Exeter Chess Club: One amateur's weeekend.
Here are all my games from this year's (1996) superbly organised East Devon Congress, held in the excellent venue of St.George's Hall (big, cool, near town centre, has a bar). I scorn the idea of trying to win money in the Major and go for the Premier (my grade is 3 points too high for the Major). Five rounds later...
Round Opponent (my col) BCF ELO Result Score 1 Ian George (B) 184 2072 0.0 0.0 (A hard rain...) 2 David Hodge (W) 161 1888 0.5 0.5 (Don't count your chickens) 3 Peter Chaplin (B) 158 1864 1.0 1.5 (Beware geeks bearing gifts) 4 David Parr (W) 181 2048 0.5 2.0 (Below Parr, as usual) 5 Rob Newton (W) 177 2016 1.0 3.0 (Sweet, but not fattening)
I quite fancy this opening but clearly haven't quite got the hang of it. I remember considering 21...Nxa5 but played something else, I think having forgotten that the capture was on. We played moves 34-37 quickly, then, after a while, he plays g4, the best way to keep up the pressure. Of course, if I wasn't caught up by the momentum, I could have anticipated 37. g4 and played 34/35/36 ...h5, with better chances than in the game. The final position sees Black stuck for ideas, but not for blunders. (Score: 0 out of 1).
6... Bg4 7. h3 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 e6 9. Bb5+ Nd7 10. O-O a6
[10... Ne7], or [10... Rc8]
11. Bxd7+ Qxd7 12. Qa3 h6 13. Nc3 b5 14. Qb3 Ne7 15. a4 Rb8 16. a5 b4 17. Na4 O-O 18. Nb6 Qb5 19. Be3 Nc6 20. Qa4 Qxa4 21. Nxa4 Rb5
[21... Nxa5 22. Nc5 Rb5 23. Nxa6 Nc4 looks OK]
[22... Rxc5 23. dxc5 Nxe5 24. b3 Rc8 with some compensation], or [22... Rxa5 23. Rxa5 Nxa5 24. Nxa6 b3 25. Nc5 Nc4 which I think is equal]
23. Nb3 Ra7 24. Rfc1 Ne7 25. Rc2 Kf8 26. Rac1 Ke8 27. Rc7 Rbb7 28. Rxb7 Rxb7 29. Nc5 Rb5 30. Nxa6 Rxa5 31. Nxb4 Rb5 32. Nd3 Rb3 33. Rc3 Rxc3 34. bxc3
35. Kf1 Na5 36. Ke2 Nc4 37. g4 Ke7 38. h4 f5 39. exf6+ Kxf6 40. Bf4 g5 41. hxg5+ hxg5 42. Be5+ Nxe5 43. Nxe5 Ke7 44. Kd3 Kf6 45. Kc2 Ke7 46. Kb3 Bf6 47. Kb4 Kd6 48. Nd3 Bg7 49. Kb3 Bf6 50. Kc2 Bd8 51. Kd2
panicked and resigned
[52. Ne5 Bc7
[52... Bd8 53. Nf7++/- ]
[53. Kd3 Ke7 54. Ke3 Ke8 55. f4+/- ]
53... Ke7 54. f3 Kf6 55. f4 Ba5]
I've been playing 1.e4 recently in an attempt to sharpen my game but I always play my old favourite 1.c4 against juniors. The Queen's-side attack works like clockwork and the ...f5 move sems only to limit Black's pieces. My opponent gives up a pawn on move 15, with a straight face, only to see me hand it straight back (move 28), with rather a red one. In the post mortem he criticised the "pointless" manoeuvre Qa8+-e8 and chided me for missing Bh6+, which of course was the point. (Score: 1/2 out of 2).
9. Rb1 Qe8 10. b4 a6 11. a4 Nd8 12. b5 c6 13. Ba3 Rf6
[14... Ndxc6 15. Bxc6 bxc6 16. dxe5 dxe5 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. Nd5], or [14... Nexc6 15. Nd5]
15. c5 d5!?
[15... dxc5 16. dxe5 Re6 17. Bxc5 Bxe5 18. Nd4+- ]
16. dxe5 Rf7 17. f4 Ne6 18. Nd4 Nxd4 19. exd4
19... Kh8 20. Qd3 Be6 21. Rb6 Qc8 22. a5 Ng8 23. Rfb1 Rfa7 24. Na4
[24. Na2!? e.g. 24... Ne7 25. Nb4 h6 26. Bf1 Qd7 27. Rxa6 Rxa6 28. Nxa6 Qa7 29. Rb6 Bc8 30. Bb4+- ]
24... g5 25. Bc1 Bf8 26. Qb3 gxf4 27. Bxf4 Qc7
[28. Bd2] [28. Qb4] [28. Nb2]
28... Qxa5 29. Rxa7
[29. Rb6 threatening to round up the Queen 29... Bh6]
29... Rxa7 30. Qb6 Qxa4 31. Qxa7 Qxd4+ 32. Kh1 Bxc5 33. Qxa6 Ne7 34. Qa8+ Kg7
[35. Bh6+ Kxh6 36. Qf8+ Kh5 37. Bf3+ Qg4
[37... Kg6 38. Qf6#]
38. Bxg4+ fxg4+- ]
35... Qd3 36. Rf1
36... d4 37. Bg5
[37. Bh6+ Kxh6 38. Qf8+ Kh5
[38... Kg5 39. Qf6+ Kh5 40. Bf3+ Qxf3++- 41. Rxf3 Bd5]
39. Bf3+ Qxf3+ 40. Rxf3 Bd5 41. Kg2 d3 42. h3 d2 43. g4+ fxg4 44. hxg4+ Kxg4 45. Qf4+ Kh5 46. Qxd2 Nf5+- ]
37... Bd5 38. Bf6+ Kh6 39. Rg1
[39. Qf8+!? Kh5 40. g4+! e.g. 40... fxg4 41. Bxe7 Bxe7 42. Qf5+ Qxf5 43. Rxf5+ Kg6 44. Rf4+- ]
39... Bxg2+ 40. Kxg2 Qe4+ 41. Kh3 1/2-1/2
Despite some anxieties at about move 20, when I thought a central break would have been embarrassing, I am able to force a decision without ever using the extra Rook! (Score : 1 1/2 out of 3).
[9... Qe7 10. Ng5 Bg7]
10. Bg5 Be7 11. Bxd7+ Qxd7 12. Bxe7!? Kxe7
[12... Qxe7?! 13. Qb5+ Nc6 14. Qxb7]
13. Qg5+ Kf8 14. Qh6+ Ke7 15. Qg5+ Kf8 16. Qh6+ Ke8 17. Qg7 Rf8 18. O-O-O f6
this wall of little Pawns keeps out the Knights
19. Qg4 Qf7
[20. d5!? f5!?]
20... fxe5 21. Rd2 Qf5
Black has escaped
22. Qg7 Qf7 23. Qg4 Qg6 24. Qh3 e4 25. Nh4 Qh6 26. Kd1 Rd8 27. Re2 d5 28. f3 Rf4 29. Qg3 Rxh4 0-1
[16. c5 Ng6]
16... Ra7 17. Nec3
[17... Qd8 18. Ba3
[18. Qb3 Ng6 19. Qc2 Qe7 20. Bb2+/= ]
18... Re8 19. Ra1 e4 +=], or [17... Ng6 18. Ba3 Rf7 19. Bc5 Ra8+/= ], or [17... Qf718. Bb2 e4 19. Nc5 exd3 20. Qxd3+/=], or [17... Nd7 18. Nd5 Nxd5 19. Bxd5+ Kh8 20. Ba3 Rf6+/= ]
18. c5 bxc5 19. Nxc5 Kh8 20. N3a4 Ra5 = 0.00 Fritz
[20... Nd7], or [20... Ng6 21. Qb3 Nd7 22. Bc6 Qe7 23. Ba3]
8. cxb5 cxb5 9. Nxb5 Qb6 10. Nbc3 Nc6 11. d3 Ba6 12. Be3
[12... Qb7 13. b3 Rfc8 14. f4 Rab8 15. fxe5 Nxe5+/- ], or [12... Qb8 13. Qd2 Qd6 14. Rfd1 Rfc8 15. d4+/- ], or [12... Qa5 13. Qd2 Rab8 14. Rfc1 Rfc8 15. f4+/- ], or [12... Qb4!? 13. a3 Qd6 14. b4+/- ], or [12... Qxb2? 13. Bc5]
13. Nxd4 exd4 14. Na4 Qd6 15. Bf4 Qb4 16. a3
[16. e5!? Nh5
[16... Ng4 17. Qxg4 Qxa4 18. b3 Qb5 19. Bxa8 Rxa8+- ]
17. Bd2 Qe7 18. Bxa8 when White has the exchange but may get mated on g2 later]
16... Qb5 17. Bd6
[17... Rfc8 18. Re1
[18. e5 Nd5 19. b3 Rc6 20. b4 Qxd3]
18... Ne8 19. e5 Bb7 20. Bxb7 Qxb7+/= ], or [17... Rfd8 18. Nc5 Rac8 19. Nxa6 Qxa6 20. Be5+- ], or [17... Rfe8 18. Nc5 Rac8 19. Rc1 Qb6+/- ]
18. e5 Nd5 19. Bxf8 Kxf8 20. Re1 Ne7 21. b4
this is how far Black looked
that's how far he should have looked!
