"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Richard Réti Again

Réti R, 1928
Another gem from the legacy of Richard Réti. This study is from 1928. It shows that in this particular position, White to move is a Bishop down and despite that he can make a draw.

The problem is that Black has to keep the long diagonal opened. Do you see any idea how White should defend himself?


Monday, 28 November 2011

Pawn Endings: Another Stick to Beat!

Nakapunda-Chumfwa, 2010
White played 1.f5+.
What result would you expect?

Johannsdottir-Hoang Thi Nhu, 2010
White played 1.Ke6.
What result would you expect?

Flores-Leko, 2010
 White is to move. What is White's plan?

White to move makes a draw.

Hope that you enjoyed and you can check your solutions on the following link.

Should juniors study classical or contemporary grandmaster’s games?

This is a difficult question to answer. However, you can find certain reflection on this subject on the following link.
So what would you prefer for junior's coaching?

Spassky-Fischer, 1972
Anand-Topalov, 2010

Looking forward to reading your ideas soon.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Rook Endings: Are you good at it?

Schlechter - Rubinstein, 1912
If you answer my question "Yes, I am!" then you should not have any problem to find the correct plan in those two endings.
Try to assess the position, try to find correct plan for White and for Black.
All what you need to know is that in both games is Black to move.
From now on you can show your ability to play quite complex Rook endings and in each of them you can learn something.
In the first one it is the fact that passivity is the best way to defeat, in second one it is that the harmony in coordination of your pieces is one of the most important factors in the game of chess.

Bogoljubow - Johner, 1929
I am sure that you would like to check your opinion with what happened in those two games. The solutions you can find on the following link.
I wish you the best of luck and now get down to the business!

Combination in the Rook Ending

Prokop F.J., 1924
It is not common to see a genuine combination in the Rook endings. In this type of endings we can see long-term fight for some well-known theoretically won position when stronger site employs the technique and wins.
In the diagram position White situation is not much too appealing, however, White is to move and wins. His unexpected sacrifice of Rook will change the character of ending completely.


A Typical Positional Advantage

Prokop F.J. British Chess Magazine 1953
White is to move. According to the author of this study - František Josef Prokop (Czechoslovak chess composer) - who published this diagram in British Chess Magazine in 1953, White wins. His idea of winning plan is fascinating. However, Black has got another resources which the author had missed.
Static material balance is slightly in favour of Black who has exchange for pawn. However, the major problem of Black position is position of his King. Mating thread from diagonal d8-h4 is obvious as well as dangerous of possible mate after g3-g4 after certain preparation. So how can White win?


Beauty of Pawn Endings

Prokop F.J.:  Československý Šach, 1958
White is to move and wins.
But what is he to play? Can he take on a7 or even block the a7-pawn by 1...Ka6?
Now it is your turn, have a go!


Just an Edge...

Prokop F.J.: České Slovo, 1923
A victory in chess game can occasionally depend on the very small edge. 
In following study created by F.J.Prokop in 1923, White has King, Queen and h-pawn against two Rooks and King. 
White is to move and wins. 
Are you able to turn this small advantage into the final victory? Just try....


Triumph of Blockade

S. Loyd, 1868
Today I would like to bring to your attention very old study of Sam Loyd, an American chess player and chess composer, puzzle author and recreational mathematician, which was published in 1868! 
It is a triumph of the blockade.
White is to move and despite that his position looks desperate from the first sight he makes a draw.
Have you got any idea what to do? 

The solution you will find on the following link: Solution.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Chess Coaching: Who, Whom, What & How?

Recruitment of new chess players is one of the biggest problems of every chess club. Looking for new talents, bringing them up and foster their skill from a novice to a master is really difficult task. However, it will pay in the end. And there were some ideas coming from the British government that game of chess should be a part of school curriculum in UK. Well, it is very encouraging, however, very ambitious project.
No matter how difficult it is, former and nowadays legendary "Soviet School of Chess" can serve as a very good example what benefits can bring the systematic work with children and youngsters. So what should we teach them at which level of their skill and how? Got any idea?
If you have anything to say and contribute to this subject please visit the website of the Grantham Kings and joint the debate. Every opinion is welcome.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Grantham-1 Continues in Winning Streak.

Grantham-1 beat Nottingham University-1 after solid and convincing performance 4:1. There were three victories for Paul Cumbers, Claudio Mangione and Kevin McCarthy and two draws for Nigel Birtwistle and Nick Payne.

