Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Oh, I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

All 3 KCC members are now up and running at this year's British Championships in Llandudno.

Paul was first out of the blocks with a Saturday start in he Championship itself, and the black pieces against IM Craig Hanley. I was following his progress on-line during my own journey to Wales. At Oswestry he was already slightly better, and by the time I got to Llandudno his advantage was even bigger. But it was a very difficult and complex position, and mistakes started to occur (by both players) From being pawns up, Paul became position down, as White was able to march connected centre pawns forward to decisive effect. An unfortunate game for Paul, who was clearly wining at some points. He bounced back on Sunday with a straightforward win, but as I saw nothing of the game, I can't be any more specific. Yesterday, with Black against one of Wales' top players, Richard Dineley, Paul missed a chance to break out with a timely c5 pawn push, and then found himself on the backfoot as White used his space advantage and two bishops to great effect to win a well played game.

I began play in the over-50s on Sunday, and had a crazy game. I sacked a pawn out of the opening, but it was totally unsound. However, my Welsh opponent played too passively and when I sacked a second pawn to open the a and b files against his king I was winning. At the crucial moment I had a very long think. There were 4 candidate moves. I chose the second best, but the first (a rook sac) was +6 for me! Despite pushing right to the end my opponent defended well, and it was only a draw. I got my lost half a point back yesterday when yet another Welsh opponent blundered on move 40 to give me the win. I had burped a pawn on b7 early in the game and then spent a lot of moves hanging on to it as he chased my queen around. Finally I got my act together and began to target his weak kingside, but he defended very well. In time trouble I let him have the pawn back thinking I had a decisive attack, but there was a defence which should have led to a queen ending with me a pawn up. Thank goodness he missed it and walked into mate instead! Surprise news from this tournament is that GM John Nunn has already dropped half a point, and IM Paul Littlewood is only on 50%.

Ben only started play yesterday (Monday) but already has two games under his belt. He lost in the 5 day Open event in the morning (you will not be surprised to learn I was not present for this) but had a good win in the afternoon in Round 1 of the U-180 Championship. Playing against the older brother of an even stronger microbe who beat me earlier this year, Ben cheapoed his way to an extra piece in just 11 moves - and with the Black pieces to boot!

White: Rajeiv Ratnesan
Black: Ben Graff

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. 0-0 Bg7 6. d3 e6 7. Nc3 Ne7 8. Be3 d6 9. e5 Nd5 10. Ne4 Nxe3 11. Nxd6+ Qxd6  The game went on for some time, but Ben duly brought home the full point.

So all 3 of us already have a win to our names. Plus the sun is out. What's not to like? Actually, one thing. Seagulls are b****y noisy. To borrow a phrase from East Enders - they're doing my 'ead in!

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