc2 Bxe5 18.Rad1 Qf4 19.g3 Qf3


Brian repositions his queen nicely. I didn't anticipate this but I am pretty sure he did.   20.Rxd8 A mistake.   20...Rxd8 21.Rc1 Brian notes after the game that he didn't consider this move for me with the key reason being it is not great.   21...Kf6 22.Nc3 Bxc3 Hiarcs doesn't like this.   23.Qxc3+ Qxc3 24.Rxc3 Rd6 I thought I could possibly draw this ending. Well most likely a grandmaster would.   25.Rc5 Ke7 26.Kf1 Kd7 27.Ke2 Kc7 28.Rc4 Rd5 29.b4 e5 30.f4 exf4 31.Rxf4 f5 32.g4 fxg4 33.Rxg4 Kd6 34.Rc4 a5 35.bxa5 Rxa5 36.a4 Rh5 37.h4 Kd5 38.Kd3 Rf5 39.Rd4+ Kc5


So far not too bad. But now I blunder and Brian pounces.   40.Ke3 Rf3+ 41.Ke4 Rf4 was killing.   41...Rh3 Good enough I thought at the time. Now I am going to lose at least one more pawn.   41...Rf4+ 42.Kxf4 Kxd4 43.a5 Kc5 42.Rd7 Rxh4+ 43.Kd3 h5 44.a5 Kb5 45.Rd6 Rg4 46.a6 Kxa6 47.Rxc6+ Kb5 48.Rc8 Rf4 49.Ke3 Rf5 50.Ke4 Rf6 51.Rd8 Kc5 52.Rd5+ Kc6 53.Rd1 Rd6 54.Rg1 Re6+ 55.Kf4 Kd6 56.Rg5 56.Kg5 Looking at my rook ending book I think after Kg5 the game could be drawn with best play. The analysis from Hiarcs certainly doesn't appear to be making progress for white.   56...Kd5 57.Rd1+ Kc4 58.Rd8 Rb6 59.Rd2 Rc6 -1.80/40   60.Rd8 Kc5 61.Rd1 Rb6 62.Rd2 Rd6 63.Rc2+ Kb5 64.Rc7 Re6 65.Rc1 Rc6 66.Rd1 Kc5 67.Rd2 Ra6 68.Rd1 Kb4 69.Rc1 Rb6 70.Rc2 Kb5 71.Rc1 Re6 72.Rb1+ Kc4 73.Rd1 Rb6 74.Rd7 Kc5 75.Rd2 56...Ke7 57.Ra5 Kf6 58.Ra8 g5+ 59.Kf3 Kg7 60.Ra7+ Kg6 61.Ra1 Kf5 62.Ra5+ Re5 63.Ra1 g4+ 64.Kg3 Re3+ 65.Kg2 Kg5 66.Ra5+ Kh4 67.Ra1 Re2+ 68.Kf1 Rb2 69.Kg1 Kh3 70.Kh1 g3 71.Kg1 h4 72.Rc1 Rb3 73.Rd1 Kg4 74.Rd4+ Kf3 75.Rd1 Re3 76.Rf1+ Kg4 77.Ra1 h3 78.Rf1 Re2 79.Ra1 h2+ 80.Kh1 Kh3 0-1

Round 3

Ian Sellen and Phillip Coghini had a crazy game.

Ian Sellen - Phillip Coghini Julian Mazur Memorial 2015

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 g6 4.e3 Bg7 5.Ne2 e6 6.O-O d5 7.d3 O-O 8.Nbc3 Nbd7 9.b3 Re8 10.Rb1 a5 11.a4 Bf8 12.d4 b6 13.e4 dxe4 14.Nxe4 Bb7 15.N2c3 Nxe4 16.Nxe4 f5 17.Ng5 h6 18.Nh3 Nf6 19.Nf4 Kh7 20.Bb2 Rb8 21.Re1 Bd6 22.Nxe6 Qd7 23.d5 cxd5 24.cxd5

Moves are clickable

24...Bb4 25.Qd4 Bxe1 26.Qxf6 Bb4 27.g4!? I wish I could add extra ! and ? characters  27...Qe7 28.Qe5 Bd6 29.Qd4 Bc8 30.gxf5 gxf5 31.Bh3 Rg8+ 32.Kf1 Ba6+ 33.Ke1 Qf7 34.Rc1 Bb4+ 35.Bc3 Rbc8 36.Kd2 Qh5 37.Nf4 Qg5 38.Qe5 Rgf8 39.Bxb4 Rce8 40.Qc7+ Kg8 41.Bxf8 Kxf8 42.Qd6+ Kg7 43.Rc7+ Kg8 44.Qg6+ Qxg6 45.Nxg6 Re2+ 46.Kc3 Rxf2 47.Kd4 Rxh2 48.Bxf5 Rd2+ 49.Ke5 Re2+ 50.Kf6 Rf2 51.Rg7# 1-0

Round 2

Andrew Stone trapped Layla Timergazi's queen in the opening. I think Layla's resignation was premature. As the classic game Forster-Nyberg Wanganui 2005 demonstrated perfectly two pieces are much better than a queen!