26... Qa5 27. Bxc8 Nxc8 28. Qc1
Not the only try, but in my stodgy style
[28. Rb5 Qa6
[28... Qd8 29. Rb7 Bg7 30. Qf3 f5+- ]
29. Rb8 Kg7 30. a5], or [28. f4 Bg7 29. Rb7 d5 30. h3+- ], or [28. Rb7 Nb6 29. f4 Bf6 30. Rb8+ Kg7+- ], or [28. Rb8 Qc7 29. Qb3 Kg7 30. Rb1+- ]
28... Nb6 29. Qh6+ Bg7 30. Qf4 Be5 31. Qh6+ Bg7 32. Qf4 Be5 33. Qg5 Qxa4
[33... Kg7], or [33... Qa6 34. a5 Qxa5 35.
f4 f6 36. Qh6+ Kg8 37. fxe5 dxe5+- ]
[34. Qd8+ Kg7 35. Ra1 Qb4 36. Reb1 Qd2 37. Rxa7+- ]
34... f6 35. Qh6+ Kg8 36. fxe5 dxe5
37. Rbc1 Qd7 38. Qd2 Nd5 39. Qa2 Kg7 40. Qa5 Kh6 41. Qc5 Nf4!?
[41... Kg7 42. Rc2
[42. Rc4 Qf7 43. Ra1 Nb6 44. Rcc1 Qd7+- ]
42... Nb6 43. Ra1 h6 44. Qc7], or [41... Qb7 42. Ra1 a6 43. Qf8+ Kh5 44. Qd6 Nb4+- ], or [41... Kh5 42. Ra1 Nb6 43. Rf1 Na4 44. Qf8+- ], or [41... a6 42. Qf8+ Kh5 43. Ra1 Qc6 44. Rec1 Nc3+- ]
42. Qf8+ Kg5 43. h4+ Kh5 44. Qxf6 Nh3+ 45. Kh2 g5 46. Rxe5 h6 47. Qf3+
[47. Qf3+ Kg6 48. Rc6+ Kg7 49. Qf6+ Kg8 50. Qg6+ Kh8 51. Qxh6+ Kg8 52. Rg6+ Qg7 53. Qxg7#]
- In each game I felt I knew the opening better than my opponent. (Did they think the same?) Whatever the feeling, the practical outcomes of the openings were good. This suggests that I should stop studying openings, since they aren't a problem, but do I have the courage?
- In both the first two games I overlooked one-move wins of pawns. This suggests that refining my grasp of the theory of doubled pawn complexes has only limited point.
- I have been losing games like that one to Ian all my life, (although I used to lose them to 130-grade opposition). How do you repair that weakness (or collection of weaknesses)? I suppose, because there will always be players better than me, and with better technique, to choose an opening where Black has more obvious counterplay is best. At least then I have something to attempt on my own behalf, which might worry my opponent. So, although I quite fancy the opening, I might have been better off in more conventional Modern territory which might be more dynamic (although I expect Ian would have met this too with a solid and straight bat).
- Perhaps the most revealing game was round 4: I have been drawing games like this all my life. Until I also have the courage to try and win from positions like that, I'll never develop the technique of doing so, and will never raise myself out of the slough of 150-grade chess in which I currently reside.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the room, Jack Rudd stormed home with 5/5 including this brisk win in the last round...
Rudd,Jack - Greet, Andrew 1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.exd5 exd5 5.Bb5+ Nc6 6.Ne5 Nge7 7.0-0 g6 8.Re1 Be6 9.d4 Bg7 10.Bg5 cxd4 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.Bxc6+ Kf8 13.Nxd5 f6 14.Rxe6 Nxd5 15.Qf3 Rc8 16.Bxd5 Rc5 17.Rae1 h6 18.Bxf6 Qxd5 19.Re8+ 1-0
Back to Dr. Dave's Chess Career
This document (weekend.html) was last modified on 22 Nov 96 byDr. Dave
Exeter Chess Club: The Tournament from Hell?Jump to game:
- (1) Ian Rescorla: a disappointing draw
- (2) John Gorodi: an even more disappointing loss
- (3) D Saqui: didn't get the hang of this one
- (4) Frank Chambers: a good scrap, and good fortune
- (5) Rich Towers: beating the tortoise
Round by round:
Round Col Opponent BCF ELO Result Score 1 w Ian Rescorla 118 1395 1/2 1/2 2 b John Gorodi 146 1765 0 1/2 3 w D Saqui 164 1910 0 1/2 4 b Frank Chambers 120 1605 1 1 1/2 5 w Richard Towers 156 1848 1 2 1/2So, a poor performance, which I am still puzzling about. I thought I should put a lot of effort immediately into recording my feelings and thoughts immediately after the game, in the hope that, if not now, then later I might see the error(s) of my ways. Weeks later (end of March), I still have no more than a feeling of confusion about most of the games, and can't see anything very constructive to suggest by way of alternatives.
To describe my performance as "bad form" begs a number of questions: how does this bad form manifest itself - poor analysis, poor judgment, or what?
The blunder against John Gorodi perhaps speaks for itself, but I blundered only in that game, and in post mortem analysis found a clearly better line for myself only in the game against Frank Chapman. [To be honest, that's about par for the course in a tournament where I score 4/5!]
For the others, "trying too hard to win" is a fair diagnosis, but still rather vague; "trying to win too early" might be better. Of course, having made a bad start I was anxious to make up lost ground, so this led me to take unjustifiable risks. The one game I didn't feel bad about was the last, where I built up slowly.
Maybe I should have compromised from the start and played the English Opening, but I had determined not to do that in this tournament. I believe that I should be trying to play more sharply, because I feel I don't attack well, and have started playing 1. e4 to try and improve that aspect of my game. Perhaps the line I play against the Scandinavian (Centre Counter) is to blame, but my first experiment with it (see notes to Game Three) was so rewarding that I of course persist. [If I do adopt the main line against the Scandinavian, it will be the only defence against which I play a main line system - perhaps a revealing observation. Is it about time for Beating the Sicilian 3? - but that seems like an awful lot of homework, and I don't usually feel the opening is my main weakness]
I should add, one unexpected pleasure was meeting in Real Life[TM] a character with whom I have often done battle at FICS, one
tomahawk. If any other ICS player sees me at a tournament, be sure and say hello, won't you?
1. e4 d5
Hmm. This month's copy of BCM calls this 'uncommon', but I seem to meet this as often as anything else. My opponent is graded 118, but in the U200 section: monstrously undergraded? a shark? a postal expert? Anyhow, he plays pretty conservatively.
I don't know much about the theory: there are main lines with 2...Qxd5 and 2...Nf6 and some fancy 2...Nf6 Gambit systems which have been popularised by Keene and Levy's book.
[2. d4] [2. exd5]
2... dxe4 3. Nxe4 Bf5 4. Ng3 Bg6 5. Bc4 e6 6. Nf3 [6. Nh3] 6... Bd6 7. d3 c6 8. Qe2 Qc7
Oops, should have played h2-h4 earlier. Now Black is easily equal, I think.
9. Ne4 Bxe4 10. dxe4 Nd7 11. Bd2 Ne7 12. Bc3 b5!? [12... O-O-O] 13. Bb3 O-O-O!?
Black's last two moves are inconsistent - one or the other is OK, but now I thought I had good prospects of an attack.
14. a4 [14. e5 Bc5 15. a4 b4 16. Bd4 Bxd4 17. Nxd4 Qxe5] 14... b4 15. Bd4 [15. Bxg7 Rhg8 16. e5 Nxe5 [16... Bc5 17. Bf6 Rxg2] [16... Rxg7 17. exd6 Qxd6] 17. Bxe5 Bxe5 18. Qxe5] 15... c5 16. Be3 [16. Bxg7 Rhg8 17. Qa6+ Kb8 18. e5 Bxe5 19. Bxe5 Nxe5 20. Nxe5 Qxe5+ 21. Qe2 Qxb2 [21... Rxg2]] 16... h6 17. c3 Nc6 18. cxb4 Nxb4 19. Rc1 Kb8 20. O-O Rc8
[20... Rdg8] 21. Rfd1 [21. e5 Be7 [21... Nxe5 22. Nxe5 Bxe5 23. Rxc5] [21... Bxe5 22. Nxe5 Nxe5 23. Rxc5] 22. Qb5+ Qb7] 21... Rhd8
White's pieces lack the scope to coordinate much of an attack.
22. e5 Be7 23. a5 g5 24. h3 Qc6 25. Bc4 Rc7 26. Bb5 Qe4 27. Bxd7 [27. Rc4! Qb7 28. Rc3 but I still don't think White has anything.] 27... Rdxd7 28. Rxd7 Rxd7 29. Qb5+ Qb7 30. Qc4
[30. Qxb7+ Rxb7 31. Bxc5 Nd3]
30... Rc7 31. Nd2 Nc6 32. a6 Qc8 33. Qb5+ Ka8 34. Nc4 [34. Bxc5 Nd4 35. Qb4] 34... Nb8 35. Ra1 [35. Nd6 Qxa6 36. Bxc5 Qxb5 37. Nxb5 Rxc5] 35... Rc6 36. Rd1 [36. Nd6 Bxd6 37. exd6 Rxd6 38. Bxc5 Rxa6] 36... Qxa6 1/2-1/2
[36... Qxa6 (must be better for Black!) 37. Qxa6 Nxa6 38. Nd6 f6 [38... f5]]
[After 1... Nf6 it's getting to be a novelty to see 2.c4!]
