Archive for December, 2008
Philip Hogarty Memorial Mass
There will be a memorial mass for Phil Hogarty on New Year’s Day in St. Thomas’ Church, Jobstown, Tallaght from 1pm-2.30pm.
As Jack Killane famously says: “Blitz chess is not chess”.
Whether it is chess or not, the format does produce quick thrills and excitement aplenty. The Annual Rathmines Christmas Blitz night, held last Thursday, 18th December 2008, was a success again – thanks to the great organisational skills of the said Jack Killane, who controlled the first section, ably assisted by James Osbourne, controller of the second section. Thanks should also go to the committee for organising the raft of prodigious prizes (outnumbering the contestants in fact!) and the individual members who contributed many bottles of wine, boxes of chocolates, and some excellent chess books.
The winners of the first section, after an indecisive play-off, were Killian Delaney and Mindaugas Janusaitis, both on 9/11. Just behind these two were Tony Scannell and Sam Osbourne on 8.5/11.
In the second section, Atanas Khoutev proved his ability at blitz by winning clear first, followed by John Maher in second, and James Osborne third (on tie-break).
In terms of prizes, Killian took home the bottle of vodka that he had brought himself. Atanas brought home the bottle of Bulgarian ketchup he had brought himself! Surprisingly few people chose wine – opting instead for the biscuits, chocolates, or the well-received books.
Photos: Thanks to Liam King – Click on the images for bigger version.
Replay the game here: Scannell vs. Collins
Armstrong Round 6, Played Saturday 6th December 2008
Tony Scannell (1810) vs. Mark Collins (1871)
Sicilian Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, Chinese Variation
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 The Dragon. So called because of the “dragon”-like pawn structure for black. Eh? I never really understood this, but anyway, it has bite, and it is a memorable name.
6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Qd2 O-O 9. O-O-O Bd7 10. Bc4 Rb8
A relatively new move, called the Chinese Sicilian Dragon, because some Chinese players have developed the theory of this move. It is counter-intuitive, because classical theory states that black should develop pressure along the open c-file, with Rc8. In this variation, the obvious intention is to push b5 as quickly as possible and to open the b-file for pressure against b2. Alternatively: 10… Rc8 11. Bb3 Ne5 12. h4 Nc4 13. Bxc4 Rxc4 14. h5 Nxh5 15. g4 Nf6 is another heavily analysed line, one in which Karpov beat Korchnoi in a very famous game, with Nde2!, in 1974.
11. h4 Why not? I figured that I had to push this pawn to develop my own initiative.
11… b5 12. Bb3
Here’s a sample of what can happen in the Dragon if white takes the pawn. 12. Ndxb5 Ne5 13. Be2 Qa5 14. Nd4 Rfc8
Black has just what he wants, so much pressure against the white queenside. But now the fireworks start!
15. Nb3 Rxb3! 16. axb3? Nxe4!! 17. fxe4 Qa1+ 18. Nb1 Nc4!
What’s not like about this? Fantastic, but all a logical outcome of the pressure.
19. bxc4 (19. Qd3 Qxb2#) 19… Qxb2#
Back to the main game. Black tries to open the b-file. 12… Na5 13. h5 White simply has to generate counterplay asap. 13…Nc4 14. Bxc4 bxc4 15. hxg6 (15. Bh6 Qb6 16. Rdf1 Qxb2+ 17. Kd1) 15… fxg6 16. Bh6 White’s major strategy is, as Fischer famously said, swap on h6, push h4, h5, and then mate in the corner. Unfortunately, I’m no Fischer.
16…Qb6 17. Rdf1?!
Optimistically, I opted to sacrifice the b pawn in order to flee to the centre with the king. It didn’t work. Alternatively, and much better was the simple: 17. b3 Bxh6 18. Qxh6 cxb3 19. axb3 Rf7 20. Qg5 is equal.
17… Qxb2+ 18. Kd1 e5 After the game, we both felt this was a dubious move. Now, I’m not so sure. It forces a
decision in the centre and threatens action against the king, now trapped in the middle of the board. (18… Bxh6 19. Rxh6 Nh5 20. Nde2 Qa1+ 21. Nc1 Rf7)
19. Bxg7 Kxg7 (19… exd4 20. Bxf6 Rxf6 21. Qxd4 Rff8 22. Qxc4+ Kh8)
20. Qh6+ Kh8!? 21. Nde2 Be6
Now white has a great move, which we discussed at length after the game. Simply: 22. Kd2. I often think that, especially for amateur players, part of the trick of winning games is leaving your opponent with plenty of chances of going wrong. Such is the situation here. Black can easily go wrong if he doesn’t take care, in particular along the b file. Rb1 is a threat. If 22…Rf7? (one way to go wrong) 23. Rb1 Qa3 24. Rxb8+ Ng8 25. Qxg6 Rg7 26. Qxe6)
If instead, 22. Qxg6? Qa1+! 23. Kd2 Qxf1 and the queen drops due to the pin being released!
