Rex Willis Memorial Tournament 2011 - a participant's view

[Just some notes that emerged on Saturday; even if I had written this on
Tuesday night I expect most of the moves would be wrong, so take them
with a pinch or three of salt!]

The Tournament is a Gambit Theme Rapidplay, 10 minutes each with an
obligatory gambit for all players determined for each round.

Round 1: Benko Gambit (White vs Giles)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.cxb5 a6 5.bxa6 Bxa6

The Benko is a sound gambit; Black gets enough play for the pawn. I
played the most solid moves I could think of, insisting on castling
naturally and blockading on c4, and hoped Black would play too
passively. Not a bit of it: Giles put all his pieces on the best
squares, and played the break ...c5-c4 when it was my pieces that were
passive. I thought for a moment that I was winning a piece, but at the
end of the obvious sequence of captures Giles had ...Na4xBc3 recovering
the lump with advantage. I sighed, thought I had to play for a draw
with bad Bishop vs. good Knight, then promptly lost a pawn. This made
playing for the draw more difficult, but after Giles took us into a Rook
endgame we were happy to draw.

A good illustration both of the efficacy of the Benko and the importance
of having the initiative in rapidplay.

6.Nc3 g6 7.Nf3 d6 8.g3 Bg7 9.Bg2 0-0 10.0-0 Nbd7 11.Qc2 Qa5
12.Nd2 Rfb8 13.Re1 Ne5 14.b3 Nfd7 15.Bb2 c4 16.bxc4 Nxc4 17.Nxc4 Bxc4
18.Rec1 Nc5 19.Rab1 Bxc3 20.Bxc3 Qxa2 21.Rxb8+ Rxb8 22.Qxa2 Bxa2 23.Ra1
Na4 24.Rxa2 Nxc3 25.Rc2 Rb1+ 26.Bf1 Nxd5 ...

Tim unexpectedly dropped a point to Richard S on time with opponents
both playing pat-a-cake with the clock, but otherwise the top players
all scored wins.

Round 2: Scotch Gambit (Black vs Richard T)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.c3 (Actually,
4.Bc4 is the Scotch Gambit, 4.c3 is the Goring!)
5.Nxc3 ...

Since his re-emergence in competitive chess, Richard has preferred to
approach his games slowly, and his first free choice after the
obligatory moves was an inappropriately solid and passive one. I was
able to keep control, swap off pieces, hoover up a couple more pawns and
steer for a win.

5...Bb4 6.Qc2 Nf6 ...

Graham, Simon and Hannah on 2/2

Round 3: Budapest Gambit (White vs Simon)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5

Simon has played the Budapest for real, but these days seems to have
accepted the consensus view that it should give White a plus. I don't
agree with that view: White perhaps can walk a narrow line to a small
advantage in some sharp variations, but that's no different to any other
opening and in the Budapest the stakes may be higher. There are some
less forcing positional approaches but they may just lead the usual
meaningless "somewhere between += and =" evaluation in a simplified
position. Maybe that's the downside of the Budapest: White can create a
position where Black has little chance of playing for a win.

In the game, Simon went for the Fajarowicz variation, the least well-
known line and the one most likely to produce a blunder from White. I
knew 4.a3 was a widely-recommended antidote but after that details were
hazy! Simon insisted on the gambit with ...f6 but then blundered a
second pawn to Qa4+ and allowed a Queen swap. I thought I had passed
all the dangers by then, but suddenly I found I had swapped off the few
pieces I had developed and Simon's Rooks were forcing their way into my
loose King's-side. In a confused position I offered my Bishop to a
pinned Knight, when followed the highly illegal sequence ...NxB, RxK 1-0

3...Ne4 4.a3 Bc5 5.e3 f6 6.exf6 Qxf6 7.Nf3 c6 8.Nbd2 d5 9.cxd5 cxd5
10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Qa4+ Nc6 12.Qxe4+ Ne7 13.Bc4 Bf5 14.Qf4 0-0-0 15.g4 Bd7
16.Qxf6 gxf6 ...

