Results Roundup 2223/29 5 May 2023

Just one match to report this week: our TVC team faced a strong Maidenhead B team in a Division 3 match, going down to a 2-4 defeat.

  1. Jack Thompson (-) ½:½ Majid Mashayekh (1869)
  2. Andrii Boiechko (-) 1:0 Simon Foster (1821)
  3. Viorel Scobioala (-) 0:1 William Castaneda (1712)
  4. George Milligan (1552) 0:1 Stephen Briggs (1706)
  5. Peter Kasprowicz (-) 0:1 Yuri Krylov (1527)
  6. Ron Bilkhu (1319) ½:½ Keith Trower (1489)

A great win for Andrii and excellent draws from Jack and Ron against very experienced opponents.

We complete our season with 8 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses out of 12 games. 8½/12 is an impressive score but will probably only be enough for 3rd place behind (in some order) Maidenhead B and Staines.

Well done to everyone who played for this team and thanks especially to Mike who did an amazing job organising, captaining and inspiring this team.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (233): Solution

This position is taken from a game played in 1879 at odds of the exchange between Joseph Blackburne and G Zucko. I found it in The Ink Wars: Romanticism versus Modernity in Chess by Willy Hendriks: my review of this book will be published within the next week or so.

The obvious attacking moves don’t work. 1. Nf6+ is met by 1… Bxf6 2. Qxf6 Qe1+ 3. Kg2 f3+, and the seemingly brilliant 1. Qf6 meets a spectacular refutation: 1… Qe1+!!, which will leave the knight pinned after 2. Kxe1 Bxf6.

Blackburne, a brilliant tactician and one of England’s finest ever players, found the even more spectacular winning move 1. c3!!, when the bishop capture will block the black queen’s route to e1.

If you found c3 and also spotted Qe1+ in reply to Qf6 I’m very impressed.

Click on any move to play through the variations here.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (233)

A very simple question for you this week.

You have the white pieces here. How would you continue your attack?

Do let me know what you think. I’ll publish the solution on Friday.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (232): Solution

On Monday I left you with this position which came from a game played in our lichess arena a couple of weeks ago: I had the black pieces against Steve and had to decide what move to play.

(As it happens, White’s last move was g3xf4: the more natural Kxf4 would have led to a draw with best play.)

I asked you which of Black’s possible moves would win, which would draw and which would lose.

Black has two winning moves here

38… a3!, followed by a king invasion down the a-file. White can’t hold the queenside and stop the h-pawn at the same time.

Or, if you prefer,

38… Kc6! when, if White now plays 39. a3, your king will have time to defend the h-pawn which will eventually win the game.

Black also has two drawing moves: b4 and Kc5.

The other three moves lose: I chose one of them.

38… h5??

Now 39. a3! wins, stopping any nonsense on the queenside and then winning the h-pawn.

But instead we continued:

39. Kf2?

Here 39… a3! now draws: Black promotes first but can’t stop White’s pawn on e7. (Play it out yourself if you’re interested.)

39… h4?

40. Kg2

40. a3! is the easy way to win, but this is also good enough.

40… b4

This is what I’d seen several moves earlier, which explains my previous play. My idea was to tempt his king outside the square of the c-pawn and then play the sacrificial breakthrough. But if White remembers the trick he just plays 41. a3! and Black can resign. Unfortunately he missed it.

41. cxb4?? a3!

And now it’s White who had to resign.

I was just fixated on this idea rather than trying to play sensible moves. As it happened it worked, but, given how poor my 38th and 39th moves were, I really deserved to lose this game.

I hope you’ll learn something about pawn endings from this example. You might find it instructive to play out the variations. I can’t emphasize too much how important they are in modern chess.

Results Roundup 2223/28 27 April 2023

As we approach the last few weeks of the season we have three results to report from last Tuesday: two wins and a draw.

In our penultimate TVA match of the season we won comfortably enough against Surbiton B.