Timergazi - Stone Julian Mazur 2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ne4 4.Nf3 b6 5.Qd5 Bb7 6.Qxb7 Nc6 7.Qa6 Bb4+

Moves are clickable

...Nc5 is going to trap the queen 0-1

In contrast, Lawrence put up tenacious resistance and Brian had to use all his skill and experience to slowly wear him down

Farrington, Lawrence - Nijman, Brian Julian Mazur 2015

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c5 4.dxc5 Qa5 5.Bd2 Qxc5 6.Nge2 d6 7.Be3 Qa5 8.Nd4 Nc6 9.a3 Bd7 10.b4 Qc7 11.Nd5 Qd8 12.c3 Rc8 13.Rc1 Nf6 14.Nxf6+ Bxf6 15.Be2 O-O 16.O-O Qc7 17.f4 Rfd8 18.Bg4 Bxg4 19.Qxg4 Qd7 20.Qe2 d5 21.e5 Bg7 22.Nxc6 Rxc6 23.Bd4 e6 24.Rf3 Ra6 25.Ra1 Rc8 26.Qc2 Ra4 27.Qb3 Qb5 28.Ra2 a5 29.Rb2 axb4 30.axb4 Rca8 31.h3 Bf8 32.Qc2 Ra1+ 33.Kh2 Be7 34.Qd3 Qa4 35.Qc2 Qc6 36.Qe2 Bh4 37.g3 Be7 38.Rf1 Qa4 39.Rxa1 Qxa1 40.Kg2 h5 41.Qf2 h4 42.g4 Qc1 43.Rc2 Qb1 44.Rb2 Qd3 45.Rd2 Qe4+ 46.Qf3 Qb1

Moves are clickable

47.Rd1? 47.Qd1 47...Ra2+ 48.Bf2 Qc2 49.Kg1 Ra3 -/+ 50.Bd4 Kh7? 50...Bxb4 51.Qd3? 51.Rf1 = 51...Qxd3 52.Rxd3 Bxb4 53.g5 b5 54.Kg2 Ba5 55.Re3 Ra2+ 56.Kf3 Kg7 57.Bc5 Rc2 58.Bd4 Kf8 59.Kg4 Ke8 60.Kxh4 b4?! 60...Kd7 61.cxb4 Bxb4 62.Kg3 Rc4 63.Rd3 Kd7 64.Ba7?! 64.Kf3 64...Kc6 65.Bb8?! Rc3 66.Rxc3+ Bxc3 67.Kf2 Kc5 68.Ke3 Kc4 69.Ke2 Kd4 70.Kf3 Kd3 71.h4 Kc2 72.f5 exf5 73.h5 gxh5 74.e6 fxe6 75.g6 Bg7 75...d4?? 76.g7 76.Bf4 d4 77.Ke2 d3+ 78.Ke1 h4 79.Bg5 h3 80.Kf2 e5 81.Kg3 f4+ 0-1

Round 1

The Julian Mazur got off to a fabulous start with two remarkable upsets in round 1. Normally you might expect such results to be anomolies caused by blunders, but not this time. Both games were stonking attacking wins! Well done Andreas Theodosiou and Phillip Coghini.

Coghini - Croad Julian Mazur 2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Nc3 Bb7 5.e3 Bb4 6.Be2 6.Bd3 is the normal move. It's easy for a strong player to relax when they see an unnatural move like this, as if they sense (wrongly) that nothing can go badly today...  6...Ne4 7.Bd2 Bxc3 8.Bxc3 Nxc3 9.bxc3 O-O 10.O-O d6 11.Bd3 The bishop goes where it really belongs   11...Nd7 12.e4 e5 In these kind of positions it is normal for Black to play like this, looking for a locked pawn structure that suits his bishop and lames White's  13.Re1 Qf6 14.Qa4 Rfd8 15.Re3 exd4 16.cxd4 c5 17.e5! I was about to praise the positional merits of this move versus the alternative advance  17.d5 (see previous comment about pawn structures) when I noticed there are other reasons to avoid d5!  17...dxe5 18.d5 This is okay now without a blocking pawn on e4, of course White is a pawn down...   18...g6 18...Qe7 19.Rae1 f6 holds the pawn, but then  20.Nh4! is hard to meet  Nic has emailed in to point out that he originally intended the trick  18...e4?! attacking the rook on a1, but noticed too late that White has a nice back rank counter trick  19.Rae1 exd3? 20.Qxd7! and wins  19.Rae1 So White recovers his pawn with advantage  19...a6 20.Nxe5 Nxe5 21.Rxe5 b5 22.Qa5 bxc4 23.Bxc4 Qf4 24.Qc3 Qd4 25.Qb3 Rab8

