Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Durham Junior championships 2013

The Durham Junior championships 2013 took place at  Coxhoe Village Hall on Saturday 11th May 2013.

The under 9 tournament was well attended with 12 children fighting for the top spot.

Harry Wilson from the Darlington chess club was in action, pictured below

Harry finished on 5/6 which secured him second place.

First place went to Bobby Green with a perfect 6/6.

Another Darlington faithful Aidan Garner also attended and won the under 11 title.
 As the over 9s had a smaller pool they finished before the under 9s and were treated to a simultaneous match with the oganiser Malolaprasath thittanimuttam Sundaramadhavan aka 'Malola'.
 Some games were closer than others
 as Malola made some deliberate bad moves to lead the games into tactical puzzle like positions.

 All the kids enjoyed themselves.

 All the winners pictured below.

Friday, 10 May 2013

How to read a game with comments

Chess moves are recorded as coordinates for a refresher look here.  For example 1.e4 e5, 2.Nf3, this allows us to follow recorded moves on a board of our own, or if there are enough diagrams in our mind.  Note: that trying to imaging the moves in your mind is a very useful way to improve at chess!

Many games you see in books, magazines, or on the internet have comments to let you know what the author thinks of a particular move.  Years ago these types of games were difficult to obtain, before the internet information of any kind was difficult to get.  Some publications created a system to let you know if a move was good or not and how the author evaluated the position independent of language, which allowed an annotator to communicate with as many players as possible.  These symbols are still in use today.  

I will briefly explain what each one means and then below explain in more detail.

!    Good move
!!   Brilliant move 
?!   Weak move
?    Mistake
??   Blunder

!?  Interesting move

If a move has no symbol then its considered neutral, or ok i.e. neither that good or that bad.

Good moves
Below are three examples of good moves.  
 Me 33.Rxc5! - After 33...Rxc5 Bxb4 wins back the rook for a two pawn advantage

 Caruana 34.Ne3! - Caruana feels the knight is best placed on e3 and thinks this is a good positional move.

Caruana 12.a6 - Ignores the attack on his own knight with a counter attack

Anand 16...Nde5!! As Black can call check with Qxd4 after the pawn capture by White which leads to mate

Brilliant moves are rare, well perhaps not for the current world champion, but for the rest of us.

A weak move is a poor move, but not one that is an outright mistake.  The classification of weak moves as a mistake is a matter of taste.  Sometimes it depends on the ability of the players, or the purpose of the game's annotations, often the writer is trying to make a point, so will over emphasise the root cause of future trouble in a game.

NN - 6.Nb5?! is weak because 6...a6 forces the knight to move back losing a move.

Me - 6.Qc1?! is weak as the queen is not well placed on c1.  Note: not a mistake as 6...Qxd4?? would lose to 7.Nb5 as White threatens Qxc8 and Nc7.

Harry - 2... Nf6?!  weak as e5 would force the knight to move straight away.

me - 31...Kf5?  Taking the king towards the centre is a mistake, better is Kh7 as Black has his own threats with R2b1 and R8b2 mate.  Black's king is eventually mated in this game.

Szilagyi - 15...c5? a positional mistake as 16.b5 effectively buries Black's dark squared bishop and allows White to use the c4 square for his knight.

Harry - 9.Qe2? A big mistake as White has missed the simple 9.Bxd5 probbaly winning the game.

Blunders are the horrible moves where you lose material either directly, or through a simple trick, or you allow a checkmate.

NN - 16.b3?? Allowing Bxc3

Me 42.Qf8+?? which I thought was checkmate missing Bxf8.

Alekhine - 8.Nf5!?, interesting because White is giving himself doubled pawns after Bxf5 which may be weak, but Alekhine thinks that he can use the power of his bishops to counter that weakness.  This move may turn out to be good or bad, that is why we are interested to investigate the outcome.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

The play off

After 7 rounds of hard fought chess Aidan, Dylan and Harry were tied.  The following play off was organised

A v B
B v C
C v A

With Aidan drawing A, Harry B and Dylan C.

Game 1, Aidan  Harry
The game started with both players getting their pieces out and quickly reached the below position.

8.Bb5? Breaks the" don't move the same piece in the opening twice unless there is a good reason to" rule.
8...a6?! There isn't really much point in asking the bishop what his intentions are I would prefer 0-0 and then Black has broken the pin and got his king safe, if White then captures the knight anyway Black would be  a move ahead of the game.
9.Bxc6 bxc6, 10.Re1 0-0

11.e4!  Probably the best move on the board.  White puts pressure on Black's centre and threatens d5 winning a piece.
11...Bb4 Black would like to play dxe4, but the double isolated pawns on c6 and c7 would be too weak.  Black spots the fork which in itself is good for an 8 year old.
12.Bg5 Bxc3, 13.Bxf6 Qxf6, 14.bxc3 Bg6, 15.e5 Qf5 (hitting c2) 16.Rc1 f6
Black presses on!  Perhaps Rb8 with the idea Rb2 is a safer plan.
17.g4 Qf4, 18.exf6 Rxf6 Black now has a dangerous battery on the f-file.
19.Nh4?? Qxf2!
White is lost here, but 20.Kh1 Be4? Forcing 21.Rxe4! where Black wins the exchange with 21...dxe4 roughly a 2 point advantage.  However {20...Qxh4 is much better as it wins a piece a clear 3 point advantage, but much more importantly Black's attack is still in full swing.  Black threatens Rf2, Qxh3 or Qg3 and then a mate on g2 or h2.  In fact White can't stop this attack and the computer calculates a check mate in 13 moves}
Play continues with exchanges favoring Black and we come to the following position.

The rook is much stronger than the knight here and can easily pick off White's weak queen-side pawns, or simply play Rg5 and then try h5, or a switch to the a-file.  Instead Harry tries to move his attacked c-pawn with 31...c5?? 32.Nxg4 perhaps Black could still draw, but after such a shock Black loses.


Aidan couldn't believe his luck winning this game, but you have to play on full power until you shake hands games don't win themselves.

Harry V Dylan was a poor game with Dylan losing his queen early trying for an attack and quickly lost.


Aidan 1, Harry 1 if Dylan beats Aidan its still a tie.

Dylan V Aidan
Aidan tries out the French.  But after playing a million e4 e5 games plays 6..Ngf6??.  Of course the knight naturally goes to f6 in so many variations that this is just an automatic move, but not with a pawn on e5, which is one of the downsides to the French (French players would point out a different set-up making this a fine solid system).

Both players quickly develop, shame Black lost a piece so early, as this could have been a good game.

White wants to exchange down to a winning ending and has just played 18.Ne4 Kg7? Black needs as much firepower as possible and getting the king sucked into the centre too early is trouble of its own.  19.Nxf6! Kxf6, 20.c3! dxc3?? 21.Qxd7 Rxd7, 22.Rxd7 winning a rook.22...cxb2, 23 Rb1
White then exchanges rooks throwing in the knight leaving a rook to take all the Black pawns and we reach the following
51.h7?? STALEMATE!!!  NO.  Obviously 51.Ra7 or 51.g5 wins easily.


Aidan is the new club champion.  A little lucky in the play off, but over the 7 rounds he played well and deserves the shield.