Thursday, 5 August 2010

King's Head Blues

My local club in London is King's Head. But just to be awkward, I play for Muswell Hill and Drunken Knights instead. Today I was up against one of their strongest players, the ever-cool Rick McMichael, who wouldn't look out of place in The Boat That Rocked.

"Hang on! What about yesterday's game?", I hear you cry. Well, if you're really interested, here are the moves from Makepeace - Ledger:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nxc6 bxc6 6. Bd3 d5 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. 0-0 Be7 9. Bf4 0-0 10. Nc3 a6 11. Ne2 c5 12. c3 Bd6 13. Qd2 Rb8 14. b3 Rb6 15. Ng3 ½-½

I basically had one of my uninspired moments, and I considered a draw versus a player of Dave's strength to be a reasonable return. One could argue that I don't necessarily deserve to be playing in the British Championship proper if I'm prone to such lapses in spirit. But it's been a tough fortnight, so bite me. I definitely won't be making the mistake of commuting on my own again. I did something similar in 2007 (from Norwich to Great Yarmouth) but that involved a spirited car journey there and back with my two best mates. It appears there's a possibility the congress will be returning to Norfolk in 2012 - if that's the case, I would love to replicate those two weeks. Anyway, before I get all teary in reminiscence, back to today.

Richard J. McMichael (2287) -(2074) Philip J. Makepeace

1. d4 c5

The lethargy of yesterday having been replaced by adrenaline and a
pack of salami, I was really up for it.

2. e3 d5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Bd3 Bg4 5. c3 Nf6 6. Nbd2 e6

The alternative 6...e5 7. dxe5 Nxe5 8. Bb5+ Bd7 9. Bxd7+ Nexd7 leads to a much more open position. But I thought I'd have a sit and see what McMichael planned to do with his queenside.
7. O-O c4 8. Bc2 b5 9. e4 Be7 10. Re1 O-O 11. Qe2

The start of an 'artificial' plan, as Rick himself put it. I now have time to stick a knight on f8 via d7 if white decides to push Eddie on.
11... Re8 12. Qe3 dxe4 13. Ne5!?

Interesting and not what I'd expected. But 13. Bxe4 Nd5! is annoying, so fair enough really.

13... Nxe5 14. dxe5 Nd5

15. Qg3 h5!

Rick admitted he'd given very little thought to this shove. Luckily, he has an easy way out of the maelstrom.

16. Nxe4 Bh4 17. Qxh4

17. Nf6+? Qxf6 18. exf6 Bxg3 19. hxg3 Nxf6 20. f3 Bf5 21. Bxf5 exf5 should be
able to be converted despite the doubled pawns.

17... Qxh4 18. Bg5 Qxg5 19. Nxg5 Nf4 20. g3 Nd3 21. Bxd3 cxd3 22. f3 Bf5 23. Ne4 Red8 24. Nd6 Rxd6!?

Played quite quickly, with the self-assurance that it would hold. Given what ensued, I was livid with myself for many hours after the game for going down this route. However, it's my follow-up plan which is the guilty party. I'd therefore like to take this opportunity to apologise to David, Sheila, Lateefah, Grant and anyone else who was forced to endure me being a grumpy so-and-so.

25. exd6 Rd8 26. Kf2 Rxd6 27. Ke3 f6 28. Kd2 e5 29. a4!

It now dawned on me that the rooks were going to start throwing their weight around before I could engage my plan of giving Eric a clean path.

29... a6 30. axb5 axb5 31. Ra8+ Kf7 32. Rea1 Kg6 33. Rb8 Bh3?

It turns out the pawn can be defended with 33...Bd7. My idea of getting the bishop to e2 is pretty daft as white merely needs to use his extra rook to munch as many pawns as he desires before snapping off the bishop.

34. Raa8?

Taking on b5 was clearly best.

34... Bf1?

34...Bg2 was my last chance. The rest is silence.