  1. Gavin Wall (2281) 1:0 Paul Dupré (1993)
  2. Mike Healey (2205) 1:0 Nick Faulks (1958)
  3. Chris Baker (1950) 0:1 Graham Alcock (1767)
  4. Maks Gajowniczek (1821) 1:0 Malcolm Groom (1793)
  5. Raghu Kamath (1833) ½:½ John Polanyk (1736)
  6. Jon Eckert (1854) 1:0 Conrad Bredenoord (-)

Well played everyone! Our final match, at home to Hammersmith on 9 May, will probably decide 2nd place in the league: let’s try to get our strongest possible team out for this one!

Meanwhile, at the Twickenham Club, our TVD team shared the points with Harrow, helped by our visitors being a player short.

  1. Dan Donohoe (1489) 0:1 Clive Heidrich (1733)
  2. George Dokic (1376) ½:½ David Stott (1447)
  3. Laurie Catling (1359) ½:½ Peter Merrifield (1101)
  4. Seb Johnson (-) 0:1 Jennifer Goldsmith (1438)
  5. Jon Slinn (-) 1:0 Phil Humphry (1396)
  6. Ken Broadley (1038) 1:0 Default

Congratulations to Jon on scoring the critical point in his second appearance for us.

Back at the Adelaide, our final Surrey fixture of the season saw us facing divisional champions Ashtead in the Fred Manning Trophy.

  1. Steve Payne (1569) 0:1 Daniel Richmond (-)
  2. David Heaton (1542) ½:½ Chris Perks (1407)
  3. George Milligan (1539) 1:0 Richard Jones (1428)
  4. Peter Kasprowicz (-) 1:0 Razik Platon (-)

Great wins there from George and Peter!

Thanks to all who played in Tuesday’s matches, and, as ever, to the captains for getting the teams together.

We’re currently looking for match captains for next season. If you’re interested, do get in touch with Sampson who will provide you with more details.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (232)

Black, to play, has five candidate moves here:

a) a3
b) b4
c) Kc5
d) Kc6
e) h5

Which, if any, of these moves win? Which, if any, draw? Which, if any, lose?

Being good at pawn endings is a vital skill in 21st century chess. Do have a go at answering this question.

On Friday you can find out whether your answers agree with mine.

Mike Healey v Andrew Stone

A special treat for you. Mike Healey has annotated his typically exciting and creative game against Andrew Stone from the recent London League match between Richmond and Streatham.

1. e4

I’ve played Andrew several times over the years, including one classic where I resigned with no pieces removed to black bishop landing on d1. This game turns out to have a similar theme; don’t resign too early, there are always tricks! Some very interesting tactical patterns arise in this game, which might come under the heading ‘invisible moves’.

1… c6 2. d4 d5 3. f3 e6

The semi-French variation – choice of GMs Arkell and Hawkins, which Stoyanov would also select the following night.

4. Nc3

4. Be3 was the young Smyslov’s choice

4… Bb4 5. a3 Ba5!?

5… Bxc3+ is the main line

6. b4?!

Already White goes wrong. The bishop is kicked back into use. I was confused by this unusual structure being desirable in other Fantasy lines.

6… Bc7?!

6… Bb6 must be more pertinent. Black is solid, White is not.

7. Be3?!

7. e5!? c5!? 8. Nb5 cxd4 9. Nxc7+ Qxc7 10. f4 Bd7 11. Bb2 Ne7 Very French advanced.

7… Ne7 8. Bd3 O-O 9. Nge2

9. e5 f6 10. f4 fxe5 11. fxe5 Nf5

9… e5!?

Black takes measures to relieve the cramping, and prevent White’s e5.

10. O-O

10. exd5 is unclear. 10. dxe5? Bxe5 11. f4?? (11. Bd4 Bxd4 12. Nxd4 dxe4 13. Bxe4?? f5) 11… Bxc3+ 12. Nxc3 d4

10… Nd7 11. Kh1

A slightly useful pass. 11. exd5!? Nxd5 12. Nxd5 cxd5

11… exd4 12. Bxd4 Ne5?!

12… dxe4 13. Bxe4

13. f4!