Moves are clickable

26.d6!? Unleashing the hounds. The computer signals 0.00 but it's definitely easier to play White  26...Bxg2 27.Bxf7+ Kg7 apparently getting the King further from harms way with  27...Kh8 is right, although the move played seems natural  28.Qg3 Ba8? This is fatal  28...Kxf7 or  28...Rf8 limit the damage  29.Re7! Kh8 30.d7 Qf6 31.Bc4! After a big think. White avoids bank rank tricks now as Bf1 is available  31...Bc6 32.Qh3 h5 33.Qg3 h4 34.Qh3? A pity, this is Phillip's only weak move in the concluding phase  34.Qe3! is the only really strong move, and it's an instant kill   34...g5 35.Qd3 34...Rb2? Black can fight with  34...Rf8 35.Qe3 Qf4 35.Re8+!


Back on track, the remaining moves were played quickly and decisively by Phillip  35...Kg7 36.R1e7+ Kh6 37.Qe3+ g5 38.Re6 Rb1+ 39.Bf1 Rxf1+ 40.Kxf1 Bb5+ 41.Ke1 1-0

Theodosiou - Jackson Julian Mazur 2015

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bc4 Qa5 8.Bd2? 8.Qd2 is the normal move, played by Mikhail Tal (to name one great player) 7 times  8...Qc5! Winning a piece  9.Bxf7+ White gets a rather nice attacking position and a serious development lead for his piece, giving reasonable practical chances  9...Kxf7 10.Be3 Qc7 11.O-O e6 12.f4 b5 13.f5!

Moves are clickable

Andreas has played good natural moves, and now opens lines, White's comp is growing!  13...Ne5? This is probably Black's worse move of the game, which says a lot. Basically Ross didn't do too much wrong, which makes Andreas' win all the more meritorious!  13...e5 14.Ne6 is rather annoying, but this is worse  14.Nxe6 White could win in Tal like fashon with  14.fxe6+ Ke8 15.Rxf6! but this isn't too bad either  14...Bxe6 15.fxe6+ Ke8 15...Kxe6 16.Rxf6+! is somewhat fatal  16.Nd5 Nxd5 17.exd5 White is only a little material down and has a much easier position to play  17...Be7 18.Bd4 Bf6 19.Bxe5 dxe5? Black has to play  19...Bxe5 and allow  20.Rf7 20.d6!


Diagram please! White is now winning, the advanced duo are crushing - don't forget that Black's king has moved so castling is not a legal option!  20...Qb6+ 21.Kh1 h5 22.Qd5 Ra7 23.Rae1 Qb7 24.Qd3! Andreas is merciless in this phase - he avoids a queen swap and targets the weakness on g6  24...Ra8 24...Rh6 25.d7+ Kd8 26.Rxf6 Rxf6 27.e7+ Kxe7 28.d8=Q+ is not difficult to find  25.Qg6+ Kd8


26.Rxf6! Yes! Andreas plunges the dagger into the dentist's heart! Well done Andreas, play like this every week please.  26...Qd5 27.Qxg7 1-0

Rapid Champs 2015

Ian Sellen has provided a game (hurray! others please take note). Ian comments that Anthony had just finished a long stressful game against Brian Nijman, which he won after a time scramble. This may explain his poor 11th move. Ian also comments that he doesn't have the same excuse for his 28th move.

Anthony Ker - Ian Sellen Rapid 2015

1.e4 c5 2.c3 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.dxc5 Qc7 5.Be3 Nf6 6.Nd2 O-O 7.Bd3 Nc6 8.f4 a5 9.h3 Nh5 10.Ne2 e5

Moves are clickable

11.g3? Nxg3! 12.Nxg3 exf4 13.Qe2 fxe3 14.Qxe3 Bh6 15.Qf2 Ne5 16.Be2 Bxd2+ 17.Kxd2 d6 18.cxd6 Qxd6+ 19.Kc2 Be6 20.Rad1 Qe7 21.Kb1 Qh4 22.Rhg1 Kh8 23.Qc5 Nc6 24.Bb5 Rfc8 25.Bxc6 Rxc6 26.Qd4+ f6 27.e5 Qxd4 28.cxd4


28...fxe5?? 29.d5 Bxd5 30.Rxd5 Re6 31.Ne4 b6 32.Rd7 Rae8 33.Rf1 R8e7 34.Rf7 Rxf7 35.Rxf7 Kg8 36.Rxh7 Kxh7 37.Ng5+ Kh6 38.Nxe6 Kh5 39.Kc2 Kh4 40.Kd3 1-0

Autumn Cup 2015

An interesting position from Pomeroy-Nijman. White to play and win. I don't know if the winning move was actually played, but since Brian won the game I suspect not.

Arthur Pomeroy - Brian Nijman Autumn Cup 2015

The winning move is  27.Qb3! The threat is simply Nxc8. Although the bishop is twice defended, the defence is insecure. The rook also needs to defend the queen, and the queen can't recapture first and is vulnerable to exchange before it finishes its job. Black can't summon another defender (for bishop or queen) and there is no safe square for the bishop to run away to. 

