Chess Puzzle of the Week (212)

Another endgame study for you this week, again taken from this book.

It’s White to play and win (David Gurgenidze 1979).

Have fun! Or, if you prefer, demonstrate seriousness of purpose and a strong work ethic! Better still, do both!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (211): Solution

This week’s puzzle was an endgame study composed by the great Alexey Troitsky in 1896.

I took it from Improve Your Chess Calculation by RB Ramesh (New in Chess 2022). My review of this book will be published within the next few days.

White wins by using the bishop and pawn to set up a barrier preventing the black king from reaching the corner, then approaching with the king:

You can play through the solution here: click on any move for a pop-up window.


Congratulations to everyone who solved this correctly. I think Maxim was the first on WhatsApp.

Surbiton B v Richmond A (29-11-22)

Thanks to Maks for this report.

BoardHome playerResultAway playerRating
difference (Δ)
onePaul D Dupré s1983APaul D Dupré had the white pieces1/2-1/2Michael W Healey s2250AMichael W Healey had the black pieces-267
twoAngus S James s1972KAngus S James had the black pieces1/2-1/2Chris B Baker s1956KChris B Baker had the white pieces+16
threeNick W Faulks s1956ANick W Faulks had the white pieces0-1Maxim W Dunn s1909KMaxim W Dunn had the black pieces+47
fourMalcolm DJ Groom s1832KMalcolm DJ Groom had the black pieces0-1Jon M Eckert s1895AJon M Eckert had the white pieces-63
fiveAlexey Markov s1703A Alexey Markov had the white pieces0-1Ian S Mcleod s1894KIan S Mcleod had the black pieces-191
sixG Robin W Browne s1727KG Robin W Browne had the black pieces1/2-1/2Maks Gajowniczek s1800K Maks Gajowniczek had the white pieces-73
Mean ratingHome team: 1862.2 Away team: 1950.7Δ = -88.5
match result: 1.5 — 4.5

Another solid result, even with the loss of the coin flip again so it was white on evens for us. We were missing Gavin on board one so in the line-ups; we only moderately outrated our opponents on boards 1 and 5.

The first win came from Ian. He played another nice game in the Modern Defence. Ian managed to use his heavy pieces nicely, getting his queen into the heart of his opponent’s overextended position and soon went on to win.

Meanwhile on board 2 Chris was playing against a dragon setup, although his opponent had decided to also play e5, which is a bit unusual. Mike on board 1 was playing his favourite Mexican Defence (Nf6+Nc6 vs d4) and had managed to double his opponents pawns typical of a Nimzo-Indian strategy.

Jon on board 4 was playing against a Scandinavian. He achieved a space advantage with an h4-h5 push Caro-Kann style and after queens were exchanged won a nice endgame with a Rh3-g3-g6 manoeuvre. I didn’t see all the details but his opponent looked quite underdeveloped going into this endgame. Regardless, a nice win for him.

Maxim on board 3 was playing a dragon setup. Material was even but with Maxim having the more active pieces in exchange for a slightly weak isolated c-pawn. Soon he had traded off his weakness and even emerged a pawn up in a Rook and 4 pawns vs Rook and 3 pawns endgame. 

My game on board 6 looked like a sure win. I played into a Queen’s Gambit Declined Exchange Variation, but my opponent misplaced his pieces by putting a knight on c6 and pushing b5. Doing this without protecting his knight first led to a loss of a pawn via a discovered attack. After a while he had also sacked an exchange after mounting pressure on a backward pawn.

Unfortunately I miscalculated a simplifying tactic that was in fact just a combination to blunder back a piece, but got the queens off and was forced to be content with a draw.

After this, Chris’s Dragon game ended up in an agreed draw. His opponent had reasonable counterplay with an open f-file. Already 2 wins and 2 draws up, it was down to Maxim and Mike to get one more draw.

Maxim had made good progress in a position and now his position had chances with two pawns and rook against one pawn and rook. 

Meanwhile Mike’s game had gone somewhat wrong. He was a bit all in on an attack on his opponent’s king but didn’t quite have enough pressure. 

At this point I had to leave. I hadn’t eaten yet, probably contributing to my earlier blunder with plenty of time on the clock. Turns out that Maxim did in fact go on to win and Mike Healey got an impressive stalemate trick off.

