Friday, 29 April 2011

Member Games - Edward Farrington

Edward came to the Darlington chess club as a junior. He won the first junior trophy in 2004, which was the last time it was contested, until this season.  He has been coached on and off by Norman Stephenson and has gone from talented junior to a very strong club player while maintaining his studies at Oxford university.

He doesn't play that often for Darlington these days as hes away, but when he's back he pops in to say hello and help out with one or other of the club teams.

Here is a recent game he played for the Darlington B side.  The notes are provided by Norman Stephenson.  Read through the game, or scroll to the bottom to play through the game using GameKnot's ichess viewer.

Edward Farrington (167) V (188)

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 {slightly unusual at the 2nd move ... I tried it once (unsuccessfully!) in a past British Championship after 1 d4 e6} e6 3. Nf3 c5 {The downside to getting the bishop out early is that white's Q-side is weakened. Black opens up the possibility of raiding it with his queen.}
4. e3 Nc6 5. c3 {White is playing The London System, named after the 1922 tournament, where it was played several times (this was Capablanca's first outing as World Champion and he demolished the field with +11/=4/-0)}
5…d5 6. Nbd2

6…Bd7 {This looks a little odd; normal would be ...Be7/ ...0-0. Perhaps black thought he would lose a tempo after 6 -Be7 7 dxc5 Bxc5 but white's usual plan against this black set-up is to play Bd3, castle and then choose between putting a knight on 'e5' or arranging Qe2/dxc5/e4. In the latter case, black could hardly  wait four moves with his king's bishop development.} 
7. Bd3 Qb6  8. O-O?! {White's 'book-move' in this sort of position is 8 Qb3 but, after 8 -c4 9 Qxb6 axb6 and 10 -b5, black cannot be prevented from undoubling his pawns. See Edmunds V Stephenson below} 

8...c4 9. Bc2 Qxb2 {Whoever says "A" must also then say "B" (German proverb)

10. Rb1 Qxc3 11. Rxb7 Qa5! {There is an old story (probably apochryphal, but who knows!?) of the
rich man who had three sons and, in his will, left the money to be shared by those sons who had never taken a b-pawn with their queen. Black knows the story and hastens to extricate the lady from harm's way.} 
12. Ne5 Qa6 13. Qb1 {Both players have chosen their best moves since white's daring decision at move 8 but now black plays a little too cautiously; better was -Nxe5 14 Bxe5 Be7 ... getting that bishop out at last.} 

13...Nd8 14. Nxd7 {It was better to retreat the rook but that would leave black untroubled and standing a
little better ... so white gambles.} 

 14...Nxb7 15. Nxf6+ gxf6 16. Ba4+ Kd8 {It was possible to capture the bishop and survive (-Qxa4 17 Qxb7 Rd8 18 Rb1Qd7) but playing chess often equates to "decision-making under conditions of uncertainty". Black keeps his advantage with this move but his king will now always be vulnerable to shots.}

17. e4 Bd6 18. e5 Bc7 19. Qb4 Qb6 20. Qc3 Qa5 21. Qa3 Kc8 22. Rb1 a6?! {For a while, black's best move has been to capture the pawn one5 but it is now essential.} 

23. exf6 Bxf4? {He had to guard his knight by -Ra7 or -Rb8}

24. Bd7+ {This could to a draw by perpetual check from white's queen, if that's what white wants.}
24...Kc7? {One of the biggest differences between masters and us amateurs is that
we get more wobbly when our kings are in danger! Black has to get both the B
and the R for his queen by  -Kxd7 when 25 Qe7+ followed by the Qb7+/Qe7+
repetition would be a draw. White could choose to try for more (at little risk)
by -Kxd7 25 Rxb7+ Kc8 26 Qxa5 Kxb7 27 Qb4+ with an unclear position (probably
the clock would then have a major role to play!)} 
25. Rxb7+ Kxb7 26. Qxa5 {Now white is winning comfortably} 

26...Rab8 27. Nf3 Rhd8 28. Ba4 Bd6 29. Ng5 {White will win more material now and black's only possible source of counter-play, the passed pawn on c3, is well covered by Bc2 if necessary} 1-0

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Friday, 22 April 2011

Member Games - Niall Garner

Some of the members have been reluctant to publish their recent best games. One of the reasons was that they felt they were rubbing salt in wounds of their defeated opponent.  To avoid  this I decided to publish only the grade of the opponent and no other details.  That way we can enjoy the game without any salt rubbing.

Niall Garner is technically a junior.  His play is easily adult standard and has been for a long time.  As such he has been playing in some of the club's teams with some very good results, one we will see below.

