ROUND 1 REPORT

(1) Prizes:

Sportsmanship – Chalkenstein & Blackscorpian2020
Best fight – dikankdan & robbo1985
Best game – Jamie_K
Brilliancy prize – BehindBluEyes
The original  – DrMelR & hsk4u
Speed demons –  Beaverpenny & ewaawoowaaa
 

(2) Annotated games:

All games can be found with light annotations by Aidan on the following Lichess study: https://lichess.org/study/BuMYU04J

(3) Round report by Aidan:

 

Thank you all, by a minor miracle all games of the first round were played, with relatively few problems – huge thanks to Chalkenstein and Blackscorpion for showing great sportsmanship in allowing their opponents to reschedule. We hope everyone had fun.

The swiss pairing system often results in a rather dull first round, in which higher rated players dominate one sided games. However, I’m delighted to report that most games were hard fought, and there was plenty of excitement, interesting ideas, and sudden reversals.

One feature of this first round is that several players did not adjust to the longer time control and were unable to shake their blitz and rapid play habits. A special one-off prize of ‘speed demons’ goes to the game Beaverpenny vs ewaawoowaa. We would of course recommend that some players use a bit more of their time in future rounds!

DrMelR & hsk4u agreed to play on the Sunday, so played the first game of the round, the tournament, and of MCF online chess. (Special ‘the original’ prize).

Onto the games!

  • dikankan v robbo1985:  The game developed from a sleepy start into a fantastic tussle, with huge reversals, and an interesting endgame in which rook and pawns overwhelm a bishop pair. The winner of this rounds ‘best fight’ prize (which is a joint prize for both players).

  • Cinek56 v BehindBluEyes:  White’s over-aggression in the opening was punished by an excellent Queen sacrifice (for which we award the round’s brilliancy prize). For White this was the stuff of nightmares, the White Queen powerless against the swarming Black pieces.

  • Kobra666 v chagdarsuren:  A fascinating hard fought struggle. A Black Knights Tango, transposes to a Chigorin Defence. White seems to have an edge, but Black fights back excellently. We reach a manoeuvring phase, where White gains the upper hand. White is on the brink of victory, but Black finds a fantastic defensive resource to gain the draw.

  • Jamie_K v onlinek:  Two of the rising stars of the Manchester chess firmament clashed in probably the highest quality game of the round. The opening is what I would describe as a ‘heavy positional’ one – which is another way of saying that I’ve no idea what was happening and it was all beyond my pay grade. A Black Knight sortie to g4 backfired and enabled White to accelerate a kingside attack with huge pressure down the f-file. Black mobilises and defends well, but White achieves enough to tie Black down in defence. White then chooses to swap down into a tight rook pawn endgame, which descends into a tempo sharp pawn race. White gains the win by one tempo. Huge credit to both players who fought magnificently. Jamie_K a worthy winner of the first best game prize.

  • Zigger88 v Steerpike2020:  The Petroff has the reputation as a drawish opening, but neither side had peaceful intentions. Black punished a few loose opening moves by White to gain a strong queenside attack, but rather than succeed in opening up the White queenside the pawns became locked and the attack ground to a halt. White gained ascendency in the centre, but wasn’t quite able to push home the advantage.

  • nokiokid v forknskewer64:  A game worthy of a Greek tragedy. Black won the opening phase of the game with ease picking off White’s e-pawn. White gained some activity, but Black seemed to have it under control, but Black could never quite shut White down, was forced into small positional concessions. The move 31.f5 is the result of some excellent White pressure, after which White’s attack gains momentum and finally crashes through.

  • Alienmove22 v Winwick:  A very exciting game off the board, Winwick left it to the last moment to turn up, risking a loss by default. Once the game started Alienmove22’s grandchild turned off the router kicking him off the internet, but he got back in time! The game itself was a nicely played King’s Indian Attack. Black played the opening well, but White was able to build pressure, draw a mistake and efficiently convert.

  • Calcina v snowDeath:  An aggressive Scotch Gambit by White suffered from an over ambitious pawn sacrifice. Black’s position out of the opening looks messy, but the long-term trumps of the bishop pair and central pawn mass are more important. The Black central pawns advance, and suffocate White.

  • Damien2020 v Damo770:  A Bb5 Sicilian, in White gained a large positional edge, but failed to contain Black’s initiative down the b-file. Black built huge pressure, only to miscalculate and get a bishop pinned against the Black Queen. Fatal material loss ensued, and White seized on the opportunity ruthlessly.

  • Sundower v diegoff29:  What a game! The Smith-Morra gambit is a dangerous opening. Black attempted to defuse it with 3.d3 and failed spectacularly (Black really needed to play the brave 7…f6!!). The position at move 10 is one of total domination by White, but Black by some miracle and tremendous resilience hangs on. White tries to expand on the queenside with b2>b4, but this doesn’t create enough threat and does create weaknesses in White’s position. Incredibly by move 31, Black stands better in a sharp and complicated position. Once the tactics have played out the position appears to reach an almost level rook pawn endgame, but Black’s King gets caught in a surprise mating net and White bags the point.

  • harrison4 v FADEC:  A perfect illustrative game on the perils of bringing out your queen to early.

