Exeter Chess Club: Internet Chess Challenge

Press release

As part of the Centenary events organised by Exeter Chess Club, we recently (31st May 1996) held a team consultation match against Hafnarfjardar (near Reykjavic), from where came our distinguished visitor last year, Agust Karlsson. One main game, with 40 minutes each on the clock, and one 'blitz' game were played.

  Chess enthusiasts have set up free Internet Chess Servers (ICS) at various points around the world, and there is one in Britain at the University of Warwick (BICS). Although the Warwick machine understands only text messages, software has been written so that you can see a normal 2-D chessboard on your screen, and can make the moves using a mouse. We all had a screen each and when Agust and his team made their move, it appeared simultaneously on our screens in Exeter. The technology worked splendidly, but the teamwork left something to be desired at times and left the poor mouse operator being shouted at from all sides.

  We would like to thank the University of Exeter IT Services Unit, Director Laurie Burbridge, for the use of their computing facilities and for the help of Neil Brooks, Computing Development Officer, in setting up the match.


The teams played under the aliases of their two team captains, "freyr" is Bjorn Bjornsson, and DrDave is our own Dave Regis.

freyr - DrDave (main game) BICS, 1996

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6

  Our two resident experts in the Sicilian lobbied strongly for this line, hoping for...

[3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5]

3. Bb5

  This is why we have only two players who persist with the Sicilian Defence; White has so many tricky ways to avoid it.

3... g6 4. Bxc6 dxc6

  Here the problems of democratic chess became apparent to DrDave: we had two votes for ...bxc6, two for ...dxc6, two didn't care and two hadn't got the screen set up right yet...

5. h3 Bg7 6. d3 e5 7. O-O f6

  We set up a solid wall of Pawns hoping to uncoil behind it, believing that White can't rush us before we are ready.

8. Be3 b6 9. Qd2

  Putting an end to our hopes of playing ...Nh6-f7.

9... Be6 10. a4 a5 11. Nc3 Ne7 12. Bh6 O-O 13. Bxg7 Kxg7 14. Nh4



White telegraphs an intention to attack the King by opening the f-file; we weren't too worried by this, and took the opportunity to undouble the c-pawns and weaken the d-pawn.

... c4 15. f4 cxd3 16. cxd3 Qd4+ 17. Kh1 Rad8 18. Rf3 exf4 19. Qxf4 f5

  Relieving the pressure on the f-file.

20. Qg5 Qf6 21. Qxf6+ Rxf6 22. Raf1



The game was adjourned here so the Icelanders could reconnect their 'phone and order pizza!

22... Rff8 23. Kg1 Bc8 24. exf5 Nxf5 25. Nxf5+ Rxf5 26. Re3 Rxf1+ 27. Kxf1



The exchanges have left Black with the small advantages of Bishop against Knight and pressure against the isolated d-pawn.

27... Ba6 28. Ke2 Rd7 29. Kd2 Kf6 30. Ne4+ Kf5 31. Kc3 c5 32. Rf3+ Ke5 33. Nf6 Rd4?!

  No need for this, but we had about a minute left to our opponents' twenty, and democracy had started to break down...

[33... Rxd3+? engaged us for a while but 34. Rxd3 Bxd3 35. Ng4+ Ke4 36. Nf2+ leaves White a piece up.]

34. Nxh7 Rxa4 35. Nf8 Bb7?? 36. Nxg6+

  and the endgame held no more worries for White...

36... Kd6 37. Rf6+ Kc7 38. Nf4 Ra1 39. h4 Rc1+ 40. Kd2 Rb1 41. Kc2 Rh1 42. h5 Rh2 43. Rg6 b5 44. h6 c4 45. Rg7+ Kb6 46. h7 cxd3+ 47. Kxd3 a4 48. g4 b4 49. Nh5 a3 50. bxa3 bxa3 51. h8=Q a2 52. Qd8+ Ka6 53. Rg6+ Black resigned 1-0


DrDave - freyr (return game) BICS, 1996

for the return game we had 15 minutes each.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5

  The Benko Gambit

4. cxb5 a6 5. Nc3 axb5 6. e4 b4 7. Nb5 d6 8. Bc4



The infamous "Nescafe-Frappe Attack", in which we had been expertly tutored by team member Steve Homer in a recent coaching session.

8... g6 9. e5 dxe5 10. d6 exd6 11. Bg5 Na6 12. Qf3

  Our opponents mournfully typed in, "We seem to have overlooked something."

12... e4 13. Qxf6 Qxf6 14. Bxf6 Rg8 15. O-O-O 1-0

  Revenge is sweet, but not fattening.