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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Quiz

The theme of this years christmas quiz is "Chess and Popular Music" (groans) - It's only a bit of fun but you will need to think laterally to have any chance with some of the questions. To give you an idea of what I am looking for here is an example

Q. In 1975 the Bosses seminal album title track told us to do what in the endgame?
A. Pawn to Run - Bruce Springsteen (apologies Tony!)

So here we go then, if I give the name of the artist I only need the song -otherwise artist and title please...

Q1. Which Flying Pickets No. 1 single was a tribute to the most underated and as we see here most  mispronounced  of all the world chess champs.

Q2. Have you  played through Karpov-Huebner Graz 1972?. Possibly as a result of this game Suzi Quatro advised us to do what the following year (though apparently Phil Adams disagrees).

Q3. Scandalously kept from the No.1  spot by Joe Dolces "Shaddap Your Face" this superb piece of gothic pop tells the sad tale of a poor boy forced by peer pressure to play the Lopez.How he wishes he had played 2Nc3 instead.

Q4.Its rare for three chessplayers to appear in a pop song but is this 1969 Motown hit is a tribute to (a) arguably the real inventor of the Noteboom (b) perhaps the most prolific chess dvd author of all time and (c) A very underated Polish/German player active in the early C20 (Check out his win in the McCutcheon against Spielmann in 1908)

Q5.This celebrated singer/songwriter of genius was the subject of "Killing me Softly". Here he  sings about the only chess move involving two pieces - performed in an unusual setting.

Q6. Author of possibly the most interesting chess book ever written this Dutch GM amazingly apparently also co-starred in the first reggae song to top the British charts. It tells the tale of how it is much easier to get a high rating at metropolitan, city tournaments than rural ones. Artists and song title please.

Q7. ABC's 1987 hit was a tribute not only to one of the greatest motown stars but also a Latvian chess genius who tragically committed suicide in 1997. Usually the is shortened , I need the full version here.

Q8.Fischers play at the Stockholm Interzonal in 1962 was most likely the reason Susan Maughan wanted to be what?.

Q9.It's 1965 and this girl on a motorcycle thinks 1f4 is a very small opening.

Q10. Look at this - 1e4e5 2f4 ef: 3Nc3 Qh4 4Ke2 d6 5Nf3 Bg4 6d4 g5 7Nd5 Kd8 8Kd3 c6 9Qd2 Bf3 10Qa5 b6 11Nb6: Be4: 12Ke4: ab: 13Qa8: Qe1 14Kd3 Kc8 15Bf4 Qa1:16Be2 Qh1: 17Bg4 f5 18Bf5: Kc7 19Qa7 Kd8 20Qb8 Ke7 21Qd6 Kf7  22Qe6 Kg7 23Be5 1-0.  Liam and Noels tribute to the winner of this game was?

Good luck, if anyone gets over 50% I'll be astounded. Seasons Greetings to all.
The nature of chess

I thought this was a nice quote from the BBC News web page. It introduces an article about Lennox Lewis’s chess playing hobby.
“Chess and boxing seem as bizarre a pairing as anything, but they do have something in common, writes David Edmonds. One is a duel often characterised by cruelty, ruthlessness and violence. And boxing is much the same. “
You might also be interested in this article in which Dominic Lawson reports on Lewis’s chess abilities.
Happy Christmas to all!
Chris Baker

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Across the Board with Dominc Lawson

Chris mentioned yesterday that Dominic Lawson (journalist brother of Nigella) has done a series of interviews with people whilst playing chess.  Details are here

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

B and C team matches 16/12/13

Here are the results lof last nights B and C matches -

Marple B  V Macclesfield A  Stockport Lge. Div.1  16/12/13

1 J Horton  0    R Shaw    1.0
2S Hegarty 0.5 C Davison 0.5
3 I Lentzos  1.0 G Lawrence 0
4 S Hewitt  1.0   D Lobo      0
5 P Kirby    0.5   A Soames 0.5
6 G Trueman 1.0 P Cattermole 0

                        4.0                      2.0

Marple C V Wilmslow  Stockport Lge. Div. 2 16/12/13

1 N Livesey  0       C Mills   1.0
2 T Kay         0.5    K Moran 0.5
3 A Jenkins   0.5     R Warhurst 0.5
4 T Cowling     1.0    M Palmer  0
5 T Thomas   1.0      T Flynn     0
6 Walkover    1.0      Dee Fault  0

                        4.0                      2.0

Playing B and C matches simultaneously was always going to be difficult and was made more so by the unavailaibility of several players. Owing to a series of unfortunate and unavoidable events I arrived late and after going wrong on move 3 (Yes really!) I saw very little of the chess that was played, so if anyone wants to post their own experiences that would be good.