  • Tilbs_11 v Swanonch:  Another game in which the pendulum of fate swung in all directions, before spinning, twirling, and finally breaking off and smashing a window. Black played a super aggressive pawn sacrifice in the Petroff. White couldn’t find the best plan, and was forced into the passive 7.d3 (7.b3! was a strong alternative). The Black pieces swarm into the centre giving a scene of chaos and mayhem (12.Nb5 would have been fun). White misses a winning tactical blow, and then Black chooses the wrong ‘inbetween move’ trading a won position for a lost one. White appears to come out of it all with the advantage of a clear Rook vs Knight in a calm endgame, but this is a game that defies all logic and Black is the one that takes the prize. A brilliant and insane battle.

  • Ped123 v Johnc75: By the standards of this round, this was quite a calm game in which White built pressure and Black defended really well, until on one move when Black didn’t defend really well and suffered fatal material loss.

  • bikerpeavey v ewaawoowaa:  Perhaps no-one told the players this wasn’t a blitz tournament? The final clock times were 59:45 for White ad 58:07 for Black. The game was a King’s Indian Attack, and it was fitting given the speed of play that Black’s win starts with the classic blitz tactic of …Qc8, a move that is often based on the hope that White doesn’t spot that h3 is now attacked twice… White didn’t. Black then turned on the style to launch a winning attack against the weakened kingside.

  • Aytacoglu v jonmill:  A King’s Indian Defence Petrosian Variation. Black falls into a thematic trap of preparing the move …f5 with …Nh5, but failing to defend the knight adequately as after …f5, White responds exf5, Black plays …gxf5 and this removes a needed defender from the Knight. Black tries to play actively, but being a piece down, and having a compromised King position, it was not really going to happen. A nice game by White.

  • AdeDoesChess v Blackscorpion2020:  An odd Alekhine defence that resulted in a French style position. Black made a crucial mistake in meeting White’s 11.d4 with the cramping 11…c4, rather than the simpler central control approach of 11…cxd4 which would have left Black with a powerful and mobile pawn centre. The game was delicately balanced, when Black had an oversight and let White pick up an exchange and in pressing for counterplay Black left White with a tactic that netted an extra pawn and simplified the position. White made the extra material count.

  • straven239 v Deloriann:  A slightly scrappy Slav opening, in which both sides had opportunities. The move 15…Qd5! would have been excellent, giving Black the advantage, but the move 17…Qd5, (which was played) dropped the a Bishop on f4 to the fork 18.e4! The game is then illustrative in the basic winning plan when you’re a piece up, just swap everything off, an extra piece in the endgame is massive. Black was a bit too kind in allowing White to trade pieces, and this inevitably lead to an endgame that White couldn’t help but win.

  • Mags2020 v Riff-Art:  A balanced Exchange French was progressing along normal lines when White played g3 and accidently trapped a White bishop on h4. Black played beautifully, picking up the piece, calmly defusing the threats Black tried to throw up and then landing precision tactical blows.

  • Mark2_alias v Leilapeymani:  An interesting London System game. Both sides played the opening well. Black choose a slightly passive defensive plan giving White a small space advantage. White advanced on the Kingside, but it looked as if Black’s active central counterplay would be sufficient to regain equality. The resulting position is hugely instructive, White has just has enough of an initiative to force the win (often with lines involving a knight sacrifice on g7 to gain the f6 square for a White rook). White instead sacrificed on h6, leading to a draw by perpetual check.

  • Dr_MelR v hsk4u:  White achieved a dream Catalan position, dominating the centre. White then played an overly ambitious piece sacrifice, and White’s initiative was quickly repulsed. Then a neat bit of piece-play gained White an exchange, but this good work was quickly undone when the White King was lured onto the same diagonal as Black’s b7-Bishop, setting up a pawn breakthrough with revealed check for Black. Black then skilfully used the resulting passed pawn to regain the exchange, and then used the full extra piece to convert the game.

  • Chalkenstein v dmh6:  A nice Bf4 Queen’s Gambit game by White. Black played a few small inaccuracies in the opening, which enabled the lovely tactic 14.Bxc7! deflecting the Black Queen from the defence of d5, which fell with check the next move. White’s harmonious development, lack of weaknesses and good coordination all showed, as while White had only won two pawns in the tactic, it felt like a lot more and White quickly forced further concessions and closed out the game.

  • NotJudit v ChilliReyes:  A calm exchange slav, that despite much manoeuvring stayed calm until the players agreed a draw.

  • Yolksac v freddiecrane:  An odd opening, in which Black confusingly placed a knight on h6, and then struggled because of it. Despite this, Black did have a nice tactical opportunity in the opening when there was the possibility of a surprise …f5, which hits a knight with tempo, enabling a follow up of …f4 trapping a bishop on g3. White then missed the chance to pick up the knight (now on g4) with 11.h3, but Black was forced to weaken the shelter of the Black King with …h5 and a few moves later White used these weaknesses to pick the h-pawn up. Black’s pieces were then misplaced and White quite gloriously sacrifices a piece to open everything up. Black fails to find the best defence and White wins quickly.

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