This brought the result up to another undefeated 3 wins and 3 draws. Congratulations to Jon, Maxim and Ian for their wins and also a nice save from Mike. 

Results Roundup 2223/10 30 November 2022

A win, a draw and a loss to report from this week’s matches.

Let’s start with Surrey this time. On Monday our Fred Manning Trophy team travelled to Wimbledon, returning with a draw.

  1. Yichen Zhang ½:½ (-) Jack Thompson (-)
  2. Shahyan Ali (1355) 0:1 Steve Payne (-)
  3. Nicholas Roets (-) ½:½ Mike Robinson-Chui (1442)
  4. Winston Qiu (1238) 1:0 Julian Bedale (1117)

Well done to Steve for a good win.

The same evening our TVB team faced Kingston A, and, as expected, suffered a heavy defeat.

  1. Peter Lalic (2314) 1:0 Jon Eckert (1895)
  2. Vladimir Li (2099) 1:0 Andrew Hebron (1992)
  3. Will Taylor (2060) ½:½ Bertie Barlow (1940)
  4. David Rowson (2047) 1:0 Pablo Soriano (1790)
  5. Julian Way (2025) 1:0 Sampson Low (1827)
  6. Alan Scrimgour (2014) 1:0 Simon Illsley (1786)

Congratulations to Bertie on his draw.

Finally, our TVA team scored a comfortable win against Surbiton B, bringing their score up to 4/6, having played half their league matches.

  1. Paul Dupré (1983) ½:½ Mike Healey (2250)
  2. Angus James (1972) ½:½ Chris Baker (1956)
  3. Nick Faulks (1956) 0:1 Maxim Dunn (1909)
  4. Malcolm Groom (1832) 0:1 Jon Eckert (1895)
  5. Alexey Markov (1703) 0:1 Ian McLeod (1894)
  6. Robin Browne (1727) ½:½ Maks Gajowniczek (1800)

Great wins there from Maxim, Jon and Ian. Always good to avoid defeat on any board.

Maks has written a report which I’ll publish separately.

Thanks to everyone for playing in these matches.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (211)

I have an endgame study for you this week.

White to play and win. (Alexey Troitsky 1896)

Most experts now agree that solving endgame studies regularly is one of the best ways to improve your calculation skills. Some of them, like this one, have specific practical value as well.

Do have a go and see how you get on.

TVA Match Reports (25-11-22)

Our captain Maks Gajowniczek reports on our two most recent Thames Valley A Team matches.

Richmond A v Kingston A match:

BoardHome playerResultAway playerRating
difference (Δ)
oneIM Gavin Wall s2311KIM Gavin Wall had the black pieces0-1David Henry Maycock s2336ADavid Henry Maycock had the white pieces-25
twoMichael W Healey s2250AMichael W Healey had the white pieces1-0Peter D Lalic s2314APeter D Lalic had the black pieces-64
threeAndrew Hebron s1992KAndrew Hebron had the black pieces0-1Silverio Abasolo –Silverio Abasolo had the white pieces
fourChris B Baker s1956KChris B Baker had the white pieces0-1Vladimir Li s2099PVladimir Li had the black pieces-143
fiveMaxim W Dunn s1909KMaxim W Dunn had the black pieces0-1David J Rowson s2047KDavid J Rowson had the white pieces-138
sixMaks Gajowniczek s1800K Maks Gajowniczek had the white pieces0-1Peter Andrews s2011KPeter Andrews had the black pieces-211
Mean ratingHome team: 2036.3 Away team: 2161.4Δ = -125.1

Outgraded on all boards, and heavily outgraded on boards 3-6, the chances for a win overall didn’t look too hopeful. As we were already aware, Kingston as a club has definitely improved in strength since lockdown. All this being said, we tried our best and turned up with a strong team. We lost the coin toss, so it was white for us on evens.

The first result of the match was a loss by Gavin. I didn’t have a chance to look at his game, but apparently after post-analysis it turned out that Gavin resigned in a drawn position. Presumably Gavin was under some tactical pressure, where his opponent had sacrificed some material and there was a difficult to find defensive move that would have saved his position. A bit unlucky not to find this, I guess.