In the B team match Sean won well very early on. Sarah and Paul both drew against strong opponents. Fortunately for me Phil erred in the middlegame and when Ioannis triumphed we were over the finish line. Unfortunately Robert then ground down Jamie in a R+P ending.

I saw even less of the C team match. Trefor won very nicely and then Tony and Andy both drew. Adding the default point gained by Wilmslow having no Board 6 and we were 3-1 up. Sadly Nigel lost against Colin (Mills) who I have always found a difficult opponent. However in the last remaining game Terry prosecuted a magisterial attack to remove any doubts.

So on an evening that I thought might prove very difficult we recorded two wins. Many thanks to all who played and to those that set all the equipment up.


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Limit League host Altrincham

Our new venue looked great on Monday when we hosted three matches.

I've been a little tardy posting this report as I'm still trying to work out how to put what I learnt from my game into practice.  The short version is that I lost on time despite having what should have been a clear win after about eighteen moves onwards.  I hope to post my critical self-analysis later today when the Marple Chess Club's wives section go to Flower Club.

I spent so much time dithering over my game that I saw nothing of the other games.  All I know is that Barrie lost when his favourite Opening ( Gambit in Six Languages) lost him a piece from which he never recovered.  Peter continued his much improved form with a win and Joseph lost to a back rank mate (note to teacher).

86    Neil Dainty        0 - 1 Steve Douglas  99
77     Barrie Edwards 0 - 1 Steve Ward      86
66    Peter Kelly         1 - 0  Wayne Kranz 60
        J Anderson         0 - 1  D Osborne      51

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Match Result: Marple D vs East Cheshire C: 09-12-2013

Match Card

1        Tony Kay             0.5-0.5           Bill Tait
2        Andy Jenkins          1-0              Hartley Oldham
3.       Chris Baker             1-0              Ian Vaughan
4.       Terry Cowling         0-1              Myles Heywood
5.       Jeff Barlow              1-0              Roy Burrows

Result                            3.5-1.5

It was a busy night at the Conservative club last night with three matches being played, is this a first?

The D team match finished with a comfortable win and unlike the B team match we reached a winning position of 3-0 with 2 matches still playing; these seemed evenly balanced to a casual glance.

Earlier in the evening I had thought Chris was potentially losing, but he turned it around in the endgame, his opponent having been careless with his pawns.  Andy finished quickly with a win and I did not see anything of that game. My game wasn't too difficult though we had to pause to reconcile our score sheets.

The last two games went close to the time limit.  Tony agreed a draw in an even position and Terry lost under time pressure.  Thanks to all our players and season's greetings to all.

Marple B V Chorlton 09/12/13 Stockport Lge Div 1 Match Result

Here's the scorecard from last nights encounter-

Marple B          V       Chorlton

1 J Bentley    0.5           C Vassilou   0.5
2 M Fernandez 1.0        R Doney      0.0
3 J Horton          1.0      P Olbison      0.0
4 I Lentzos         1.0       D Owen         0.0
5 P Kirby            0.0       A Beresford  1.0
6 N Livesey          0.0      D Kierman  1.0

                            3.5                             2.5

 Your correspondent and acting B team captain found himself with an "embarras de richesses" with seven eager players and only six boards. In such a situation my only option was to deselect myself and so for the second time in sixty hours I found myself thwarted in  my attempt to play chess as my county match opponent failed to materialise on Saturday. However it is a strategy that Stephen Gerard may wish to employ in Manaus next June.
When belatedly the match started things did not proceed according to plan. Paul and Nigel both lost quite early in the evening. Fair play to Alan Beresford  he showed me afterwards just how much he knows about the frighteningly theoretical 6Bg5 Najdorf and in fact Paul succumbed to exactly the same variation as Chris Sizeland did against Alan a couple of weeks ago. Meanwhile Nigel fell foul of a vicious and very well played attack from Dave Kierman. Next John agreed a draw in a position where it was impossible to play for a win.
So it was looking a bit bleak at this point but not for the first time this season the tables slowly turned.
Ioannis had faced his own favourite defence. Having reached a position where there was no way to make progress he offered Dennis (Owen) a draw. To my surprise Dennis declined and instead embarked on a very risky winning attempt. Accurate play from Ioannis resulted in a Rook ending where he was clearly better and his usual superb technique brought home the full point.
Michael was engaged in an interesting battle with Ron Doney. After various travails a position was reached where Michael had Q+ B pawn V Q. Although the general consensus afterwards was that this was a drawn position I am not so sure - didn't Botvinnik  win an ending like this once? In any event facing Michael with twenty minutes less on the clock I wasn't too surprised when Ron lost...
So all square with one game left. Jamie had won a pawn for nebulous compensation but making progress wasn't easy and Jamie was well behind on the clock. It all came down to a frantic blitz finish where Jamie found some excellent moves very quickly and Phil ran out of time. No mean achievement as Phil has beaten Nakamura at bullet chess on the internet.
So another Marple "comeback" was complete. Many thanks to all who played.


