Game of the Month – October 2018

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:

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. Bf4 b6 4. e3 Nc6 5. Bd3 Be7 6. O-O Nb4

pos1
With Nb4, Max removes the ‘London Bishop’

7. c4 Nxd3 8. Qxd3 Bb7 9. Nbd2 O-O 10. e4 d5 11. cxd5 exd5 12. e5 Ne4 13. Rac1 c5 14. b3

pos2
Here Max goes for cramping the other bishop with g5!

14… g5 15. Bg3 g4 16. Ne1 cxd4 17. Qxd4 Bc5 18. Qd3 Ba6

pos3
Ba6! A nice tactical idea with the plan of Nxd2, trapping the rook on f1.

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:

19. Qxa6 Nxd2 20. Qe2 Nxf1 21. Qxg4+ Kh8 22. Kxf1 Rg8 23. Qf3 Qd7 24. Bh4 Be7

pos4
Be7(!) defends f6 but leaves a tempting Qxf7

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

pos5
Black has one defence to Qxf7…

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!

28. Qxf2 Raf8 29. Nf3 Qd3 30. Ne1 Rxf2 31. Nxd3 Rgxg2+ 32. Kh1 Rxh2+ 33.
Kg1 Rxa2 34. e6 Rhd2 35. Ne1 Rd1 36. Kf1 Raa1 37. Kf2 Rxe1 38. e7 Kg8
0-1 (Full game below)

Well played to Max and to Clevedon A who won that match and are definitely in the running for division 1. See you next time and remember to keep sending in those games!


 

mikecircle

Mike is co-editor of The Bristol Chess Times and plays regular league and tournament chess

Game of the Season 2017/18 – the winners!

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…

GotS

People’s vote

The deluge of votes from the great chess public went for…

Aron Saunders! (Downend) – “Beware 3 Greeks bearing gifts”

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.O-O Nf6 5.d3 Ng4 6.h3 Nxf2

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.

7.Rxf2 Bxf2+ 8.Kxf2 O-O 9.Nc3 d6 10.Bg5 Qd7 11.Nd5 h6 12.Bf6

Bf6!! This is the first of 3 minor piece ‘offerings’ which earns this game its name. The first one can’t be taken because of the knight fork.

12..Na5 13.Qd2 Nxc4 14.dxc4 c6 15.Ne7+ Kh7 16.Nf5 g5 17.Nxg5+

Nxg5+! can’t be taken because of the impending queen invasion.

17..Kg6 18.Nh7

Nh7! An accurate finish. The knight gets out the way for the queen and doesn’t mind sacrificing itself, but elegantly defends the f6 bishop in the process.

18..Qxf5+ 19.exf5+ Kxh7 20.Be7 Rg8 21.f6 Rg5 22.Qxd6 Be6 23.b3 h5 24.Re1 Rf5+ 25.Kg1 Rg8 26.Rxe5 Rfg5 27.Rxg5 Rxg5 28.Qd3+ Bf5 29.Qd2 Rg6 30.Kh2 Be4 31.Qe2 Bxg2 32.Qxh5+ Kg8 33.Qxg6+ fxg6 34.Kxg2 1-0

The queen was given up in the hope of defence but it was all over – replay below. Nice one, Aron!

Editors pick

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!


 

mikecircle

Mike is co-editor of the Bristol Chess Times and plays regular league and tournament chess, sometimes underwater.