ROUND 3 REPORT

(1) Prizes:

‘The Inbetweeners’ – P1nFork v Bobik98
Best fight – Kobra666 v Leilapeymani
Best game – diegoff29
Brilliancy prize – Winwick

(2) Games:

All games can be found with light annotations by Aidan on the Lichess study: https://lichess.org/study/47UV0hOP

(3) Round report by Aidan:

Another game with all games played, thank you all, some doubly so!

I enjoyed this round immensely, there was some excellent chess on show.

The only speciality prize this week goes to P1nFork and Bobik98 for a hugely instructive passage of play that demonstrates the importance of ‘in-between moves’. If you’re not aware of this idea, look at their game and moves 13 to 16. White plays the excellent in-between move of 14.Ne6, and Black could have won the game with the in-between move 15…Bf3.

Both Kobra666 and Leilapeymani probably can’t quite understand how they didn’t win their game. I hope it is some small consolation to them individually, that the result is just a gloriously beautiful game of chess that is far more enjoyable than a one-sided smashing. I adore this game, with brilliant play by both sides, tragedy, and just the most fitting end. Highly recommended viewing!

There were quite a few contenders for best game prize, Swanonch and Johnc75 both played crushing games, but diegoff29’s Black play vs the Colle feels even better as White doesn’t do all that much wrong, but Black’s two waved attack is just so powerful.

I have a new favourite chess player, his name is Winwick, and he’s old school – particularly the ‘romantic school’ of chess (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_chess). This weeks’ brilliancy prize goes to 8…Bb7 – in the spirit of the true romantics it perhaps isn’t 100% accurate in the ways of the modern cold and soulless computer world, but it’s a fabulously brilliant idea, that requires imagination, skilful execution, and works perfectly.

Onto the games!

  • Adikankan v snowDeath:

An interesting Bogo-Indian game following a 1995 Karpov – Adams game. Black expands on the Kingside gaining activity and space, but risking over-stretching. White gains a great knight on e6, and Black chooses to give up his own fantastic knight for it. White redeploys the remaining White bishop onto c3 where it dominates cuting through the centre to the Black King. The position is hard for Black, and in time trouble practically impossible. White checkmates.

  • Damien2020 v BehindBluEyes:

Another Exchange French. Before the tournament I just assumed it was drawish to the point of being of no interest, but there are more nuances than I was aware of. An early …h6 by Black gave White the chance of an advantage with 7.Re1+ and 8.c4, however White was quite content to sit back and let Black make the running, choosing 10.c3 rather than 10.c4, and allowing Black to play 10…c5. Black quickly follows up with 11.c4, an idea seen with colours reversed by AdeDoesChess this round, gaining space and not in fact being a horrible positional blunder, which I’d initially assumed it to be. Black brings a knight to f4, but fails to find a spectacular pawn grab based on a classic tactical idea that the f2 pawn can be overloaded in its duties to defend both e3 and g3, so the combination of h3 and a bishop on e3 only defended by the f2 pawn spells trouble! White then forces exchanges and the position is level, neither side feels optimistic and an early peace treaty is signed.

  • Alienmove22 v harrison4:

An interesting opening struggle in which White lures Black’s pawns forward, and then applies pressure. Black gets pulled into advancing the pawns unnecessarily and the Black pawn centre is destroyed, leaving White with an excellent position. White could have finished the game off quickly by playing Rab1 when the h1-a8 diagonal is fully under White’s control, and Black has too many pieces on it. Instead White plays for a Kingside/central break, which Black handles excellently to equalise. A long well played battle plays out deep into the endgame. Black should have considered sacrificing a knight to give a drawn RN vs R endgame. White made the most of the position to pressurise Black, and was finally able to create a winning tactical blow based on a sacrifice and knight fork.

  • Ped123 v verybadchess:

An early Bf4 in the KID, transposes to an offbeat Classical KID line in which White is down one tempo and the centre locked. Both sides have chances in the complex Kingside struggle, but Black succeeds invading with the Black knights. Black decided against grabbing the exchange viewing White’s knights are being too dangerous, but White hit back, and Black was quickly back-peddling. A little manoeuvring followed, and an oversight by White left a material winning combination on for Black and White resigned.