2. Nf3 Bg7 3. Bg5 c5DIAGRAM
Trying to play sharply in the hope that my opponent will start going backwards. 4. e3?! [4. c3! Qb6 5. Qb3!? Qxb3 6. axb3 cxd4 7. Nxd4 Nc6 8. Nxc6 dxc6] 4... Qb6 5. Qc1 h6
Thinking about ...g5 but this is trying too hard; now the dark-squared Bishop inhibits ...e5.
6. Bf4 Nc6 7. c3 Nf6 8. Nbd2 d5 (else Nc4) 9. Bd3 cxd4!? ("preventing" e3-e4, but opening the e-file) 10. exd4 O-O 11. O-O Nh5 12. Be3 Qc7 13. Re1 Kh7 14. Nf1 [14. h3 Nf4 15. Bc2 e5] 14... Bg4 (idea ...Rae8 and ...e5, trying for an attack, but overlooking White's reply. With hindsight 14...f5 may have been better, but I don't fancy that e-Pawn!) 15. Ne5!?
[15... Nxe5 16. dxe5 Bxe5 [nor 16...Qxe5?!] 17. Bxh6 Bf4 18. Bxf4 Nxf4 19. Bc2 Ne2+ didn't seem to me to be going anywhere ]
16. dxe5 Nxe5 17. Bc2 Nc6 18. Bxh6 Rfe8
19. h3 Bd7 20. Qg5 e5?? 21. Qxh5 (Oh, dear.) 21... f5 22. Qh4 Re6 23. g4 fxg4 24. hxg4 Rh8 25. Ng3 Kg8 26. Qg5 Kf7 27. Rad1 Ne7 28. Re3 Qb6 29. b3
29... Ke8?! Releases the Bishop, but what else? [29... d4] 30. Bg7 Rh7 31. Bxe5 Rf7 32. Bd4 Qd6 33. Rde1 Rxe3 34. Qxe3 b6 35. Qe5 Qxe5 36. Bxe5 Kd8 37. Bd4 Bxg4 38. Bd3 Bf3 39. Bf1 Nc6 40. Bg2 Rf4 41. Be3 Rf7 42. Bg5+ Kc7 43. Re6 d4 44. Bxf3 Rxf3 45. cxd4 Nxd4 46. Re7+ Kc6 47. Re3 Rf7 48. Kg2 a5 49. Ne2 Nf5 50. Re6+ Kb5 51. a4+ Kc5 52. Rxg6 b5 53. axb5 Kxb5 54. Rf6 Rxf6 55. Bxf6 Kb4 56. Nc1 a4 57. bxa4 Kxa4
58. Kf3 Kb5 59. Ke4 Nd6+ 60. Kd5 Nf7 61. Ne2 Kb6 62. Nd4 Kc7 63. Nf5 Kd7 64. f4 Ke8 65. Nd6+ 1-0
1. e4 d5 (Hey!) 2. Nc3 d4 The other line, which I have had a happy experience with:
Regis,D (1820) - Sandercock,EB (1640) [B01] Paignton Challengers #6, 1995
1.e4 d5 2.Nc3 d4 3.Nce2 c5 4.Ng3 Nc6 5.Nf3 a6 6.a4 e5 7.Bc4 h6 8.d3 Nf6 9.0-0 Be7 10.Nh4 Bg4 11.f3 Bh5 12.Nxh5 Nxh5 13.Nf5 Bg5 14.f4 Nxf4 15.g3 Ne6 16.Bxe6 fxe6 17.Qh5+ Kd7 18.Qf7+ Ne7 19.Nxg7 Qb6 20.a5 Qc6 21.Bxg5 hxg5 22.Qf6 Rh3 23.Qxg5 Rah8 24.Rf2 c4 25.Raf1 Qc5 26.Qg4 R8h6 [26...R3h6] 27.Nxe6 Rxe6 28.Qxh3 Qxa5 29.Rf6 Qb6 30.Rh6 1-0
3. Nce2 e5 4. Ng3 g6 5. Nf3 Bd6 6. Bc4!? [6. c3! c5!] 6... h5 7. c3 [7. h3?!] [7. h4!?] 7... h4 8. Ne2 c5 9. d3
Afterwards, I was very dissatisfied with my opening play in this game; however the expert in this opening (Dick van Geet) has played an identical formation:
[9...h3 10. g3 Nc6 11. O-O Qe7 12. b4 Bg4 13. Ng5 Nh6 14. f3 Bd7 15. f4 = Van Geet-Scheltinga/Netherlands 1968 although he actually lost this game!]
10. cxd4 cxd4 11. Qb3 (Probably a mistake, but it looked right at the time) 11...Qc7 12. Bg5
16. Bd5?! Nge7 17. Rc1 Qa5+ 18. Kf1 Nxd5 19. exd5 Nb4 20. a3 Qxd5 21. Qxd5 Nxd5 22. Ng3 f6 23. Bd2 Bb5 24. Ke2 f5! 25. f3 e4 26. Nxe4?!
[26. fxe4 Nf4+!? This is what he intended; wish I'd known! 27. Bxf4 Bxf4 28. Rc5!]
[26. fxe4 Bxg3! is what I feared. Maybe he would have changed his mind if it came to the crunch]
26... fxe4 27. fxe4 Re7 28. Kf2 Nf4 29. Bxf4 Bxf4 30. Rd1 oh, dear 30... Rc8 31. Ne2 Rc2 32. Kf3 Be3 0-1
Late Saturday night: 1/2 point from three games against lower-graded players: was this the tournament from hell? I do see other people withdraw at times like this, but I thought, I'm not ill, and if I don't go back tomorrow, what else will I duck?
1. e4 e5
Second time I've played this in a match game for 20-odd years; like I said, I was in a funny mood!
2. f4 Thank Ford for that, if it was anything else I'd be improvising even earlier. I have ventured the King's gambit myself so I know some of the theory. 2... exf4 3. Bc4 Be7
[3... Nf6] [3... d5] [3... Nc6] [3... Qh4+]
4. Nf3 Transposing to the Cunningham is what I wanted. Can White profitably avoid this? I think not by [4. Qf3!?] but [4. d4!], when we looked at [4...d5!?] I don't know if this is right, but it seems to get into a Modern Defence when the Be7 is played too early to a passive square.]
4... Nf6 5. Nc3? [5. e5! Ng4 is the main line] 5... Nxe4! I know this is supposed to be better for Black, but it's not the sort of position I like defending: I like more active play as Black, but I guess you have to play these moves to win. So, ...Nxe4 it is!
6. O-O A good response. 6... O-O!?
[6... c6!? 7. Bxf7+ Kxf7 8. Nxe4 d5 9. Ne5+ Kg8 10. Nc3 Nd7 11. d4]
[6... Nxc3?! 7. dxc3 d5 8. Bxd5 Be6 9. Bxe6 fxe6 10. Bxf4 O-O 11. Be5 Nc6]
7. Nd5! c6 8. Nxe7+ Qxe7 9. Bb3 d5 10. d3 Qc5+ 11. d4 Qd6
I liked the Knight on e4 but I still wasn't happy with this position, and I don't know what else I was supposed to do!
12. c3?! [12. c4!?] [12. Ne5!?] 12... Bg4 13. Qe1 Nd7 14. Qh4
[14... Bxf3! 15. Bxf4 [15. gxf3 Qf6 16. Qe1 Ng5] [15. Rxf3 g5] 15... Qf6! 16. Qxf6 Ndxf6 [16... Nexf6 17. Rxf3 Ne4 [17... Rfe8] 18. Bc2 Ndf6 19. Be5 Rfe8] 17. gxf3]
[15. Ne5 He wrote down this one, which is what I expected. 15... g5!]
[Maybe 15. h3!? g5 16. Qh6 Bf5 17. Bc2 Ne8 18. Qxd6 N8xd6 but if 19. Bxe4 Nxe4 hanging on to g5]
Black is struggling for a plan. 15... Qe6 (after 30 minutes thought) 16. Bxf4 Nh5!? 17. Ng5 Nxg5 18. Bxg5 Now White has fine compensation for the single Pawn deficit.
18... h6 19. Bd2
[Most King's Gambit players might have been expected to play 20. Bxg5! hxg5 21. Qxg5+ Kh8 [21... Ng7 22. Rf6] 22. Rae1 Rg8 [22... f6 23. Qh6+] 23. Qd2 Qd6 24. Rxf7 Rg7 25. Ref1 Rag8 26. Qg5]
20... Qe2! 21. Bd1 Qxf2+ 22. Rxf2 Bxd1 23. Rxd1
A real hallucination: I thought the Knight was still attacked by the Bishop on d1!
[23... f5! is better but only equal: 24. Rdf1 Rae8 [24... Ng7 25. h4 f4 26. g3 Nh5] 25. Rxf5 Rxf5 26. Rxf5 Re2 27. Rf2]
24. Rf6 Kh7 25. Rdf1 Rae8 26. Rxf7
[26. h4!? Re6! [26... gxh4 27. Rxh6+ Kg8 28. Rxh4 with an attack] 27. hxg5 hxg5 28. Rxf7 Rxf7 29. Rxf7 Re2 30. Rf2= ]
26... Rxf7 27. Rxf7 Re2 28. Bc1 [28. Rf2 Rxf2 29. Kxf2 Ne6 30. b3 Kg6] 28... Rc2 [28... Re1+ 29. Rf1 Re2 30. Rf2] 29. Rf1 Kg6 30. g4 Ne6 31. h3 Nf4 [31... c5] 32. Bxf4 gxf4 33. Rf2 Rc1+ 34. Kg2 [34. Rf1] 34... Kg5 35. Kf3 Rh1 36. Kg2 Re1 37. Kf3 Re3+ 38. Kg2 Rg3+ 39. Kh2
40... Re3 41. Kg2 Rg3+ 42. Kh2 Re3 (whew, made the time control) 43. Kg2 c5 44. dxc5 [44. Rd2 c4] 44... bxc5 45. Rf3 [45. Rd2 Re5] 45... Re4 46. Rd3 d4 47. cxd4 Rxd4?! (Another foolish bet, which also came off!) 48. Rxd4?!