Now White gets something

13… Nxd3 14. cxd3 Bg4 15. Qc2

15. Qe1 is probably better

15… Bb6 16. Bxb6

16. Bc5!? appealed to me as an unbalancing move: 16… Bxc5 17. bxc5 Qa5 18. h3 Bxe2 19. Nxe2=

16… Qxb6 17. Ng3

Having done two days of chess camp looking at bishop versus knight endgames, I was very focused on the imbalance here. Despite the ‘open’ board Black’s minor pieces have some issues. f5 and trapping the g4 bishop is threatened.

17… Bd7 18. f5!? f6

19. Rf4?!

Far too ambitious. 19. Qb3! A sophisticated little Queen nudge suggested by FM Way

19… Be8 20. Raf1 Bf7 21. Rg4 Qc7 22. Nce2 Kh8 23. Nf4 Rad8 24. Qf2 b6?!

Qxa7 is a small nuisance, but this has drawbacks.

25. Ngh5 Bxh5

Intermezzo time?

26. Nxh5

26. Rxg7 dxe4 (26… Kxg7 27. Ne6+ Kh8 28. Nxc7 +- is a very good queen imbalance) 27. Nxh5 Rxd3 =)
26. Ne6 Qd6 27. Rxg7 =

26… Rf7 27. Nf4 Qe5?

27… Qb8 28. Qh4

28. d4?!

28. Qh4!

28… Qb8?!

28… Qxe4!? 29. Ng6+ hxg6 30. Rxe4 dxe4 31. fxg6 Nxg6 is a more balanced queen imbalance

29. Ne6?!

29. Qh4!

29… Rd7 30. e5!

30… Ng8

30… fxe5 31. Nxg7 (31. Rxg7?! Rxg7 (31… Rxf5? 32. Qxf5!! Nxf5 33. Rxd7 (pointed out by FM Way), 31… Nxf5! 32. Nxg7) 31… c5 (31… Rxg7?? 32. Rxg7 Kxg7 33. f6+ +-)

31. Qg3

Looking at the undefended Qb8, and threatening exf6 with the intermezzo fxg7+

31… Rb7 32. Rh4 Nh6

32… h6!?

33. Rh5?!

An even stranger place for the rook

33… a5 34. h3?

Too slow. Black now achieves some activity. (34. Qh3) (34. Qc3)

34… Ra7 35. Qc3 axb4 36. axb4 Qe8 37. Nxg7

Finally cashing in, as Black runs low on time

37… Rxg7 38. Rxh6 Ra2 39. Rg1?! Qg8 40. Qf3?

40. g4! +- The unsafe move is safest. White should be fine. (40. Qxc6 Raxg2 41. Rxg2 Rxg2 42. Rg6!! Rxg6 43. fxg6 Qxg6 44. Qxd5 +=)

40… Rg3

41. Qf1??

White has completely folded into passivity, a terrible series of moves from the transition. (41. Qh5 Rg5 (41… Rgxg2 42. Rxh7+! Qxh7 43. Qxh7+ Kxh7 44. Rxg2 +-) 42. Qh4 Rxf5 43. Rxf6)

41… Qg5 42. Rxf6 Qh4?

42… Qd2! 43. Rf8+ Kg7 44. Rf6 =

43. Rxc6 Qe4 44. Rc8+ Kg7 45. f6+??

45. Rc7+ or 45. Qf3!! (Of course!?!) Raxg2 (45… Rxf3 46. gxf3+) 46. Qxg2! Rxg2 47. Rxg2+ +-

45… Kh6 46. Kh2 Qh4??

46… Qe3 47. Kh1 Qe4 48. Kh2 =

47. Qf5??

With seconds ticking away Black resigns, missing the incredible (but uncovered by Caspar Bates) Rf2!! when Qe6/d7 both get mated by Rgxg2+! – White must concede the Queen with Qxf2 Rxh3+ gxh3 Qxf2+ and the game continues. (47. Qc1+ Kh5 48. Rc2! was correct) 1-0

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

Results Roundup 2223/27 22 April 2023

Three results to report this week: two Surrey draws and a defeat for our TVE team.

Already having won the league, our Surrey Centenary Trophy team’s last match was against Kingston C, who, using their team to provide experience for younger members, had lost every match up to that point.