Niall is receiving coaching and guidance from the regions most experienced coach Norman Stephenson.  Norman has provided one of Niall's gems complete with his usual effervescent and erudite annotations.

Play through the game with notes, or scroll to the bottom to play through the game using GameKnot's ichess viewer.

Niall Garner (117) V 150

1. e4 e6 {It begins as a French Defence ...} 
2. d4 c5 {- and then becomes a 'Franco-Benoni' - played now and again by GMs Larsen and Barcza ...} 

3. Nf3 {... and then a Sicilian (where black has avoided all the unusual 2nd moves by white)} 
3...cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 

5. Nc3 b5 {This is black's sharpest line ... he rushes to develop his queen's bishop and sets up the possibility of pushing white's knight away by - b4}
6. g3 {white will contest the long diagonal - an alternative line is 6 Bd3  (see Stephenson - Malupinh below)}
6...Qb6 {An unusual move - maybe black was hoping for 7 Be3 Bc5 which looks OK for
him. More pointed would have been 6 -b4 7 Na4 Bb7 8 Bg2 Nf6 when white's best
plan is to sacrifice his Pe4 for a lead in development by 9 0-0 Bxe4 10 Bxe4
Nxe4 11 Re1 d5 12  Nxe6 fxe6 13 Qh5+ with an attack} 

Back to the game

7. Nb3 Bb7 8. Bg2 Nc6 9.Be3 Qc7 {It's a feature of this line of The Sicilian that black's Q-sidepieces get developed first ... however, it's more usual to see a Hedgehog Structure with the knight's pawn on 'b6'} 

10. O-O Be7 {More prudent was 10...d6 to prevent white getting a bishop for his poorly-placed knight by Nc5 now or on the next two moves} 
11. a3 Nf6 12. f4 d6 {White now does a re-assessment and abandons the plan of Qe2/Rad1/h3 (see Stephenson-Neat below)  and tries instead to exploit black's Q-side pawn structure} 

13. a4 b4 14. Nb1 O-O?! {Black should have limited the damage by 14 - a5 when white could relocate his knight by Nd2/Nc4 with a slight advantage}

15. a5 Rac8 16. Bb6 Qd7 17. Qd3 {This is OK but 17 Qe2 (intending to harass the black queen further by Rad1) looks better} 

17...d5 {It was better to push the other pawn by 17 - e5 but black's position would still have been rather prospect-less} 
18. e5 Ne8 19. Nc5?! {White misses a tactical point ... he should just continue his development by N1d2 and Rae1} 

19…Bxc5+ 20. Bxc5 Ne7? {a case of contagious chess-blindness ... black also misses the discovered attack 20 - Nxe5 which would have solved all his problems} 
21. Bxb4 {White is now a pawn up with the better position as well}
21...f6 22. Nd2 Rf7 23. Be4 f5 {White's little manoeuvre has cut out any black counter-play along the f-file} 

24. Bg2 Bc6 25. c4 {A better way of avoiding the skewer (- Bb5) would have
been 25 Rf2 which cuts out a Q-check on the diagonal and guards the 2nd rank}
25...d4 26. Bxe7 Bxg2 27. Kxg2 Rxe7 {Black's passed pawn is blockaded and cut off while white's pawn majority can be mobilised ... it now becomes a matter of whether white has the technique to win from this sort of position}

28. Rfc1 Rb8 29. b3 Qc6+ 30. Kf2 Qc5 31. Ra4 Reb7 32. Rb1 Rb4 33. Rxb4 Rxb4 34.
Ra1 Kf7 35. Nf3 {another pawn goes ... black's task has been made more difficult by the awful position of his knight and the consequent lack of any counter-play} 

35...Rb8 36. Qxd4 Qxd4+ 37. Nxd4 h6 38. Ke3 g5 {A typical ploy in this sort of set-up is 39 h4 ... the sort of move that's easy to miss (the possibility of it arose in one of my old games - against the British Champion of the day!)}

39. Rg1 {This is a young player's move - unafraid to mix it - but an older head would have chosen 39 Rb1 and pushing that b-pawn! Both plans are winning.}

39...Ng7 40. g4 fxg4 41. Rxg4 Nf5+ 42. Nxf5 Rxb3+ 

43. Kd4 exf5 44. Rg3! Rxg3 45. hxg3 gxf4 46. gxf4 Ke7 

47. Ke3 Ke6 {Black's king is stuck inside the "squares of white's passed pawns" (see Passed Pawns and the square rule)... so white will just walk his own king round and win all of black's other pawns} 

48.Kf3 1-0 

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