[48. Rc3! Rd2+ 49. Kf3 Rd5 [49... Rxb2 50. Rxc5+ Kh4 51. Rh5#] 50. Rc4 Rd3+ 51. Kg2 and Black looks over-stretched.]
49. Kf3 [49. Kf2 is the same] 49... d3 50. b4 Kh4 51. b5 d2 52. Ke2 Kg3! [52... Kxh3 is what White had analysed, but is missing the point.] 53. Kxd2 [53. a4 doesn't save a tempo because of the check: 53... Kg2 54. a5 f3+ 55. Kxd2 f2 56. b6 axb6 57. axb6 f1=Q 58. b7 Qb5 still works by a tempo.] 53... Kg2 [53... Kg2 54. a4 f3 55. a5 f2 56. b6 axb6 57. axb6 f1=Q 58. b7 Qb5 works by a tempo!] 0-1
1. e4 d5
Anything but this dismal bloody opening again...
Ironically, Rich had sat in on a 1.Nc3 d5 2. e4 bull session that I had been part of the previous evening, so we played our first moves v e r y . . . s l o w l y . . . in between giggling. Did he dare? Did I dare? (He did, I didn't!)
So, no 2. Nc3 today!
2... dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 (The Blackmar-Diemer gambit, which I know next to nothing about, despite having read a book on it: I know some of the attacking formations but didn't bother getting to grips with any of the critical lines)
4...e3 (The Langerheinecke Defence; a perfectly solid line, I guess.) 5. Bxe3 c6 (Still playing the Scandinavian!) 6. Bd3 [6. Bc4 has been tried] 6... Nbd7 7. Nge2 e6 [7... e5 is flying rather in the face of the four developed White minor pieces.] 8. O-O Nd5 (To develop the Bc8, but shedding another tempo. [8... Nb6] [8... Bd6 9. Ne4 Bc7 10. c4] [8... Be7]) 9. Nxd5 exd5 10. Re1 Be7 11. Ng3 O-O 12. Nf5 [12. Qe2] [12. c4] 12... Bf6 13. Qd2?! Nb6! 14. b3?!
Here's where all those night with the tactics training books should pay off... but this took me 20 minutes! There is no guarantee that any of the lines have a 'solution' leading to a White win (or even a plus); the move chosen was non-forcing which makes it even worse to analyse. Also, key lines with exchanges kept failing because White gives up the e-file, so I had to feel confident. In the event Rich came up with a blunder, but we had fun analysing the position afterwards:
[21... a5!? "Pass!" 22. Qe5 [22. Bxg7 was preferred by Fritz; I didn't think long about that plan. 22... Kxg7 23. Qg5 Ng8 24. Nh5+ Kh8 25. Nf4 missed that one 25... b6 [25... f6 26. Qh4 Bf7 27. Bxg6 h6 28. Bxf7+- ] 26. Nxe6 fxe6 [26... Rxe6 27. Rxe6 fxe6 28. Qe5+] 27. Re5] 22... Bxf6 23. Qxf6 b6 24. h4 and Black cannot pass any more. 24... b5 25. h5 h6 26. hxg6 Nxg6 27. Nh5+-]
[21... Nf5 "Exchanging #1" 22. Nxf5 [22. Bxg7 Nxg7] 22... Bxf5 [22... Bxf6 23. Nd6 Rd8 24. Nxb7] 23. Bxf5 Qxf5 24. Qxf5 gxf5 25. Rxe8 [25. Bxg7 I spent a little while during the game analysing this! 25... Rxe2 26. Rxe2 Kxg7 27. Re7 Rb8 28. Kf2 Kf6 29. Rc7]]
[21... Bxf6 "Exchanging #2" 22. Qxf6 Nf5 23. Bxf5 [23. Nh5] 23... Bxf5 24. Nxf5 (stops ...Rxe2) 24... gxf5 [24... Qxf5 25. Qxf5 gxf5 26. Rxe8] 25. Rxe8?! [25. Re7 Rxe7 26. Rxe7 Qd8 27. Qe5 Qc8 28. Qc7] 25... Rxe8 26. Rxe8+ Qxe8+/= 27. Qxf5?? [27. Kf2 Qe6 28. Qd8+ Kg7 29. Qb8] 27... Qe1#]
[21... Nc8! "Reorganising" (idea Qd6/Qe7) 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. Qg5 Qe7 [23... h6? 24. Nh5++- ] 24. Nh5+ Kh8 25. Nf6 [25. Qh6! Rg8+/= ] 25... Rd8 unclear! White can try h4-h5 but it looks flaky. ]
21... Kh8?? 22. Nh5
I took me ages to realise (a) that Nh5 was now a useful candidate (it was useless before), and (b) that it won, although the very first reply I thought of was 22. Qh6!
22... gxh5 23. Qh6 1-0
Exeter Chess Club: Progress at East Devon
- East Devon Premier 1998: Par for the course?
- East Devon Premier 1999: The Red Queen's Race
East Devon Premier 1998: Par for the course
I always enjoy the Exeter congress, I can sleep in my on bed, eat my own food and play my own game. So why don't I do better?
Regis,D (1912) - Menadue,J (2064) [A34]
East Devon Premier (1), 27.02.1998
Round 1. An impeccable draw. Jeremy has won this tournament in the past... at least I'm not Black.
I did play JM once before in 1991 in this same tournament. After dozen moves or so Jeremy had played a book Pawn sacrifice, and a bit later offered me a draw. I thought, no, I'm here to beat people like you, refused the draw and went on to lose.
It was really Bent Larsen's fault, but I should have known better. I remember he criticised John Nunn for taking a draw against him in a better position, his argument being: "You have all the time in the world to win prizes, at this time you should concentrate on becoming as good a player as possible."
Now, I had been here before. In 1979 I had 4/4 going into the last round of the Thetford Minor, and my nearest rival had 3.5/4. After a few moves he offered the draw, and those fateful words went through my head again: "You have all the time in the world to win prizes, at this time you should concentrate on becoming as good a player as possible." So I refused, lost, and instead of 25 pounds won 2 pounds 50. Meanwhile, back in Exeter '98...
1.c4 c5 2.Nc3 b6 3.e4 g6 4.Nf3
[ 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4 Nf6 6.e5 Nc6 7.Qf4 Nh5 8.Qe4]
4...Bg7 5.d4 cxd4 6.Nxd4 Bb7 7.Be3 d6 8.Be2 Nf6 9.f3 0-0 10.Qd2 Re8 11.0-0 Nbd7 12.Rac1
When I was at school, the Maroczy Bind, especially with the King Bishop developed centrally and not at g2, was reckoned to be more than Black wanted to deal with. However, critical and GM thinking these days recognises more virtues and more possibilities for the Black position.
[ 12...Rc8 13.Rfd1 Qc7 14.b4 Qb8 15.a3 a6 16.Nb3 Bf8 17.Bf1 e6 18.Qf2 Bc6 19.a4 Ba8 20.Kh1 Ne5 21.Bd4 Nfd7 22.Na2 Bc6 1/2-1/2 Gheorghiu,F-Spiridonov/Baile 1982]
[ 13.Rfd1 e6]
[ 14.Nc3 would have been more thoughtful]
14...Bxf6 15.Rfd1 Be7
OK, one pair of pieces off for a chance to weaken the Black Pawns. I suspected Jeremy was just going to go to sleep and wait for me to make a mistake, so unless he was going for a break I had time to come up with something myself. I now had a bit of a think and decided I would re-organise my minor pieces to attack the King's-side. First, get the Knight to g4, but via the Queen's-side.
16.Nc2 Qb8 17.Nb4 Qc7 18.Nd3 Rac8 19.Nf2
Clearly Jeremy is not trying to force the pace!
[ 19.Bf4 Ne5 20.Nxe5 dxe5 21.Be3 Bc5 22.b4 Red8 23.Qc3]
....he offered me a draw... and I shook his hand off!
[ 21...dxe5 22.Bxb6 Bxe4 23.c5 Bb7 24.Qa5 Qa8 25.Rd7] 1/2-1/2
Realistically, White has not that much here, if anything. But a reasonable result.
Fewkes,J (1840) - Regis,D (1912) [B06] East Devon Premier (2), 27.02.1998Jim is one of the nicest guys in South West chess, and that's an area full of pussycats. I drew against Jim with difficulty a year or two ago, and was not confident playing him with Black. We had a Nimzo last time, but I'm still mostly playing the Modern...
Round 2. Pride goeth.
1.d4 g6 2.e4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Be3
The best move I think - flexible and dangerous.
Nigel Davies has been egging people on to play this - although that's all I knew about it. I have had some terrible games in this line, so anything looked better.
5.Qd2 b5 6.f4
mixing systems. Nowhere in the Austrian Attack is ...a6 and ...b5 a recognised defensive system, although Qd2 is also unusual - White normally rushes to develop the King's-side and get the Rook on f1.
Looked premature to me, but presents Black with some concrete problems. It looks now like better judgement than I gave Jim credit for during the game.