Here’s what happened.

  1. David Shalom (1652) 0:1 Peter Lalic (2314)
  2. Adam Nakar (1674) 0:1 Simon Illsley (1786)
  3. Colin Lyle (-) 0:1 Christos Venetis (1693)
  4. Max Mikardo-Greaves (-) 1:0 Viorel Scobioala (-)
  5. Josh Lea (-) 1:0 Ron Bilkhu (1404)
  6. Jaden Mistry (-) 1:0 Peter Kasprovicz (-)

An exceptional performance by the Kingston lower boards there – congratulations to them, and to our top three boards for enabling us to draw the match.

You can read the Kingston report here.

The following evening there was another Richmond – Kingston match, this time in Division X (the social division) of the Thames Valley League.

  1. Barry Sutton (1620) 0:1 Adam Nakar (1677)
  2. Dan Donohoe (1489) 0:1 Colin Lyle (-)
  3. George Dokic (1376) 0:1 Hayden Holden (1375)
  4. Ken Broadley (1038) 0:1 Stephen Daines (1277)

Congratulations again to Kingston on an overwhelming win. Here‘s their report.

Finally, on Thursday, we faced a slow journey to South Norwood, requiring a draw for second place behind Wimbledon in the Ellery Williams Trophy.

We just managed it: here’s what happened.

  1. Roy Reddin (1888s) 0:1 Maks Gajowniczek (1800s)
  2. John Ganev (1547) 1:0 George Milligan (1539s)
  3. Barry Miles (1499) 1:0 Mike Robinson-Chui (1442s)
  4. Les Denford (1270) 0:1 Peter Kasprovicz (1346)

Well done to Maks and Peter, and thanks to all who made the long journey.

Thanks also to the players in our other matches this week, and to our captains for putting all the work in.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (231): Solution

My latest chess history post, which you can read here, concerns the Beamish cousins, Ferdinand Uniacke (!) and Edmund Arthur. Although he never seems to have been a member of any chess club in our borough, playing for West London at the end of his life, Edmund Arthur Beamish was born in Richmond, and lived in the area after the First World War.

This week’s puzzle was taken from a 1904 simul game in which he was consulting with (Frederick Kimberley) Loewenthal against the great Emanuel Lasker.

Lasker, playing Black, missed a chance here. He played the very natural 14… Qh4 in this position: the game was later drawn.

As some of you noticed, 14… c5 would have given Black an overwhelming advantage. For instance 15. Be3 Nxe3 16. fxe3 cxb5 17. axb5 Qg5 wins a pawn, leaving White in a hopeless position full of weaknesses with his king stuck in the centre.

If you did better than Lasker, well done!

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

Richmond A v Ealing A (4 April 2023)

Maks reports:

Richmond & Twickenham A vs Ealing A
Date: 04-04-2023, Division: 1, Trophy:
BoardHome playerResultAway playerRating
difference (Δ)
oneIM Gavin Wall s2281AIM Gavin Wall had the white pieces1/2-1/2Andrew Harley s2179KAndrew Harley had the black pieces+102
twoMichael W Healey s2205AMichael W Healey had the black pieces1-0John M Quinn s2154KJohn M Quinn had the white pieces+51
threeMaxim W Dunn s2006AMaxim W Dunn had the white pieces0-1Martin Smith –Martin Smith had the black pieces
fourAndrew Hebron s1958KAndrew Hebron had the black pieces1-0Christopher Greenshields s2009KChristopher Greenshields had the white pieces-51
fiveRaghu Kamath s1833KRaghu Kamath had the white pieces0-1Simon Healeas s1878ASimon Healeas had the black pieces-45
sixMaks Gajowniczek s1821KMaks Gajowniczek had the black pieces1-0Jason Obihara s1776KJason Obihara had the white pieces+45
Mean ratingHome team: 2017.3 Away team: 1999.2Δ = 18.1
match result: 3.5 — 2.5

A very close match, won by only one point.  The match started and we had won the coin toss so it was black on even boards for the night. For those of us on even boards, this strangely turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Out of all 5 decisive games of the night, black won all of them!