35. Rd8 Rb6 36. Rab8 Ra6 37. Rxb5 Kf5 38. f4 Re6 39. fxe5 Kg4 40. Rd4+ Kf3 41. Rf4+ Kg2 42. exf6 Re2+ 43. Kd1 gxf6 44. Rbf5 Kxh2 45. Rxf1 Kxg3 46. Rg1+ Kh4 47. Rh1+ Kg4 48. Rfxh5 Rxb2 49. R5h2


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Contenders, ARE YOU READY?

Here is a picture of a gladiator. Next to him is some woman off TV from a few years back.

The gladiator has sent in his Round 8 game. Apparently he thinks it's of high enough quality to nick the best game prize off the top people's mits.

Mark Josse (2128) - (2391) Thomas E. Rendle
[Notes by Tom 'Nacho Libra' Rendle]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 a6 4. Bd3 c5 5. dxc5 Bxc5 6. Ngf3 Ne7

6... Nf6 7. Qe2 Nc6 8. c3 was Roberts - Rendle from the British in 2006. I now feel the knight is better placed on e7.
7. O-O Nbc6 8. a3 O-O 9. exd5
9. b4 Ba7 10. Bb2 Ng6 is the mainline, with approximate equality.
9... exd5 10. b4 Ba7 11. Bb2 Ng6 12. c4 dxc4 13. Bxc4
13. Nxc4 might've been better, although Black should be doing fine after Be6. 13... b5?! 14. Be4 is a bit of a pain.
13... b5 14. Ba2 Bb7 15. Nb3 Nf4 16. Bb1

16. Nc5 Bxc5 17. bxc5 Qc8 18. h3 Qf5 and Black is slightly better. 16. Qxd8 Raxd8 with Nd3 to follow gives Black an excellent position.
16... Qc8

16... Re8 is the safe option, probably forcing the exchange of Queens via 17. Qxd8 Raxd8 18. Bc2 Re2. I have to admit I was already hoping for a mate on g2....

17. Ng5
17. h3 Nxh3+ 18. gxh3 Qxh3 19. Qd3 Qg4+ 20. Kh1 g6

17... Rd8 18. Qc2
18. Bxh7+ Kf8 19. Nd2 Nd4 is crushing. For example, 20. Be4 Nde2+ 21. Kh1 Bxe4 22. Ngxe4 Qg4

18... Rd3
My opponent had been counting on 18... Nd3 after which White can fight on after 19. Qe2 Qf5 20. Nf3
19. Bc1?? Qg4
20. Bxf4 Nd4 21. Bg3 Nxc2


Here is my opponent from today, John Anderson. He used to work with the above woman on ITV before Sky ruined the programme.

John Anderson (2208) - (2074) Philip J. Makepeace

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Nbd7 5. O-O c5 6. c4 Be7 7. cxd5 exd5 8. Nc3 O-O 9. dxc5 Nxc5

Being an exponent of the Caro-Kann, and therefore a fun guy, I was happy with an IQP position. Black's control over e4 already is of note.

10. b3 b6 11. Nd4 Qd7 12. Bb2 Bb7 13. Qc2 Nce4 14. f3 Bc5

Just the start of a flurry of tactics.

15. Na4! Rac8 16. Qd3 Nd6 17. Kh1 Nc4?!

Flashy, but not optimal.

18. bxc4?!

18. Nxc5 bxc5 19. bxc4 cxd4 20. cxd5 Bxd5 21. Qxd4 Rc2 22. Qb4 should hold. Though, with the rook looking menacing on the seventh, it's understandable why white didn't go for this.

18... Qxa4 19. cxd5 Bxd5 20. e4?!

Black now gets a chance to optimise his position free of charge.

20... Bc4 21. Qd1 Qb4 22. Rf2 Bb5 23. a4 Ba6 24. Rd2 Rfd8 25. Bh3 Rc7 26. Rc1 Ne8 27. Bc3 Qc4?

Setting a trap while falling into a bear pit.