  • Kobra666 v Leilapeymani:

I love this game. I am absolutely sure that Kobra666 and Leilapeymani both have mixed feelings, but I hope they understand how much joy it brought me to look over it. The opening isn’t anything to write home about, a slightly confusing English to Queen’s Gambit Catalan affair, in which both sides play well, but it feels a bit as if each could have got just a bit more out of their respective positions. Both pairs of knights get swapped off and suddenly the game bursts into life. White initiates a stunning plan with 17.Bd4, leading to a positional Rook sacrifice, where White’s bishop on d4 controls the game, and Black, while being the exchange up, is very much on the back foot. The move 26.Rxe6!! never, happened, but it would have been truly beautiful, a second positional exchange sacrifice, leading to a position where White’s bishop pair and pawns are slightly better than Black’s Rooks. White pressurises and almost breaks through tactically (with 27.e6!!) – but just can’t quite land the killer blow and at move 30, the position has again reached a balanced position. Black has been defending skillfully, but misses the cunning 30…Qd2, asking White difficult questions about the f2 pawn, and instead White’s next wave of attack with 33.f4 and 34.f5 rolls up the Board. Facing disaster Black looks for activity with 34…Rc8, and White slams that door closed with 35.Bc3! White is once again on the brink of breaking through, but White’s tactical stroke of 39.Bxg7 is neatly deflected with 39…Bxe6!, and once again the position unbelievably collapses back to a tense dynamic equality. White’s additional pawns are dangerous, and Black wisely plays for activity and counterattack, accepting the possibility of a draw by perpetual check if White wishes it. White however is up for the fight and trades Queens, reaching a complex endgame with Bishop and pawns vs a Black Rook. By this stage both fighters are flagging slightly and neither take quite the right approach to White’s queenside pawns, Black should have captured at the first opportunity, and white should have advanced the b-pawn, when the pawns aren’t as weak as they first appear. Then a bewildering dramatic twist, White blunders the bishop, in a gut wrenching, how-on-earth-could-I-have-done-that? moment. Now it’s Black’s turn to seek to close the game out, the Rook is dominant and White’s pawns aren’t enough. Black comes up with a interesting plan to swap White’s f-pawn for the Black h-pawn, leaving white with a more manageable two connected pawns rather than three, but this allows White just to edge up the board slightly, and Black must still lose a bit of time picking up an isolated White a-pawn. White’s King reaches h7, with pawns on g4 and g5, not quite advanced enough, but the Black’s path to victory has narrowed considerably and the ‘study like’ position requires incredible technique. Black tries hard, but White finds excellent moves and in the end Black can’t do anything other than achieve stalemate. A somehow perfect finish to a stunning game.

  • Irenge v szveltz:

A curious game. Not for the first time this tournament we see a Black player feasting on 2.Bc4 against the Sicilian. Black plays the opening, with great skill simply putting the Black pieces on better squares than White’s, and then in the early middlegame, White is pushed back as Black expands in the centre and on the Queenside. Black then curiously runs out of steam, continually redeploying the Black pieces in the hope of something happening, rather than making something happen, which should have been possible. White however starts to play more purposefully and builds a Kingside initiative. White’s attack almost breaks through, but White misses the crucial 55.f6! – and Black finally can get his pieces into the attack and finish it off.

  • Mark2_alias v chagdarsuren:

Another London system. Black chooses a fianchetto defence with with …c5 and …cxd4. White should probably have delayed h3, in order to include c3 and be able to meet …Qb6 with Qb3. Instead White needed to play Qc1, which allowed Black to fully equalise. The game is shaped by White’s 13.g4, which removes pawn support from the White King and gives Black the pawn break …f5 opening up the Kingside. Black’s pieces are well places for the clash of forces, and Black uses a Rook sacrifice to bring his last piece into the attack. A nice combination on f2 picks up the White queen for Rook and Bishop and White’s position is untenable.

  • Chalkenstein v onlinek:

An interesting Queen’s Indian Defence. White picks up a nice edge from the opening, but fails to find the right plan. White is unable to make progress in the transition to the middlegame as Black’s development and activity grows. Black plays well and picks up a large advantage and could have been more aggressive with 19…Ba6 and 20…Nd3. Black allows trades that relieve the pressure a little, White tries to continue trading, but leaves the back rank fatally weak and Black punishes this with a nice checkmating combination.

  • forknskewer64 v Yolksac:

Both sides were very happy to look to develop their pieces on their first three ranks, with little haste. This of course means that either side could have decided to gain the advantage by being a little more ambitious and occupying the 4th rank. As often happens Black comes out of such unambitious play slightly worse, and White could have seized the initiative by doubling rooks on the d-file, however White loved the idea of Qd1 (instead of Rd1) more. So much that White played it twice. It didn’t do anything either time. The game remained balanced, and at various points Black could have played the excellent …a5! to shatter White’s Queenside pawns and take the initiative. Black curiously avoided capturing a pawn on c5 (44…Nxc5 with equality), which enabled White to play the lovely45.c6! a deflection sacrifice leaving White with two passed pawns on the a-file, which was enough to win easily.

