Tuesday, 19 October 2010

An Attempt At Being Serious I

We're back! During the intervening 10½ weeks, the elder Kraken has completed the Inca Trail, while the younger Kraken has returned to the life of a council-tax-avoiding statistic. But, in all seriousness, some speculation needs to be addressed.

"Did you stop writing because you lost?" chortled one teammate at the Counties Rapidplay. No, obviously not. I didn't publish analysis to Round 11 because I was exhausted and bitterly disappointed. And I went out on the piss that night. That and I didn't get internet at my home address until late August, by which time it seemed a bit pointless.

However, today, in a scoop worthy of the Fake Sheikh, we bring you my initial thoughts scribbled on the train back from Canterbury. Max Clifford actually turned down the publicist rights to it because it's "simply too massive".

British Championship Review

Looking back on the Championship, the vast gulf in class between the top and the bottom of the field means that many of the heroes of the piece have been ignored. Because, let's face it, much of the focus was rightly on Mickey Adams wallowing in the points like a pig in shit.

Don Mason

To score 7/11 in the British Championship is an extraordinary achievement for any untitled player. Peter Constantinou managed it last year but I don't remember reading much about it. It's one of the biggest clichés around to say something along the lines of "And it couldn't have happened to a nicer fella". But seriously, Don's a fantastic guy. He even had to put up with limited mobility in the second week when he did his hamstring during the cricket match. With an enormous gain of 36 rating points, he won the 2200-2350 rating prize just ahead of first week hero Jack Rudd.

Felix Ynojosa & David Spence

Both started with 0/2 after accidents against the accelerated pairings. In particular, much has been made of Felix's blunder in Round 2. But both recovered to 5/8, which was an impressive recovery. Neither will look back on the tournament with great fondness, but it could have been far worse.

Ryan Rhys Griffiths

For the first 8 rounds, Griffiths was performing at par. He beat the players much lower rated, lost to the players much higher rated and drew with those around his level. But then, BOOM! He beat Summerscale with black, drew with Houska and found himself in with a chance of a serious prize. Sadly for him, he lost to Greet in Round 11, but still won the Under 18 title. Could he be the next Sam Collins?

What about me? Well, here goes.

Going into the last round, I was on 5/10, half a point behind James Jackson in the race for the Under 21 title. Jackson was up against Paul Littlewood, who I knew wouldn't be amenable to an early draw. I had a choice; to go for it and risk it all or play quietly and slowly, waiting for Jackson's result to come in.

Philip J. Makepeace (2074) - (2199) John N. Sugden

1. e4 c6 2. Ne2!?
Yeah, sod choice, only one way to play this.

2... d5 3. e5 c5 4. b4!?

It's worth saying that Mike Surtees is one of our heroes. His dress sense, nutty play and resemblance to Dave 'Devilfish' Ulliott are traits we appreciate. Just take a look at this.

4... cxb4 5. d4 a5 6. a3 Na6 7. Ng3 e6 8. Bd3 Bd7 9. O-O g6 10. Nd2 h5 11. Qf3 Be7 12 Nb3 Nh6 13. Bd2 Bc6?
Allowing a massive shot that gives white a huge advantage, not least psychologically. The point is that there is now a fork from b5.

14. Nxa5! Qxa5 15. axb4 Qb6 16. b5 Bxb5 17. Rfb1 Qxd4 18. Bxb5+ Kf8 19. Bd3 Kg7
Leonard Barden made a great point recently about backward queen moves being hard to spot. Now, in this position, it's quite clear that I need to get the queen off the a1-h8 diagonal in order to get my b1 rook involved up the file. I thought that my move was sufficient, but I'd simply not noticed that e5 was on prise.

20. Be3?

20. Ne2! would have been very close to winning. I'm now in serious trouble.

20... Qxe5 21. Ra4 Qc7 22. Bd4+ e5 23. Nxh5+!
The only try. 23... gxh5?? falls to 24. Qg3+ Ng4 25. Bxe5+ Qxe5 26. Rxg4+.

23... Kh7

Unfortunately, the majority of my pieces are en prise or undefended. My position becomes all out of goose remarkably quickly.

24. Qxd5? exd4 25. Rxb7 Qd6 26. Qxd6 Bxd6

Only now did the true situation show its ugly face, cackling about the possibility of back-rank tactics.

27. Rb6 Nc5 28. Nf6+ Kg7 29. Rxa8 Rxa8 30. Rxd6 Nxd3
Game over. Dream over. Littlewood had won by this point so regret at my approach joined the maelstrom of disappointment already flooding me. I played the rest of the game in a funk.

31. h3 Ra1+ 32. Kh2 Nf5 33. Ne8+ Kf8 34. cxd3 Kxe8 35. Rb6 Ra3 36. g4 Ne7 37. Rb8+ Kd7 38. h4 Rxd3 39. h5 gxh5 40. gxh5 Rf3 41. Kg2 Rf6 42. Rb3 Rd6 43. Rd3 Nc6 44. Kg3 Ke6 45. Kf4 Rd5 46. Rh3 d3 47. Re3+ Kf6 48. h6 d2 49. h7 Kg7


I promise the next column will be funny.

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