Bruce Rowston at work

Mason,DR - Rowston,B [E15] East Devon Minor #1, 1996

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3

  The main line Queen's Indian position.

4... d5

  I can't help thinking this is dubious, immediately blocking the diagonal.

[4... Bb7]

[4... Ba6]

5. cxd5 exd5

[5... Nxd5 6. e4 Nf6 7. Bb5+ Nfd7 8. d5]

6. Bg2 Bb7 7. O-O

 

tS-DjL-T
XlX-+xXx
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pP-+pPbP
RnBq+rK-

7... c5?!

  A bit loose - no rush for this, White can't stop it.

[7... Be7]

8. Bg5 Be7 9. Nc3 O-O 10. dxc5 bxc5 11. e3 h6 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. Qb3

 

tS-D-Tj+
Xl+-+xX-
-+-+-L-X
+-Xx+-+-
-+-+-+-+
+qN-PnP-
pP-+-PbP
R-+-+rK-

There is the looseness made plain.

13... Qb6

[13... Qd7 14. Rfd1 Rd8 +/- 15. Rac1 [15. Ne1] [15. Ne4]]

14. Nxd5 Qxb3 15. Nxf6+ gxf6 16. axb3 Na6 17. Rfd1 Rfd8 18. Nh4 Rxd1+ 19. Rxd1 Bxg2 20. Kxg2

 

t+-+-+j+
X-+-+x+-
s+-+-X-X
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+p+-P-P-
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+-+r+-+-

20... Nb4

  Optically right - occupying the furthest outpost on a file, in front of doubled isolated pawns - but strategically mistaken: where's the plan?

[20... Rb8 21. Rd3 c4 with counterplay]

21. Nf5 Kh7 22. Rd7 Kg6 23. g4 a5 24. Nd6 Nd3 25. Nc4

[25. f4 Nxb2 26. f5+ Kg7

[26... Kg5 27. Kg3 a4 28. Nxf7#]

27. Rxf7+ Kg8 28. Rxf6]

25... Ne5 (sadly, probably best) 26. Nxe5+ fxe5 27. Rd5 Rb8 28. Rxe5 Rxb3 29. Rxc5 Rxb2

 

-+-+-+-+
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Black was sporting to resign here - I would have been rude enough to play on, having been swindled in such positions myself.

1-0

 

Rowston,B - Sewell,G [A27] East Devon Minor #2, 1996

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 Nf6 6. O-O O-O 7. Rb1 d6 8. h3 Bf5 9. d3 Qd7 10. Kh2 Rfe8 11. b4 a6 12. a4 e4 13. Ne1

 

t+-+t+j+
+xXd+xLx
x+sX-Sx+
+-+-+l+-
pPp+x+-+
+-Np+-Pp
-+-+pPbK
+rBqNr+-

Good - the exchange would come naturally to many players, but the retreat is fine.

13... exd3 14. exd3

[14. Nxd3 Ng4+

[14... Be6 15. Nd5]

15. hxg4 Bxc3 16. gxf5]

14... h6 15. b5 axb5 16. axb5 Na5 17. Nc2 Ra7 18. b6 cxb6 19. Rxb6 Nh7 20. Nd5 Ra6 21. Na3 Rxb6 22. Nxb6

 

-+-+t+j+
+x+d+xLs
-N-X-+xX
S-+-+l+-
-+p+-+-+
N-+p+-Pp
-+-+-PbK
+-Bq+r+-

White's standard Queen's-side attack has yielded only a little pressure: White still has the b-pawn to pester.

22... Qe6

[22... Qd8]

23. g4!

  Alert

23... Bxd3 24. Qxd3 Qe2 25. Qxe2 Rxe2 26. Nb5 Nxc4?? 27. Nxc4 Be5+

 

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+x+-+x+s
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+n+-L-+-
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28. f4

[28. Nxe5 dxe5 29. Bxb7]

28... Bf6 29. Nbxd6 g5 30. fxg5 hxg5 31. Nxb7 Kg7 32. Nbd6 Nf8 33. Nf5+ Kg6 34. Ncd6 Ne6 35. Ne4 Nf4 36. Bxf4 gxf4 37. Nxf6 Kxf6 38. Rxf4 Kg5 39. Rf1 f6 40. Kg3 Rb2 41. h4+ Kg6 42. h5+ Kg5 1-0

 

Rowston,B - Penrose,M [A00] East Devon #3

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. cxd5 Nxd5 4. Nf3 g6 5. g3 Bg7 6. Bg2 Nxc3 7. bxc3 O-O 8. O-O Nd7 9. d4

[9. Rb1]

9... c6

 

t+lD-Tj+
Xx+sXxLx
-+x+-+x+
+-+-+-+-
-+-P-+-+
+-P-+nP-
p+-+pPbP
R-Bq+rK-

Pick a plan for White!

10. e3

[10. Rb1]

[10. Ba3]

10... Nb6 11. Qe2 Be6 12. Nd2 Qc7 13. c4 Rfd8 14. Ba3 Rd7 15. Rac1 Rad8 16. Rfd1 Qb8 17. Nb3

  Black sacrifices a two pieces for Rook and Pawn. Nominally this is equal but this normally favours the pieces - here Black may have been encouraged by the doubled Rooks, but they bite on granite on d4 while the White Bishops are too powerful

17... Bxc4 18. Rxc4 Nxc4 19. Qxc4

 

-D-T-+j+
Xx+tXxLx
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-+qP-+-+
Bn+-P-P-
p+-+-PbP
+-+r+-K-

19... b6?

  Hugh Alexander had a pet generalisation that players only make blunders in losing positions. I don't know if Black is actually lost but nothing seems attractive, while White has an obvious plan of parking the Knight on c5.