Instead, I played the tempting 22. f4?? An intuitive move. I like the idea of fxe4 and threatening the knight on f6 (and then mate on h7 of course). Also, I thought that f5 was a chance to mix things up. But…it is pure fantasy! White loses almost instantly. In chess, intuition is not enough, the variations have to work out too.
22… Bg4! Excellent move, which wins completely. I didn’t see it, because the bishop looked settled on the g8-a2 diagonal, where it stops Nd5. And it had to move a second time in a row, which is sometimes hard to see. But Mark explained to me afterwards that finding a good square for the light-squared bishop is a big issue in this variation, so he naturally saw the move quite quickly.
23. Kd2 Bxe2 24. Nxe2
A sample of a way to go wrong: 24. Rb1 Qxc3+! 25. Kxc3 Nxe4#
A sample variation! Look at the beauty of this mate!…And all because of white’s f4 mistake.
24… Nxe4+ 25. Ke3 Nf6 26. Rb1? Ng4+ 27. Kd2 Nxh6 28. Rxb2 Rxb2 29. Rxh6 0-1
White is hopelessly lost and I resigned. That was a fun game to play, even if I was on the losing side.
Replay the game at this spot.
Jack Killane vs. Peter Lynch, Kilkenny 2008
Annotated by Jack Killane
In this year’s Kilkenny Major section (1600-1999) from 28th to 20th of November, I met clubmate Peter Lynch in round 4. Both of us has 2/3 – one win and two draws each.
Sicilian Morra Gambit
1. e4 c5 2. d4
I often play the Morra Gambit, mainly to avoid the huge amount of theory which goes with the Sicilian (e.g. in the Dragon or Najdorf) but also in fond hope that black will wrong somewhere. Before the round, Peter Cafolla said that a youngster had once mispronounced the opening as “the Moron Gambit”. Maybe he wasn’t too far off.
2…cxd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Nxc3 d6 5. Bc4 e6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. O-O Nf6 8. Qe2 Nc6 9. Rd1 Qc7 Black hurries to get his queen off the d-file, otherwise white will play e5.
I didn’t like this move but what else? Be3 looks better.
A useful move to prevent Nb5, which can cause problems.
11. Rac1 Bd7 12. Bb3 Qa5 Afterwards, Peter said he didn’t like the queen on this square and shortly after moved it to b6.
13. h3 Rc8 14. Bh4 Not good; again, Be3 looks better. 14…Qb6 15. Bg3 e5 The bishop on g3 is doing nothing
16. Rc2 O-O 17. Rcd2 Na5 18. Nd5 Nxd5 19. Bxd5 Bb5 20. Qe1 Kh8 21.b3 Bc6
Black is a pawn up and with the better game
22. Bh4 To try to get some counterplay e.g. Kh1, Nh2 etc.
I don’t like this or his next move. Qd8 looks better. His bishop on e7 is pretty terrible.
23. Nh2 g5
But this gives white targets to aim at on the kingside. Black was now also in serious time trouble.
24. Bg3 Bd7 25. Qe2 Kg7 26. Ng4 Nc6 27. Ne3 Nd4 A lovely square for the knight.
28. Qh5 Be8 29. Qg4 Bf7?
29…h5 would win the queen, except the rook is hanging on c8. Bg6 looks much better than Bf7 which (I think) is the losing move.
30…exd4 31. Nf5+ Kh8 32. Bxf7 Rxf7 33. Nxe7 White has got 2 pieces for the rook and black’s kingside is exposed and black is also almost out of time.