28. Nf5?

28. Ne6! Rxd2 29. Bxd2 wins an exchange.

The more obvious 28. Ba5? is slapped back by 28... Qxc1! 29. Qxc1 Bxd4 30. Qd1 bxa5 31. Rxd4 Rxd4 32. Qxd4 Rc1+ 33. Kg2 Bf1+ 34. Kf2 Bxh3 35. Qxa7 which is unclear, but black shouldn't lose.

28... Rxd2 29. Qxd2 Qd3

I offered a draw here thinking that, once the queens come off, the big knight on f5 is worth my queenside majority. However, Mr. Anderson had other ideas.

30. Qxd3 Bxd3 31. Rd1 Bc2 32. Rd8 Bxa4 33. Be5! Rb7 34. Nd6?

I can only assume Neo missed my annoying reply. 34. Nxg7 Kf8 35. Bc8 Re7 36. Bf6 instead resembles a position from a helpmate problem.

34... Re7 35. Bf4 g5!

Now everything comes off. Arthur and Billy begin to look decisive.

36. Bxg5 Bxd6 37. Bxe7?

Losing on the spot. 37. Rxd6 Rxe4 38. Rd2 would instead have won first prize in the unhappy raffle.

37... Bxe7 38. Ra8 a5 39. Kg2 Bb5 40. Ra7 Bc5 41. f4 Bc6 42. Bd7 Bxd7?!

42...Bxe4 is best. And by quite a way too. However, I saw the winning method after the swap and so went down that path instead.

43. Rxd7 Nd6 44. e5 Nc4 45. Kf3 a4 46. Ke4 a3 47. Rd1 b5 48. f5 b4 49. Rd8+ Kg7 50. f6+ Kh6 51. g4 a2 52. Rd1 b3 53. Kf4 b2


Monday, 2 August 2010

Freddie Sugden Ate My Sandwich

Sorry for the gaping chasm between posts. We've actually been enjoying our day off, being bellowed instructions at by Andrew Martin. If only Tom Rendle could have talked dirty to me, my weekend might have been complete.

Round 6

Philip J. Makepeace (2074) - (2145) Peter A. Williams

My opponent's father commented after this tussle that it was of some significance that I'd played both Felix and Peter in the same tournament. Not entirely sure why, maybe they both support Arsenal or something. There must be at least two people in the world who do.

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 e6 4. Bg5 Bd6 5. Nbd2 Nbd7 6. e4 dxe4 7. Nxe4 Be7 8. Nxf6+ Bxf6 9. Qd2

I quite like this for white. It's unclear how black's going to unravel.

9... Bxg5 10. Nxg5 h6 11. Nh3!?

I fancied keeping the diagonal open, plus I can perhaps get in Nf4 and c4 to completely control d5.

11... O-O 12. O-O-O Qf6 13. f4 c5 14. g4 Qxd4 15. Qe1!?

We came here to chew gum and kick ass. I'm all out of gum.

15... Qa4 16. Kb1 e5 17. g5 hxg5

White has a disgusting number of possibilities here, mainly involving some kind of manly thrust against the h7 square. Naturally I chose the most preparatory move which didn't come with a swift withdrawal possibility attached.

18. Rg1?! 18... g4 19. fxe5!? Re8

Fair enough, don't walk into all the fruit then. 19...gxh3 20. Rxg7+ Kxg7 21. Qg3+ Kh8 22. Qxh3 Kg7 23. Qg3+ Kh8 24. Bb5 should prove terminal.

20. e6!

Sell to them the killing gem, attack to get it back.

20... Rxe6 21. Qh4 Rh6 22. Qe7 Re6 23. Qd8+!?

The repetition (Qh4-e7-h4 etc.) was very much on. But as Peter was fairly low on time, I thought it would be rude not to give it a go.