University Nottingham-1
1: 4

L. Wu (213)
½ : ½
N. Birtwistle (192)
P. Lam (196)
C. Mangione (192)
D. Lee (181)
P. Cumbers (190)
A. Walker (177)
½ : ½
N. Payne(184)
E. Nagijew (145)
K. McCarthy (170)

Paul Lam (196) played against Claudio Mangione (192) and after 14 moves was in terrible time trouble when he had consumed nearly all his available time and for next 21 moves only 10 minutes had left! No wonder that in such a time trouble he made several mistake! Claudio played nice game. He employed again solid Gurgenidze line in  Caro-Kann and his compact defence was difficult to break through. Lets have a look at this game in details. Annotations were provided by Claudio himself.

Paul Cumbers on the board 3 fought another interesting game. His opponent, Darren Lee, met his 1.d4 by the Slav Defence, which is one of the classic, the best and the most solid openings popularized in last two decades mainly by computer engines like Fritz. The Slav Defence is also very popular at the top level, among the "Super GM's" and it speaks volumes!
Lets have a look how Paul had managed to win with White pieces.

Nice games! Well done.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Lincolnshire U18's Tournament at Grantham King’s School

Saturday 19th November the Grantham King's School was a venue of Lincolnshire u18's Tournament which was organized by Phill Beckett.
Tournament was played by Swiss system, 25 minute for each player, ended up with following results:

Ernestus Jocevic

Neelay San

James Kelly
Grantham Kings
Nathan McKiernon
Grantham Kings
Tom Spencer
Best U13’s

Other “Kings” players scores:
Simon Broderick 3, Dan Southern 3, Haydn Godfrey 3, James Wilson 2.5, Ashley Willow 2, Connor Stuart 2. 

The last round pairings saw James Kelly (4) v Ernestus Jocevic (4.5)  and after a titanic struggle the game was eventually drawn (with both flags hanging).
The top seed William Seed (112) drew with Godfrey Haydn in round 1 drew with Dan Southern in round 4 and finished with 3 after a going over by both these Kings players.
Star performance was Nathan McKiernon who beat the under 13 winner in round 3 and drew with the tournament winner in round 5!

Well played guys!

The content of coaching session is already available on the website of Grantham Kings in the section Chess Classic.

Friday, 18 November 2011

4NCL: Pandora's Box Grantham 6.5 - 1.5 Bratford DCA Knight A

On Saturday 12th November Pandora's Box Grantham played in 4NCL against Bradford DCA Knights A. Pandora's players outgraded their opponents on all boards. The victory 6.5 to 1.5 just highlights the difference between both teams.  
Team captain Kevin McCarthy can be happy.
Well done!
Results in full are as follows:

Pandora’s Box Grantham 2255
Bradford DCA Knights A 1995
211 w Slaby, Jerzy m 2493 ½ – ½ Lang, Adam R
212 b Crouch, Colin S m 2366 1 – 0 Bak, Andrew
213 w Polaczek, Richard m 2377 1 – 0 Hackner, Oskar A j 2014
214 b Ross, Chris N
2237 ½ – ½ Edwards-Wright, Miles D j 1995
215 w Capuzzo, Marcos
2230 1 – 0 Nicholson, Jim WR
216 b Birtwistle, Nigel
2173 1 – 0 Brijmohun, K Louis
217 w Cumbers, Paul
2157 1 – 0 Patrick, David A
218 b Maroroa, Sue wm 2013 ½ – ½ Burke, Mitchell R

6½ - 1½

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Grantham-2 Shocks Newark-1 !!!

2 - 3

Wells D (183)
0 - 1
David I (164)
Combie A (187)
½ - ½
Palmer T (153)
Myers R (158)
½ - ½
Mason B (145)
Ladds G (149)
1 - 0
Cumbers C (105)
Wollerton G (147)
0 - 1
Scarborough J (57E)

