(1) Prizes:

Best fight – BehindBluEyes v Jamie_K
Best game – chagdarsuren
Brilliancy prize – ewaawoowaa (or Surtees)

(2) Games:

All games can be found with light annotations by Aidan on the Lichess study:

(3) Round report by Aidan

Another game with all games played, thank you all!

Once again some interesting games, if not quite the heights of last week! A few tragic blunders too!

Best fight goes to BehindBlueEyes & Jamie_K – White players very aggressively from the start, and Black defends with great tenacity. The draw is a fair result.

Ewaawoowaa gains the brilliancy prize, although I suspect the idea is a prepared trap. A wing gambit vs the French, where Black’s Queen is lured to h1 at the cost of an exchange. The position hurts my head and my computer doesn’t know what’s going on either.

Chagdarsuren gains the best game prize for a positional squeeze in the Scheveningen Sicilian displaying a lot of accurate play and use of underlying tactics.

Onto the games!

  • Alienmove22 v dikankan:

A quiet b3 King’s Indian Attack. Both sides play a high quality opening putting their pieces on good squares and progressing their plans. White was quite reserved, but takes a risk with 10.g4. Black should have picked a good time to break with …f5, targeting White’s 10th move, instead Black broke with …e5, and after a mass exchange we end up with a tough double bishop endgame. There are some significant imbalances with Black’s pieces more active, but having to defend a worse pawn structure. Both sides play the complex position well and the game is drawn.

  • BehindBluEyes v Jamie_K:

A stunning struggle. White chooses a venomous move order vs the Caro-Kann, but Black is well prepared and plays the sensible 3…Nf6! rather than the natural-but-flawed 3…dxe4. The opening is a tense battle, in which White plays aggressively, but with risk, and White gambits a pawn with 10.Bd2 to further increase the pressure. Black defends well, but can’t find the best line, and ends up with a wandering King. White continues to play aggressively sacrificing a full Rook to ensure the Black monarch is in continual danger. A sharp and well fought battle plays out, and is finally draw in a position in which both sides have Queens and exposed Kings. The move 40…Qd5! would have been a brilliant idea winning for Black, but incredibly difficult to find and play!

  • chagdarsuren v Damien2020:

An interesting game. A Sicilian Scheveningen in which White plays an early a3, and then shortly after pushes a4 & a5, and is able to embed a knight on b6. Black probably should have played …b5 when possible, or …Bd7 rather than …Nc4. After the White Knight hits b6, it is difficult for Black to generate active play, and White plays a positional masterclass, often based on underlying tactics. A highly accurate and instructive game by White, slowly squeezing the Black position and finally breaking through.

  • Riff-Art v Kobra666:

A fascinating Modern. Black delays …Nf6 and …0-0 to avoid the 150 attack (Be3, Qd2, f3, 0-0-0) which is generally easy to play as White. Instead Black focuses on preparing for Queenside and central counterplay. White pushes e5, which is usually the critical idea against the Modern, and Black hits back with …c5, gambiting a pawn, but gaining huge activity. Black’s idea works well, and the sharp position is better for Black, but a couple of inaccurate moves and a successful counter against f7 turn the tables and White comes out with a winning advantage. The opening was a huge moral success for Black, but well done to Riff-Art for keeping calm in a difficult position and taking the chance when it arrived.

  • onlinek v Ped123:

Another interesting Owen’s defence by Ped123. Once again White goes with the ‘natural’ 3.Nc3 instead of the highest scoring move 3.Bd3. White strengthens the centre with 4.f3, and follows with 5.Bg5. Black meetings this with 5…h6 6.Bh4 g5 an interesting passage of play, in which both sides had safer looking options. After retreating the bishop White hits out strongly with h4, but White should then close the centre to make use of the newfound kingside space, and to limit the power of the bishop on b7. Instead the centre opens, and after both sides castle long, Black gets pressure doubling Rooks on the g-file. This proves to be a permanent feature of the game and keeps Black on top during further manoeuvres. The game heads into a Rook pawn endgame, and White doesn’t appear to have any easy way to stop Black advancing down the board. Eventually Black’s pressure tells, and Black is able to break through and Queen, with mate following shortly afterwards.

  • hsk4u v forknskewer64:

An bit of a tragic game. Hsk4u plays well, building a big pawn centre and gaining a crushing position. Black sacrifices a piece rather than sit back and wait execution and White misses a tactical trick to kill the game off. The game is just starting to come to the boil with Black having a little counterplay in the form of connected central passed pawns, when White misses the second idea behind 24…Nd8, and blunders a Rook and the game.