Saturday, 7 December 2013


We took the opportunity to play Joseph and Stuart in our visit to Denton this week.  Stuart lost a piece early on and never recovered.  Joseph played solidly throughout against an experienced opponent and had two bishops against rook with six pawns each.  When neither side could find a breakthrough Joseph calmly shuffled a bishop back and forth until he was offered a draw.  Peter did well against a higher graded opponent but couldn't push his kingside attack.  He also drew as did Tony.

107     D Cook          0.5      A Doust        107
 98     A Ryder          0.5       P Kelly           66
 78     S McIlvenna   1 - 0     S Anderson    u/g
 74    A Williamson    0.5       J Anderson    u/g

          DENTON    2.5 - 1.5 MARPLE  

We have two more games, both at home, on the next two Mondays.  this week it's Altrincham followed by East Cheshire on the 16th.  All welcome!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Match Result, Marple v Bolton (2/12/13)

Here is the match card from Monday nights clash against Bolton.

Marple Stockport
1 Daniel Fernandez 1.0 0.0 Joe McPhillips
2 Alex Longson 0.5 0.5 Jeff Horner
3 Michael Fernandez 0.5 0.5 Nathan Taylor
4 Sarah Hegarty 1.0 0.0 Harry Lamb
5 Glenn Trueman 0.5 0.5 Allan Gardner
6 Iaoannis Lentzos 1.0 0.0 S Dohery
7 Paul Kirby 0.0 1.0 Adam Tyton
4.5 2.5

A great result which for me justifies our decision to enter the Manchester League.  Bolton are a very strong club with a lot of depth but we thoroughly deserved our win.

Michael was better out of the opening (Sicilian) and won a pawn though black had some comp.  Michael later missed a tactic that led into a nasty looking double rook ending.  Bizarrely though Nathan offered a draw just as it looked as though white might be in some significant trouble.

Daniel was able to beat Joe after a Joe blundered an exchange in a drawn looking ending.  Until then it seemed a correct game from a Queens Indian Defence.  Joe is a very talented junior (211) and has even drawn a proper game against Nigel Short.

Sarah played a very controlled game against Harry Lamb.  The game started as a Kings Indian Attack (KIA) but soon resembled a Catalan.  Harry misplayed the position and had to work hard to win back his "gambited" pawn on c4.  Sarah was able to extract the bishop pair for this though with a small edge.  Some inaccuracies from white allowed Sarah to finish the game convincingly with some nice tactical touches.

Glenn's game was a draw which suited us just fine given the match situation.  Position looked like a good Benoni for white.

The key game was probably Ioannis on board 6.  Ioannis looked under serious pressure for most of this game but managed to escape to an ending where he had 2 pawns for a knight.  (plus rook and two pawns each on the kingside).  These pawns were connected though so I'm not even sure black should be worse in that position.  Ioannis was able to simply keep pushing the pawns and even won the game.  This was a great turnaround from a game I had written off as a probable loss at one point.  By now we had reached 4 points and had won the match.

Paul lost against the experienced Tyton.  As white Paul seemed to have a slightly passive position out of the opening and then, in his own words, blundered a pawn.  I didn't see the rest of the game.