7...dxe5 8.dxe5 Qxd2+ 9.Bxd2 Nc6 10.Nf3 Nh6
So far I expected. Black should be able to work up a little initiative here, I thought.
Some signs of over-optimism. Black's King's-side pieces are playing no part in the game, so this grab for the two Bishops loses time. It's not uncommon for players to lose sight of issues like development and activity once the Queens are off, but it's not forgivable if you know this already!
[11...0-0-0; 11...Nf5 12.Bxf5 gxf5 13.e6 fxe6 (13...Nd8 14.Nh4) 14.0-0 e5]
12.Ke2 Nxd3 13.cxd3 0-0-0 14.a4
When I saw this my heart sank - Black can only grovel for a draw.
[14...bxa4 15.Nxa4 Nf5 16.Nc5 is not wonderful but may be survived; 14...b4 15.Ne4 a5 is the pig-headed approach to defence]
15.axb5 axb5 16.Nxb5 Bxf3+ 17.gxf3 Nf5 18.Rhc1 fxe5
[18...Nd4+ 19.Nxd4 Rxd4 20.Ba5 fxe5 21.Rxc7+ Kb8 22.Rxe7 is a bust]
19.Rxc7+ Kb8 20.Raa7 Rhe8
[20...exf4 21.Bxf4 e5 22.Rxg7 Nxg7 23.Bxe5+ Kc8 24.Rc7+ Kb8 25.Rxg7+ Kc8 26.Rc7+ Kb8 27.Rxh7+ Kc8 28.Na7#]
I didn’t even see the threat, let alone the defence.
[21...exf4 22.Bxg7 Nxg7 23.Nc3 (23.Rxe7 Nf5 24.Rxe8 Rxe8+ 25.Kd2 Re3) 23...Nf5 24.Na4 Rd6 25.Nc5+-]
22.Rcb7+ Kc8 23.Nc7 Rd7 24.Nxe8 Rxb7 25.Rxb7 Kxb7 26.Nxg7 Nxg7 27.fxe5 Ne6 28.Ke3 Kc6 29.Bb4 Nc7 30.Ke4 Nd5 31.Ba3 e6 32.Bd6 Kb5 33.Kd4 Nf4 34.Ke4 Nd5 35.Bf8 Ka4 36.Kd4 Kb5 37.Bh6 Ne7 38.Bf8 I didn't have the heart for any more.
Another miserable zero to add to my string of results with the Modern. I tell myself, this is just the downside to playing a complex opening which gives Black winning chances. Which is to say, I think if i played more classically, I'd get more draws as Black. 1-0
Regis,D (1912) - Boulden,J (1644) [B23]East Devon Premier (3), 28.02.1998
Round 3. An entertaining romp where Black played with a certain carefree innocence. I always enjoy games like this where both sides are clearly out to get a result, rather than keeping the margin of the draw.
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3
[2.f4 d5 is a well-known equaliser]
2...Nc6 3.f4 d6
I have a feeling this is inaccurate: the better anti-Grand-Prix systems depend on this move not having been played.
[3...g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 I find White's main Grand Prix tries in this position unconvincing, and I don't know if White would do better to sidle out into either a standard fianchetto system with Bg2, or a reversed Dutch with Be2. The antidotes I have known for 20 years, but are still not always played by my opponents. e.g. 5.Bb5 (5.Bc4 e6! 6.f5 Nge7! 7.fxe6 fxe6! and White's Bishop may get blotted out of the game by Black's Pawns.) 5...Nd4! 6.Nxd4 (6.0-0; 6.a4) 6...cxd4 7.Ne2 Qb6 8.Bd3]
4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.0-0 h5?!
Against a fianchetto system this might be better motivated (see notes to Frost-Regis below.
[6...h5 The idea being: 7.d3 Bg4 8.h3 e6 9.hxg4 hxg4 10.Ng5 (10.Nd2 Bd4+ 11.Rf2 Qh4) 10...Bd4+ 11.Rf2 g3 ...I might have continued unsuspecting down this line - right up to the point where Black didn't move the Bishop when prompted by h3]
7.d3 Nh6 8.f5!?
I always play this as early as I can, although it concedes the e5 point.
White may be winning here, and I knew it.
[9.h3! is best
A) 9...Bd4+ 10.Nxd4 cxd4 11.fxg6 fxg6 (11...dxc3 12.Bxf7+ Kd7 13.hxg4 hxg4 14.Qxg4+ Kc7 15.Qg3 Ne5 16.bxc3) 12.Bf7+ Kd7 13.Bxg6 dxc3 14.hxg4 hxg4 15.Bf5+;
B) 9...Nf6 10.Ng5;
9.Ng5!? is more accurate than the text, leaving the target on f7, but 9...Bd4+ 10.Kh1 Nce5 11.fxg6 fxg6 transposes (11...Nxc4 12.gxf7+ Kd7 13.dxc4) ]
9...fxg6 10.Ng5 Bd4+ 11.Kh1 Nce5
This position we had both anticipated, but now White has a choice. It may be White has already frittered away any advantage.
[12.Nf7 Nxf7 13.Bxf7+ Kd7; 12.Bf7+ Kd7 13.Be6+ Kc7 14.Nd5+ Kb8 15.Nf7 Qf8 16.Bxc8 Qxc8; 12.Qe2]
12...Bd7 13.Ne6 Qc8
[13...Qa5 14.Bxd7+ Kxd7 (14...Nxd7 15.Nd5 Rc8 16.Bd2 Qa4) 15.Nxd4 cxd4 16.Nd5 Rhf8 17.Qe2 Rxf1+ 18.Qxf1 e6 19.b4 Qa4 20.Nf6+ Nxf6 21.Qxf6]
14.Nxd4 cxd4 15.Bxd7+ Qxd7 16.Nd5 0-0-0
Black's position now looks very promising.
17.c3 Rdf8 18.cxd4 Rxf1+ 19.Qxf1 Nxd3! 20.Be3 Nxe3?
[20...Nxb2 is entertaining 21.Qc1+ Kb8 22.Qxb2 e6 23.Nb6 axb6 24.d5 Rf8 25.Bxb6 exd5 26.exd5 Qf5 27.h3 Ne5 28.Qa3; 20...e6! is probably best, we thought]
21.Nxe3 Nxb2?? 22.Qc1+
And that’s about it, I’m afraid.
22...Qc6 23.Qxb2 Qxe4 24.Rc1+ Kb8
25.Qc2 Qxc2 26.Rxc2 Rf8 27.Kg1 e6 28.Rf2 Rc8 29.Rf6 Rc1+ 30.Kf2 Ra1 31.Rxe6 Rxa2+ 32.Kf3 Kc7 33.Nd5+ Kd7 34.Re7+ Kc8 35.Rc7+ Kd8 36.Rxb7 g5 37.Nb4 Kc8? 38.Nxa2 Kxb7 39.Ke4 a5 40.Kd5 Kc7 41.Nc3 g4 42.Nb5+ Kd7 43.Nxd6 h4 44.Nc4 h3 45.gxh3 1-0
Not a bad result, and I enjoyed the game, but not steady enough. I've got to learn to put these safely away.
Frost,N (1848) - Regis,D (1912) [B24]East Devon Premier (4), 01.03.1998
Round 4. A peccable draw. Nick is a strong and promising junior, which doesn't usually bother me although his grade has just overtaken my own.. I like to play slowly and rely on experience against young players, but juniors these days play so many games that this no longer counts for so much. I beat Nick earlier this year, but I never like playing Black.
Nick knew I played the Modern, so why not sidestep - particularly since I saw him play an unusual and rather stodgy Closed line with Nge2 against the Sicilian in a previous round.
2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.Nge2 d6 6.0-0
[6.d3 e5 7.Nd5 Nge7 8.c3 Nxd5 9.exd5 sealing the hole on d5 9...Ne7 10.0-0 0-0 11.f4 Bd7 12.h3 Qc7 13.Be3 Rae8 14.Qd2 Nf5 15.Bf2 h5 16.Rae1 Qd8 17.Kh2 Bh6 18.h4 Qf6 19.Be4 exf4 20.Nxf4 Nxh4 21.Be3 Nf5 22.Bxf5 Qxf5 23.Qg2 Qg4 24.Qe2 Qxe2+ 25.Rxe2 Re5 26.Ree1 Rfe8 27.Bf2 h4 28.Rxe5 Rxe5 29.d4 hxg3+ 30.Kxg3 Rg5+ 31.Kh2 Rf5 32.Be3 cxd4 33.cxd4 Kh7 34.Rf2 g5 35.Ne2 Rxf2+ 36.Bxf2 f5 0-1 Smyslov,V-Botvinnik,M/Moscow Wch-m 1954]
As in Smyslov-Botvinnik. I play this formation as White and Black in several openings, and feel very happy with it. Moreover, I think the white side offers nothing.
7.d3 Nge7 8.Be3 0-0
[8...h5!? 9.h3 Be6 10.Nd5 Qd7 11.h4 Bxd5 12.exd5 Nd4 13.c3 Ndf5 14.Bg5 0-0 15.a4 Qc7 16.a5 b5 17.axb6 axb6 18.Qb3 b5 19.Rxa8 Rxa8 20.Qxb5 Rb8 21.Qa4 Rxb2 22.Qe8+ Bf8 23.Ra1 Qc8 24.Qxc8 Nxc8 25.Kf1 Nb6 26.c4 Be7 27.Be4 Bxg5 Kharitonov Andrei Y-Psakhis Lev/Cup World (open), Moscow (Russ 1989]
9.Qd2 Nd4 10.Nd1
I was suffering from my usual emotional journey as Black: fear, relief, and then wild optimism. Hence...
