1971: Digging in

Game Vasil,P - Lee,RA, West Wales Open, 1971

Digging in

In January 1971 I stayed at Swansea in the same "digs" as Italian Sergei Mariotti, who was already an International Master and soon qualified as a Grandmaster. 

Sergei had travelled from London where he had just given a simultaneous blindfold exhibition against 10 opponents. 

One evening in the bar, Sergei played another competitor from the Midlands and myself simultaneously and blindfold. In one game he took White and spoke in English Descriptive notation(!), and in the other, Black and Algebraic; whilst we all stared distantly into our pints. He swept us both away effortlessly. 

We met in the third round. I had White and resisted bitterly until the end of the session. I believed I had a draw but adjudicator Peter Clarke awarded the game to Mariotti. I won all my other games (although I had Black in 4 of the 5) and finished clear second, half a point ahead of Mariotti and George Botterill, who won the British Championship about that time.  This was my last round game. — RAL

Sicilian Defence, Taimanov Variation

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 Qc7


The Taimanov Variation

6. Be2 a6 7. a3 b5 8. Be3 Bb7 9. Nb3 d6 10. f4 Nf6 11. Bf3 Be7 12. Qe2 Rc8 13. Qf2 O-O 14. g4 b4 15. Bb6 Qb8 16. axb4 Nxb4 17. Rc1


17...Rxc3! 18. bxc3 Na2 19. Be3

White offers back the exchange rather than risk the minor piece play. 

19...Nxc1 20. Bxc1 Bxe4 21. Qg2 Bxf3 22. Qxf3 Qa8 23. Kf2 Nxg4+ 0-1

Sergei only had money for a single rail ticket from London to Swansea. He assumed he would win the money to return. Equal third was not enough!

[Notes by Bob Lee]

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