For my part I had an interesting game against North West 'Legend' IM Jeff Horner.  Until his semi-retirement from the game Jeff was probably the strongest player in the North West (at least until the emergence of Stephen Gordon) and used to win Opens for fun.  I've played Jeff a few times and it's normally an interesting tussle.  Jeff is well known for steering games into 'his' kind of positions.  with white this means the 'Slow Spanish' (or Ruy Lopez) structures against 1...e5 and also 1...c5.  Our game opened 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.h3 Nbd7 5.Bd3 b6 6.0-0 Bb7 7.Re1 Qc7 8.Bc2 Rc8! which I've used successfully before as black.  I got a nice position out of the opening temporarily sacrificing a pawn for active pieces and initiative in the centre.  It was a complicated middlegame but by the time control it looked like I had a winning game.  Jeff gave up an exchange to reach an endgame that seemed trivial at first but transpired to be quite tricky due to my vulnerable king (I had Q, R and 5 pawns vs Q, B and 4 pawns).  With about a minute left each at the end I'd stumbled into a perpeptual check and had to accept a draw (or risk getting beat).

So an a personal level a disappointing finish to the evening but I was thrilled with the team performance.

Many congratulations everyone!




  1. e4 d6
  2. d4 Nf6
  3. Nc3 Nbd7 I've no idea what opening this is; whatever it is Terry knows more about it than I do. I'm itching to play f4, but not sure so I delay Nf3
  4. Bd3 e5
  5. Nf3 Be7 where to put my Bishop? b2 followed by exchanging on e5 looks the best
  6. O-O c6
  7. b3 O-O
  8. Bb2 Qc7
  9. Ba3 Re8 Why did I do that; it just forces him to develop?
  10. Qd2 b5 after only 10 moves I am 17 minutes behind on time
  11. Rad1 Bb7 The Bishop doesn't seem a threat here as if he plays c5 I can block the Bishop with d5
  12. dxe5 dxe5
  13. Bb2 Rad8 ...Nc5 is coming so I think I need by Queen off this file
  14. Qc1 Nc5 I now spend a lot of time pondering my next move. I should be calculating, but pondering is more accurate. I'm not too worried about NxB because a pawn on d3 looks potentially good, even though it would initially be backward; but I suspect he wants the Bishop pair. I spend ages looking at Nxb5 cxb5 Bxc5 followed by Bxe5 but I decide against.
  15. Rfe1 Nxd3
  16. cxd3 a5 I've been eyeing either of my Knights on f5. If it provokes g6 all the better. This advance helps me decide which Knight
  17. Ne2 Bd6
  18. Ng3 g6
  19. Qg5 Qe7
  20. Nf5! Qe6 (the !is mine).
  21. Nh6+ Kf8 Aware I'm about twenty five minutes behind I now miscalculate.
  22. Nxe5 Bxe5
  23. Bxe5 Qxe5
  24. Qc1 c5
  25. f4 Qd4+
  26. Kh1 Kg7
  27. f5! Qe5 I now have only 17 minutes left compared with 43 for Terry; but the moves are coming much quicker
  28. Qg5 Qe7
  29. fxg6!! Can I have !!! please? Ng8
  30. Nf5! Kh8 Terry sportingly lets me play it out..
  31. g7++

Friday, 29 November 2013

Match Result: Marple D vs Marple E: 25-11-2013

Match Card for  Marple D vs Marple E

Monday 25-11-2013

Tony Kay                1-0      Trefor Thomas
Andy Jenkins       0.5-0.5   Tony Doust
Terry Cowling        0-1      Neil Dainty
Jeff Barlow             1-0       Barrie Edwards
Joseph Anderson    0-1       Peter Kelly

Total                    2.5-2.5

This was the third head to head encounter of the season for the D and E teams and it ended drawn after a hard fought match.  In my game against Barrie, I played another Vienna which of course invited a tactical battle.  Both players missed open goals but eventually I had a couple of advanced passed pawns which were enough to win provided I could survive a double rook invasion of my position.  I did manage to stay on my feet and went on to win.  I saw some of Joseph's game against Peter which seemed to be even and open for a long time before Peter managed to get a decisive advantage.  I didn't see any of the games on boards 1 and 2 and just saw the end of Terry's game against Neil.  This finished with a neat mating attack but I have no idea how the game went before that.  Anyway it was enough to tie the match.  If anyone would like to publish their games please feel free.


