The Gazette - May 2020

Sponsored by The Ulverscroft Foundation
Edited by Julie Leonard
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

Three of Owen’s Favourite Games from 2019

By Owen Phillips.

Game 1: Internet 15 mins per player:

Owen v. a German Arena GM: I liked this one for the opening and endgame. Both were rather interesting and the endgame, in many ways, was a natural progression from the opening.

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. b3 I quite like this move against French specialists

3. … dxe4 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Nge2 Bb4 6. Bb2 Nd5 7. a3 Bxc3+ 8. Nxc3 Nxc3 9. Bxc3 c5 10. dxc5 Qc7

11. Bxg7 Rg8 12. Bd4 e5 13. Be3 f5 14. Qh5+ Qf7 15. Qxf7+ Kxf7 16. Bc4+ Be6 17. Bxe6+ Kxe6

18. g3 Nc6 19. O-O-O Rad8 20. Rxd8 Rxd8 21. Rd1 Nd4 22. Kb2 Rd5 23. c3 Nc6 24. Rxd5 Kxd5

25. c4+ Ke6 26. b4 Nd4 27. b5 Ke7 28. h3 h5 29. a4 Kd7 30. Kc3 Ne6 31. c6+ bxc6 32. Bxa7 Kc7

33. a5 Kb7 34. Be3 f4 35. a6+ Ka8 36. Bb6 c5 37. g4 hxg4 38.hxg4 e3 39. fxe3 f3 40. Kd3 Black resigns 1-0

The second one was an internet game too. This time 10 minutes per player with increments. I had black against a Russian Arena IM. I like it because it is seat of your pants stuff starting from a partially accepted From Gambit.

1. f4 e5 The From Gambit!

2. fxe5 d6 3. Nf3 g5 4. h3 dxe5 5. e4 Nc6 6. Bc4 Bc5 7. d3 h6 8. Nc3 a6 9. Rf1 Rh7 10. Nd5 g4

11. hxg4 Bxg4 12. c3 Nf6 13. Be3 Nxd5 14. exd5

I thought 14. Bxc5 was a better option for White despite 14. … Nf4 when I thought Black would only have a slight edge after 15. g3 b5 16. gxf4 bxc4 17. dxc4 Qxd1+ 18. Rxd1 exf4. The game continuation was better for me as after 19.0-0-0 I was winning the endgame even if he had avoided his c4 error! Back to the game:

14. ... Bxe3 15. dxc6 b5 16. Qe2 Bf4 17. Bb3 Qd6 18. Qe4 f5 19. Qd5 O-O-O 20. c4 Ooops!

20. … Qb4+ 21. White resigns. 1-0 If White had played 20. Qxd6 Rxd6 he would have had a winning endgame.

My third game was my loss from Round 1 in the 2019 Olympia Classic Fide Chess Open:

White was Rhys Cumming ECF 224

As black, I decided that against such a strong player I would try a very rare response if White played his favourite Tarrasch Variation in response to my French. I had worked out in my mind that even if White chose his best continuation after my unusual third move then l might well get sufficient counter play with my opponent a lot down on the clock, particularly as I know Rhys has a reputation for playing very slowly and correctly. This happened and as the game went on I only lost out on a draw or even a win when I made my classic error of playing one move too hastily when my opponent was down to just his increments! But the game fascinated a lot of very strong IM and GM players who came to watch.

1.e4..e6 2.d4..d5 3.Nd2..e5!?

My thinking was that Nd2 although regular, blocks his Bishop and so my lost tempo with e6 and then e5 is not quite so bad. Indeed even with best play KOMODO tells me that I come out less than half a pawn down-with lots of issues for my opponent to solve over the board and probably taking him completely out of his opening book and therefore comfort zone! Interestingly those Master level and above games which I had found on Chess Base had resulted on a strong plus score for black! I thought with such a huge gap in our grades why not? In some ways it is a bit like the Keith Arkell variation in the Caro Khan where Black essays 1.c6 and then 3..c5!

4. dxe5 Probably best for him, sadly! He had another major alternative to consider in 4. exd5 exd4 when I had planned 5. Ngf3 Nf6 6. Bc4 Nxd5 7. Ne4 Bb4+ 8. c3 dxc3 9. O-O c6 when KOMODO at home had evaluated the position as almost level despite his pair of bishops! Being a 224 he had chosen correctly! I continued with:

4... dxe4 Actually Nc6 is also playable.

5. Qe2 Qd5 Again 5... Nc6 is surprisingly playable according to my work in advance with KOMODO i.e. 6. Nxe4 Bf5 7. Nf3 Qe7 8.Ng3 Bg4 9. Bg5 Bxf3 10. Bxe7 Bxe2 11. Bxf8 Kxf8 12. Bxe2 Nxe5 13. Ne4 Rd8 after which White's position and apparent advantage tends to dissipate, but I preferred keeping things a little simpler.

6. Qxe4. Qxe4+ 7. Nxe4 Nc6 8. Bf4 By now White had already got 25 mins down on the clock! There were many issues to consider and a long struggle ensued with White getting deeper into his time trouble.

We join the game again after with my threat of 37... NxBf3+!!

At this stage White had already played eight moves on his thirty second increments and had twice reached two seconds before replying! From the following position I want you to guess how I mucked up in his time trouble.

White: Kg1, Bh2,Bf3, Re4, Rc5 with pawns on g2, b2, a2, h3, f4, c4 and e5

Black: Ka6, Be6, Rh6, Rg8, Nd4, and pawns on a7, c7, f7, g7, and h4.

The solution is on the last page of the gazette. Take care all of you BCA friends!