To score full marks you needed to see at least as far as White’s 6th move. If you did so, congratulations! Sacrificing two rooks on the h-file to make way for the queen is a fairly standard idea which you might want to remember. You never know when it might come in useful.
Many thanks to everyone who has solved or commented on our weekly puzzles in 2022 and best wishes for the New Year.
Monday’s puzzle was taken from the game between Peter Lalic and Gavin Wall from the recent Thames Valley Cup match between Richmond and Kingston.
Peter continued 18. Nxh7!! Kxh7 19. Qh3+ Kg6 and now the most efficient conclusion would have been 20. Rxd7!!, which either mates or wins the queen. The game continuation, 20. Qg3+ Kh7 21. Rxd7!? allowed Gavin the defence 21… Qf6, but White still had a decisive initiative.
Here’s the complete game.
As a Christmas bonus, here’s another Peter Lalic game, this time playing for, rather than against, Richmond.
Sadly, Richmond E were unable to raise a team for Monday’s match, so were forced to concede against Kingston C. It’s been difficult this week due to a combination of bad weather and Christmas holidays.
Our London League team had an important match against Cavendish 1 on Thursday. The teams were evenly matched on paper, and we were gifted a point when one of their players failed to turn up, but, beyond that, things didn’t go our way, with our opponents’ two grandmasters both winning their games.
Jonathan Parker (2466) 1:0 Conor Murphy (2537)
William Watson (2373) 1:0 David Maycock (2336)
Default 0:1 Gavin Wall (2311)
Peter Finn (2175) 1:0 Mike Healey (2250)
Gary Kenworthy (2169) 0:1 Andreas Wetscherek (2095)
Jeff Goldberg (2136) 1:0 Caspar Bates (2133)
Alan Scrimgour (2014) ½:½ John Bass (1961)
Howard Waterman (1906) ½:½ Chris Baker (1956)
Thanks to all for playing and congratulations to Andreas!
The match was much closer than the result would suggest.
match result: 5.5 — 0.5
Summary: A heavy defeat for Richmond, although a slight win in another way(explained later).
This was the last match for our top team in the Thamesvalley league before Christmas and marked a bit of a midway point for the season. With exactly 6 out of 12 A-team matches now completed with fine results so far, it remained to see how we could do in the Knock out cup.
The rules of the KO tournament stated that pairings between clubs are selected randomly. This is a bit of a shame as out of the 11 clubs in the league, two of the stronger clubs can possibly get paired in the first round.
This is indeed what happened between us and the Kingston club. It also probably explained Kingston’s captain Alan Scrimgour’s nice comment on the online match card that ‘The match was much closer than the result should suggest’. 5.5 – 0.5 was indeed a beating from Kingston to us.
Anyway, the match started, and here came news of the slight win. If we lost tonight we would not have to go all the way to Maidenhead for the next away match. For those of you who don’t know, Maidenhead is absolutely miles away and causes headaches for captains trying to arrange for people wanting to travel that distance usually having to rely on many generous members providing free lifts.
Kingston’s captain further stated that if Kingston won, they would instead only have to face Maidenhead at their home venue. This was due to a technicality because our match against Kingston was originally an away match at our Adelaide venue, they could alternate back to a home match in their following match.
As the games got underway we were looking like we might be in for a tough ride. On all boards except Gavin’s board two, we were out-rated by around 100 points or more. Although I believe many of us can perform better than expected.
On board 1, Mike playing Maycock this time (avoiding a rematch against Lalic) decided to play an exchange Caro-Kann as white. Gavin on board two played against the rare 1.Nc3 opening and was soon a pawn up after a dubious central pawn gambit from his opponent.
On board 3, I was playing a somewhat improvised Nizmo-Indian. He played a variation I had never seen before and I went for a central bind with f4.
On board 4 Jon was playing his French defense. He had accepted an isolated queen pawn but had the bishop pair.
Board 5 Bertie was playing a very solid game and Board 6 Andrii was playing something that could arise from a symmetrical English opening. It was a closed centre meaning action would most likely happen on the flanks.
The first result came in, and rather disappointingly it was a loss on board 3 for my game. Trying to catch up on the clock, I was deciding between two bishop moves. One of them was just a tactical blunder whereas another one kept the game completely equal. I chose wrongly.
At this point having a look around at other games one could see: Jon was under a lot of pressure as black. It looked like he was losing the central pawn with less active pieces. Gavin was a clear pawn up, although his opponent had castled queenside vs his kingside. It should be a win with no obvious weaknesses. Andrii’s game on Board 6 was still level and Bertie was still playing solidly.
Mike’s game on board one looked level, but I could not quite see what Mike’s plan was and there didn’t appear to be many tactics in his position.