Holmes Chapel     V     Marple B    28/11/2013   Stockport Lge. Div. 1

1 P Bennett           1         M  Fernandez  0
2 JM Turner          0.5      J Horton     0.5
3 R Clark              0.5       I Lentzos    0.5
4 M Hancock        1          S Hewitt       0
5 B Scattergood     0.5      P Kirby       0.5
6 I Bates                1         G Trueman   0

                             4.5                           1.5

A very disappointing evening in South Cheshire  where we failed to win a single game.
At around 9.00 things looked okay, I was concerned about Jamie and Ioannis but we seemed to be doing well on the other four boards and then it all seemed to fall apart.
For my part, since the summer I have been doing what have been  preaching for ages by spending any  chess time looking at endings rather than openings. It's funny therefore, that in the last three months I have misassessed more endings than in the last ten years!. Here I was able to reach a position where Ian and I both had dark square Bishops only. Ian as White had pawns on b2,b3  and on the e-h files. I had pawns on a6,b7,c5   and f -h7. I thought I had a big advantage but computer analysis shows that even with best play the position was level. Foolishly I embarked on a misguided attempt to pick up b2 with Bc1 only to suddenly see the potential of Ians Kingside play. By the time I started to understand what was going on I was already lost and although I carried on for many moves I really didn't have a chance against Ian's excellent technique.
I was too occupied with my problems to see the latter stages of the other games so if anyone wants to share their experiences it would be interesting.
To round off a dismal occasion I got home at midnight to discover I had left my fleece in Holmes Chapel........


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Match Result - Marple v Stockport (Reyner Shield)

Match card from Monday night

Marple Stockport
1 Daniel Fernandez 0.5 0.5 Alan Smith
2 Alex Longson 1.0 0.0 Paul Cawley
3 Michael Fernandez 0.5 0.5 Andy Reeve
4 Sarah Hegarty 0.5 0.5 Phil Siddall
5 Paul Kirby 0.0 1.0 Stuart Murray
6 Glenn Trueman 1.0 0.0 Dave O'Toole
7 Nigel Livesey 0.5 0.5 Mike Taylor
4.0 3.0

A good result for the Manchester League team against a strong Stockport lineup and we now progress to the Semi Finals where we will play either Bolton or Chorlton.  Excellent result in particular from Glenn.

Some very interesting and hard fought games.  The match went down to the wire - I don't even know who was last to finish - either me or Glenn I'm not sure.

Thanks all for playing!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

East Cheshire C vs Marple D - Wednesday 20th November

Bill Tait                 0.5-0.5       Andy Jenkins
Geoff Clarke              0-1        Chris Baker
Keith Hodgson           0-1        Terry Cowling
Ian Vaughan               1-0        Trefor Thomas
Duncan Chandley       0-1        Jeff Barlow

Total                      1.5-3.5
The D team had a comfortable win in the end but we started off with a loss and a draw.  I then managed to win against the run of play to level the match.  Terry looked comfortable at this stage and duly converted to win the point. Finally Chris won a closely fought game which featured a skilfully played pawn endgame.  I can't comment too much on the early stages of these games as I was too busy trying to climb out of a hole I had managed to dig for myself.
I will publish my game as it contained a couple of interesting features, particularly for fans of the Vienna Game, that I had failed to observed over the board.  If anyone would like to comment on their games (or mine) please feel free.
Barlow,Jeff - Chandley,Duncan

 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.f4 [last book move]
5          ...Bb4         Can black afford to move his bishop twice?  I start to relax, fatally.
6.a3        Bxc3+    I must remember that this is not the French defence! Nf3 is much better.
7.bxc3    d5
8.exd5    Nxd5
9.Qf3     Nxc3
10.Ne2   Nxe2
11.Qxe2 Qd4
12.Rb1   0–0
13.Be3   Qd6       
14.0–0   a6±         A bit of a wasted move this - gives me a chance to breathe
15.f5 [-0.44/16]    Fritz doesn't like this but I think it has positional and psychological value
[Fritz 12: 15.Qf2 b6 16.fxe5 Nxe5 17.Bf4 Bd7 18.Rb4 Be6 19.Re1 f6 20.d4 Bxc4 21.Rxc4 Qd5 22.Rxc7 Nc6 23.c3 Rfe8±0.71/16]
15...Nd4                 On second thoughts ....
16.Bxd4 Qxd4+
17.Kh1  b5
18.Bb3   Bb7
19.Qh5 [-1.14/17] Trying to drum up some counter play but I'm not optimistic and of course Fritz doesn't like this either, he has found a way to lose more slowly
[Fritz 12: 19.f6 g6 20.Qd2 Qg4 21.Rf2 Qh5 22.Qa5 Rac8 23.a4 e4 24.dxe4 Bxe4 25.Qxa6 Rb8 26.Qa7 Qe5 27.axb5 Rxb5 28.Re2 Rd8-0.37/18]
19...Bd5?+–          Now I did not like this at all, black is forcing the exchange of my lovely WS bishop.  But it seems, in hindsight (and Fritz sight), to be the losing move!!!
20.Bxd5  Qxd5
21.f6 [4.90/18]     So Herr Fritz, you see it was handy having that pawn on f5 after all!
21.          .....g6?    This is a losing blunder, but the alternatives are not good.
22.Qh6                  1–0
I am really surprised that black's 19th move looks logical and strong and apparently drawing one of white's remaining teeth, but turns out to be disastrous.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Wilmsow V Marple C 18/11/2013 Match Report

