Peter Lynch: Our Man in Capo d’Orso (Sardinia, Italy), June 2014

Capo d’Orso Chess Tournament (Sardinia, Italy), June 2014

by Peter Lynch

Capo d’Orso (Bear’s head) is a rock formation near Palau in Sardinia. The 6th International Capo d’Orso chess festival was held at the nearby Porto Mannu resort from 7th to 14th June. The nine-round tournament attracted 113 entries from 16 countries and had a real international atmosphere. The tournament was quite strong having 8 GM’s, 4 IM’s and 4 FM’s playing.

An interesting feature of the tournament was that during the mornings, GM’s demonstrated games on a large display board both in English and Italian. During the evenings, there were facilities for ‘skittles’ at an outdoor cafe adjacent to the swimming pool.

GM Ni Hua (China) won the tournament with a score of 8 and five players (including GM’s Lars Schandorff, Marin Mihail and Axel Rombaldoni) shared second place with 6.5 points.

Four Irish players participated – Jim Murray and Pat Daly from Lucan and Tony Birmingham and I from Rathmines. Given the strength of the tournament, we all finished well down the field.

Porto Mannu is a beach resort and with glorious weather, players had time to relax and enjoy the sunshine. I went swimming every day and found the water to be just fabulous. We also had ample opportunity to indulge in fine Italian cuisine and sample some excellent Sardinian wines. As for the chess, I’m afraid that my results were not good, losing games to players rated below me (what’s new!). I had two games which I enjoyed and which I include below. The first was against an Italian – Perico Gianvittorio whom I played in the seventh round.

Perico Gianvittorio (1894) – Peter Lynch (1680), Capo d’Orso (Sardinia, Italy), June 2014

Annotations by Peter Lynch (supplementary annotations by Michael Kennedy with Fritz12 where noted)

Follow link below to play through the game:

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Nd7 d7 is definitely the right square for the knight. I played Nc6 in an earlier game and was destroyed! 9.0-0 Qc7 10.a4 

game1 diagram 1

10…Nb6 [MK: a novelty.  10… Be7 is most common here, e.g. 11. Ra4 Bxe2 12. Qxe2 Rc8 13. Bg5 h6 14. Bxf6 Nxf6 15. Nd2 0-0 16. Nc4 Qb8 17. Nb6 was good for White in Saldano Dayer (2424) – Gamundi Salamanca (2453), Alcudia 2003 (0.5-0.5, 91)] 11.a5 Nc4 12.Bxc4 Bxc4 13.Re1 Be7 14.f3 Rc8 15.Bb6 Qc6 Perhaps 15…Qd7 is better, but I wanted to keep pressure on the c2 pawn. 16.Nd2 Be6 17.Nf1 0-0 18.Ne3 Bd8 19.Ncd5 Bxd5 20.exd5 Qd7 21.Bxd8 Rfxd8 22.Qd3 Qc7 [MK: perhaps Black should just get on with the K-side expansion plan instead …Re8, …g6,  …Nh5 and …f5] 23.c4 Qc5 24.Kh1

game1 diagram2


24…Re8 [MK: Fritz12 suggests 24…e4!? and if 25. fe Re8 sets some traps, but even if White negotiates these Black can still win his pawn back] 25.Nf5 g6 26.b4 Qc7 [MK: 26… Qxb4 appears sharper, but with best play will peter out into a draw in short order, e.g. 27. Qe3 Rxc4 28. Rab1 Qc5 29. Qh6 Nh5 30. Rxb7 gf 31. Qxh5 Qxd5 32. Qg5+ Kh8 33. Qf6+ perpetual] 27.Ne3,Nh5 [MK: the immediate …e4 idea is still there] 28.g3 f5 29.Rc1 e4 30.Qd1 exf3 31.Qxf3 Nf6

game1 diagram 3

32.Qf4 [MK: White allows his Queen to be kicked while Black improves his position.  Advantage Black.  My choice would be 32. g4 Nxg4 33. Nxg4 Qxg4 is fairly level.] 32… Re4 33.Qf3 Qe7 34.Ng2 Re8 35.Rxe4 Nxe4 36.Qd3 Qe5 [MK: 36…Nf2+ forking K and Q wins on the spot] 37.Rb1 g5 [MK: 37…Nf2+ is still there] 38.Kg1 f4 39.gxf4 gxf4 40.Rf1 Rf8 41.Re1

game1 diagram 4

I looked at 41…f3, which appeared to win the exchange after Qxe4. But then I thought if white plays Rxe4 instead of Qxe4, …f2+, Kf1,…Qa8+, K has an escape square on e2, and I have lost a piece. So instead I played

41… Re8 Draw agreed.

After the game, and on re-examining 41… f3, it was clear that white cannot play Rxe4, because after Ke2, …f8=Q wins. So, had I played …f3, I could have won the exchange. Still, I was happy with the draw. Even with the exchange up, I am not guaranteed a win, as the next game illustrates.

