Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Some competently played chess (for once)

It may not have been the most inspiring season for the A team, but we have at least now had one impressive result, namely our recent 4-0 victory over Banbury B. I will get through the uninteresting games quickly, so we get to the main event. We had a considerably rating advantage on the bottom three boards, so a positive score could probably have been expected. However, it didn’t look massively clear after the first hour or so. After generously moving myself up to board 2 to give Mark the white pieces (after he had spent many weeks moping about how many blacks he has had this season), I found myself in a very level rook and minor piece endgame, whilst Mark had conspicuously wasted the white pieces by not doing very much in the opening. Carl meanwhile, had managed to reach a position two pawns down where it wasn’t obvious he had any compensation at all.
Fortunately things improved quickly, as my opponent blundered away a crucial pawn in the opening, Mark outplayed his opponent into a serious endgame, and Carl launched into a semi-sound rook sacrifice which, after some less than optimal defence, led to him giving mate only a few moves later. This leaves me with only the top board left to mention, where Paul had an excellent, and remarkably smooth, win (presented at the end of this article) over James Jackson. After consulting the archives of the Leamington League i.e. asking Bernard, we believe his grade of 224 makes him the highest rated player in the league’s history, and this was the first game in it he had ever lost (indeed, the first he had not won). A fine achievement, made even more so by the fact that both Mark and myself, as Paul’s time ebbed away, were rehearsing how to commiserate with him for losing on time from such a promising position.

I wouldn't presume to comment on such a well played game, so I will restrict my thoughts to the opening Paul's opponent chose, namely the hippopotamus. Many people this cramped position was named after the style of said animal, lurking low in the water before launching into action later on, but this is a misnomer. In fact, it is simply that is one were to ask a hippo (not the strongest of the chess playing animals) what opening one should pick, this is exactly the sort of awful position you would expect to be in. The moral of the tale, in so far as there is one, is that if one must rely on fauna for opening tips, the correct order to take advice in is hedgehog, orangutan, vulture, snake, elephant and only then Hippopotamus. Bonus points are available to anyone who knows all those openings. 
Final result: Banbury B 0 - 4 Kenilworth A
Next up, undefeated league leaders and soon to be champions Olton A. I expect another crushing win, particularly as I shall not be there to drag the team down.
On another note, I thought I would present the opening from one of my games at the recent 4NCL weekend, which I ultimately won (after Paul’s game, below). I do this not as the game was massively exciting or well played, but just to show that a) in spite of my scoring 0.5/10 from my last 10 games at the Royal Oak recently, I can occasionally actually win games of chess and b) when I play ridiculous openings there, I am not doing it for the sake of it but genuinely trying to come up with what may be useful ideas, as I believe this one I have found might be.

1 comment:

  1. The opening and the Nxg2 sacrifice is very nearly identical to the game Ivanchuk-So from the 2015 Tata Steel tournament which ended in a crushing Black win. I believe Jan Gustafson had played the sacrifice in an earlier game, and in fact the idea was widely known to be winning for Black - but apparently not by Chucky! You are mixing in elite company these days, Josh!!