Wilmslow V Marple C  18/11/2013

1 C Mills        (155)      0        I Lentzos    (e170)     1
2 S Shepherd (154)      0.5     G Trueman  (159)      0.5
3 K Moran     (142)      0        N Livesey   (147)      1
4 C Guffogg    (134)      0      A Jenkins      (127)     1
5 R Warhurst   (115)      0     C Baker        (126)     1
6A Flynn          (95)       0       T Cowling    (125)     1

                                      0.5                                     5.5

After attempting cryogenic chess at Altrincham I arrived prepared for Arctic tundra  conditions only to find a warm, comfortable  club room (different from the one used for the Cup match) and Boddingtons Best Bitter on sale at £2.30 a pint. Quite a contrast from the £7.95 I paid for a glass (yes a glass) of wine at the Daventry Court Hotel at the weekend.

Anyway to the match...Andys opponent played an old style of the Queens Gambit against him (e3,b3,Bb2), this set up was very popular in the latter half on the C19 and is still worth considering today. Here however Chris seemed to waste a little time and after Blacks c5 break he was doing well. Further strong play from Andy won the exchange and faced with both material and positional negativity Chris promptly resigned.

Wilmslow 0 Marple C 1

Meanwhile I was also on the Black side of a Queens Gambit. Steve played one of my favourites, the Exchange Variation, against me. One of the reasons I like this line is that in games between players of similar strengths Black has very few winning chances. This proved to be the  case here , I equalised  but nothing more and we agreed a draw in a very dull position. With Andy having already won and things looking good on the other boards though this seemed ok.

Wilmslow 0.5   Marple C 1.5

On board 6 Terry faced a highly speculatrive Nf7: sacrifice. As Terry commented it is unusual for a Nf7: sac to be followed up by e3 next move and I think Tony would agree he never got enough compensation for the material. Terry calmly consolidated and when his Rook reached the 7th rank it was all over. So all the games where we had Black had finished and we had 2.5 points.

Wimslow 0.5  Marple C 2.5

Ioannis was playing a very interesting game where he had castled Queenside and Colin Kingside. Although Colin came up with an intersting idea based around Bd4 as soon as I saw a White pawn reach f6 I felt the end was not too far away and so it proved....

Wilmslow 0.5    Marple C 3.5 

Chris opponent met his usual opening move with the symmetmetrical variation which I think is one of Blacks best defences. Here however in the critical early d4 line Chris' fine play led to Robin having a very dodgy Tarrasch structure with weak pawns on c6 and d5. Eventually Robin succumbed to a Rook invasion on the eighth but  he had been losing for a long time.

Wilmslow 0.5   Marple C   4.5

In the final game to finish Nigel seemed to have held a nagging plus for a long time. Although it got down to a Queen +Knight position Kevin was desperately short of time and Nigels Queen was busy setting up mating nets from the unusual square c1. Eventually Kevin ran out of both time and moves.

Wilmslow 0.5   Marple 5.5

So a terrfic result as on paper there wasn't that much between the teams. Thanks to all for playing.


Macclesfield v Marple A - Match Result

Macclesfield Marple A
1 Robert Shaw 193 0 1 Daniel Fernandez 216
2 Colin Davison 182 0 1 Alex Longson 216
3 Geoff Laurence 164 0 1 John Bentley 205
4 Anthony Soames 160 0 1 Michael Fernandez 203
5 Denzil Lobo 157 0 1 Sarah Hegarty 182
6 Philip Cattermole 146 0 1 Paul Kirby 158
0 6

A comfortable win for the first team.  Daniel had a particularly excellent game against Robert Shaw with the interesting opening

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 c5 6.d5 exd5 7.Nh4 Qc8 8.b4!?