[MK: 41…f3 is winning for Black.  42. Rf1 (White walks into mate if he takes the Black Knight, e.g. 42. Rxe4 f2+ 43. Kf1 Qa1+ 44. Ke2 f1Q+ 45. Kd2 Qac1# or 42. Qxe4 f2+ 43. Kf1 fxe1=Q+ 44. Kxe1 Qxe4 followed by mate in a few moves) 42…Qf5 43. Qc2 Qg4 threatening …f2+ next move, when White has to give up massive material to avoid a quick checkmate.]

Pat Daly (1878) – Peter Lynch (1680), Capo d’Orso (Sardinia, Italy), June 2014

Annotations by Peter Lynch (supplementary annotations by Michael Kennedy with Fritz12 where noted)

Follow link below to play through the game:

It was ironic that, having gone all the way to Sardinia to play in a tournament, I should be drawn against Pat Daly of Lucan in the last round. Rather than agree a draw and go home, we played it out.

1.d4 c5 2.d5 d6 3.e4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Nc3 Nf3 6.Bg5 [MK: a rare continuation. 6. Be2 or 6. Bb5 are by far the most common moves in this position] 6…Nd7 7.Bd3 0-0 8.Qd2 Re8 [MK: …a6 and …Ng4 have been tried before in this position] 9.0-0 a6 10.a4 Qc7 11.Bh6 Ng4 12.Bxg7 Kxg7 13.Ng5 Ndf6 14. f4

game2 diagram1

[MK: lets the advantage slip.  This gives Black’s Ng4 a reason to be there and invites Black’s next sequence of moves]

14…c4 15.Be2 Qc5+ 16.Kg1 Nf7+ 17.Rxf7 Qxf7 18.Rf1 Qc5 19.e5 Ng4

game2 diagram2

[MK: White has good compensation for the exchange with a very strong centre and more active pieces while Black’s rooks still have no open files to prey on] 20.h3 [MK: the natural move gives his king an escape square and kicks Black’s Ng4.  However, Fritz12 considers it a mistake.  Better is 20. e6 threatening Bxg4, when 20… Nf2+ is no good because of 21. Rxf2 Qxf2 22. exf7 winning for White, so Black has to continue 20…Qe3 instead] 20…Nh6 [MK: Fritz12 prefers 20…Qe3 21. Qe1 Nh6 clearly better for Black.] 21.Nce4 Qc7 22.e6 [MK: much better is 22. exd6 winning for White according to Fritz12, e.g. 22… exd6? 23. Qd4+ Kf8 24. Nxh7+ Ke7 25. Qf6+ Kd7 26. Re1 Rxe4? 27. Bg4+ Nxg4 28. Qxf7+ and Black should be checkmated] 22… f6 23.Nf3 b5 24.g4 Rb8 a wasted move. Bb7 was better [MK: 24…Bb7 25. f5 Rf8 ( 25…g5 is unplayable due to 26. h4 breaking up Black’s K-side) 26. Rg1] 25.Qd4 [MK: Fritz12 prefers 25. g5 Nf5 26. Nd4 with a clear advantage for White] 25…Bb7 [MK: Black misses his chance with 25…Qb6, offering a Q-trade that White can’t afford to accept] 26.Nh4 Rf8 27.g5 Ng8 28.axb5 axb5 29.f5

game2 diagram3

[MK: Great position for White: many pieces involved, many possibilities for a K-attack while Black has little counterplay] 29…Ra8 30.fxg6 hxg6 31.Bf3 [MK: 31. Rg1 is the quickest way to finish, e.g. 31… Kh7? 32. Nxg6 and Black can’t hold out much longer] 31…Ra4 32.Nc3 [MK: 32. Nf5+ wins quickly, e.g. 32… gf 33. Rg1 Kh7 34. Qf2 with checkmate in a few moves ] 32…Ra5 [MK: 32…Qc5 is an alternative, when 33. Qd2 f5 34. Nxa4 ba returns the exchange in an attempt to stabilise the K-side, but White is still winning] 33. Be4 [MK: 33. Qe4 is a quick win for White 33…f5 34. Qd4+ Kh7 35. Nxg6 Kxg6 36. Qh8 and Black will be mated in a few moves] 33… Qc5 perhaps b4 was better? [MK: No, the move played is best] 34.Qd1

