Thursday, 30 July 2015

British Championship Update - Day Five

On day three of the main British Championship, Paul found himself playing black against fellow Warwickshire Select player, and one time junior compatriot, Richard Weaving. When Paul chose to play the Alekhine defence I must say I was slightly worried, as he hasn't always been getting very pleasant positions in recent times, but on this occasion the opening must be regarded as a great success. After Richard appeared to overextend his pawn centre, Paul was able to infiltrate with his knight and win a pawn, raising hopes that an upset win with black could be on the cards. However, as so often happens when an opponent blunders a pawn, the couple of tempi it takes you to capture it gives them time to start generating counterplay, in this case in the form of a passed pawn on d6. Ultimately, Paul had nothing better than to sap off material into an entirely drawn opposite colour bishop endgame. Slightly anticlimactic, but a good result nonetheless.

It was Mark's turn today to find himself up against junior opposition and, through a slightly unusual opening line played against his opponents Sicilian, he somehow contrived to turn the position into something more resembling a Bird's opening. I believe at some point his opponent may have been starting to create a slight advantage, but Mark to was able to force piece exchanges to arrive at a completely level endgame, this time a rook endgame with a symmetrical pawn structure. Despite adopting the traditional anti-junior tactic of playing on in drawn endgames and hoping they won't know how to play it, no progress was possible and a draw was agreed. The other interesting news from the opening is that Andrew Paterson was winning his game against Mark Hebden, a pawn up with a better position. However, as he so often does, Hebden was able to create sufficient complications that, with time running short, Andy blundered and fell for a rook sacrifice that lead to mate.

In the senior's event, Bernard had a very confusing game where all the elements of it appeared to occur in the wrong order. Bernard tried on a number of occasions to sacrifice a pawn in the opening, which his opponent refused, and ultimately Bernard managed to get the same attack going anyway, without being material down. Then, when I next returned, Bernard's attack had vanished and he was also down a pawn. I can't think of any other explanation than that he sacrificed a pawn to stop his own attack. I decided this game was hurting my head to much so ceased watching at this point, but I am informed the final result was a draw. I shall let Mike's own words speak for themselves about his game. The report passed on was:

"Round 3 - yet another missed opportunity. Today I played David Anderton 5 times Senior champion and a CM and he produced an opening improvement on Avrukh which I managed to overcome with an idea of my own (we had both prepared the line) . That's the good news- we then got involved in a ten move combination involving my rook pinned against my queen with many subvariations and material imbalance at the end  of which I played the wrong reacapture of a piece with check and lost to a counter check-instead adding another piece to the jumble, which destroys his kings position,  would have won in 3 more moves . So two loses from totally won positions. Back to Larsen again for tomorrow."

I can't say I have the slightest idea from that what happened in his game, but I must say it sounds very impressive. I wish I could casually drop in the names of respected chess authors when analysing my games.

Speaking of myself, the boredom of the previous few rounds lifted today, as both my games ended in mating attack within the first 25 moves (one ended well for me, the other slightly less well). I think it probably says something (not entirely complementary) about my attitude to chess that I am considerably more pleased by the game I won in some style than I am depressed about the game I got crushed in. To satisfy both people who enjoy seeing me do well and enjoy seeing me crushed, I have provided both games. These will most likely be the last of my games to be on show from this tournament, as from tomorrow we are expecting a number of GM-GM clashes in each round, so there should be plenty of more competent chess to report on instead.

Summary thus far:
Total score by Kenilworth players: 25/51

My personal performance:
Played: 17
Wins: 8
Losses: 7
Draws: 2
Well played endgames: 5
Atrocious blunders: 5

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