Grantham-2 surprised Newark-1 quite unpleasantly when won in tough match 3:2.
Newark, who was relegated from division 1 and has definitely the ambitions to be promoted back, put together the strongest possible team available at this moment. 
Grantham players were outgraded on all boards so it looked like it would be against all odds if  Grantham had any success. To make the matters worse, team captain and one of the solid pillars of the Grantham team - Chris Holt - could not play from unforeseeable reasons. Hence, Joe Scarborough, one of several talented juniors of Grantham Kings became a last minute substitute. And nobody would even dream that this lad becomes the hero of this match after he grabbed the full point from battle-harden old fox Grenville Wollerton who is rated nearly 100 point ECF higher!
Chris Cumbers was in very difficult position on the board 4. Paying with Black pieces it was not easy to face to Graham Ladds who is rated more than 50 points higher. 
Ben Mason after solid performance managed a draw. 
Trevor Palmer with Black pieces on board 2 fought like a hell. Playing against Alex Combie, in wild Dutch Defence both players launched attacks on the opposite wings and Trevor achieved nearly won position. However, he missed his chance and after some complications the game went into the rook ending. In time trouble, Trevor made serious, frankly speaking a losing mistake, however, Alex did not find the refutation and the position then became equal. Both players, running out of time as well as enthusiasm and energy, finally agreed a draw.
On top board, Daniel Wells won the pawn early in the opening, then he stepped up the pressure and finally he achieved strategically won position. However, the game ended up in the Rook, Knight and Pawns ending. Alas, Daniel did not find the right plan how to win this position and finally, after several weaker moves, his King was trapped into the mating web. He decided to sacrifice the Rook and tried to bamboozle me, however, shortly after being Rook down and running out time in lost position he decided to call it a day.  
Let's have look at this game. It is just another illustration of an old chess saying that the hardest thing is to win a won game.

 So it was a "bit shocking" turnover in the ending and now I want to present you the game on the board 2.

Now the game of our young hero Joe Scarborough.

 Board 4: Graham Ladds - Chris Cumbers

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

New games added!

I finally received two more games from the match Grantham-1 versus Gambit-1 and you can familiarize with them in the post Grantham-1 Scores Again ! Those two games are Nigel Birtwistle - Michael Barns and Drag Sudar - Nick Payne.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Worksop-1 - Sheffield Nomads-2 5 : 1 !

Shortly after my debut in the line-up of Worksop, I got another chance to play for this team. This time for first team in a cup mach. Despite that I spent all day in the operating theaters I really enjoy the game. Results of that match you can see on the result form below:

5 - 1

Jim Burnett
1 - 0
Andrew Hards
Ivan David
1 - 0
Mike Newett
Chris Chambers
1 - 0
Ian Barwick
Phil Griffiths
1 - 0
Kevin Marshall
Nicholas Mahoney
Joel Thiruchelvan
Phill Beckett
Sam Rignall

Detail report you can find on website of Sheffield Nomads.

I played against Mike Newett, strong player at the moment rated 162 ECF. Soon after several opening moves we reached so-called Botvinnik setup in English Opening. White obtained nice control over d5-square and shortly after full control over the important diagonal c1-h6. After several exchanges in the center White emerged pawn up with a small positional advantage, however, the Black had to play carefully. He put everything on the king-side attack for the price of another pawn. White just exchanged off pieces and obtained strategically won position.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Lincolnshire U120 Lost to Worcestershire 2.5 : 9.5

Despite that the team lost it is fair to say that there is a number of talented juniors in this team gaining their first competitive experience. I am sure that the results will lead to mind provoking analyses especially among players from The King’s School.
Games of our juniors, Haydn Godfrey, James Kelly, Joe Scarborough, James Wilson, Daniel Southern and Nathan McKiernonare, are available on the website of Grantham Kings.

My congratulations go to two Grantham players - Chris Cumbers and Joe Scarborough - who both drew their games.

Section:  Under 120

Home Team: Lincolnshire
Away Team: Worcestershire
Venue: Thurmaston Old School
Date: 12th November 2011
Team having white on odd boards:  Lincolnshire
Result reported by: John Grasham
ECF Code
Home team players’ names
Away Team players’ names
ECF Code
Mark Bradshaw
Jeremy Humphries
Charles Moss
Doug Bott
Ian Scott
Maureen Clark
Christopher Cumbers
Giles Stanton
Francis Birkbeck
Penny Wood
John Grasham
Michele Clack
James Kelly
Peter Seeley
Haydn Godfrey
Terrance Poutney
Joe Scarborough
Ian Clack
James Wilson
Richard Collett
Daniel Southern
Joyce Evans
Nathan McKiernon
Tony Taylor

2 ½
9 ½