  • robbo1985 v diegoff29:

In round 2 we saw a KID defence suffer against the Colle. Here we have Black’s revenge in a masterclass by diegoff29. A standard Colle/KID position arises after White pushes e4, and after a couple of innocuous a-pawn pushes by each side Black plays the thematic …Nh5. This is a multi-purpose move attacking d4 as well as threatening Nf4. After that it just all goes wrong for White, who doesn’t play badly, but the position requires huge accuracy and Black’s knights swarm into the position. White manages to swap off the knights and a pair of bishops, but Black had done the damage required, forcing gxf3, doubling white’s pawns and leaving the White King exposed. The position is then illustrative of an interesting feature, opposite coloured bishop positions are renewed for drawish endgames, but they can actually be huge assets in attacking middlegames, as the defending side’s bishop is powerless to trouble it’s counterpart. Black’s darksquared bishop hits the h2-e5 diagonal and effectively the game is over, and is capped with a pretty final tactic winning the White Queen or forcing checkmate.

  • Cinek56 v Swanonch:

Cinek56 repeated the same opening system as in round 1, a London System with 6.Bb5, a slight inaccuracy. Black played 7…cxd4 and White responded with the positionally disastrous 8.Qxd4 effectively conceding the centre to Black. The rest of the game flows from this decision with Black dominating the centre and crashing through with a devastating attack.

  • Calcina v ewaawoowaa:

White brings out an interesting anti-Pirc move order with 3.Bc4. Black probably should play 3…Nxe4, but it might be best to play such moves with a little home preparation behind you! White seems to pickup an opening advantage, but cannot find any way to use it and Black equalises with good play. A complex middlegame arises in which White’s Bishop on g3 proves to be surprisingly powerful, and eventually bags two Black minor pieces for a Rook. The position at after White’s 36th move says all that you need to know. White has Bishop on d5 and a Knight on f5, both immune from capture. Black tries valiantly, but there was nothing in the position for Black to work with.

  • bikerpeavey v Aytacoglu:

A game of two halves. White dominates the opening in a …e6 Sicilian in which White delays d4 until move 4. White reaches a winning position and simply needs to play 9.Ba4 to consolidate, but instead plays a horrible blunder with 9.Bd3 dropping a Knight (to 9…Nxd4). The second half of the game is a masterclass on how to win when you’re a piece ahead. Get developed, put all your pieces on good squares, swap everything off. I would recommend all improving players look at the move 13…Qg4 – what I’d call a “percentage move” – not the strongest from a machine point of view, but absolutely devastating to White’s chances of a comeback.

  • straven239 v Winwick:

Winwick is one of my new favourite chess players. Firmly influenced by the romantic school of chess, he is on a one-man crusade to bring artistry and attacking flair back to chess. Here he plays the Fajarowicz gambit, with creative and aggressive ideas. White actually pretty much refutes Black’s play, but then Winwick unveils a crackerjack of a move 8…Bb7!! pulling the White Queen onto b7 and then slamming the door with 9…Bb4+! (importantly clearing the c5 square with tempo), and 10…Nc6, when 11…Nc5 hangs in the air like the sword of Damocles! At this point White has one solitary opportunity to change things with 11.e6!! unveiling a bishop attack on c7 (11.Nd4 is also a decent idea sacrificing a piece to break the Queen out).White didn’t find the save, and Winwick closes the game out with some lovely technique. Bravo!

  • AdeDoesChess v Riff-Art:

The opening was an interesting Exchange French with 6.c5 – a move that completely threw me and for players looking for something offbeat to play against the French could be worth a bit of a looksie. Black falls into a very common trap that occurs in several openings, but sensibly plays 10…Kh8 rather than 10…Kxh7, leaving Black just a pawn down. White gets tempted into the move 14.g4? – which is sort of fine, and after some good play, White consolidates his advantage and is fine and pressing on for the win. It all goes a bit wrong when White plays 27.Qa6? pushing the Queen away from the action, White has to immediately retreat it to d3 to defend the White h3 pawn, but next move gets suckered into 29.Bg3, after which 29…Qxh3+ (only possible due to 14.g4) forces checkmate or the win of the White Queen.

  • FADEC v hsk4u:

Another 2.Bc4 against the Sicilian and another loss to White. Here White’s problems start with the move 5.Bg5 moving the bishop again, losing time and letting Black develop smoothly. White tries grasping the centre with c3 and d4, but loses the exchange to a little mini-tactic. White’s pieces get caught in a traffic jam on the queenside and Black gets a Rook into the centre first, picks up a pawn, and then a piece, and then the material advantage gives Black a straightforward checkmating attack.

