The Gazette - February 2021

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.

My Career in Chess: How it began!

Gerry Walsh writes:

After leaving school in 1960 I started an apprenticeship in the ICI Wilton Works on Teesside. Along with the other 120 school leavers I spent a year in the training school. One of the features of the training schedule was a lecture every Friday afternoon, so there I was sitting in the lecture theatre when the Head of Centre entered and barked out “Where's Walsh?” When I put my hand up from the wings the Head pointed to someone sitting on a seat in the middle and said “You get out. Walsh will sit there!” He then told us that the lecture would be about chess and towards the end a volunteer would be sought to play a game. “Walsh will volunteer”, he said.

The lecturer was brought in and introduced. It was former three times British Champion and renowned arbiter, Harry Golombek! So maybe that was the start of my chess career. Some of you may have a copy of “The History of Chess” by Harry Golombek published in 1975. In the introduction you will find the same story I have told you.

Ten years passed before I met Harry again. He came to Teesside to help me negotiate with the local authority to stage a Grandmaster tournament in 1972. The event did indeed take place with Harry as chief arbiter. It was won by Danish Grandmaster, Bent Larsen.

Ten years after that, Harry was invited to be chief arbiter at the world championship for the blind in Hastings in 1982. He accepted, subject to me being his assistant.

So, I thought we should have a game by Harry Golombek. This is from the British Championship, Oxford 1967.

White Bonner Black Golombek (Annotations by Harry Golombek.)

1 P-Q4 N-KB3 2 N-KB3 P-QN3 3 B-B4 The so-called London System which Bonner invariably plays. The plan is to construct a Colle System pawn structure without shutting in the Queen's Bishop. The drawback of the system is a certain inelasticity which allows Black to take steps to nullify the action of White’s bishops.

3 ... B-N2 4 P-K3 P-B4 5 QN-Q2 P-N3 6 P-B3 B-N2 7 B-B4 Not, as will soon be seen, a particularly good square for the piece and it may well be that he should develop it on Q3, even though it is then biting on granite.

7 ... O-O 8 O-O N-B3 9 Q-K2 P-Q3 10 KR-Q1 R-B1 11 N-N3 Threatening 12 PxP NPxP, 13 NxP but this threat is easily met and the knight is misplaced on N3. A better plan of campaign lay in 11 QR-B1 followed by P-QR3 and P-QN4.

11 ... PxP 12 BPxP A serious strategic error after which Black has very much the upper hand, correct was 12 KPxP. Now the open Queen's Bishop file proves of use to Black and an embarrassment to White.

12 ... N-QN5 13 P-QR3 B-Q4, And not 13 ... BxN, 14 PxB, when the two bishops are ample compensation for the doubled pawns.

14 KN-Q2 BxB 15 NxB QN-Q4 16 B-N5 Q-Q2 17 P-K4 Apparently the knight must retreat, but now comes a very nasty surprise for White.

17 ... Q-N4 If now 18 PxN QxN(B5) 19 QxQ RxQ, with manifest advantage to Black, but the queen sally contains a further point.

18 N(N3)-Q2 N-B6 This wrecks White's queenside pawn formation.

19 PxN QxB 20 P-QR4 Necessary to prevent Black's queen from returning to N4.

20 ... P-Q4 Precipitating the issue and in fact premature since this allows White counter-chances. correct was simply 20...R-B2, followed by the doubling of rooks on the queen's bishop file.

21 P-K5 N-R4 22 N-K3 P-K3 Best, after 22 ... N-B5 23 Q-R6 R-B2 24 N-B3 the black queen has to go right out of play.

23 N-B3 Q-K2 24 P-B4 N-B5 25 Q-R2 PxP 26 NxP B-R3 An important move to ensure that White will not be able to challenge control of the queen's bishop file by playing a rook to QB1.

27 N-Q6 R-B2 28 Q-N2 N-Q4 It is interesting to note that Black's knight, established on Q4, exerts a stronger pressure on White's game than its white counterpart does on Black's on Q6, the chief reason being the presence of a backward pawn on Q4.

29 P-R5 R-N1 30 R-Q3 P-QN4 31 R-N3 Of course, not 31 NxNP P-R3.

31 ... P-N5 32 N-K1 R-B6 33 RxR NxR 34 N-Q3 This loses quickly, correct was 34 P-N3 preventing Black's next move. Then Black would have to assault the black squares by P-B3 and an eventual P-N4.

34 ... Q-R5 35 NxP QxP 36 R-N1

Staving off the loss of a piece, for one move at any rate, immediate disaster results from 36 N-B6 N-K7ch.

36 ... Q-B4 Now a piece must fall.

37 P-N3 NxR White resigns.