Thursday, 28 May 2015

HOCCC: Capablanca visits Ipswich

The text and game below are taken from the 28th October 1919 edition of the East Anglian Daily Times. The only alterations made are those necessary to "translate" from descriptive to algebraic notation. There are errors in the comments in the game (e.g. in the note for move 33 it says that g4 would allow chances of a draw when actually it would allow a Black mate in 8 moves). Just over a year later Capablanca became world chess champion.




Senor Capablanca, the Cuban chess master, writing through the manager of his tour, says that the arrangements for the exhibition at the Town Hall, Ipswich, on Thursday evening were excellent, and that he will remember his visit with the greatest pleasure. He states that he had some very interesting games.

We append below what was stated by Senor Capablanca to be the best game played against him. The finish of the game is particularly good, but the play is of interest from the commencement:-

[Event "Simul at Ipswich"] [Site "?"] [Date "1919.10.22"] [Round "?"] [White "Capablanca, J. R."] [Black "Robinson, T."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B01"] [Annotator "Comments from original article, author unknown"] [PlyCount "71"] [EventDate "1919.10.28"] [EventType "simul"] 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6 {Avoiding the more analysed variations of 2...Qxd5, etc... and also the dangers of the b4 Gambit. Blackburne favours this move. It was also played by Capablanca against Chajes in the New York Tourney, 1915.} 3. Nf3 {Apparently an innovation by Capablanca. 3.d4 or Bb5+ may be played.} Nxd5 4. c4 Nb4 5. d4 Bf5 6. Na3 {Although this move is forced (a privilege seldom granted by Capablanca), Black's knight remains a weakness through the whole game, and the ultimate failure of the defence is brought about by its necessary retreat to a6 on move 24.} e6 7. Be3 Be7 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O N8c6 10. Qd2 Qd7 11. Qc3 Rad8 12. Rfd1 Bf6 13. Ne5 Qe7 14. f4 Be4 {To prevent White's light-squared bishop attacking Black's f6 knight and obtaining command of the diagonal e4-d5.} 15. Bf3 Bxf3 16. Nxf3 Rd7 17. Nb1 {The knight is now of little used on a3, and must come into play somehow. The move has the semblance of a trap, as the moves which follow are unusual and intricate, but the result is the loss of a move for black and a weak queenside. Such a move as Nb1 would not be played by Capablanca unless something definite lay behind.} e5 18. fxe5 Nxe5 19. Nxe5 Bxe5 20. Nd2 Bf6 21. Nf3 Rfd8 22. Re1 Qf8 23. Qb3 c6 24. a3 Na6 {White is step by step improving his position, and Black gradually goes to pieces (see note to move 6).} 25. Bf2 Re8 {Black cannot allow the command of the open file.} 26. Rxe8 Qxe8 27. Re1 Re7 28. Qxb7 {A brilliant coup, inaugurating the final breakthrough. There appears to be nothing better for Black, as Ne5 was threatened.} Rxe1+ 29. Bxe1 Bxd4+ 30. Kf1 Nc5 31. Qxa7 Be3 32. b4 Qd8 33. Ne5 {g4 would have allowed chances of a draw, but this move is also part of the combination.} Qf6+ 34. Ke2 Ne6 35. Qb8+ Nf8 36. Qxf8+ {And wins, for 36.Kxf8 37.Nd7+ Black king moves 38.Nxf6, and Black has still his bishop en prise. A good example of the skill with which Capablanca takes advantage of small weaknesses, gradually accumulating, until the resulting decisive move is possible.} 1-0

Monday, 25 May 2015


DITO (Disaster In The Opening)

This is the first in an occasional series of posts about openings going badly wrong in the hands of experienced players (no beginners falling for Fool's Mate here). The guilty will be named. Today's example is Lamont, R (ECF: 169) - Barnes, N (ECF: 146)(2014).

To show that nobody is safe we will start with a DITO of my own at the 2014 Bury St Edmunds congress.

This was my first chess tournament for nearly 20 years and the first day had gone well (scoring 2 out of 3 against higher-grade opposition). The morning of the 2nd day didn't go quite to plan. I had stayed overnight in Bury St Edmunds - not realising that the church bell would ring every 15 minutes throughout the night (so I knew exactly what time it was when I couldn't sleep).

I was a bit groggy at the start of the day but was pleased to see my opponent go for a line that I (thought) I knew well.

