Tuesday, 6 October 2015


Martin Harris has won his first game in the Minor Section of the PokerStars Isle of Man International Chess Tournament - you can follow his progress here. He has been playing a lot recently as he also played in two events at the Paignton Chess Congress - The Walker Minor (U135) and Reg Thynne 5-round morning event (U135) where he won the U125 grading prize.

Coming up soon is the Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress on October 24th-25th with two Colchester players entered so far - Nathan Barnes (Open) and Mark Johnson (Minor).


  1. I have just finished. Final result 4/7. I felt I got into my stride on the final round. A bit late but there we are! Amazing to see so many top players at once.

  2. My final game score, just so you have something to analyse for when playing me at the club! This can be pasted into an editor and saved as .pgn if it helps.
    [Event "IOM 2015 Minor"]
    [Site "?"]
    [Date "2015.10.11"]
    [Round "?"]
    [White "M, Harris"]
    [Black "P, Willoughby"]
    [Result "1-0"]
    [PlyCount "101"]

    1. e4 g6 2. Nf3 Bg7 3. Nc3 c5 4. Bc4 e6 5. O-O {Fritz insists both here and at
    various later points that I should play d4. However, I don't really see the
    advantage as everything will be resolved too soon. After my opponent's first
    move, my plan was clear: squeeze, squeeze until he makes a mistake.} a6 6. a3
    Nc6 7. Re1 Nge7 8. d3 O-O 9. Bf4 {I preferred this to Bg5 as I was familiar
    with the kind of attacks generated around a weak d6. I was also thinking about
    the weaknesses created on f7/e6 which could be exploited with a later Ng5 and
    possible sacrifice on e6 or f7.} d6 10. Rb1 b5 11. Bb3 Bb7 {Fritz evaluates as
    =. However, in my view this move weakens e6 further and invites attack.} 12.
    Qd2 Re8 {Letting me in on f7 perhaps?} 13. Bh6 Na5 14. Ba2 c4 15. Bxg7 Kxg7 16.
    b4 (16. dxc4 bxc4 17. Rbd1 Qb6 18. b4 cxb3 19. cxb3 Rad8 20. b4 Nac6 21. Qg5 {
    was Fritz's idea but the evaluation is not conclusive. I wanted to keep the
    position fairly closed as I felt my opponent would crumble all on his own. My
    theory was that my white bishop was still active, whilst his wasn't and was
    badly placed for defence.}) 16... cxb3 17. cxb3 Qc7 18. b4 Nac6 19. Rbc1 Rac8
    20. Qb2 Kg8 21. Ng5 {I thought for 20 minutes about this wasteful move!} (21.
    Nd1 {was a better way to build up momentum for an attack. I guess I was hoping
    he would just make a mistake here.}) 21... Qd7 22. Ne2 Ne5 23. Qd4 h6 24. Nh3
    Ng4 25. f3 e5 26. Qb2 Nf6 27. Qd2 Kg7 28. d4 Nc6 29. d5 {I finally got round
    to playing d4 and now d5. Although my bishop is blocked in, I felt that a) so
    was his, but b) so also were ALL his other pieces. I was also very short on
    time, needing to make move 40 in about 5 minutes. So a closed position was
    better all round.} Nd8 {But after my opponent played this move he offered me a
    draw. I was not in the mood because at this point I had, despite the time
    pressure, formulated a very long term plan for taking advantage of the closed
    position. I also felt that I would be able to make most of my next 5 to 10
    moves quickly as I was just manoeuvring behind the front lines. My plan
    focused on the fact that black's a and b pawns were on white squares and
    capable of being attacked. There was one square where my knight could
    penetrate - a5. It was my only chance but it looked easy to achieve.} 30. Rc2
    Ng8 31. Rec1 f6 32. Nf2 Nf7 33. Rc3 Rxc3 34. Rxc3 Rc8 35. Qc2 Rxc3 36. Qxc3 Qc8
    {My opponent renewed his draw offer here but I was having none of it as I had
    a clear plan.} 37. Qxc8 Bxc8 38. Nc1 h5 39. Bb1 Ngh6 40. Bd3 f5 41. Nb3 f4 42.
    Na5 g5 43. Nd1 g4 44. Nc3 Ng5 45. Kf2 Nhf7 (45... h4 {would have given black
    more counterplay.}) 46. Nc6 Kf8 {Black sees the danger now but blunders the
    solution. a4 was still the best for counterplay.} 47. a4 Ke8 {Another blunder
    makes matters far worse than the mere loss of a pawn.} 48. axb5 axb5 49. Bxb5
    Nd8 (49... Bd7 {was the only saving move but even then black was lost.}) 50.
    Nxe5+ Ke7 51. Ng6+ {In the end, it was black who collapsed in the struggle. I
    felt I played practical chess and waited patiently for deserved result.} 1-0