  • Zigger88 v Damo770:

With apologies to Damo770, I really dislike Black’s opening play. Zigger88 plays the Scotch Game and after that it starts going wrong for Black immediately, Black plays 4…Nxd5 which invites the White Queen into the centre of the Board, so to drive it away Black then plays 5…c5, but this has a host of small long-term problems.6…Qa5+ only makes matters worse as this helps White develop quickly. There is a good illustrative point that Nc3 is often a better way to defend an early attack on b2 than Bc3 – as Qxb2 can be met with Rb1 and huge counterplay for the cost of only one pawn. Black quickly reaches an unplayable position and material loss and checkmate follow shortly after.

  • jcruz4 v Steerpike2020:

The game starts as a rather sleepy Petroff Defence in which neither side really looked to grasp the centre to start off with. Eventually White pushes d4, and battle commences. At risk of simplifying a complex battle, White pushes for a Kingside attack, and Black pushes back in the centre. As often happens the flank attack doesn’t succeed in drawing blood, and then Black’s central control becomes the critical factor. Some great play by both sides, but Black’s central control and good tactical vision are sufficient to force the advantage home.

  • P1nFork v Bobik98:

An instructive Dutch with g3 and …b6. Black goes for an ambitious double fianchetto with …b6. Both sides play the opening well, and White’s 9.e3 is a bit passive – Black plays brilliant aggressive central chess to equalise, with …Nxc3! and …c5! Then we hit a super-thematic tactical feature, Black fails to cover the e6 square (weakened by 1…f5) and White generates a powerful mini-tactic with 13.Ng5! There is then a hugely illustrative tactical passage in which both sides have ‘inbetween moves’ in the tactics, White finds their inbetween move, but Black misses their inbetween moves (which would have won). White comes out of the tactics and exchange up, and Black does well to embed a knight deep in White’s position, but some smart defence sees White over the line.

  • Tilbs_11 v Smthdeedog778:

An exciting London system – both sides castle opposite sides and attack. The half-open g-file gave Black the advantage, and it worked with Black picking up material with a good attack still in play. And then Black’s Queen went to just the wrong square and was taken, and despite a heroic and valiant effort Black’s forces were eventually overwhelmed.

  • Mags2020 v Blackscorpion2020:

An interesting open Sicilian with …e6. A useful learning point from the opening is that White on 2 occasions has the simple move e4>e5 available which would have fixed a huge advantage for White. Instead a complex opening position arises, in which both sides play some good ideas. White manages to gain the upper hand with 14.a5! and 15.Ba6, but instead of capitalising by leaving the bishop on it’s brilliant new home, White retreats the bishop to d4 and then f2. Black hit’s back and gains the advantage with the …f6 break gaining a powerful central initiative. Black sacrifices an exchange slightly unnecessarily and the Queenside weaknesses that were always there suddenly come into play. White’s pieces swarm, and White pulls a lovely temporary Queen sacrifice with 35.Qxf7+ to kill the game dead.

  • Dr_MelR v freddiecrane:

A Catalan game in which the opening was defined by Black play 4…Nd5 from f6, and 5…Nf6 from d5. This loss of two tempos enables White to complete development with a powerful position. White makes the c4 sacrifice permanent with 9.b3 and after 9…cxb3 10.Qxb3 Black had to decide how to defend the b7 pawn. 10…Rb8 would have been best, but instead Black selected 10…b6 when the h1-a8 diagonal becomes hugely problematic for Black and the tactics quickly follow with Black losing a knight on c6 and in the pressure of the situation Black’s queen is lost too. Black’s King is stranded in the centre, which White opens to bring in the Rooks, and checkmate follows.

  • Johnc75 v Deloriann:

Deloriann played an experimental gambit against the London system, and probably won’t repeat it. White is effectively a pawn up, with a lead in development from the outset. A pawn may seem a small thing, but unless the defending side can generate activity, even a pawn’s advantage can be quite huge. Johnc75 developed simply, activating all the White pieces. Trying to play actively Black allowed White’s extra pawn through to the d6 square, with full piece and pawn support. At this point it is both a pawn, and two squares away from being a Queen. White squeezes Black for space on every part of the board, and further material loss becomes inevitable. A gorgeous double-knight checkmate caps a great game for White. For Black, the lesson is simple and tough, it only takes one move to lose a game of chess, and it is possible to play it on move 2.

  • jonmill v dmh6:

An interesting Vienna gambit. White comes out of the opening with a very pleasant advantage, but Black then plays well to simplify the position. An equal Rook pawn endgame emerges, in which Black outplays White generating potential passed pawns on both sides of the board. The endgame is illustrative for a few clear points, firstly, that if you succeed in getting a Rook well placed on the 7th rank, and it doesn’t have an immediate threat then just leave it there, it will tie your opponent’s pieces to defensive roles. Secondly, if you’re under pressure in a rook pawn endgame be very careful about swapping rooks, here swapping the rooks handed Black a simple win, while with the Rooks on White would have had a lot more defensive possibilities.

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