Brian Nijman annotates his draw with Russell Dive.

Brian Nijman - Russell Dive Autumn Cup 2015

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 A repeat of the opening from our Wellington Open 2015 game, which also ended in a draw  2...d5 3.c3 Bf5 4.Qb3 b6 5.e3 e6 6.Nf3 Bd6 7.Ne5 O-O 8.Nd2 c5 9.g4 Bg6 10.h4 h6 11.Bxf6 Qxf6 12.g5 hxg5 13.hxg5 Qxg5 14.Ndf3 Qf6 15.Nxg6 Qxg6

Moves are clickable

15...fxg6!? 16.Qd1!? The Queen needs to be transferred to the Kingside, and it is most efficient to do this before castling  16...c4 16...Nd7 17.Nh4 Qg5 17...Qh7 18.Bg2 Nd7 19.Qe2 Be7 20.Nf3 Qg6 = 18.Qf3


18...Nd7 18...Nc6 19.O-O-O 19.Bxc4 Nxd4 19...Rfc8 20.Be2 Qf6 = 19.O-O-O Rfd8 20.Be2 Kf8 21.Rdg1 Qf6 22.Qg2 b5 23.Rh3 Ke7


24.Rf3 24.Qxg7 Qxg7 25.Rxg7 Rg8 24...Qxh4 25.Rxf7+ Kxf7 26.Qxg7+ Ke8 27.Qg6+ Draw agreed, as White will apply perpetual check 1/2-1/2

Andrew Stone bravely annotates a tough loss against Layla Timergazi

Andrew Stone - Layla Timergazi Autumn Cup 2015

In preparation for this game, I know there was a big chance of me encountering the Caro Kann. I often opt for the advance variation but haven't had much success. I arrived at the Accelerated Panov variation after seeing several interesting games.   1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.cxd5 Nf6 5.Qa4+ 5.Bb5+ is also playable  5...Bd7 Some prefer ignoring the d pawn completely with Nbd7 then g6, Bg7 and 0-0   6.Qb3 The point, causing a bit of nuisance on b7 after diverting the bishop to d7   6...Qc7 Despite being the most popular move, it has the worst stats   7.Nc3 g6 8.Bc4 Qc8 White was threatening d6 then Bxf7+   9.Nf3 Bg7

Moves are clickable

In the chessbase database, there has been 4 games that has reached this position, all resulted with white winning. Although I had my chance, I was unable to add to the statistics   10.O-O O-O 11.d4 Bf5 12.Re1 Re8 13.Bf4 13.Nb5 a6 14.d6 axb5 15.Bxf7+ Kh8 16.Bxe8 is an interesting position  13...Nbd7 14.Rac1 a6 15.Ne5 Nh5 16.Bg3 Nxg3 17.hxg3 b5 I knew this move was coming and felt compelled to exchange on b5 to keep the initiative, Stockfish was not convinced   18.Bxb5 axb5 19.Nxb5 Qd8 20.Nc6 Qb6 21.Nxe7+ Rxe7 Or else white's next move will be Nc7   22.Rxe7 Rb8? Both sides had chances before this move despite black's two pieces for white's rook.   22...Bf8 was the preferred move by Stockfish  23.d6!


23...Be6 23...Rf8 24.Rc8! Be6 25.Rxe6 Rxc8 26.Re7 Rc1+ 27.Kh2 +- 24.d5?? This was the move that haunted me for the rest of the night   24.Rxe6! fxe6 24...Qxb5 25.Qxb5 Rxb5 26.Re8+ Bf8 27.Rc7 Nf6 28.d7 decides  25.Qxe6+ Kh8 26.Qxd7 Qxb5 27.Rc8+! allows a spectacular finish. Funnily enough I tried to use the same tactical motif of Rc8+ later on but under much inferior circumstances   24...Bf5 25.Rc6? Qxb5 26.Rc8+ Bf8 The move I missed   27.Rxb8 Shocked and filled with various emotions, I played this move without much thinking in the desperate hopes of 27... Nxb8. Had I calculated further, I would've seen that white still has some play after   27.Qxb5 Rxb5 28.g4! Bxg4 29.f3 Rxd5 30.fxg4 Rxd6 31.Rd8 27...Qxb8 0-1

I annotate my absurdly entertaining topsy turvy game versus Peter Stoeveken.

