Cornwall 1 Richmond 0: Annotated Games (2)

No – to the best of my knowledge your favourite chess club has never lost, or even played, a match against a county in the far South West of England.

Instead, this is a game between two gentlemen with these names. Cecil Frank Cornwall was a teenage prodigy at Richmond Chess Club in the early years of the last century before becoming Surrey Champion and seven times Brighton Chess Club champion. I’ve just published an article about him here which you might like to read.

George William Richmond also had a fairly long career, but only played sporadically. His career in insurance took him to Scotland, where he became national champion in 1910.

So you might want to look on this game as Richmond (or more likely Brighton) 1 Scotland 0. Everyone likes to see games with sacrifices, and here Mr Cornwall sacrificed two knights and a queen successfully. Click on any move for a pop-up window enabling you to play through the game.

What lessons can you take away from this game?

  • The Colle-Zukertort is an opening well worth considering, especially for less experiences players, or those who don’t want to spend too much time studying opening theory. It’s very easy to build up a strong attack against an unsuspecting opponent.
  • It’s much easier to attack than defend, especially at club level, so choosing opening plans based on building up an attack by playing simple moves is, for many players, a good policy.
  • Learning attacking ideas against the castled king is a vital skill, and sometimes you’ll need to sacrifice to break through your opponent’s defences. This will need to be calculated accurately, though: otherwise you’ll just end up behind in material with nothing to show for it.
  • All chess players like to see (and all chess teachers like to demonstrate) games featuring brilliant sacrifices, especially queen sacrifices. But do bear in mind that, in real life, queen sacrifices are very rare, and that, at club level, I strongly suspect more games are lost by unsound sacrifices than by sound sacrifices. Of course many games are also won by unsound sacrifices? Are you risk-taking or (like me) risk-averse?

Writing this article, it occurred to me that although Richmond (the club not the person) have never played Cornwall (the county, not the person), it might not be such a bad idea. Perhaps we should organise a club tour of the West Country, taking in a few matches along the way. What do you think?