...but there were milder reactions available for one so undeveloped.
[10...Bg4 11.f3 Be6 12.c3 Nxe2+ 13.Qxe2 Rc8 14.f4 exf4 15.gxf4 d5; 10...Be6]
11.Nc1 fxe4 12.Bxd4 exd4
[12...cxd4 13.dxe4 d5]
13.dxe4 d5 14.exd5 Nxd5 15.Nb3!
Oh dear, hadn't seen that preliminary move, so I'm dropping a Pawn. Right, play two aggressive developing moves while his pieces are getting sorted out and offer a draw.
[16.c4!? Nf6 17.Nxc5 Rc8 18.Nxb7 Qd7]
16...Rc8 17.Nd3 Re8
Perhaps experience did tell in the end - I'd have looked forward to unravelling this one as White. But that ..f5 move was painful to watch.
Hodge,D (1912) - Regis,D (2040) [B23] East Devon Premier (5), 01.03.1998
Round 5. Hat trick. Another junior, and David's results this year have been excellent. Before the game David reminded me we had played two dull English openings and had two draws. Actually, both were pretty exciting, but I was determined not to draw this one, and so against my better judgement decided to mix it.
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 d6 4.Nf3 g6 5.Bc4 Bg7 6.f5!?
It seems this exact position has not often been met before.
[6.0-0 e6 7.f5 gxf5 8.d3 Nge7 9.Ng5 d5 10.Qh5 Ne5 11.exd5 exd5 12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.Re1 Rf8 14.Nf3 Ne7 15.Nxe5 Qd4+ 16.Be3 Qxe5 17.Bg5 Qd4+ 18.Kh1 Bf6 19.c3 Qd6 20.Bh6 b5 21.Bb3 Rh8 22.Qxf7+ Kd8 23.Bf4 Qc6 24.d4 Bh4 25.dxc5 Rg8 26.Rad1+ Bd7 27.Re2 Qf6 28.Rxe7 Qxf7 29.Rxf7 Be7 30.c6 Ke8 31.Rxd7 Bc5 32.Rxh7 1-0 Watson,W-Gutman,L/Hastings 1984]
6...Nf6 7.0-0 Bd7!?
Looked a bit inconsequential to me. After the game David rattled off a variation showing why he thought it was indispensible, which I instantly forgot.
[7...0-0 8.d3 Na5 9.Bb3 Nxb3 10.axb3 e6 11.Qe1 Ng4 12.fxe6 fxe6 13.Qg3 Ne5 14.Bf4 Nf7 15.e5 dxe5 16.Be3 b6 17.Ne4 Bb7 18.Nfg5 Nxg5 19.Nxg5 Rf6 20.Qh3 h6 21.Nxe6 Bc8 22.Nxd8 Bxh3 23.Rxf6 Bxf6 24.Nb7 Bd7 25.Nd6 Bg7 26.b4 cxb4 27.Bxb6 a6 28.Bc5 Bf8 29.Bxb4 Rb8 30.Ne4 Rxb4 31.Nf6+ Kf7 32.Nxd7 Bd6 33.Ra5 Ke6 34.Nc5+ Bxc5+ 35.Rxc5 Rxb2 36.Rc6+ Kf5 37.Kf2 a5 38.Ke3 Ra2 39.Rc8 Ra4 40.c3 Kf6 41.Rc6+ Jovanovic Sasa-Mujagic R/It, Novi Sad 1988]
8.d3 a6 9.a4 e6
So far, so predictable.
10.fxe6 fxe6 11.Qe1 0-0 12.Bg5 Qb6?!
This was an interesting point in the game. By sending the Queen to the Queen's-side Black is saying that White is bluffing; it's up to White to show that he is not. Actually, I think Black is bluffing, the b-Pawn is a risky meal for Black, allowing White Rb1-b2xb7xd7/g7.
[13.a5?! Nxa5 14.Rxa5 Qxa5 15.Qh4 Sacrifices an exchange for a tempo, but it's too hard to get the Nc3 and Bc4 over for the attack at the moment. Hence the text move, which does a number of jobs.]
White's position suddenly looks a lot better, and can fantasise about winning the e-Pawn if all else fails.
I was pleased to get this in - Black's Queen's-side play is often very powerful in this line, whereas now Black cannot break there easily.
15...Qc7 16.Qh4 Nd4 17.Nxd4 exd4
A critical point.
[18.Be7!? A quieter approach which may have been more successful: David showed the line
A) 18...Nxe7! best 19.Qxe7 which I thought was a swing in the air, but David saw that it threatens Bxe6 - if I had realised this I might have been tempted. 19...Qc6 (19...Rae8 20.Bxe6+ Kh8 21.Qxd7) 20.Ng5 Rxf1+ 21.Rxf1 Re8 22.Qf7+ Kh8 23.Re1 Rf8 and Black has a draw in hand;
B) 18...Rxf1+ is playing for a loss 19.Rxf1 Qxa5 (19...Ne3 20.Ng5 h6 21.Nxe6 Bxe6 22.Bxe6+ Kh7 23.Rf7) 20.Nxc5 Qc7 21.Qf2; 18.Bf6? Nxf6 19.Nxf6+ Bxf6 20.Rxf6 Rae8 21.Re1? Qxa5; 18.Bh6!? Bxh6 19.Qxh6 Bb5 (19...Ne3 20.Ng5+-) 20.Bxd5 exd5 21.Nf6+ Kh8 22.Nxd5=]
18...Nxf6 19.Bxf6 Bxf6 20.Rxf6 Qe5!
I'd missed this move, defending e6 and attacking f6. White has problems because he is a Pawn down, although Black may have problems realising it.
[21.Raf1 Rxf6 22.Rxf6 Rf8 23.Rxf8+ Kxf8 24.Qd8+ (24.Qh6+ Kg8 25.Kf2) 24...Be8 (24...Kf7 25.Qxd7+ Kf8 26.Kf1) 25.h3 Qe3+ 26.Kh2 Qf4+ 27.Kg1]
21...Rxf8 22.Re1 Qf5 23.h3 Kg7 24.Qg3 Qf4?
Daft - Black had nothing to lose by badgering White for a while, looking for improvements in his position, and waiting for a mistake.
25.Qxf4 Rxf4 26.Bxe6 1/2-1/2
2 1/2 out of 5 is no more than a par performance, which is not reassuring, because my league chess is usually below par. I had two good draws against two good players, and one not-so-good draw against Nick. I enjoyed the win, which could have been better played, and not the loss, which could have been a lot better.
For an overall view: the whole thing looks to me now a bit under-committed, over-tired, not digging deep enough. Also, I didn't play very many moves this year - the two bale-out draws also smacked rather of lack of energy and patience, but that's perhaps just how I feel now it's over!
East Devon Premier 1999
Friday afternoon I have been taking a long hard look at my chess this year, because despite all the study and book knowledge (not just opening knowledge) over the last few years, the grade remains static. I've been trying to play more classically, and in a more open style, and with fewer of the over-sophisticated modern openings that I have played so much. So far this has seen a movement in the grade, although it was not so much a movement as a plummet. I had scraped a measly two draws from my last six games for club and county, so I was hoping this tournament was going to see a return to form. Although I've done a lot of thinking about other people's chess in recent years, it may be a case of, Physician, heal thyself.
[It would be easy to look to non-chess reasons for the decline; visitors to the Web site will recognise that I have found other calls on my time and energy over the last couple of years, but on the other hand I don't want to excuse poor chess by non-chess arguments.]
Talbot,A (1800) - Regis,D (1912) [D37] East Devon Premier (1), 26.02.1999
Round 1. A matter of taste. Black in Round One, outgrading my opponent, maybe a good time time to skip the Modern and play something new.
Not usual for me - which is to say, I haven't played this for about 25 years. However, I've been getting some advice from Tony Dempsey, our resident master coach, that this is a better way to play to improve. OK, anything once.
2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Bf4
Oh dear, don't know much about this, not to worry.
5...0-0 6.e3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.Qc2 Na6?
Inaccurate, sidelining the Knight. It also leaves the c-file clear, which deterred my opponent from Queen's-side castling. I'd actually have preferred it if he had - the file is still open!
[8...Nc6! is main-line theory which I could only guess at.]
9.a3 dxc4 10.Bxc4 Bd7 11.Rd1 Qc8 12.Bd3 h6 13.0-0?!
[13.Ne5! immediately, gains the two Bishops or Black must disconnect Rooks]
Now Black can organise in peace.
14...Be8! 15.Rd2 Be7 16.b4 Nh5
I was starting to cheer up here: I can recycle my dismal Knight on a6, and have just gained the two Bishops. White is still much more active, though, and as so often in chess that's what counts.
17.Rc1 Nxf4 18.exf4
19.Bxa6 bxa6 20.Nd5!
Ouch - however, Black can survive, not least since the capture on a6 has freed the b7 square. It's hard to notice moves that are not available in the starting position, and White was surprised by my next move.
20...Qb7 21.Nxe7+ Qxe7 22.Rxd8 Rxd8 23.Nc6 Bxc6 24.Qxc6
Black has no reason to decline. Depressing - being on the worse of a draw without any active chances is no way to play in a Swiss, let alone any way to enjoy your game. Also, I hoped that playing this way would require lot less theory than other approaches, but I wasn't really finding the right moves by my own thinking.
