Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Joseph J. Stewart (1982 - 2010)

We were tonight saddened to hear the news that one of our biggest fans, Joey Stewart, has passed away following a short illness. He is thought to have contracted avian flu after a swan sneezed on him last month.

Tragically, while at the 4NCL last weekend, he shared a water bottle with Jerry Humphreys and David Buckley - both are now in intensive care and may not make it through the month.

Ironically, he was a big lover of birds and was even chosen to play the lead in Baz Luhrmann's remake of the 1969 classic Kes, which will get its screen release in Summer 2011.

Before Kes, he was best known for a legal dispute in 2003 with fellow actor Matt Le Blanc over rights to the name 'Joey'. Le Blanc objected to Stewart having the name Joseph as both his first and middle names (having been baptised by a priest with a speech disorder) and forced him to shorten his middle name simply to 'J'.

Shortly before he died, he sent us notes from his last ever competitive game. We publish them here for posterity. He is survived by his estranged husband Patrick, whom he met on the set of Star Trek Nemesis in 2000.

J. Stewart (deceased) - (2002) G. Harley-Yeo

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. Qe2

Many people question the logic of this move, but it does have its merits - it prevents black from playing d5 and establishing a good pawn centre as the e6 pawn is pinned. Also white is intending g3 and Bg2 so it is not restricting the bishop as much as it initially appears. Lastly, it avoids going into the sharpest main lines which will more likely be comfortable for black to play.

3... b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 d5

Probably this move comes too early, as mentioned before, the queen pins the e6 pawn and black is forced to capture with the bishop or queen which can be kicked away by Nc3 and gaining a tempo.

6. exd5 Bxd5 7. 0-0 Nf6 8. Rd1

To provide support in preperation for d4.

8... Nbd7 9. Nc3 Bc6 10. d4 cxd4 11. Nxd4 Bxg2 12. Kxg2

I felt that by allowing this good bishop to be traded it would be removing one of blacks useful defending pieces and give my knights more scope to intrude onto his position- especially if it became possible to play Nxe6!

12... Qc7 13. Ncb5 Qb7+ 14. f3 Be7

The temptation of Nxe6 was strong, especially with Nd6+ as quite a severe follow up threat, but after black plays Kf8 he seemed to be able to hang onto the piece and it is not quite possible to deliver a killing blow - therefore another move needed to be found.

15. Nf5!

The knight obviously cannot be taken as Nd6+ wins blacks queen but black is also not able to castle as the bishop will be en prise, the threat of Nxg7+ and Nd6+ also need to be met and Gareth found the best defensive move to hold his position together.

15... Kf8 16. Nxe7 Kxe7 17. Bf4 Kf8

Another good defence, avoiding Bd6+ where the black king gets stuck in the centre with little hope of ever finding sanctuary.

18. Rd2

I had another long think about playing Nc7 and Nxe6+, with the threat of Bd6 mate looming, it turned out that Ne8 would have provided adequate defence for black to hang on again and retain my piece - therefore I had to go about playing in a less exciting fashion from this point onwards.

18... h6

Allowing an escape route for the king, should I feel inclined to carry out the aforementioned sacrifice.

19. Rad1 Nd5 20. Bd6+ Kg8 21. c4 N5f6 22. Be7 Nf8 23. Bxf6

The bishop had to move anyway, as it was attacked by the queen, but taking here spoils blacks pawn structure and also allows a second bite at attacking the king with one less defender in the way.

23... gxf6 24. Nd6 Qc7 25. Qe4 Rd8 26. Qf4 f5

This allows a tactic to win a pawn although,interestingly enough, fritz prefers to play the position a pawn down than in its current state.
27. Nxf5! Rxd2+ 28. Rxd2 Qxf4 29. Ne7+ Kg7 30. gxf4 Kf6

Again, my team mates were somewhat unimpressed by the fact I had conceded a weak pawn structure just to win an already bad pawn but as it is so often said 'a pawn is a pawn', and my pieces are also still relatively active.

31. Nc6 Ng6 32. Kg3 Rg8 33. Rd8

Black has to either trap his rook on g7, to keep the pressure on, or swap off into a knight ending of uncertainty.

33... Rg7 34. Nxa7

Avoiding the threat of Ne5+ or Ne7+ and winning a piece.

34... Ne5+ 35. Kf2 Nxc4 36. b3 Na5?

The kinght is trapped here now and black is powerless to stop it being rounded up in the next couple of moves - Na3 was the only option to preserve the piece.

37. Rb8 Kf5 38. Rxb6 Nxb3 39. axb3 Kxf4 40. Nc6 e5 41. Ne7

I have been seeing lots of puzzles lately involving knights delivering a checkmate against a trapped king and this seemed to be the sort of position where one might be possible.

41... f5 42. Ng6+ Kg5 43. Nxe5 Ra7

I had intended to play Rg6+ and swap into a won pawn ending, so this move was prudent to keep blacks chances alive.

44. h4+ Kxh4 45. Rxh6+ Kg5 46. Rg6+

46... Kh5

Kf4 looked natural but did, in fact, allow a mate on d3 with the knight.

47. Rg1 Ra2+ 48. Ke3 Rb2 49. Kf4 Kh6 50. Kxf5 Rxb3 51. f4 Rb4 52. Ng4+ Kg7 53. Kg5 Rb5+ 54. f5 Ra5 55. Rb1 Kh8 56. Kg6 Ra8 57. Nf6!

Forces mate in two - Rh1#, Rb8# or Rg8+ Nxg8 Kxg8 Rb8#.

57... Ra1

In the online blitz world this could well work ,as white would have his rook hovered over the h1 square ready to drop, otherwise he might play Rxa1 stalemate. our team needed the points though, so I had to decline the drawing tactic.

58. Rb8 mate


1 comment:

  1. I heard he died from Avian AIDS, not bird flu.


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