Meanwhile, on board 6, I was stuck in a Queen’s Gambit Accepted position gone fairly wrong for White. I had mixed up some opening moves and was just a pawn down in a dry position, so it looked likely my game would either be a loss or at most draw. On board 3, Andrew was defending in a Maroczy setup which tends to be quite drawish but still one-sided for winning chances for his opponent. Chris Baker on board 4 ventured a Closed Sicilian setup, Mike Healey was playing his usual unusual openings and I didn’t quite catch what Maxim was playing on Board 5.

On the whole our boards 3,4,6 we were cleanly outplayed. Maxim’s game on board 5 was apparently doubled-edged but also resulted in a loss. 

The man of the match definitely goes to Mike. Apprehensive about playing a strong CM before the match, things turned in Mike’s favour. In a double rook and knight vs double rook and bishop endgame, Mike had managed to get one of his pawns onto the seventh rank. The pawn at first looked surrounded, but it turned out it was severely cramping his opponent’s position and was not easily attackable by his opponent bishop of the other colour. Soon Mike found a tactic, with his opponent in time pressure, and went on to win a piece up.

In summary, for most of us painful losses that we’d rather forget, but congrats to Mike for his win against his IM opponent. My best wishes for him to get past the 2299 rating he got up to last season.

 Surbiton A v RichmondA match:

BoardHome playerResultAway playerRating
difference (Δ)
oneDavid Scott s2094KDavid Scott had the white pieces1/2-1/2IM Gavin Wall s2311KIM Gavin Wall had the black pieces-217
twoLiam Bayly s1990K Liam Bayly had the black pieces0-1Michael W Healey s2250AMichael W Healey had the white pieces-260
threePaul D Dupré s1983APaul D Dupré had the white pieces1/2-1/2Bertrand Barlow s1940ABertrand Barlow had the black pieces+43
fourAngus S James s1972KAngus S James had the black pieces1/2-1/2Jon M Eckert s1895AJon M Eckert had the white pieces+77
fiveNick W Faulks s1956ANick W Faulks had the white pieces0-1Ian S Mcleod s1894KIan S Mcleod had the black pieces+62
sixGraham P Alcock s1825AGraham P Alcock had the black pieces0-1Maks Gajowniczek s1800K Maks Gajowniczek had the white pieces+25
Mean ratingHome team: 1970 Away team: 2015Δ = -45
match result: 1.5 — 4.5

This match went very smoothly compared to the last two. Gavin on board 1 was playing a Leningrad Dutch. Mike on board 2 and Jon’s game on board 4 looked very similar for a while, both playing the closed Sicilian setup. Bertie on board 3 was playing some kind of Tarrasch defense in a Queen gambit opening, eventually simplifying into mutually isolated queen pawns. On board 5 and 6: Ian was playing a modern/ King’s Indian defense hybrid and I was playing against a benko gambit.

On boards 1,3,4 things looked level with equal material and all three of these games resulted in agreed-draws. 

Meanwhile on boards 2,5 and 6: Mike was a pawn up, and so was Ian although he looked like he was in a very defensive position almost hanging by a thread. In my game, after some tempo-wasting knight moves by my opponent, I found a way to squeeze my opponent with little counter-play. 

Eventually my opponent was two pawns and an exchange down still playing on, but resigning soon after. Ian, judging correctly that his opponent wasn’t very tactically minded, got his opponent to use all the time on his clock looking for advantage, but in the end initiating exchanges.  Ian then turned out to have the more active position a pawn up which he converted nicely to a win. Mike was last to finish having kept his extra pawn, now bishop and queen vs knight and queen endgame. He found a clean win by trading minor pieces and immediately after trading queens into a winning pawn ending.

A very solid undefeated result.

Well played team!

Chess Puzzle of the Week (210): Solution

Monday’s puzzle was from an online game between Jack Thompson and Andrew Hebron.

Andrew concluded as follows:

19… Bxe4! 20. Rxf8+ (20. Rxe4 Bd4+! 21. Rxd4 Qe3+ 22. Kh1 Rxf1+ 23. Nxf1 Qxd4) (20. Nxe4 Bd4+ 21. Kh1 Qxe4!) 20… Rxf8 21. Rxe4 (21. Qe2 Bd4+ 22. Kh1) 21… Bd4+! 0-1 (22. Kh1 would have been met by Qxe4!.)