Thursday, 14 November 2013

World Championship - Game 4

The match really came alive in game 4 in a really tense and dramatic struggle worthy of the stage.  Carlsen varied and instead of the Caro Kann he played the Berlin Defense, a line he has used a number of times before.  Anand must have been prepared for this and yet played the opening quite weakly even allowing Carlsen to grab a not so hot pawn on a2 (shades of Fischer - Spassky, 1972 Game 1).

After this though Anand defended tenaciously and Carlsen missed a couple of opportunities to apply a bit more pressure - repaying the favour shown to him in game 3.  Around move 40 the game could have fizzled out, but as is typical of Carlsen he continued to set his opponent difficult problems right to the end.  Finally though Anand was able to extinguish all of the threats and earnt a hard fought draw.

Annotations from TWIC with some of my own comments ***[AL]

Anand,Viswanathan (2775) - Carlsen,Magnus (2870) [C67]
WCh 2013 Chennai IND (4), 13.11.2013
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8
Kasparov talked on twitter about the Berlin Defence that caused him so many problems. "The Berlin is a sharp & rich middle-game, not an ending. This was Kramnik's discovery, or re-discovery, vs me in 2000 that I didn't grasp. Nor did most others then. Berlin is more than a wall. After I lost to Kramnik & failed vs his Berlin in 2000, many said it was still lousy, only good against me. Now every top player uses it! Berlin also has benefit of rendering most machine analysis useless. Human chess, deep strategic planning only way. Great from both players." Kasparov has written an essay for Informant 118 on this issue.
***I have played the Berlin a couple of times but never really felt entirely comfortable with it.  In fact my results have been better on the white side