game2 diagram4

[MK: almost unbelievable, but Black is better.  White has to make do with 34. Qxc5 dc 35. Nxg6 with level chances] 34… Qe3 not the best –I think that the g5 pawn is poisoned. [MK: 34… f5 is best, but there’s nothing wrong with the text] 35.Rf3 Qxg5 [MK: Yes, this pawn is poisoned. Much better is 35…Qa7, e.g. 36. Nxg6 Ra1 37. Nb1 Bxd5 38. Bxd5 Kxg6 winning for Black] 36.Nxg6 Rfa8 [MK: Very natural: moving the rook which was under attack to the only place where  it can cause problems for White. But this is a losing mistake.  The strange looking 36…b4 37. Kh2 bc 38. Rg3 Qd2+ 39. Qxd2 cd 40. Nxe7+ should net Black a draw, according to Fritz12] 37. Kh2 Ra1 38.Nb1 [MK: unnecessary.  38. Qd4 is better 38… b4 39. Rg3 White is winning] 38…Rxb1 [MK: now Black is winning again] 39.Qxb1 I had intended playing 39…Qd2+ followed by Bxd5, but weary after seven rounds and under time pressure I played 39…Bxd5 Seeing my mistake, I offered a draw immediately. Pat surveyed the scene and declined the offer. He was right to decline the draw. [MK: This lets White right back into the game.  As noted by Peter, 39… Qd2+ is the move, e.g. 40. Kg3 f5 41. Bxf5 Bxd5 42. Nf4 Bxf3 and Black is winning.] 40.Rg3 Qd2+ [MK: This comes one move too late.  Now White is winning.  Black has to settle for 40…Bxe4 41. Nf4 Kh6 42. Rxg5 f6 when he’s still fighting] 41.Rg2 Qxg2 I had little alternative. The discovered check by the knight is devastating. 42. Bxg2 Bxg2 Now 43.Kxg2, Kxg6 would give me R and N for the Q. 43.Qg1 Bb7

game2 diagram5

44. Nxe7+ [MK: leads to a forced mate.  44. Nh4+ or 44. Nf4+ achieves this too.] 44…Kh7 45.Qg6 Kh8 46.Nf5 Ra8 For some reason I thought that the King was on h1 and this was check. I was seeing things at this stage! 47.Qg7 checkmate 1-0

After the game, we both agreed that it was much better to have played out the game than to have agreed an early draw.

For players interested in good Italian cuisine, fine wines, the beach scene, sunshine and some great craic and who don’t mind losing a few grading points, I can recommend the Capo d’Orso tournament.

Peter Lynch



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14 Responses to Peter Lynch: Our Man in Capo d’Orso (Sardinia, Italy), June 2014

  1. shahram says:

    I think the place is called ” capo d’ orso ” NOT ” capa d’orso” which means ” bears head “, I have watched many mafia movies and knew capo ( head ) was a rank in an italian mafia gang .In godfather movie one guy pissed of those boys and woke up with ” capo d’ horsee “( horse’s head ) beside him in bed .

  2. shahram says:

    If you were wondering ,it was a brown horse head and was neither white or black knight’s head and in the above comment the word ” of” should have two f’s and not one , sorry !.

  3. shahram says:

    Yes , strange world we live in , GM baburin takes on 16 players rated 1500’s-1600’s simultaneously while blindfolded ( which is amazing ) and is winning and then with eyes WIDE OPEN playing white he loses to a 2100 ,one on one !!.

  4. shahram says:

    Yes , The first time in my life I saw a chess game was between a baboon and a pretty woman ! , I was 9 or 10 years old and my cousin who was twice my age was suppose to take me to cinema to see ” The jungle book ” cartoon but on the way there he kept telling me that cartoons were for small children and persuaded me to go and see ” sinbad and eye of the tiger ” instead and I saw a chess game for the first time in my life , here is the clip

  5. shahram says:

    Yep , Went to british chess chamionship and it was a DISASTER ( my games & the trip ) , will explain later , time for a banana milkshake before going to bed .

  6. shahram says:

    Oh yeah forgot , Thanks to both peter & michael for posting games , peter is a solid player and his rating does not do him justice .That banana milk shake ( with sugar ) was nice , I think I have another glass .

  7. shahram says:

    Just looking at glorney site to see how rathminors doing , matthew & henry are playing scottish opponents who are hundreds of points rated below them, remember this yolk is being held in scotland , As I said before this cup is a TOTAL WASTE of time & money , these juniors should have played in british junior championship where there is a packed field of strong opponents in different age groups and more rounds as Tom o’gorman did or even play 2 rounds a day in AM& PM sections where average rating is about 1900 and NOT this glorney garbage .

    Blindfold simuli was a FARCE due to lack of foresight,and the same person is now captain of men team , sam collins should be on board 1 all the way and NOT baburin who already has a title .

  8. shahram says:

    In above comment should read ” lack of foresight of organizer ” , why me english so bad ?

  9. shahram says:

    Lack of foresight made a farce of 1st round of irish championship & the pseudo blindfold simul ( NO blindfikd was used ) but too much foresight can also be a problem as you can see in the video below , this little girl is crying about getting old & dying & her little brother growing up and won’t be cute anymore.

  10. shahram says:

    If you are wondering , I tried to type the word ” blindfold ” with eyes closed in the comment above .

  11. shahram says:

    One day after the first comment was posted here, where I stated that its is capo and NOT capa , someone cleverly changed all the capa’s in this article to the capo’s without acknowledging their mistake , so if someone now reads the article & comments , they’ll be thinking what the hell am I talking about .Yes , someone tried to commit the perfect crime by erasing their fingerprints but they forgot to changed capa to capo in the chess video , leaving evidence at the scene. GOT YA !

  12. shahram says:

    Once the blitz article comes up then I will tell what happened to me in british championship

  13. Bob geldiff says:

    Here shahram u need to relax

  14. shahram says:

    @ Bob geldiff, I am relaxed , what makes you think I am not ?! . In fact I am so relaxed that unlike you , I don’t have to post anonymously and hide behind fake ID .

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