An attractive back rank mate tactic. Congratulations to Andrew, and to everyone who found the solution to the puzzle.

Wednesday’s online blitz arena was again very successful (but not for me!) so we’ll be back again next week. Do come and join us. It’s free to sign up for lichess.org and join our team.

Results Roundup 2223/9 23 November 2022

An excellent week for us, with two impressive Thames Valley League victories, and one that got away in the Surrey League.

First in action were Richmond E, visiting Hounslow C in Division X (friendly/social) of the Thames Valley League on Monday.

Here’s the result.

  1. Barry Fraser (1459) 0:1 Alex Shard (1739)
  2. Andrew Cleminson (1267) ½:½ Barry Sutton (1598)
  3. Steve Hall (-) 0:1 Steve Payne (-)
  4. Gabriel Beda (-) 0:1 Seb Johnson (-)

Well done everyone!

On Tuesday our TVA team continued their season with a visit to Surbiton A. As so often, we outgraded our opponents heavily on the top two boards, but were slightly outgraded on boards 3-6. Undeterred by this, we managed to finish the evening unbeaten, with Ian (a last minute replacement) and Maks beating their higher rated opponents, and Mike also scoring the full point.

  1. David Scott (2094) ½:½ Gavin Wall (2311)
  2. Liam Bayly (1990) 0:1 Mike Healey (2250)
  3. Paul Dupré (1983) ½:½ Bertie Barlow (1940)
  4. Angus James (1972) ½:½ Jon Eckert (1895)
  5. Nick Faulks (1956) 0:1 Ian McLeod (1894)
  6. Graham Alcock (1825) 0:1 Maks Gajowniczek (1800)

A great result: congratulations to the whole team!

In the Ellery Williams Trophy, a rapidplay league with rating restrictions, we entertained Wimbledon, and a tight match resulted in a 2-2 draw.

  1. Christos Venetis (-) 0:1 Shahvez Ali (1802)
  2. Jack Thompson (-) 1:0 Martin Lake (-)
  3. Steve Payne (-) 1:0 Omar Selim (-)
  4. Mike Robinson-Chui (1266) 0:1 Shahyan Ali (1470)

Excellent wins there from Jack, our player of the season so far, and Steve, for the second time in two days.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (210)

Thanks to Andrew Hebron for submitting this week’s puzzle – and apologies to Jack Thompson!

Andrew had the black pieces against Jack in a game from last Wednesday’s lichess blitz arena.

How did he continue in this position?

Wednesday’s tournament was very successful, even though some of our members were playing in a London League match, so we’ll be back again this week. If there’s enough interest we might run events with faster or slower time limits on other days as well.

Our lichess team is open to all past, present and future members, friends and opponents of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club.

You can join our team here: what are you waiting for?

And if, like Andrew, you want to submit a puzzle question, or if you’ve played a game you’d like to submit for the blog (preferably with your annotations), do please get in touch.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (209): Solution

I took this week’s puzzle from Scottish chess historian Douglas Griffin’s Twitter feed. If Twitter is still alive by the time you read this it’s well worth following.

In the first round of the 1978 Olympiad Wales had to face the mighty Soviet Union. On top board, John Cooper was pitted against former World Champion Tigran Petrosian, perhaps the most difficult player of his generation to beat.

Petrosian was also famous for his exchange sacrifices, and in this position he’d just played 36… Rxf4, capturing a Welsh bishop.

Cooper made the obvious recapture, went wrong a few moves later and soon lost. But he’d missed the chance for a major upset.

If he’d looked beyond the obvious (I’d imagine he was in time trouble) he’d have seen the forced mate: 37. Rb7+! Kd8 38. Ra1 Kc8 39. Rab1 f2+ 40. Kf1 Kd8 41. Ra7! Kc8 42. Ra8+ Kc7 43. Rab8 Rxh6 44. R1b7#.

Congratulations to everyone who spotted this. I note that Anurag and Paul, amongst others, on our WhatsApp group, had seen the right idea: well done!

I think Petrosian’s 36… Rxf4 deserves ?! rather than ? as he was in trouble anyway, so it was certainly worth a punt. His real mistake was 34… Rxe4? (Rb8!). Interesting game, anyway and well worth your time looking at it.

Here’s the complete game. Click on any move for a pop-up window.