[9.Nc3; 9.Rd1+]
9...Bd7  (it was this specific move and the plan of ...Kc8, ...b6, ...Kb7 that was so popularised by Kramnik in his match against Kasparov in 2000 - AL)  10.Rd1 Be7
Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand
Position after 10...Be7
Quite a rare continuation.
[10...Kc8 has been played a lot here - though white has some sharp ideas here AL]
11.Nc3 Kc8 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bxe7 Nxe7 14.Rd2
[14.a4 a5 15.Rd2 c5 16.Rad1 Bc6 17.e6 fxe6 18.Ne5 Re8 19.Nb5 Bxb5 20.axb5 Nd5 21.c4 Nb6 22.h4 a4 23.h5 a3 24.b3 a2 25.Ra1 Rd8 26.Rdxa2 Rxa2 27.Rxa2 Rd1+ 28.Kh2 Rb1 29.Ra3 Nd7 30.Ra8+ Nb8 31.Ra3 Nd7 32.Ra8+ Nb8 33.Ra3 Nd7 1/2-1/2 Berg,E (2587)-Hammer,J (2630)/Achaea GRE 2012/The Week in Chess 921]
14...c5 15.Rad1N
Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand
Position after 15.Rad1
"Something went horribly wrong in the opening - I made one illogical move after the next" - Anand. This is the first new move in the game. One can assume Anand's comment refers some if not all of this and the next couple of moves.  ***White's position looks at first glance the more pleasant, but the bishop should not be underestimated in this position.  Blacks queenside pawns, though currently doubled, can also become active. 
15...Be6 16.Ne1?! Ng6 17.Nd3 b6 18.Ne2
Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand
Position after 18.Ne2
"I just missed something after 18.Ne2 and suddenly I was basically lost." - Anand who expanded on the theme later saying that he played the move "just to be consistant" and that he thought there might be tactics with a timely e6 that turned out not to work.
[18.f4; 18.b3]
The bishop cannot be rounded up. White has some compensation for the pawn but almost certainly not enough.
19.b3 c4 20.Ndc1 cxb3 21.cxb3 Bb1 22.f4 Kb7 23.Nc3 Bf5 24.g4 Bc8 25.Nd3 h5
[25...Ne7 "I don't think there's anything wrong with 25...h5 but I thought 25...Ne7 was even stronger. 26.f5 Nc6 Anand said he "didn't see how I could get anything" in this position.]
26.f5 Ne7 27.Nb5 hxg4 28.hxg4
Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand
Position after 28.hxg4
[28.Rc1 was a suggestion of Boris Gelfand's in commentary. 28...Nd5 The only move that promises any advantage. (28...Nc6 29.Rdc2 is what white is hoping for.29.Nc5+ bxc5 30.Rxd5 Bxf5 31.Rdxc5 Rac8 is better for black but I'm not sure by how much. "It just seemed to me some kind of fantasyland" said Anand about his rejection of this line although he showed a rather different set of ideas than this line. But he obviously considered it for some time.]***I have to say that blacks position does 'look' very precarious, but this is one of the reasons the Berlin is such a difficult opening as appearances can be deceptive.  Despite having pieces huddled on the back rank, some of them are active (Bishop on c8, Rook on h8) and if he can bring the a8 rook into the game (via ...a5 perhaps) then the additional pawn may be decisive [AL]
[28...Nc6 29.Rc1 Rh4 30.Nf2 a5 (30...g6) ; 28...a6 If Carlsen wants to drive away the white knight then this proves to be the last chance to do it.]
29...Nc6 30.Rc2
31.Rc4 g6 32.Rdc1 Bd7 33.e6 fxe6 34.fxe6 Be8 35.Ne4
Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand
Position after 35.Ne4
"Curious that - 35.Ne4 was the only move Kasparov wanted to analyse ten minutes ago in Chennai" Ian Rogers on twitter.
[35.R1c3 is an alternative.]
35...Rxg4+ 36.Kf2 Rf4+
[36...Rd8!? may be the best but maybe Carlsen missed it due to the rather rare tactical idea involved. 37.Ned6+ (37.Ke3 is the best white has and black is better.37...cxd6 38.Rxg4 Ne5!! when black is threatening at least three things and is winning.]
37.Ke3 Rf8?!
Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand
Position after 37.Rf8
[37...g5! maintains black's advantage.]***One possible line is 38.Ncd6+ cxd6 39.Nxd6+ Ka6 40.Nxe8 Rxc4 41.Rxc4 Rxe8 42.Rxc6 Kb5 43.Rd6 Kc5 winning the e6 pawn and the game [AL]
Carlsen looked very unhappy when this appeared on the board.
38...Nxd4 39.Rxc7+
Anand commented that he was lucky that here and on move 59 he had checks to take him to time control when short of time.
39...Ka6 40.Kxd4 Rd8+ 41.Kc3 (41.Ke3 was simpler - AL) 41...Rf3+ 42.Kb2 Re3 43.Rc8
There was the expectation that the players would soon agree to a draw but Carlsen kept the problems going for another 20 moves.
Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand
Position after 43...Rdd3
[43...Rxc8 44.Rxc8 Bc6 45.Rxc6 Rxe4 46.Rd6 Kb5 47.e7 Rxe7 48.Rxg6 and the ending is a simple technical draw for a player of Anand's class.]
This finesse may or may not be an improvement over directly capturing the bishop straight away.
44...Kb7 45.Rxe8 Rxe4 46.e7 Rg3
Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand
Position after 46...Rg3
Black needs to hang on to the g-pawn if he is to have any chance to win.
47.Rc3 Re2+ 48.Rc2 Ree3 49.Ka2 g5!?
Again the most taxing.
[49...Rxb3? 50.Rb8+ wins for white.]
50.Rd2 Re5 51.Rd7+ Kc6 52.Red8 Rge3 53.Rd6+ Kb7 54.R8d7+ Ka6 55.Rd5 Re2+ 56.Ka3 Re6!?
Magnus Carlsen
Viswanathan Anand
Position after 56...Re6
setting up a final rather evil plot.
[57.e8N Rxe8 58.Rxg5 R8e6 59.Rgg7; 57.Rxg5?? b5 and mate or ruiness loss of material follows. Anand said he thought he had checked everything before this final problem turned up.]
57...g4 58.Rg5 Rxe7 59.Ra8+
a welcome check to take Anand to the time control.
59...Kb7 60.Rag8 a4 61.Rxg4 axb3 62.R8g7
In spite of getting more time Anand played very fast at the end showing he had everything under control.
62...Ka6 63.Rxe7 Rxe7 64.Kxb3 1/2-1/2

The final position is a simple draw.  As it is a b-pawn white can even use the back rank (or passive) defence to draw.

A really high class struggle and I'm not sure who will take the most confidence away from a game like this.  On one hand this was the first game where Carlsen was on top and further more he has had no difficulties at all with black to date.  On the other hand it showed that Anand looks to be in pretty good shape to be able to hold Carlsen at bay in a complicated struggle such as this.
The "warm-up" is well and truly over and I'm really loking forward to battle commencing tomorrow.  Carlsen will have the white pieces - will he stick with 1.Nf3 or will we see 1.d4 or even 1.e4?  One thing is for sure, he will be desparate to put Anand under some pressure in this game as Anand has had two comfortable games with black to date

Match score

Anand    2
Carlsen  2