[19... e5 is the only active plan for Black, but it doesn't look promising here

 

-D-T-+j+
Xx+t+xLx
-+x+-+x+
+-+-X-+-
-+qP-+-+
Bn+-P-P-
p+-+-PbP
+-+r+-K-

20. Nc5 [20. Bh3]

20. Bxc6 Rc8 21. Rc1 Bf8 22. Qe2 Rdc7 23. d5 e6 24. Bxf8 Kxf8 25. e4

  White maintains his bind with some simple moves, which must have been very disheartening for Black!

25... exd5 26. exd5 Re7 27. Qd2 Qd6 28. Nd4 a6 29. Bb7!

 

-+t+-J-+
+b+-Tx+x
xX-D-+x+
+-+p+-+-
-+-N-+-+
+-+-+-P-
p+-Q-P-P
+-R-+-K-

A move anyone would be proud of.

29... Rxc1+ 30. Qxc1 Qb4

[30... Rxb7 31. Qc8+ Kg7 32. Qxb7 Qb4 33. Nf3 wins easily

 

-+-+-+-+
+q+-+xJx
xX-+-+x+
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-D-+-+-+
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p+-+-P-P
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31. Nf3 a5 32. Qc8+ Re8 33. Qc7 Qg4

[33... Re2 34. d6 Qb1+ 35. Kg2 Qxa2! ]

34. d6 1-0

 

Greenhalgh,I - Rowston,B [] East Devon #4

1. e4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Qe2+ Be7 5. h3 Nf6

 

tSlDj+-T
XxX-LxXx
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RnB-Kb+r

6. Qd3

  surely d4 first is the way to untangle

6... h6 7. c4 O-O 8. Be2 Nc6 9. a3 a5 10. O-O Be6 11. Qc2 Qd7 12. d3 Bd6 13. Nbd2 b6 14. b3 Rfe8 15. Re1 Nh5 16. Nf1 Nf4 17. Bb2

 

t+-+t+j+
+-Xd+xX-
-XsLl+-X
X-+x+-+-
-+p+-S-+
Pp+p+n+p
-Bq+bPp+
R-+-RnK-

17... Nxg2

  A move that surely deserves a cheer, but exact analysis may sober the crowd a little.

18. Kxg2 Bxh3+ 19. Kg1??

  just awful, allowing the Queen in with check.

[19. Kh1 and White should get out in one piece (or with one more piece) 19... Qg4 20. Ng3

[20. Ne3 Rxe3 21. Rg1 Rxf3 22. Rxg4 +/-]

20... Bxg3 21. fxg3 +/- 21... Qxg3

[21... Qh5 22. Nh2]

22. Rg1]

19... Qg4+ 20. Ng3 Bxg3 21. fxg3 Qxg3+ 22. Kh1 Re5 [22... Qg2#] 0-1

 

Rowston,B - Day,L [] East Devon #5

1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 b6 4. d4 Bb4

 

tSlDj+-T
X-Xx+xXx
-X-+xS-+
+-+-+-+-
-LpP-+-+
+-N-+n+-
pP-+pPpP
R-BqKb+r

A well-known position in the Nimzo-/Queen's Indian complex

5. a3

  But this is unusual - Black may take the knight without prompting. 5.a3 is most dangerous when White has the plan f3 and e4 available. I think this is a 'typical' difference, in that I would expect a Major player to have a concrete plan in mind

[5. g3] [5. Bg5] [5. Qb3]

5... Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 h6 over-cautious 7. Bf4

  invites ...d6/...e5

7... Bb7 8. e3

[8. Nd2 has f3 and e4 in mind ]

8... Ne4 9. Qc2 h5 10. h4 c5 11. Bd3 d5 12. cxd5 Qxd5 13. O-O c4 14. Bxe4 Qxe4 15. Qa4+ Qc6 16. Qxc6+ Bxc6 17. Rfe1

  White has an interesting alternative here

[17. Ne5 Bd5

[17... Bb5 18. a4 Ba6 19. Rfd1]

18. e4 Bxe4 19. Nxc4 Bd3 20. Nd6+ Ke7 21. Rfd1 Bc2]

17... Bxf3 18. gxf3 Nc6 19. a4 a5 20. Rab1 Ne7 21. e4 Ng6 22. Bg3 O-O 23. Rxb6 Rfe8 24. f4

 

t+-+t+j+
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-R-+x+s+
X-+-+-+x
p+xPpP-P
+-P-+-B-
-+-+-P-+
+-+-R-K-

White should press on with d4-d5, but this just buries the Bishop.]

24... Reb8 25. Reb1 Rxb6 26. Rxb6 Ne7 27. f3 Nc8 28. Rc6 Rb8 29. Rxc4 Nb6 30. Rc5 Nxa4 31. Rxa5 Nxc3 32. Kf2 g6 33. Ke3 f5 34. Kd3 Nb5 35. Kc4

[35. Be1Kf7]

35... Nd6+ 36. Kc5

 

-T-+-+j+
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-+-Sx+x+
R-K-+x+x
-+-PpP-P
+-+-+pB-
-+-+-+-+
+-+-+-+-

36... Nb7+ 0-1

[e.g. 36... Nb7+ 37. Kb5 Nxa5+ 38. Kxa5 Rb3 39. Bh2 Rxf3 40. e5 Rh3 41. Bg1 Rxh4 42. Be3 Rh3 43. Bc1 Rd3 44. Bb2 h4 +/=]

Chess Quotes

"Never go in against a Sicilian when *death* is on the line!"
— from The Princess Bride (via Christine Malcom)