22…Rc2 34. Nd5 Qc5 35. Qe6 Kg7 36. Qxd6 Qa5 37. e5 Rd2 38. exf6+ 1-0
Well, it had to happen. The great run of the Armstrong A team came to a crashing and shuddering halt against Dublin on Saturday, losing by 5.5 to 2.5. Mindaugas continued on his very impressive run, now with 5/6 and unbeaten. And Leon was very assured in reaching a dominant endgame a pawn up. Aside from that, we were either well-beaten or slightly unlucky (Killian lost in a probably-drawn position). Still, as a team, we continue to out-perform our overall ratings. Some of the estimated rating performances, even after the recent losses, are good:
Mindaugas = 2158 (+247 better than his own rating)
Killian = 2140 (+190)
Leon = 1899 (+126)
Tony = 1882 (+72)
Jack = 1860 (+51)
Ken = 1782 (+99)
I’ll annotate some games for the site in the coming days…
Rathmines A vs. Dublin
Armstrong Cup, Round 6, Saturday Dec 6th 2008
(Rathmines names first)
1 Cafolla, Peter 1927 0 – 1 O’Connor, Jonathon 2191
2 Delaney, Killian 1950 0 – 1 Mendelson, Andrew 2087
3 McCabe, Darren 1897 0 – 1 Schmidt, Martin 2025
4 Janusaitis, Mindaugas 1921 1 – 0 O’Connor, Eddie 1962
5 Scannell, Tony 1810 0 – 1 Collins, Mark A. 1871
6 Killane, Jack 1809 1/2 – 1/2 Egan, Colm 1776
7 Fagan, Leon 1773 1 – 0 Paolo Barbosa 1742
8 Moore, Ken 1683 0 – 1 Ferrero-Turrion, Alejandro 1714
The annual Rathmines Chess Club Christmas Blitz is being held again, this time on Thursday 18th December. Split into three sections, depending on turnout, it is generally held over nine rounds, starting from 8pm or so.
As usual, there will be many, many prizes to win (last year, everybody got something!) and lots of old friends to meet and have a laugh with. Members are welcome to bring prizes of their own for adding to the kitty. Acceptable prizes are wine, whiskey, boxes of chocs, or books.
Rathmines vs. Elm Mount B
1 Pat McEvoy 1533 1 / 0 Ray Dunne 1613
2 David O’Connell 1438 0 / 1 Sean Loftus 1592
3 John O’Connell 1494 ½ / ½ Peter McGrath 1504
4 Nicholas Pierce 1432 0 / 1 Pat McCarthy 1479
5 Atanas Kouhtev 1436 0 / 1 Eugene McMorrow 1425
6 Patrick Freer 1431 ½ / ½ Peter Scott 1426
7 John Maher 1415 ½ / ½ Eugene Donohue 1437
8 Peter Bishop 1400 1 / 0 Phillip Dowling 1500
Score 3½ / 4½
Report from Peter Bishop:
This result is not as good as it may appear because Elm Mount B have been an off form team this season so far. Pat Freer was unable to convert a small material advantage into a win, partly due to time. Dave O’Connell blundered in a difficult end game. His opponent had a very strong knight on e4 unmolested by Dave’s pawns. The only piece Dave could take it will was his queen! Pat McEvoy had a very good game. His careful play won him several pawns and unsettled his opponent. At one point, his opponent picked up a bishop to move it and realised the square he wanted to move it to was unsound. He then hovered the bishop over the board for several minutes before he finally moved! Amusing to watch, but not to play.
I was helped to my win by my opponent attacking despite a weaken position and allowing me to exchange pieces when I needed. He sacrified a bishop for two pawns, despite being a pawn behind for no gain and allowing me to trap his queen, forcing an exchange with mine. We have a bye in the next round before facing Phibsboro at the end of January.
Rathmines vs. Phibsboro, played Tuesday November 2nd, 2008.
1. Ed Cunningham 966 0 – 1 Piotr Piekarz 1198
2. Dee Mowlds 700 0 – 1 Michael Treacy 1288
3. Marion O’Raw 700 0 – 1 Jim Sweeney 1209
4. Frank Cooke UG 0 – 1 Peter Jackson 1259
5. Peter Cooke 700 0 – 1 Brendan Burke 1200
5-0 to Phibsboro.
Rathmines B vs. Dun Laoghaire, Played Tuesday 2nd December 2008.
1 Abul Kalam 2059 0 – 1 Anthony Fox 2103
2 David Goggins 1876 0 – 1 Bernard Palmer 1928
3 Michael Kennedy 1796 1/2 – 1/2 Anthony Dennehy 1869
4 John Burns 1774 1/2 – 1/2 Paul Cassidy 1853
5 Philip Doyle 1719 0 – 1 Liam Hearns 1824
6 Peter Lynch 1535 1 – 0 David Mitchell 1637
7 James Osborne 1377 0 – 1 Chris Johnson 1526
8 Pat Freer 1431 1/2 – 1/2 Alastair Boles 1197
Result: 5.5 – 2.5 in favour of Dun Laoghaire
Another difficult outing for the B team. Nothing seems to be going their way these days. Ironically, they managed 2.5 points, their best result of the season, but certainly not enough to help them avoid relegation this year. The one bright spot was Peter Lynch’s win over David Mitchell.