No doubt this one goes down in Downend’s Hall of Fame – Michael ‘Tal’ Meadows pulls off an enterprising win in the cup
Sitting in a cricket club in December staring at zero winning opportunities whilst your team slowly get outplayed on all boards is no fun for a captain looking for his club’s only chance of sliverware. But sadly that’s where I was.
But the stresses of amateur captaincy melted away when, peeking to my left, I witnessed some wild and mysterious chess on the board next to me. It was none other than Meadows vs. Nendick – and is surely a contender for game of the season:
The Magician from Riga, Mikhail Tal, had a knack of landing in an endgame just one point of material ahead after a mind-boggling middlegame with several sacrifices. That’s what Mike achieved here, and the queen was simply dominant over the two rooks.
Here are some of Phil’s thoughts as it happened:
Phil (black): “This got me out of book (!) so I spent quite a while trying to refute it. As it happens Fischer has played it so it’s probably not too bad.
After a6 and Ba4: The knight can now be embarrassed in some lines with Bd7 as it is now pinned to the bishop but I couldn’t make the tactics work. I decided instead for active defense.”
Phil: “I had initially planned 14…o-o the point being that White now has 2 pieces en prise so I’ll get one of them and I’ve got my king relatively safe. The problem is he can open it up with Bxg7.”
BCT: Phil played hxg3 instead
“This time 0-0 works well and maintains a healthy advantage”
BCT: Alas Phil grabbed the bishop and got his king in no-mans land (of course White’s king is in such a traditional place!)
Phil: “I thought this was pretty much forced as Qxe4 is coming with my king stuck in the middle but Qd6 again seems to hold the balance (if you’re a computer)”
Phil: “I thought I would try and make something of my kingside majority but hanging on to the queenside and hoping for a draw would probably have been more prudent”
BCT: It was very tough to defend after this because the rooks had no active plans, any attempt to move them up the board falls to nasty queen-checks. It was all lost at this point and I could tell Mike was much more comfortable. A great win and an overwhelming performance from the Downend team.
Why not send us your games? We’ll edit them how you want and show them off to the world!
Mike is co-editor of the Bristol Chess Times and plays regular league and tournament chess
We check in on the league and get started for a brand new season of Game of the Month.
The league is in full swing!
Division One proving as tough as ever and a little surprising; Downend B are on top thanks to a youthful and in-form team. Bath A are lurking with a match in hand and look very strong, for example only losing 2.5 points to all 3 Horfield teams put together!
Conversely to division 1, the ‘A’ teams are in charge of the other three divisions: North Bristol, Cabot, and Harambee with a much improved start compared to last season in division 4 (they have a game in hand over Clevedon C, level on points).
Game of the Month
Rob Attar vs. Max Walker
Horfield B vs Clevedon A (division 1)
I was playing in this match, and would have shown my own loss on board 1, succumbing to some nice tactics from my opponent, but there was a sharper game on board 4 from Max:
The engines prefer Qg5, which is always hanging in the air – but perhaps this is more a computer favourite because it shuts out a few perpetual possibilities for White. But if one thing is certain, Rob wasn’t looking for chances to bail out! With the g-pawn gone, this is still a very double-edged position.
Rob accepts the exchange loss and sets about creating counter-chances against the open king, but Max finds a cool defence:
And Rob takes the bait with Qxf7! This is a piece sacrifice, with the idea being that after Black escapes the pin with Qb5+ and then Bxh4, White has the nasty Rc7! Threatening h7 mate with no obvious escape.
But Max had seen one:
25. Qxf7 Qb5+ 26. Kg1 Bxh4 27. Rc7
27… Bxf2+! And Black either drags the king to an unfortunate square (If Kh1, Qf1 mate; and if Kxf2, Rf8 pins and wins) or distracts the White queen away from mate so that Black can bring in the reinforcements in time. Phew!
It’s officially the start of a new season, so we better get the prizes for last year wrapped up.
Newsflash: BCT reaches 100 articles! Thanks to all contributors – we have had 13 authors from 7 different clubs, and lots of engagement from readers. What’s next for BCT? Well I’m sure we’ll write an article on it! Meanwhile its (digital) founder, Jon Fisher, welcomes his second son into the world earlier this very day – congrats buddy! Well, on with the chess and two other fine specimens to admire in wonder:
We gave you ten ‘Games of the Month‘ last season – you have picked your winner and so have we. Prizes will be awarded at a convenient time (i.e. when I next play against the winners’ club in a match), so without further ado…
The deluge of votes from the great chess public went for…
This is a common tempt in the opening – a bishop and knight for a rook and a pawn. As Aron ruthlessly demonstrates, the extra minor pieces can be immediately useful whereas the extra rook takes a while to get going, so this trade is often not advised for the offender.
The queen was given up in the hope of defence but it was all over – replay below. Nice one, Aron!
We agonised long and hard over a few different games; it was a close call but we went for an original game where both sides played with plenty of adventure and spirit. And the winner is…
Ethan Luc! (University) – “I’d rather be Luc(ky) than good”
Comments are from both Ethan (EL) and us (BCT):
Well done Ethan and great stuff everyone!
More games this season please!
This season (18-19) we are hoping for more games to showcase not just for Game of the Month but as educational articles like this one on the Hippo. So don’t be shy! Games will not be analysed to within an inch of their lives – just enjoyed by chess-lovers alike. Here are some ideas:
Send in other people’s games – (there are no rights issues here!)
Send fragments of games (e.g. just an endgame is fine!)
Send games from tournaments (often longer time-controls make for better games)
Send in puzzle-like variations of games
If you’re that way inclined – send in computer analysis (maybe you played a ‘perfect’ middlegame?)
We’ll do our best to publish all games and will be continuing Game of the Month – so always appreciate more fodder.
Have a great season everyone!
Mike is co-editor of the Bristol Chess Times and plays regular league and tournament chess, sometimes underwater.