Graham 3/3, me on 2 1/2 ...

Round 4: CK Gambit (Black vs Graham)

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Bc4

Sean met this gambit at the Teignmouth Rapidplay courtesy of Cornwall's
Simon Bartlett; one idea is to play it in Blackmar style with f2-f3. I
knew Nosher had been caught playing it online until someone came up with
the idea ...b5 and ...b4, driving both developed White pieces into the
long grass.

Well, after eating three gambit pawns I was happy to be allowed to
decline the fourth, but simply ran my clock down in a += position
looking for active play that was never available. Graham had it all
under control, showing his class and experience - he had 5 minutes left
on his clock and an extra exchange when my flag fell.

That left Graham clear first on 4/4.

4...Nf6 5.Nge2 (5.f3? b5!) 5...Bf5 6.0-0 e6 7.Bg5 Nbd7 8.Ng3 Bg6 9.Ngxe4
Be7 10.Qf3 0-0 11.Rad1 Qc7 ...

Round 5: King's Bishop' Gambit (White vs Jonathan)

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4

Jonathan immediately came up with a blunder although it didn't do me
much good; the Queens came off and I had to try and show the central
space and f-file were worth something. As it went Black left a Bishop
hanging to Nd4xf5 while I was trying to arrange an accident on the f-

3...Bc5? (3...Be7) 4.Bxf7+ Kf8 5.Qh5 Qf6 6.Qxc5+ d6 7.Qc4 Qxf7
8.Qxf7+ Kxf7 9.d4 Nf6 10.Nc3 Re8 11.Bxf4 Nxe4 12.0-0-0 Nxc3 13.bxc3 Bf5
14.Nf3 Nc6 15.d5 Na5 16.Nd4 ...

Simon and I have both played the King's Gambit as White for real, I
expect it suits his style more than mine! Facing Simon, Graham tried
sliding into the Cunningham Defence
with 3...Be7 but couldn't remember
the theory and Simon got a big attack, finally trapping the enemy King
on the Queen's-side.

Going into the last round were Graham 4/5 Simon 4/5 me and Hannah 3 1/2

Round 6: Blackmar Diemer Gambit (Black vs Chris)

1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3

I'd played the BDG a couple of times in the 1990s, without huge success.
I remember I got nowhere in a county game against Roger Grimes' 5...Bg4,
so that was my choice. I had no recollection at all of how to follow up
this move, so played a strategy that I believe Joe Gallagher had
recommended, of developing the King's-side then playing ...c5. As it
went, my ...c5 was very well met by d4-d5! [because I had spent a move
playing ...Bg4 instead of castling]. I then helpfully arranged for White
to have both Bishops ray-guns blazing at my Queen's-side, and offered
the exchange to try and buy my way out of some pressure. Chris declined
but left the Bishop to be taken on e4 for nothing, giving me 4 1/2 .

5...Bg4 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.Qe1 h6 10.Bf4 c5 11.d5 exd5
12.Nxd5 Nxd5 13.Bxd5 0-0 14.Bxb7 Nb6 15.Be4 Re8 16.Qf2 Bf6 17.c3 Rxe4

Graham survived his experience on the Black side of the BDG against (someone)
and Giles won against Sean.

Simon as Black against Hannah had found his way to a winning Pawn
endgame, but with Kf3 Pg3 Pg5 vs Kg1 and both clocks running down played
1...g2 2.Kh2 Kf2 3.Kh3 g1/Q?? stalemate, thereby tying with me and
giving Graham clear first on 5/6.

Congratulations to Graham and well done to our indefatigable controller,
Sean Pope, who both organised, controlled and made a strong score.

Chess Quotes

"Whereas the tactician knows what to do when there is something to do, it requires the strategian to know what to do when there is nothing to do"
— Gerald ABRAHAMS (this seems to be fairly free translation of one of TARTAKOVER's aphorisms).