Our all-important 3 points came from Mike Healey on board 2 playing a Mexican defence (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6),  Andrew on board 4 playing a Kings Indian defence and Maks(myself) on Board 6 playing against a reverse-dutch (Bird) opening. 

A very important half-point also came from Gavin on Board 1 displaying excellent defensive technique after recovering his position to a draw, after being two pawns down. 

On boards 3 and 5, Maxim played an Italian opening and definitely had great active-looking pieces in the early middlegame compared to his opponent. However, something must have gone wrong later in his game. Raghu played an ‘exchange Caro Kann’ and eventually obtained a very dominant position. Unfortunately, Raghu spoiled it with a miscalculated tactic. I should note, Raghu’s opponent (Simon Healeas) seems to have a talent for swindling lost positions to a win. He did the same to me early in the season in our very close loss to Ealing A many months back.

I’ll go over a couple of the wins here (board 2 and board 6). 

Also, Andrew described his win in the King’s Indian on board 4 as a crazy game, which I am assuming means very double-edged. It also ended in a blitz finish so I am assuming many of the moves were not recorded. Many congratulations to him for defeating his higher-rated opponent.

Mikes game (board 2) : 

After 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 e6 4.Nf3 Bb4 5.Qc2 , Mike’s game transposes to a slight side-line of the mainline of the Nimzo-Indian with Qc2. The transposition from the Nimzo-Indian is 4.Qc2 Nc6 5.Nf3 for those interested. This particular variation gives the game a little bit of a Bogo-Indian flavour, with the main strategy similarly being to trade off the dark-square bishop and play d6 followed by e5. By move 12 Mike has chosen Bg4 as his main strategy and after h3 has a few choices. He is playing with a King’s Indian pawn structure without the dark-square bishop, which means some of the ideas are similar.

After (move 5/ move 12):

The game evolves and Mike’s opponent tries to overwhelm him on the Kingside by castling Queenside and pawn-storming. Mike gets good counter-play by starting with c6 and creating a bit of a dilemma for his opponent in how the queenside will be opened. Mike gets a nice pawn majority in the center and stunts the pawn storm completely with h5.  Interesting Mike decides to play on the Kingside anyway and plays f5 which was taken. On move 23 Mike still has a small advantage with Ne6, but decides to play Kh7 first, losing a little time. At this point, the advantage tips a bit towards Mike’s opponent with the open g-file to put pressure down.

After (move 18/23) :

A few moves later Mike makes a serious mistake. Instead of trading off his knight with an unclear position he moves his rook to an awkward square. It actually loses an exchange whatever Mike plays after Nxf4. exf4 would be suicidal after Rxg6! followed by pinning with e5. Mike finds the relative best at least winning a pawn for a small amount of compensation.

After (move 26/29)

Following on from this in the diagram for move 29, Mike’s opponent plays Rxg6 immediately sacrificing the exchange back. It puts white’s position from much better to much worse in the space of one move. I suspect Mike’s opponent was mixing up the strong light-square tactics he saw earlier and mistakenly applying it to this position.

Finally in the resulting endgame by move 36, Mike’s opponent has one last chance to try to save his position with Qd2. The endgame looks very complicated after Qe3. Instead he went wrong again with Bc2 and as pawns dropped off Mike nicely converted the position to a win.

Board 6 (Maks): 

On board 6 it was my game. He played a reverse Dutch opening. Originally a classical Dutch but then he changed it to a Stonewall. He went for an all out attack which was somewhat telegraphed in advance. I responded in a simple strategic fashion, aiming to kick out his knight from e5 with f6 and keep his dark-square bishop very bad.

Iprovide some diagrams on how the game progressed.

Here his development is very bad. Of course I should aim to open the position but I started to go a bit wrong and give him chances for a drawable position with c4?!

The game evolved into an equalish endgame. I still think practically it was more difficult for him to play.

Finally in a Queen and bishop ending I obtain a very strong and winning Queen battery. It forces the Queens off and of course the good bishop vs terrible bishop endgame is completely winning.

Many thanks to those who played. 

I look forward to the last two matches!