Peter Stoeveken - Bill Forster Autumn Cup 2015

1.d4 c5 I play this move quite often. I don't know any theory at all, I just know that at lower levels it tends to get the game out of familiar paths quickly so that both players have to start playing chess at an early stage.  2.dxc5 A case in point, if White does this Black can already dream of taking over the initiative when playing his second move.  2...e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Nc3 Bxc5 5.Ne4? During the opening phase White neglects his development a little too much. What's the old rule, "Don't move a piece twice until all pieces are developed  5...d5! A nice, although obvious trick.  6.Nxc5 Qa5+ 7.c3 Qxc5

Moves are clickable

Black has a development advantage and an ideal centre. I was very happy here.  8.Be3 Qd6 9.Qb3 Nf6 10.Bg5 O-O!? 11.e3 If  11.Bxf6 I intended sac'ing a pawn with  11...Qxf6 12.Qxd5 and Black will gain further tempi chasing the Queen  11...Ne4 12.Bh4 f6 13.Rd1 Be6


14.Qc2 When I played 12...f6 I calculated the variation  14.Bc4 dxc4 15.Rxd6 cxb3 16.Rxe6 bxa2 and somehow I imagined (in advance) that White couldn't stop me queening. In my minds eye I suppose there was still a bishop on f1 preventing the Rh1 from coming to the rescue. This is not the first gross calculation error I made in this game. In fact...  14...Rac8?? I assumed White intended freeing his game with Bd3 after which I can now play ...Nb4  15.Qxe4! Whoops. For the second week in a row my opponent steals a piece from under my nose in broad daylight. I've always liked mixed metaphors. Both times I would have been spared this misery if I had followed the old rule about always looking out for all checks and captures. Against Layla the rest of the game was a case of merciless exploitation of the advantage. Things worked out differently here. One factor that is different is that there is more chance of mixing things up this time  15...g5?! My idea is to exploit the fact that ...f5 comes with tempo in order to trap the Bishop and get my piece back. Of course this will cost some pawns, but it beats resigning right away.  16.Bxg5 Peter trusts me too much and avoids the bishop trapping line  better is simply  16.Bg3 f5 17.Qd3 f4 18.Nxg5 Bf5 19.Qxd5+ Qxd5 20.Rxd5 fxg3 21.hxg3 with three extra pawns and the initiative  16...dxe4 17.Rxd6 exf3 18.Bh6 18.Rxe6 fxg2 19.Bxg2 fxg5 is two extra pawns and the initiative  18...Rfd8?! I thought this was a very cunning trap.  18...Rfe8 would be sensible, with a two pawn deficit but a reasonable position to fight on with  19.Rxe6


19...Nb4!? The knight threatens Nc2 mate and steps away from the Re6 so that if I get in ...Kf7 I will win a whole rook. I am a piece and pawns down, but winning a whole rook will definitely bring me roaring back into the game. Meanwhile c3xb4 allows Rc1 mate. How cool is this?  19...Kf7 is the obvious move but two bishops against a rook is already a huge material advantage - and White has extra pawns as well  20.gxf3 Bugger. Not only does this secure e2 for the King, it allows Bf1-h3 protecting the rook (I missed this detail when playing 18...Rfd8). I almost resigned here, but I thought I saw one more remote hope...  20...Kf7 21.Bh3 Nd3+ 22.Ke2 Nc5


Hope dwells eternal. I thought that I was at least winning a piece back. Not a whole rook because unfortunately the Bh3 xrays my Rc8.  23.Rxf6+? Peter agrees with me.  Neither player spotted the nice little trick  23.Rd6! after which White keeps all his material. It really would have been time to resign then   23...Kxf6 24.Bxc8 Rxc8 The smoke has cleared and we've reached an ending with me three pawns down. Stockfish rates this position as about +2.99 so about 0.01 pawns of comp! Maybe. Is it worth playing on? I remembered a Lukey-Pomeroy post-mortem at the Wellington Club many years ago. Stephen made the observation that a many-pawns material advantage can be annoying because of the need to protect all the pawns! Maybe Peter will tire of this burden and let me take some pawns back!  25.e4 Na4 26.Be3 b6 27.Rb1


27...Rg8 I saw that after the tempting  27...Rxc3 28.bxc3 Nxc3+ 29.Kd3 Nxb1 30.Bc1! I lose my knight  28.f4! A good plan, liquidating the doubled pawns and setting up connected passers  28...Rg2 I'd love a passer of my own...  29.fxe5+ Kxe5 30.Kf3! ...nope bugger off  30...Rg6 30...Rxh2?? 31.Bf4+ 31.Bf4+ Ke6 32.Bd2 White has placed both his pieces passively, this was encouraging  32...Nc5 33.b4 Nd3 34.Ke3 Ne5 35.h3 Rg2 Trying to get at the h pawn again. Stockfish actually wants White to play Rh1 to prevent this, but Peter decides that is just too passive.  36.Rd1 Rh2 37.Be1 Rxh3+ Woo hoo, now just two pawns down  38.Ke2 h5 I am not going to die wondering  39.f4 Rh2+ 40.Kf1 Nf3 This looks good but...  41.f5+ 41.Bf2! is very strong, eg if  41...h4 42.Ke2 wins the knight  41...Ke7 42.a4? This actually gives away the last of White's advantage.  42...h4!