  • snowDeath v Aytacoglu:

Once again we see an instructive London System. As often happens Black puts pieces on very sensible squares, yet White gains the opening advantage. Personally I don’t really trust …Be7 systems vs the London. Black advances on the Queenside, and White counters through the centre, and on to a Kingside attack. Black’s 14…Nh5! is a great move using the tempo gained against the Bishop on f4, to play 15…g6 enabling …Ng6, when the Black King has far more cover than 14…Nd7 would have given. Black opens the f-file, which gives White a fantastic outpost on e5, which is very active for the rest of the game, but in return Black gains control of the f-file. White misses the tactical chances that arise, and Black succeeds in stabilising the position – when Black’s Queenside activity should provide the advantage. This is very instructive as the Queenside play seems slow in inconsequential, but it is actually of great value. Black sacrifices the exchange somewhat unnecessarily, but is probably hanging on, but then a bizarre knight sacrifice (possibly a mouseslip, or time pressure blunder) leaves Black a full Rook down and dead in the water.

  • diegoff29 v ChilliReyes:

A Panov-Botvinnik attack against the Caro-Kann. A perfect illustration of the limitations of launching an attack, that doesn’t have a strong fundamental logic behind it. Black has a Bishop on f4, and a Knight on c3, but that in itself is not enough to mean that 10.Nb5 must be a dangerous idea. Instead White should carry on improving the White forces’ coordination 10.Re1, Rc1 and 10.a3 all leave White better. After 10.Nb5? Black plays the cold 10…a6! and White’s best move is to play 11.Nc3 and admit the mistake. 11.Nc7?! would have been insufficient, largely because both of White’s bishops sit on vulnerable squares and Black can take tactical advantage of this. Instead White chooses the most aggressive option of 11.Bc7? and after the simple 11…Qd7 both the Bishop and Knight are attacked and White has no way of extracting both. The game lasts only a few more moves as White desperately tries to hang on, but can only achieve the loss of further material.

  • harrison4 v Winwick:

The line between brilliance, and not-quite-so-brilliant can be a fine one, and Winwick repeats his opening of last week, but this time by move 6 has sacrificed a knight without any real compensation for it – if anything White gains a small lead in development. With the exception of not playing 10.Qxb7, which would have been rather strong, Harrison4 plays a professional game, cold clinical careful, activating the White pieces and ensuring Black gains no counterplay. The result is inevitable.

  • Swanonch v Calcina:

A Panov-Botvinnik attack via a Scandinavian move order. The game seems pretty normal until White throws in 10.h4 – a move which although it initially looks dangerous has remarkably little threat, instead it both wastes a crucial tempo, and creates long-terms problems for White’s Kingside. Black chooses to play aggressively, when simple castling would have been stronger, but the game takes an odd turn around move 12, when Black plays 12…Rd8, and White then walks straight into a trap where Black gains the move 14…dxc4 winning a piece due to the revealed attack on the White Queen. The game is effectively dead and buried as not only does Black hold the extra piece, but both Black Rooks are on hugely active squares. White actually does very well to get close to gaining counterchances, but White’s disadvantage is far to large to overturn without a huge blunder from Black, and threats against the White King finish the game.

  • Leilapeymani v P1nFork:

A Colle in which White spends a few tempos moving the Knights, just to trade one off for Knight on d7 – this loss of tempos helps Black equalise, but White still manages to get a small edge out of the opening. White manages to get a great passed pawn on d5 vs Black having doubled pawns, on the g-file, but Black’s Bishop is better than White’s Knight and the slightly unsafe position of the White King means a draw is a fair outcome.

  • Irenge v Zigger88:

Yes another 2.Bc4 Sicilian – yet another opening success by Black. White plays 8.d4 and reaches an Open Sicilian position down a tempo, and Black stands better. A key moment in the game is 10…exd5, which leaves Black only a little better, the alternative option 10…cxd5 would have given Black a long term structural advantage that would make White’s game very tricky. Black plays the excellent mini-tactic 14…Ng4, but this is balanced by the move 18…f5, which seems to be a positional blunder. The position at move 22 is really interesting – despite Black’s apparent activity and space, the combination of pawn weaknesses, exposed King and the active White Knight not only give White that advantage, but actually make it surprisingly hard for Black to defend. White’s Knight does prove irresistible, and Black loses the exchange. Black defends stubbornly in an impossible position, and White is betrayed by a lack of endgame experience, failing to use the Black King as an active combatant, and crucially being unaware of which King and Pawn vs King positions are won and which are drawn. White’s exchange sacrifice simplifies to a drawn position, and stalemate ensues.

  • ewaawoowaa v Mark2_alias:

This game makes my head hurt. A French wing gambit – A Surtees special (a strong local player known for his odd looking, but very well prepared openings). 5.f4 has been played many times, so I suspect that it’s a trap. Black plays 5…Nxe5 and ‘wins’ the exchange at the cost of the Black Queen being boxed in. It may be that 5…cxb4 6.axb4 Bxb4 is the right choice- White gets a huge centre, but Black has a pawn and development, which should count for something and this approach has been Black’s most common. After that my head hurts, and my computer is of no help in the analysis, often starting off liking Black, but the evaluation then sliding towards White. It’s a murky horrible tactical position, and as the White pieces come out White seems to get a good advantage. Black’s 16…Qc6 evacuating the Queen is understandable, but White’s inroads in the Black Kingside at that point are just too much.