23... Nf8 24. Ng5 Re8 25. Qc7 Be6 26. b3 Qb4 27. Bg2 Rac8 28. Qxb7 Qxb7 29. Bxb7 Rb8 30. Bc6 Rec8 31. Bd5 Rd8 32. Bxe6 Nxe6 33. Rxd8+ Rxd8 34. Nxe6 fxe6 35. Rxg4

Black's pawn files are like motorway chevrons, consistently two apart. Except on this occasion, it's definitely not to his advantage. Note to self: never use this simile again, it's a cul-de-sac. BOOM! More than one road type mentioned in the same annotation, I doubt you get this kind of
wordsmithery over at New In Chess. Come on Timman, let's be avenue!

35... Kf7 36. Ra4 Rd7 37. Kb2 e5 38. Ra5 Rc7 39. b4 Rb7 40. Rxc5 Rxb4+ 41. Kc3 Rh4 42. Rxe5 Rh3+ 43. Kb2 Rxh2 44. Ra5 Ke6 45. Rxa7

Sadly, the ending is certainly drawn. But because I respect my elders, I decided to emulate Keith Arkell and play it out in full.

45... g5 46. Rg7 Rg2 47. a4 Kd6 48. a5 Rg4 49. Kb3 Kc6 50. a6 Rg1 51. Kb4 Kb6 52. a7 Rb1+ 53. Kc4 Ra1 54. Rxg5 Kxa7 55. Rb5 Rh1 56. Kb4 Ka6 57. Rc5 Kb6 58. Rg5 Rh4+ 59. c4 Rh6 60. Rb5+ Kc6 61. Ra5 Kc7 62. c5 Rh4+ 63. Kb5 Rh6 64. Ra7+ Kc8 65. Rg7 Rf6 66. c6 Rf1


Round 7

Jaroslav Vrubl (195 ECF) - (2074) Philip J. Makepeace

How are you supposed to prepare for a bloke whose most recent published game is from 1997? Well, I went down the refined route of playing for the victorious ECF cricket team. Figures of 6-0-32-1 and a dozen off the bat went down well.

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 h6!?

Designed to avoid any Ng5 grot.

5. Nf3 Bf5 6. Ng3 Bh7

The point.

7. Bc4 e6 8. Qe2 Nf6 9. Ne5 Nd5 10. O-O Nd7 11. f4

Deviating from Rudd - Makepeace, Great Yarmouth 2007 which continued 11. Bb3. It makes sense for white to open the f file against my uncastled king.

11... Nxe5 12. fxe5 Nb6 13. Qf2 Qc7 14. Bb3 Bg6 15. Be3 Nd5 16. c4 Nxe3 17. Qxe3 Be7 18. Kh1 O-O 19. Rad1 Qb6 20. Ne4

As I have the bishop pair, it's necessary for white to attempt to prove the
worth of his knight.

20... a5 21. Rf2 Rfd8 22. c5 Qc7 23. Nd6 Bg5?!

The twins look very happy bearing down the diagonals, but this move prods
white where he wants to go anyway.

24. Qf3 a4 25. Bc4 Rf8 26. Rdf1 Qd7 27. Qg4 Rae8!?
Objectively, of course, this is not a good move. But it gives white a bit to think about and with d4 weak and the dark-squared bishop unopposed, I wasn't surprised when he didn't lop it off.

28. h4 Be3 29. h5!?

Go on old boy, what's in your hump?

29... Bxf2 30. hxg6 fxg6 31. Qxg6 Qe7?

31...Bxd4 would have produced a fairly level endgame.

32. Rxf2??

A spokesman for Mr. Vrubl said after the game: "This was the one thing we didn't want to happen." All white needed to find was 32. g3 Bxd4 33. Rf6! Rxf6 34. exf6 Bxf6 35. Nxe8 and the scoresheets would have been signed not long after the time control.

32... Qh4+ 33. Kg1 Qxf2+ 34. Kh2 Qh4+ 35. Kg1 Qxd4+ 36. Kh1 Qh4+ 37. Kg1 Qe1+ 38. Kh2 Qxe5+ 39. Kh1 Qe1+ 40. Kh2 Qh4+ 41. Kg1 Qf6

With enough pawns hoovered up, I can now go about the triviality of swapping bits off.

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