This pawn is now hard to stop. Stockfish says 0.00  43.Bf2 The h pawn is now one square too advanced for this.  43...Rh1+ 44.Ke2 Rxd1 And the h-pawn is clearly going to cost White his bishop.  45.Bxh4+


This took me by surprise. I actually didn't notice it was check, and I thought Peter was trying something very risky giving me opportunities. Do I have a useful rook move that lets me keep a whole extra rook? I couldn't see one for some reason (neither player had time now), so I meekly captured the bishop. Next morning I sat bolt upright in bed. I should have played Rh1! I announced to my bemused wife. I was thinking that it is bizarre that I often see the obvious in chess when I am not playing and indeed not even really thinking about the position. It turns out I didn't exactly perceive the truth in my dreams and in fact it would have been really embarrassing to (try to) play 45.Rh1 at the board.   45...Nxh4 46.Kxd1 I now have nominal material equality, but I still prefer White. In fact I threw in a draw offer around here which Peter quite rightly declined.  46...Nf3 47.Ke2 Ne5 48.Ke3 Kd6 49.Kd4 Nf3+ 50.Kc4 Nd2+ 51.Kd3 Nf3 52.c4 Ne5+ 53.Kc3


I am holding White at bay and a draw is apparently the only outcome  53...Nd7?? Yuk, what a lemon, as soon as I released the knight I realised that I had given the square d4 for no reason at all.  54.Kd4! Stockfish goes from 0.00 to more than 5!  54...a5?! Pure desperation...  55.b5?? ...that yields a result. Instead either check wins  eg  55.e5+ Kc6 56.e6 Nf6 57.bxa5 bxa5 58.Ke5 and the White king penetrates  55...Nc5? 55...Ne5! With a zugzwang was better  56.e5+ Ke7 57.Kd5 Nxa4 58.f6+ Ke8


I still thought I was in trouble here but actually White only has one drawing move.  59.c5?? Incomprehensible. Peter realised immediately what he had done. Presumably he forgot the knight was also covering c5.  59.e6? Looks good but  59...Nc5! holds both advanced pawns and wins  60.Kd6 a4 61.f7+ Kf8 and the knight keeps the White king from d7  59.Kc6! Draws because Black can't afford to jettison b6 in this situation  59...Nxc5 Now there is nothing White can do.  60.Kc4 60.Kc6 a4 61.Kxb6 Ne6 62.Kb7 a3 63.b6 a2 64.Kc8 a1=Q 65.b7 Qc3+ 60...Kf7 61.Kd5 a4 62.Kc4 Ke6 63.Kd4 Nd7 64.f7 Kxf7 65.Kd5 Nxe5 66.Kxe5 a3 67.Kd6 a2 68.Kc6 a1=Q 69.Kxb6 Qa8 70.Kc7 Qa7+ 71.Kc6 Qb8 Putting the queen on the queening square is the easiest way to insure against all accidents.  72.b6 Ke6 73.b7 Ke5 74.Kb6 Kd6 0-1

Summer Cup 2015

Please send me your annotated games for inclusion here.

Al Nichols - Bill Forster Summer Cup 2015

So far my tournament has been about par. A scratchy win against Nathan Rose in round 1 (See Ian's site for Nathan's notes). A nice win against Andrew Brockway in round 2, with some nice strategy and tactics and only one smallish (and unpunished) flaw. Then a reasonable, although ultimately losing effort against Nic Croad in round 3. My round 4 draw is reasonable, but Al is an aggressive attacking player and he will be out to tear my head off with the White pieces. How should I avoid a grisly fate?.  1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 a6 The O'Kelly version. This move has a few things going for it. Firstly it cuts out all the annoying Bb5 systems. Secondly, the normal Open Sicilian move 3.d4 is not as effective as usual. Thirdly, it is rather unfamiliar to many players, and consequently 3.d4 is the favourite move in the database!  3.c4! Played instantly, Al shows good knowledge. In truth I don't know much about this Maroczy option (I am lazy and was counting on points 2 and 3). I decided to avoid g6 with an attempt to transpose to an accelerated dragon Maroczy as I haven't had much success with that. Maybe I'll just play some chess and see how I do... (this happens to me a lot. Why did I buy all those opening books again?)  3...Nc6 4.Nc3 e6 5.d4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Nf6 7.Be2 Bb4 8.f3

