Friday, 31 July 2015

British Championship Update - Day Six

Paul decided to submit his entry for weirdest game played in the tournament today. It was so long and eccentric that it would take far too long to describe in detail (I've also forgotten a lot of what happened). However, in brief, an aggressive opening was played by both players, with Paul attacking on the kingside and his opponent the queenside. After a flurry of tactics, with miscalculations on both sides, an unusual material imbalance was reached with Paul having a queen and a passed pawn on the seventh rank, and his opponent two rooks and a knight. The material was, unfortunately, not in Paul's favour, and even after a clever queen sacrifice to allow his pawn to promote (regaining the queen again) he has still in trouble. However, he maintained a number of threats and the path to victory for his opponent was long and required considerable precision. Fortunately for us, he was not up to the task and Paul was eventually able to regain his piece, leading to a drawn two rooks versus queen endgame.

For Mark, on the other hand, sadly things did not go so well. It all appeared to go somewhat wrong straight out of the opening, which his opponent getting a nice space advantage and good piece activity. Mark tried to unbalance the position, and ended up with a rook and pawn versus two minor pieces. Normally, with the queens exchanged, this offers good chances for the rook to hold a draw. However, his opponent also had a passed pawn, and this almost inevitably spells doom for the rook's efforts. The basic problem is that because your opponent has one more piece, he can break any blockade simply by defending the pawn from the rook with one piece, and using the other to cover the next square of its advance. The strength of the rook lies in its greater maneuverability versus the knight and bishop, and reduced to passive defence this advantage is lost, and Mark was slowly pushed to defeat.

For myself, my morning game provided a very easy victory as my opponent, after playing the Hungarian defence (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Be7), made a real mess of the opening from which he could not recover. After little more than 20 moves, he was down two pawns in and endgame, and a simply victory duly followed. The afternoon provided much more enjoyment, as I found myself on the white side of a sharp Benoni position. It looked like a standard line of the modern Benoni, except my opponent played Be7-f6 rather than g6-Bg7. This took away the f6 square from one of his knights, but also meant he had no weaknesses on the kingside for me to attack. After an interesting positional struggle, we arrived at an endgame where I had a queen and two bishops versus a queen, bishop and knight. I assumed I must be slightly better in this position, an assessment which the computer agrees with, but with us both short on time I got rather scared looking at all the possible knight forks in the position, so decided the cowardly approach of agreeing to a draw was best.

In the over 65s, Bernard seemed to have a reasonably solid game with white on board 3 and, whilst both players made efforts to attack, the fact they both had exposed kings made a draw always seem the likely result, as the weaker side always had good chances of forcing a perpetual check. I don't know if this is ultimately what happened, but I do know this was the final result. Sadly I don't have any comments from Mike to report on his game today, but I do know that he left complaining to me that his opponent knew the line he played up to move 20. I can only suggested he moves into the realm of more imaginative openings that many Kenilworth players enjoy, as I can assure him that no-one knows the theory up to move 20 in any game I have ever played (though I did get to move 15 in one of my games today, which made me quite proud).

Finally, as promised, we will have some action from the main championship. Simon Williams has always been known as a creative player who can beat very strong grandmasters on a good today. Sadly, he can also suffer some very painful losses when out of form, and so it proved today against David Howell. Here, a tactical attempt to win material in the opening badly backfires, and the game is effectively over after 20 moves, as Howell simply hoovers up all the pieces on offer, with his king never coming under serious threat.

Summary thus far:
Total score by Kenilworth players: 28/57

My personal performance:
Played: 19
Wins: 9
Losses: 7
Draws: 3
Well played endgames: 5
Atrocious blunders: 5

No comments:

Post a Comment