Saturday, 31 July 2010

Morra That, Please!

This morning, I got up, showered and got the early train into Canterbury. I then ate enough bacon to make a vegan cry and washed it down with a bottle of - oh wait. This isn't the Staunton Memorial. Less of this.

Mark C. Rich (2166) - (2074) Philip J. Makepeace

It's never pleasant playing a clubmate and friend in such an important arena. Ideally you'd like to play for an hour or so, suggest going for a pint and shake hands. But we knew that wasn't going to happen today. Smarting after tough defeats yesterday, we both wanted something's flesh.

1.d4 c5 2. e4

An excellent choice, avoiding all my 2...f5 hooey. I suppose I should have possibly smelt a rat and replied less predictably, but hey, sometimes you've just got to man up.

2... cxd4 3. c3 d3 4. c4 e6 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. Qxd3 Nc6 7. Bd2 Nf6 8. Rd1 O-O 9. a3 Ba5?!

9...Be7 instead would treat the position more like a Nimzo-Indian, with d6, b6 and Bb7 to follow.

10. Be2 Bb6 11. b4 a5 12. b5 Ne5 13. Qg3 d6 14. Bg5 Bc7?

Objectively, probably worth two question marks, but I'd simply missed the follow-up.

15. c5 h6 16. cxd6 hxg5 17. Qxe5 Bb6 18. Qxg5 e5!?

Being a tricky sod can be fun, even when two pawns down. Eric can be taken but I guessed Mark would want to shore everything up and castle before building on his advantage.

19. Nf3 Bc5 20. O-O Bxa3 21. Qh4?

With two pieces on an unprotected pawn, it can definitely be taken. Mark was worried about 21. Nxe5 Bb2 22. Na4 Bxe5 23. Qxe5 Re8 but 22. Qd2 looks more than good enough.

21... Re8?

21...Bb4 was necessary to deflect the knight from the d5 square. Now Mark can start to harass my king.

22. Ng5 Be6 23. f4 Qb6+?

Played immediately. It's very natural to want to get out of a pin with tempo but there really was nothing wrong with the immediate capture on d6 - it is in fact white who gains a tempo. Rats.

24. Kh1 Bxd6 25. f5

Missing a win with 25. fxe5! Bxe5 26. Rxf6 Bxf6 27. Qh7+ Kf8 28. Rd7! and forced mate.

25... Bb3 26. Rd3?!

26. Rb1! a4 27. Rxb3! axb3 28. Bc4 is devastating. Whether the rook goes to e7 or f8 to defend f7, the king becomes trapped.

26... Bb4 27. Rh3 Kf8 28. Nd5 Bxd5 29. exd5 Qd4?

Rubbish. 29...Bd2 would have kept white honest for a little longer. I don't resign immediately purely out of inertia.

30. Qh8+ Ke7 31. Qxg7 Qxd5 32. Rh6 Ng8 33. Re6+ Kd7 34. Qxf7+ Re7 35. Rxe7+ Nxe7 36. Rd1 Bd2 37. Qxd5+ Nxd5 38. Rxd2 Kd6 39. Bc4 Kc5 40. Bxd5


Friday, 30 July 2010

Reasons Not To Be An Idiot

The last time I played Peter was in the last round of the British Under 16s in Douglas. It was a winner-takes-all fight that he triumphed in. This wasn't quite a case of revenge given how far he's come since then but, frankly, I was well up for bashing him.

Philip J. Makepeace (2074) - (2307) Peter Constantinou

1. e4 g6 2. d4 d6 3. Nc3 c6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. a4 Nf6 6. h3 O-O 7. Be3 Nbd7 8. a5 e5

Deviating from Adair - Constantinou, British Championship 2009, which concluded 8...Qc7 9. Bc4 Rb8 10. Ng5 b5 11. axb6 axb6 12. Bxf7+ Rxf7 13. Ne6 Qb7 14. Nd8 Qc7 15. Ne6 1/2-1/2

And rightly so! I'm no James Adair.

9. Bc4?

Losing a vital tempo. The e4 pawn will now be under siege.

9... exd4 10. Nxd4 Re8 11. Bd3 Nc5 12. f3 d5 13. Nde2 dxe4 14. fxe4 Nfxe4 15. Bxe4 Bxc3+ 16. Nxc3 Qh4+ 17. Bf2 Nxe4 18. Bxh4 Nxc3+

19. Kf2 Nxd1+ 20. Rhxd1 Bf5 21. a6!?

Peter criticised this move after the game as it gives him a target. But the
a7 pawn becomes one too.

21... b6 22. c3 Kg7 23. Rd6 Re6 24. Rad1 c5 25. Bd8!?
Rxd6 26. Rxd6 Be6 27. Ke3 Bc4 28. Ke4?!

The correct plan was to shore up
the kingside first. Despite being two pawns up, black's approach is not clear.

28... Bxa6 29. Ke5 Bf1 30. Rd2 Kg8 31. Be7 Kg7 32. Kd6 c4 33. Kd7 f5 34. Bd8 h6
35. Bc7 g5 36. Kc6 Bd3 37. g3 Re8 38. b3 Bf1 39. bxc4 Bxh3 40. Ra2!

The queenside falls. Black's kingside majority should still be decisive but
care is needed. He just needs to cool his boots for a while.

40... Re4 41.
Rxa7 Rxc4+ 42. Kd5 Bf1 43. Bxb6+ Kg6 44. Bd4 Rc8 45. Ra1 Bc4+ 46. Kd6 Kh5 47.
Be5 Re8 48. Rh1+ Kg6 49. Re1 Bd3 50. Kd7 Bb5+ 51. Kd6 Rc8 52. Re3 Kh5 53. Re1
Kg4 54. Rb1 Bd3 55. Rd1 Be4 56. Ke6 Re8+ 57. Kf6 Rc8 58. Rd7 h5 59. Rg7 Rc6+
60. Ke7 Ra6!

Probably the winning move - the threat of Bf4 was looming
large. Now white's king is cut off.

61. Kd7 Bd5 62. Kc8 h4 63. gxh4 Kxh4 64.
Rh7+ Kg4 65. Kd8 f4 66. Rc7 Rc6 67. Rd7 Bg2 68. Rd4 Kf5 69. Bg7 f3 70. Rd5+ Kf4
71. Rd4+ Kg3 72. Be5+ Kh3 73. Rd2 g4 74. Rd7 Bf1 75. Rh7+ Kg2 76. Rg7 Rc4 77. Bd4 Rxd4+

Poor deactivated gunny.

78. cxd4 g3


In Round 4 in 2007, I lasted 79 moves with the white pieces against GM Tony Kosten. Let it be said that in Round 4 in 2010, I lasted 78 moves with the white pieces against FM Peter Constantinou. Some things never change.

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Release The Kraken by Philip Makepeace and Christopher Russell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.