On move 3 I played c5 entering a respectable line (though not the main line) against the Advanced Variation of the Caro-Kann.

White accepted the pawn (the first person to do against me since I had started playing chess again), which is the critical response to 3...c5, and after 4...e6 played 5.Be3 protecting the pawn.

So far, so normal. However, I now couldn't remember the continuation to play. At the back of my mind something was telling me to go with 5...Nh6

The idea is to swing the knight to f5 where it will attack the bishop on e3 and start to put pressure on White's weakened pawn structure in the centre. This is generally considered to be the best plan. But I couldn't remember if this was right or not. After a few minutes thought I was confident that I had worked out something a bit better than Nh6...

A temporary sacrifice of a bishop that will regain a pawn and leave Black with a decent position. After White captures the bishop the queen can come out with forking White's king and bishop.

But this overlooks the obvious...

Black has lost a piece and the rest is simple for White.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Club Grand Prix update

The current top ten players in the club grand prix are:

1stNathan Barnes19.5
2ndClive Bellinger14
3rdMartin Harris13.5
4thSvein Kjenner13
5thMark Johnson13
6thJohn Duff-Cole11
7thEd Goodman10
8thMike Wagstaff9.5
9thMatt Stemp9
10th=Phil Daley9
10th=Simon Denney9

Games played in the club championship, Tony Locke rapidplay and the NECL league/knockout count for points in the grand prix. Where points are equal percentage score is used as a tie-breaker.

There are still a few games to play in both the club championship and the Tony Locke rapidplay but recent results mean that Nathan Barnes can't be caught and has won the grand prix. There is still a lot to play for in the battle for a "podium" finish with Clive Bellinger currently in 2nd and Martin Harris currently in 3rd, but there is only 1 point separating positions 2 to 5.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Club championship update

The club championship has now reached the quarterfinal stage. There have been a few defaults and a few wins against seeding (Mark, Denzel and Simon have all eliminated higher-seeded players). The quarterfinal matches should be played on Wednesday 27th May.


QUARTER-FINAL - Wednesday 27th May
Nathan Barnes v Simon Denney
John Duff-Cole v Phil Daley
Martin Harris v Ed Goodman
Brian Remmer1 v 0Mark Johnson


One of the quarterfinal matches has already been played with Brian gaining revenge for last year's defeat in the Club Shield decider against Mark.


SEMI-FINAL - Wednesday 3rd June
winner of Nathan Barnes/Simon Denney v winner of John Duff-Cole/Phil Daley
winner of Martin Harris/Ed Goodman v Brian Remmer


In addition to the final, there will be a 3rd place play-off. The final, and 3rd place play-off, will take place on Wednesday 17th June.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Colchester A win NECL Division 2

Colchester A won their last match to finish the season unbeaten in their 14 matches. They had already won division 2 but moved to 3 points clear of the B team with a 4-0 win at Chelmsford. The final league table can be seen here.

Three out of nine matches were won by the maximum score of 4-0 (including matches against the teams finishing 2nd and 4th). In the 36 individual games played in league matches there were only two losses.

Date: Apr-2015
NECL Division 2
1 w Ed Porter (143) 0 1 Ian Gooding (183) b
2 b Peter Brander (110) 0 1 Matt Stemp (e165) w
3 w Trevor Dickerson (122) 0 1 Felix Schnell (e155) b
4 b Alan Reynolds (106) 0 1 Svein Kjenner (e139) w
(avg=120) 0 4 (avg=160)


Nine league matches were played by the A team, with eight wins and a draw. The player statistics (by board) are:


Board 1 (Total 7/9)
Javier Ruano Marco1/1
Ian Gooding4/5
Matt Stemp2/3


Board 2 (Total 8/9)
Ian Gooding1/1
Matt Stemp2/2
Alex Orava1/1
Nathan Barnes3.5/4
Mike Wagstaff0.5/1


Board 3 (Total 8.5/9)
Matt Stemp1/1
Alex Orava1/1
Felix Schnell1/1
Nathan Barnes1/1
Mike Wagstaff2/2
Svein Kjenner2.5/3


Board 4 (Total 6/9)
Nathan Barnes1/2
Mike Wagstaff0.5/1
Svein Kjenner1/1
Clive Bellinger2/3
Phil Daley1/1
Martin Harris0.5/1