1947: Tough at the top

Game Thomas,ARB- Kitto,FEA,WECU Championship 1947

Tough at the top

This game is from the second West of England Chess Union Championship, played under the auspices of the new Union over 50 years ago. The notes are taken from a tiny booklet which contains all 28 games played by the eight players involved in the 1947 Championship.  Thomas won with 51/2 points, ahead of Kitto and Mallison on 4. All the games were annotated by Capt. P.D. Bolland, the then Somerset Champion. 

Thomas had been picked to play for England around this time, but his Headmaster at Blundell’s School would not permit him the time off, a fact that caused him much regret for the rest of his life. Thomas had a weakness for unconventional openings, as exemplified here by his choice of the Evans Gambit in a competition like this where there are no easy opponents. 

— Bob Jones, WECU Secretary, in Westward Ho!

Evans Gambit

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 6. d4 d6 7. Qb3 Qd7 8. dxe5 Bb6 9. Bb5 a6 10. Ba4 Nge7 11. Ba3 0–0 12. exd6 Ng6 13. 0–0

[FEN "r1b2rk1/1ppq1ppp/pbnP2n1/8/B3P3/BQP2N2/P4PPP/RN3RK1 b - - 0 13"]

Asking for trouble and getting it.  Nbd2 is the move. 

13...Qg4 14. Bxc6 Nf4 15. Ne1 Nh3+ 16. Kh1 Qe2 17. Nd2 Qxd2

...bxc6 is correct, leaving White with the awkward threats of Qxd2 and Nxf2+ to meet as best he can.  Now the game goes in White's favour. 

18. Bd5 Nxf2 19. Rxf2 Qxf2 20. Nd3 Qe3 21. dxc7 Bh3 22. Qc2 Bxc7 23. Re1 Bxg2+ 24. Kxg2 Qg5+ 25. Kh1 Rfd8 26. Qg2 Qh5 27. Rf1 Rxd5 28. exd5 Bxh2 29. Qf3 Qxf3+ 30. Rxf3 Bc7 31. d6 Ba5 32. c4 f6 33. Re3 Bd8 34. Re8+ Kf7 35. d7 resigns 1-0

[FEN "r2bR3/1p1P1kpp/p4p2/8/2P5/B2N4/P7/7K b - - 0 35"]

A thrilling game worthy of both players. 

[Notes by PD Bolland]

Chess Quotes

"When it is so freely asserted that Morphy's style was all genius and inspiration ... Morphy possessed that most profound book knowledge of any master of his time, and never introduced a single novelty, whereas since his day the books have had to study the players...

 We may all learn from Morphy and Anderssen how to conduct a King's side attack, and perhaps I myself may not have learnt enough.

— Wilhelm STEINITZ