Moves are clickable

It seemed to me that White's play has been a little slow and passive and that there should be a way to exploit that.  8...d5! The classic Sicilian equaliser, a little unusual here since Black hasn't castled yet, but White has no way to exploit the omission. In Maroczys in particular it is important to grab the chance to play ...d5 (or ...b5) when it arises. The position before 8...d5 is a rare position in my database, it's only been reached 9 times, with good results for Black - although ironically 8...d5 has not been a successful option. Houdini approves though and that'll do me.  9.Nxc6 bxc6 10.cxd5 For the next couple of moves it was interesting to think about the mutual assured destruction variations in which both sides eat there way down the long dark diagonal. White starts first but Black overtakes him because one of his captures comes with check.  If you play down the variation  10.e5 d4 11.exf6 dxc3 12.Qxd8+ Kxd8 13.fxg7 cxb2+ 14.Kf2 bxa1=Q 15.gxh8=Q+ Qxh8 though you'll see there are a lot of mistakes in this fantasy sequence  10...exd5 I certainly considered the natural move  10...cxd5?? before noticing it dropped a piece to  11.Qa4+ could this little blindness wobble presage my future blunder?  11.exd5 This is the first new move in the game  Palacios de la Prida(2250) - Andreu(2455) Palma de Mallorca 1992 instead continued  11.O-O d4 12.Na4 O-O 13.Qc2 Bb7 14.a3 Be7 15.b4 a5 16.Nc5 axb4! 17.Bg5 Qb6 18.axb4 Qxb4 19.Nxb7 Qxb7 20.Rab1 Qd7 21.Bd3 Ra5 22.f4 Rfa8 23.Bxf6 Bxf6 24.e5 Ra2 25.Bxh7+ Kh8 26.Qf5 Qxf5 27.Bxf5 Be7 28.Rb7 Bc5 29.Rfb1 g6 30.Be4 d3+ 31.Kh1 d2 32.Bf3 Rc2 33.Rd1 Rc1 34.Rb1 Be3 35.g3 Ra2 36.Kg2 Rxb1 0-1 an impressive game from Black  11...Nxd5 Black's active pieces mean he has a shade the better of equality perhaps  12.Qd3? This ugly move is a blunder.  12...O-O? I played this quickly and didn't take full advantage - in fact I could have won significant material by capturing the c3 pawn with the knight first, since the White queen gets exchanged off and so isn't defending, eg   eg  12...Nxc3 13.Qe3+ Qe7 14.Qxe7+ Kxe7 15.bxc3 Bxc3+ 16.Kf2 Bxa1 17.Ba3+ Kf6 18.Rxa1 with a winning position for Black  13.O-O Re8 14.Nxd5 cxd5 15.Bd2?


Black's pressure draws another weak move. I took my time here sensing there was an immediate win in the position. After 10 or 15 minutes, I finally saw it  15...Bc5+ 16.Kh1 a5! The awkwardly placed Queen and bishops should cost White material here, there's no good answer to the threat of ...Ba6  17.Qb5! Resourceful, this is the best of a bad bunch.  I was counting on the fact that if White tries to tempo on the c5 bishop by say  17.Qc2 Rxe2 18.Qxc5 Black picks up the other loose piece  18...Rxd2 However White avoids this by keeping the Be2 protected and additionally prepares the manoeuvre Bd3 and Qb3 to stay alive   17...Qd6??


I spent even longer on 17...Qd6, unable to believe there was no win. In the end I selected a line that I thought won an important pawn, and decided that would have to do. Naturally the computer quickly finds  17...Bb4! renewing a double threat that persists even after  18.Bxb4 Ba6! Zwichenzug  19.Qa4 Bxe2 since effectively a pair of bishops has been exchanged and now Black has simultaneous threats to the Rf1 and the Bb4   18.Bd3?? The game continued in exactly the way I planned as I played 17...Qd6.  18...Ba6 19.Qb3 Rab8 20.Qc2 Bxd3 21.Qxd3 Rxb2 Looking ahead to this point I thought my booty would be secure as Bxa5 is unwise since it would let the other rook penetrate as well. That's true although I hope I would have noticed that e3 was the right penetration square , not e2  22.Rfe1 22.Bxa5 Re3! 23.Qf5 Qa6 24.Bc7 Qe2 with an overwhelming position  22...Reb8?


Another mistake, allowing White to win the exchange with Bc3 followed by the skewer Be5. BUT, I CAN'T KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE ANY MORE. DID YOU NOTICE THE ?? ANNOTATIONS FOR 17...Qd6?? AND 18.Bd3?? ? In the game both players were so concerned with White's attempt to unravel that we both missed the fact that I had simply left my rook on e8 en-prise. Of course I noticed immediately I let go of the Queen on d6. (It's funny how often that happens). I considered resigning immediately, but decided it was more sensible to keep a poker face and hope for a miracle. Fortunately I only had to keep this up for a minute or so. An embarrassing detail is that Nic Croad wandered by and caught me red handed trying to instantly reply 18...Ba6 in nonchalant fashion like a man who knew that 18.Bd3 was an obvious forced move. It might be a good time to talk a little about the psychology of a situation like this. I think a really mentally tough competitor would actually enjoy a let-off like this and would relish the opportunity to ruthlessly make the transgressor pay. Think some flinty Australian batsman (a Steve Waugh type) after a dropped catch. Or a Magnus Carlsen after Vishy Anand missed the opportunity to punish his recent World Championship blunder. But I am not cut from this cloth. Instead I couldn't resist the feeling that the game was now rendered slightly pointless, and a relaxed approach was therefore appropriate.   23.Reb1? Missing Bd2-c3-e5  23...Qa6?? I so nearly played the obvious and sensible  23...Rxb1+ 24.Rxb1 Rxb1+ 25.Qxb1 Bb4 and Black should win without too much trouble since in Queen endings passed pawns and king safety are all important. Instead I suddenly spotted what I thought was an opportunity to win quickly by deflecting the White queen from the weak back rank. In my casual mood I played it without really thinking it through.  24.Rxb2! Naturally I realised there were several flaws (including this big one) in my idea as soon as I released the Queen, and this time Al doesn't let me off.   24...Qxd3 25.Rxb8+ Bf8 Black is dead lost because this Bishop is condemned to death on this square.  26.Bxa5 g6 27.Bb4 Qd4 28.Rxf8+ Kg7 29.Rb1 Al plays the final phase confidently and effectively. No more miracles for me.  29...Qd3 30.Re1 Qc4 31.a3 d4 32.h3 d3 33.Rd8 Qc2 34.g4 h5 35.g5 Qf2 36.Bc3+ f6 37.Re7# 1-0