Regis,D (1912) - Littlejohns,D (1800) [D37] East Devon Premier (2), 27.02.1999Having avoided each other entirely for the eight years I've played chess in the South West, this is the third time I've played David Littlejohns this year. David's current grade of 150 doesn't reflect his past strength, but we've had a win each earlierm, and were both looking for blood, I think.
Round 2: From the back foot 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4
[4.Bd3 is my usual preference, but I've had more advice...]
4...Nf6 5.Nc3 g6
Aagaard claims this is a poor line for Black, but at club level it seems to be thriving.
[I think Aagaard's book (Cadogan) is excellent - each chapter has an 'ideas' section and a theory section, with illustrative games. So often the balance between these is all wrong, but here the recipe is just right. Sadly, I hadn't read this book before the game!]
6.cxd5 Bg7 7.Qb3 0-0 8.Be2 Nbd7 9.Bf3 Nb6 10.Nge2
I have committed a chess sin here - playing a sharp and fashionable variation without understanding the ideas. White's plan here is to return the d-Pawn by d5-d6, and announce that Black's pieces are misplaced. Not knowing this, I had some problems handling the next phase.
Unusual and not recommended, but my opponent has had a good time with it.
Alternatives are [10...Bg4; 10...Bf5]
[11.0-0 a4 12.Qb5 Bd7 13.Qb4 1-0 Computer \\-Haba Zdenek/It (open) 1991 (42)]
Again, alternatives have been tried like [11...Bf5
Plausible but mistaken.
More to the point is the way Dolmativ playes it:
[12.Nb5! Qb4+ 13.Qxb4 axb4 14.d6 exd6 15.Nxd6 (15.b3 Be6 16.Nc7 Rab8 17.Nxe6 fxe6 18.Bd2 Nbd5 19.0-0 Kf7 20.Rfc1 Rfc8 21.g4 Nc3 22.Nxc3 bxc3 23.Rxc3 Rxc3 24.Bxc3 Nd5 25.Bxd5 exd5 1-0 Dolmatov Sergey-Halldorsson Bragi/It (open) 1988 (54) 15...Rxa4 16.Rxa4 Nxa4 17.0-0 Be6 18.Nf4 Rd8 19.Nxb7 Rxd4 20.Nxe6 fxe6 21.Bc6 b3 22.Be3 Rb4 23.Bd2 Rb6 24.Bxa4 Rxb7 25.Bc3 Nd5 26.Bxg7 Kxg7 27.Ra1 Nf4 28.Kf1 Nd3 29.Ra3 Behling Robert-Derikum Axel/Bundesliga 1984/85 1984]
12...Qb4 13.Qd1 Nfxd5
I hadn't even realised this move was possible! Oh dear, another duff position from an openings experiment.
14.Bd2 Qd6 15.0-0
[15.Ne4 Qc6 16.Nc5 Nc4 and White's Knight looks a bit lonely.]
Just in case the Ne4 idea re-appears. I felt like I was playing Black here - in a cramped position facing lively pieces.
16.Nxd5 Nxd5 17.Qb3 Be6 18.Qb5 b6 19.Rac1 Rac8
White has got a bit more active now. I had a long think here and came up with a plan to attack the Queen's-side, at cost of the Bishop pair.
20.Bxd5!? Bxd5 21.Bf4 Qe6 22.Bc7
Those were White's opening remarks to the jury; Black's rebuttal starts:
22...Qe4 23.f3 Bxd4+ 24.Kh1!
Black missed this one.
24...Qe3 25.Nxd4 Qxd4 26.Bxb6
White's King dodge means that this move comes with tempo.
White's plan has been a complete success, rather surprisingly.
27...Qf5 28.Bc7 e6 29.b4 Qf6 30.Qc5 Qb2 31.a5 Qa3 32.b5 Qxc5 33.Rxc5 Ra8 34.a6 Rfc8 35.Ra1 Bb7 36.h3 Re8 (time control) 37.Ra5?
After resetting the clocks and stuff, I forgot the point of playing h3! Not to worry, it's still a cruise from here.
[37.axb7! Rxa1+ 38.Kh2 Ra7 (38...Re1 39.Bd6) 39.b8Q Rxb8 40.Bxb8 Rb7 41.Bc7 Kf8 42.b6]
37...Bc8 38.Rc6 Re7 39.Bd6 Rd7 40.Rb6 Rda7 41.Rb8 Rxb8 42.Bxb8 Ra8 43.a7 Kf8 44.b6 Ke8 45.Rc5 Kd7 46.Rc7+ 1-0
Quite satisfying in the end - all too often I collapse when faced with problems, but here I fought my way out.
Lee,N (1984) - Regis,D (1912) [D37] East Devon Premier (3), 27.02.1999At last an opponent graded higher than me, but I'd sooner be White, of course.
Round 3. The one that got away
I've been bullied out of the Modern, so my second-string is the Sicilian. I don't know a lot about it, but I like it.
[1...e6 one day I'll get the courage to try this; Tony D has a theory that it provokes more mistakes from White than Black in club play]
2.Nf3 g6 3.d4 Bg7 4.d5 b5!?
I have known of the possibility of this outrageous move for many years, and as it's the only one that didn't tranpose to openings I have never played, it got the vote. Unfortunately, as usual, I'm playing things I have never studied seriously, i.e. I knew the theory as far as move 4!
[4...d6 is a Schmidt Benoni 5.Be2 (5.Nc3) ]
[5.Nbd2 a6 6.a4! bxa4 7.Nc4 d6 8.Bd2 Qc7 9.Ba5 Qb7 10.Rxa4 += Kluger-Jeney, Budapest 1962.; 5.c3 a6 6.a4 bxa4 (6...b4 7.cxb4 cxb4 8.a5 Black's QNP is artificially isolated 7.Qxa4 Nf6 8.Nbd2 0-0 9.Qa5 d6 10.Qxd8 Rxd8]
5...a6 6.a4 d6?
Having been caught bluffing I thought I'd sac a Pawn.
[but 6...bxa4! has to be better, when 7.Bf4 f6 8.Nc3 (8.d6 better) 8...fxe5 9.Nxe5 Nf6 10.Be2 0-0 11.Qd2 d6 Schmid-Bilek, Varna Oympiad 1962 12.Nf3 produces a position that offers chances to both sides]
7.exd6 Qxd6 8.axb5 Nf6 9.Nc3?
Developing is natural, but
[9.c4! would have revealed the pawn sac as even more bluff!]
9...0-0 10.g3 Bb7 11.Bf4 e5!?
this has to be tried; White visibly slumped
[12.Bxe5 is very playable, in fact 12...Re8 13.Be2! (13.Qe2 is less good - although it stops Black getting two pieces for a Rook, it hobbles White's development even more 13...Qb6) 13...Rxe5 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 15.0-0 axb5 16.Rxa8 Bxa8 17.Bxb5 With two Pawns, one passed, and probable exchanges coming up, White with the Rook may be better placed than Black with the two pieces.]
[12...exf4 13.axb7 Rxa1 14.Qxa1 Re8+ 15.Be2 Nxd5 16.Kf1 Nxc3 17.bxc3 Qe7 18.Bb5 Qxb7 19.Bxe8 Qxf3 20.Rg1]
I felt the sun was coming out again. Lucky!
[13.Bxe5 Rfe8 14.Qe2]
13...Nb4 14.Rxa8 Rxa8 15.Bxf6 Qxf6 16.Bc4
16...Ra1! 17.Qxa1 Nxc2+ 18.Ke2 Nxa1 19.Rxa1
White, in addition to his other problems, was down to his last ten minutes.Black has problems too: although the material situation is nice, his pieces are passive and White has a very concrete plan to follow by advancing the d-Pawn.
Activity at any price.
20.Nd2 Qb6 21.Na4 Qb4 22.Ra3
[22...Bxb2 I didn't fancy this but it may be OK: 23.Rb3 Qxa4 24.Rxb7 (24.Rxb2) ; 22...Bh6! I didn't see this winning move! 23.Rc3]
23.Rb3 Qxa4 24.Rxb7 Bd6
[24...Qc2! - forward rather than backward... 25.d6 Bxd6 26.Rxf7 Kh8 27.b3 Be5 28.Rd7 is still a struggle]
White may now be winning, but is down to less than two minutes....
26...Qd8 27.Rc6 f5 28.Ba6 Kf7 29.Nc4 Bc7
Black is slipping back down a slippery slope.
30...f4 31.d6 f3+ 32.Kd1 Bb6 33.Rd5 Bxf2 34.d7 Ke6 35.Re5+
Curiously, I too the e-Pawn here, illegally giving my opponent another two minutes on the clock, for which he was duly grateful.
35...Kf6 36.Rd5 e3
Things are hotting up!
37.Ne5 e2+ 38.Bxe2 fxe2+ 39.Kxe2 Bb6
Maybe I can afford to lose a piece now, having won one.
40.Nc6 Qa8 41.Rd6+ Kg7
[42...Qe4+ 43.Kd1 Kf7! 44.Nc6 We thought may be a draw at best for Black, but in fact Black may be able to pick up Pawns before White can consolidate. 44...Qb1+ 45.Kd2 Qb2+ 46.Ke1 (46.Kd1 Qxb3+ 47.Kd2 Qe3+) 46...Qf2+ 47.Kd1 Qg1+ 48.Kd2 Qxh2+ 49.Kc1 Qxg3]
43.Rxb6 Qxb6 44.d8Q 1-0
Regis,D (1912) - Piper,S (1864) [D37] East Devon Premier (4), 28.02.1999
Round 4: A hack I always avoid the Open Sicilian, but I like the positions for both sides. Maybe one day I'll get to grips with it, but occasionally I sidle in from other lines, and I do all right.