  • Tilbs_11 v straven239:

A tough game for both sides. An English defence, in which White played cautiously, but managed to build on some mistakes by Black, at several points reaching an advantage that was close to winning. White can’t quite nail it down, and the position after White’s 36th move is highly educational, White is a clear pawn up, but Black is the side with all the chances. White’s pawns are stuck on the same colour as the White bishop, and completely immobile, while Black’s pieces can find great lines. Despite this White managed to survive the pressure, but after what must have been a tiring game, blundered with 48.Bxg5, when 48.Rg3! should have secured the draw. Black’s extra piece is enough and White resigns shortly afterwards.

  • Johnc75 v Chalkenstein:

Possibly the most attacking London system I’ve ever seen. Both sides play the opening pretty sensibly, but 9…Nd7 looks like an improvement for Black counterattacking White’s e5 pawn rather than offering central trades. White plays 14.Qg4 offering a bishop sacrifice, and Black misses the strong replay 14…h5 which would leave Black winning. Instead Black simply defends the immediate threats, and this leaves the White Queen in close proximity to the Black King and after White castles long, a strong attack always seems likely, and indeed Black’s defensive task proves far too difficult and White breaks through.

  • bikerpeavey v robbo1985:

A slightly odd exchange French. White develops quickly enough, but the c3 Knight blocks White’s c-pawn. The game is a tight tussle, with White twice missing a cute idea of Be7, trading off Black’s excellent bishop on d6. Both sides play aggressively, with Black pushing the f-pawn down the board to create threats. The position is hanging in the balance when White plays 22.Qf3, which drops the d4-pawn. It may be just a pawn, but its loss is devastating, White loses this outpost for the e5 Knight, and loses all central control. White’s knight become completely useless, while Black’s bishops grow in strength. Black forces exchanges and the endgame is easily won.

  • dmh6 v Cinek56:

An interesting exchange Caro-Kann. The opening held quite a few small subtlties, 7.Ne5! would be been strong for White, and 8…Ba6 strong for Black. White played very well with the Knights as it would have been easy to drift into a passive and strategically lost position, but at the crucial moment White plays 22.Rd2 defending a pawn that didn’t need defending, rather than winning a pawn. This loses a crucial tempo, and Black’s position is then easier to play. White swaps down into an endgame, but Black’s initiative remains, and White was unable to find a clear plan. 30.b5! generating a passed pawn, despite going a pawn down would have been a nice solution. Instead Black’s Rook and Bishop dominate and while White gets great King activity, it proves insufficient for the material disadvantage.

  • Damo770 v AdeDoesChess:

An odd game, an odd opening in which neither side really pushes into the centre, followed by a little manoeuvring where White loses concentration and drops a pawn and the exchange. Black’s pieces are rather tied down, and Black fails to put energy into finding a way to release them. White’s space and activity go a long way to keeping Black quiet, but not enough to create threats, and Black eventually unwinds, only to then drop a Rook. Now White is winning but can’t find the crucial moves to finish it off and Black succeeds in forcing a draw by repetition.

  • FADEC vs NotJudit:

2.Bc4 is bad vs the Sicilian, and even worse against the French. Sadly Black doesn’t make use of the powerful response 2…d5! Instead opting for a kingside fianchetto. Black gains a great position out of the opening, but rather than trusting in the simple Kingside castling, Black prepares Queenside castling, and castles right into an attack. Black has no active counterplay, and White’s attack does immediate and fatal damage, Black’s Queen is lost to a devasting combination, and after that the rest is White’s mopping up exercise.

  • Smthdeedog778 v jcruz4:

A London system in which White presses forwards a bit too quickly rather than completing development. White overpresses and drops a pawn, and then due to some good work by Black White loses another. With mass exchanges of minor pieces the fact that one of Black’s additional pawns happens to be on e3 is fatal, and an apparent mouseslip by White hastens the inevitable.

  • Bobik98 v Blackscorpion2020:

A tough symmetrical English. White lures Black’s pawns forward in the hope of creating weaknesses, but both sides play well and the game remains balanced for a long time. White invades the Black position with 30.Ne6, and Black is unable to find the best defence, with eventually reaching position where either Black loses a pawn, or as happened in the game White’s Rook invades. There is no defence, and White’s Rook goes on a rampage and suddenly White has three connected passed pawns on the Queenside. The b-pawn takes little time to reach b7, and White is forced to resign.

  • Deloriann v jonmill:

A Bf4 KID. Black plays a thematic attack on the bishop with …Nh5 and …h6, but doesn’t risk going all-in with …g5, which in this case would have been justified. The game illustrates some features of attack and defence, especially in long games, where the defender has time to find good moves. White does not have a strong basis for attack, being behind in development. Black plays the …c5 break increasing central control, and one optimistic move too much by White is refuted by Black who simply forces a Queen swap, leaving Black with nothing to fear from White’s attack, but instead enjoying a winning material advantage.

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