Ben Thomas - Philip Rossiter Summer Cup 2015

1.e4 d5 This game was played on my anniversary, and given that my partner is Danish, and that I couldn't play the Danish Gambit, I thought the Scandinavian Defence would be appropriate.   2.e5 But my opponent doesn't want any of that.   2...c5 3.d4 e6 Yes, I know. I should play cxd4 then Bf5 at the right moment, but I decided to go in to a French, since I knew it.   4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 Oh bugger, the trappy Milner-Barry.   6...Bd7 6...cxd4 is the main line.   7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.O-O a5 9.Nbd2 I found out later that this is actually theory!   9...Qc7 But this isn't.   9...f6 has been played here.   10.exf6 Nxf6 11.Nb3 e5 is unclear.   10.Nb3 Ba7 I thought this was better than either   10...b6 or   10...Be7 The software thinks they are all about the same.   11.Bf4 Nge7 12.Nbd4 Nxd4 13.cxd4 Ng6?! White has a significant edge here.   13...Nc6 or   13...Qb6 were better I think.   14.Bg5 Maybe   14.Rc1 was a bit better.   14...O-O Again, maybe   14...Qb6 15.h4

Moves are clickable

Oh dear, I really was starting to not like this.   15...Bc6 16.Qc2?! It is here I think, that White really missed his chance. I was expecting 15.h5, and was busy calculating things like   16.h5 Ne7 17.h6 g6 18.Rc1 Nf5 19.Bxf5 exf5 20.Qd2 and had a sinking feeling about all of it.   16...h6 At the time I just thought that this move was both provocative and the best move I had. The software agrees.   17.Bxg6?! White had to retreat the Bishop, after which he may still have a slight edge.   17...fxg6 18.Be3 I breathed a huge sigh of relief here. White perhaps realised too late that   18.Qxg6 runs in to   18...Rxf3! 19.gxf3 hxg5 20.Qxe6+ Qf7 21.Qxf7+ Kxf7 which is very good for Black. Now I was feeling OK, as Black now has no problems.   18...Qf7 19.Rfc1 I found this a bit curious, as the game went, the Rooks end up playing no further part in the game.   19...Qf5 20.Qd2?! I thought White had to swap Queens, after which I was confident Black could not lose in the endgame with two Bishops.   20...Qg4


Whereas now I started to think about winning. How quickly the game has turned, as it is now Black who has the edge.   21.Qd1 Rf7 I thought about other moves, but really, from now on there was only one thought ...attack! Notice how the Bishops, that have appeared to be spectators, start putting pressure on White's position.   22.Nd2?! I didn't get to ask Ben whether this was an intended pawn sac or not. In any case after   22.Rc3 Raf8 23.Bc1 Rf5 followed by Bb6-d8 I rather prefer Black.   22...Qxh4 23.Nb3 Raf8 Now the threats become tangible, eg ...Rxf2 immediately.   24.Qe1 Rf5 25.g3 I thought White might play 24.f3 here, but Black just exchanges Queens and gets himself organised for a favourable endgame. After the move played Black's attack gains momentum.   25...Qg4 26.Qd1 Oh, so White wants to exchange Queens now.   26...Rf3 No!   27.Qe1 27.Rc3 was an alternative, but really it's all hopeless now. I was running short of time, but really there was only one more move to find   27...h5


The rest is easy. Black's attack is so strong that he can surrender the exchange.   28.Nd2 h4 29.Nxf3 Rxf3 30.Kg2 Qe4 31.Kg1 hxg3 32.Rxc6 A help to Black's attack had been that if the King tried to run, then there was a nasty check on b5 ...not that it makes any difference to eliminate this bishop now.   32...bxc6 33.Qd2 gxf2+ 34.Bxf2 Qg4+ 35.Kf1 Bxd4 And before I had even pressed the clock Ben extended his hand and was very gracious.  0-1