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6 3.f4
[3.g3 might be a way of querying Black's move order, but I'm usually pleased to face the Closed as Black and I would have felt a fraud playing it.]
3...Nc6 4.Nf3 e6 5.d4
No more Grand Prix ideas left.
5...cxd4 6.Nxd4 Qc7
[6...Nge7 7.Be2 Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Nc6 9.Qf2! is my last idea, a cute retreat which can prove tricky for a Taimanov player. It's probably best not to exchange, or at least not then to chase the Queen, although Jim Plaskett's book says the whole line gives White nothing.]
7.Be2 b5 8.Bf3 Bb7
[9.0-0?? Nxd4 10.Qxd4 Bc5]
9...d6 Inconsistent and may be a plain loss of tempo. However, since White has not castled, and also has blocked the f-file, no harm comes of it.
[9...Na5 10.0-0 Nc4 11.Bc1 Bc5 12.Kh1 Ne7 13.b3 Nb6 14.Bb2 0-0 15.a4 bxa4 16.Nxa4 Nxa4 17.Rxa4 Qxf4 18.e5 Bxf3 19.Nxf3 Qh6 20.Bc1 Qh5 0-1 Littlewood N-Penrose Jonathan (ENG)/BCF Ch, Whitby 1962 (48)]
10.0-0 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 Ne7 12.Qd2 Nc6 13.Be3 Be7 14.Qf2 0-0 15.g4 b4 16.Ne2 Bf6 17.c3 bxc3 18.bxc3
[18.Nxc3 Bxc3 19.bxc3 when the two Bishops might amount to something, but I wanted to keep the Knight for the attack, and use the Bf6 as a target.]
18...g6 19.Rad1 Ne7 20.f5!?
Now or never - if I'm not playinmg this, I'm not in the game at all. White has actually pretty much achieved his opening goals, although Black has blown up the centre and Queen's-side. I actually thought we were likely to draw, since I thought it was likely that exchanges were going to appear.
20...exf5 21.exf5 Bxf3 22.Qxf3
It proves surprisingly hard to challenge the Queen on the long diagonal.
[22...Bxc3? 23.f6!; 22...Rae8 was suggested by Black after the game, but 23.g5 Bh8 (23...Bxc3 24.f6) 24.f6 Nf5 25.Bf4]
[24.Kf2 I was worried about an impending Queen exchange, so this might be more likely to produce a result.]
24...Rg8 25.Ng3 Be5?
Not good, but Black has problems.
[25...Qxc3 26.Ne4 Qb2 27.Nxf6 Qxf6 28.Bd4]
This has to be good news for White.
26...Ng6 27.Bh6 Rgc8 28.Bg7+ Kg8 29.Nf5 h5 30.Nh6+ Kh7 31.Qxh5
with big threats, which Black variously missed or couldn't cope with. It's not clear that White has got a decisive route through but may pick up enough on the way.
A) 32.Kg1 Qa7+ 33.Rf2 Nf4 34.Qf5+ Ng6 35.Nxf7 Qxf7 36.Rg2 Rc5 37.Qh5+ Kg8 38.Qxg6 (38.Rxg6 Bd4+) 38...Qxg6 39.Rxg6 Rxc3 40.h4;
B) 32.Rf3 32...Nf4 the best defence is probably to deflect the Queen (32...Re8 Black can't successfully challenge e7 because there are too many other mates 33.Nxf7+ Kg8 34.Nh6+ Kh7 35.Ng4+ Kg8 36.f7+ Qxf7 37.Nh6+ Kh7 38.Rxf7 Bxg7 39.Nf5+ Kg8 40.Qxg6) 33.Qf5+ Ng6 34.Nxf7 Qxf7 35.Rg1 Rxc3 36.Rxc3 Bxc3 37.Qh5+ Kg8 38.Qxg6 Qxg6 39.Rxg6 with a measly extra Pawn]
[32...Rc7 33.Nxf7+ Kg8 34.Ng5; 32...Nf4 33.Qf5+ Ng6 34.Nxf7 Bf4 35.Qh5+ Kg8 36.Rg1 Qe4 37.Rxg6 Rxc3 38.Bh6+ Kxf7 39.Rg7+ Kxf6 40.Qg5+ Ke6 41.Re7#]
[33.Nf5+ Kg8 34.Ne7+ Nxe7 35.Qh8#]
White,I (1896) - Regis,D (1912) [D37] East Devon Premier (5), 28.02.1999
Round 5. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3
We had played before in the Autumn, and I had revealed my 'surprise' move 2...g6. To avoid homework improvements I had a little think and came up with:
A new position for me. If I were playing the English as White, I would play immediately:
[4.c3 looks more thematic]
4...e6 5.0-0 Nge7 6.d4
[6.Re1 looks more likely to create problems.]
6...cxd4 7.Nxd4 a6 8.Bxc6 Nxc6
I felt cheerful here, having achieved my opening aims. I thought we were improvising freely but this position is well-known to theory and is not at all comfortable for Black. The old Batsford book on this line gives lots of useful White wins and encouraging ideas for White, nothing for Black. As often in the Sicilian, Black is structurally OK but lagging in development, and the latter is more important for the moment.
9.Be3 Be7 10.Nxc6 bxc6
Not unlike the English: Black has grovelled the two Bishops and has kept the Pawns tidy, and needs to unravel while avoiding accidents. Again, White can take much comfort in his extra activity.
11...0-0 12.Qf3 d5 13.Rad1 Rb8
[During the game I couldn't resist looking at 13...f5 but 14.exd5! (14.e5 c5) 14...exd5 is no good for Black]
14.b3 a5 15.Rfe1
I now had a rush of blood to the head and decided I was winning by establishing a passed d-Pawn.
15...Bb4 16.Bd2 Qa7+ 17.Qf2! d4 18.Na4 Bxd2 19.Rxd2 c5 20.c3
Now I realised I had misjudged and miscalculated... 20...dxc3
I has also missed
what I was hoping for, frankly
White has given Black all the opportunity he could hope for.
23...Bxa4! (=) Draw offer. The extra Pawn is meaningless and Black can re-organise the position comfortably now.
24.bxa4 Rfc8 25.Qe3 Rxc3 26.Qxc3 Qb6+ 27.Kf1 Qb4 28.Rc1 h6 29.Qc7 Rb7 30.Qc8+ Kh7 31.Qc2 Qd4
I was feeling more and more cheerful here.
32.Rd1 Qe3 33.e5+ g6 34.Qd2 Qxd2 35.Rxd2 Rb4
White is playing for the loss, I reckon
time anxiety, although he had three minutes for this last move.
36...Rxf4 37.Ke3 Rxa4 38.Kd3 g5 39.Re2 Kg6 40.Kc3 f5 41.exf6 Kxf6
Should be a win.
42.Kb3 Rb4+ 43.Kc3 e5 44.a3 Rd4 45.Rb2 Ra4 46.Rb6+ Kf5 47.Kb3 Rh4 48.h3 e4 49.Kc2 e3?
hasty - it may not be a bad move but I hadn't thought it through, so "?"
[50...Re4! I thought this was losing but it may be winning! 51.g4+ (51.Rb5+ Kf4 52.g3+ Kf3 53.Rf5+ Kg2) 51...Kf4 52.Rf6+ Ke5 53.Rf5+ Kd6 54.Rf1 e2 55.Re1 Kd5 56.Kc3 (56.Rxe2 Rxe2 57.Kxe2 Kc4) ]
51.Kxe3 Rxa3+ 52.Kf2 h5 53.Rb8
this looks awfully drawn, but I fooled around for a while, while I still had some time
53...Ra2+ 4.Kg3 h4+ 55.Kh2 Re2 56.Rf8+ Kg6 57.Rg8+ Kh6 58.Rh8+ Kg7 59.Ra8 Re5 60.Ra7+ Kg6 61.Ra6+ Kh5
[61...Kf7 breaking for the Queen's-side allows the King's-side Pawns to be exchanged. 62.g3 hxg3+ 63.Kxg3 Ke7 64.h4 gxh4+ 65.Kxh4 Kd7 66.Kg4 Kc7 67.Kf4 Rc5 68.Ke4 Kb7 69.Rh6 a4 70.Rh3 Ra5 71.Ra3 Kb6 72.Kd4 Kb5 73.Kc3 Ra6 74.Kb2 Kb4 75.Rd3 is all nonsense for Black]
62.g4+ hxg3+ 63.Kxg3 1/2-1/2
Three from five sounds OK, despite the ones that got away, but I only played one opponent (Nick Lee) who was graded higher than me, and that one I lost. I was desperate to regain a bit of form this tournament, since my league and club chess has been pretty poor, and from that point of view I was satisfied, particularly since I've been messing about with all sorts of new openings and have given up some old favourites. It feels a little like the Red Queen's race, running hard but standing still.
Realistically, it's only in the longer term can I judge this new classical approach.
I'm happy as White, I think - although the lines I play are a bit sharper than usual, with White you have the luxury of slipping back to equality, and I'm sure this is the style I should be playing, and it's certainly a style I like.
The Black repertoire is a worry, though, I can't bear the Black side of double QP openings. Is this a nettle I need to grasp, or are there better, more unbalanced openings? I fancy the Slav more than the Orthodox, even so. See what happens for next year!