ROUND 6 REPORT
Best fight – Riff-Art v Calcina
Best game – Harrison4
Brilliancy prize – Calcina
“Tournament, what tournament?” – freddiecrane & robbo1985
All games can be found with light annotations by Aidan on the Lichess study:
(3) Round report by Aidan:
It was the final round and there was all to play for at the top. Dikankan v Ped123 was a tough battle, but Dikankdan did enough to win the game and the tournament. A worthy winner having played strong chess throughout.
The best fight game goes to the Riff-Art Calcina, which hung in the balance throughout the game and for which Calcina also wins the round’s Brilliancy prize for his King invasion at the end, which is more than a little pretty, and certainly feels double-edged.
Best game prize goes to Harrison4, who had an epic clash against Kobra666 sacrificing a piece to trap the Black King in the centre and successfully making it count.
An additional “Tournament, what tournament?” prize to freddiecrane & robbo1985. Their game hasn’t been played, and we have no idea why, we wonder if they do?
We’ll send out a further tournament write up, with the additional tournament level prizes shortly.
Onto the games!
dikankan v Ped123:
A fitting game to decide first place. A Queen’s Indian Defence, a top flight opening and one requiring a great deal of skill from both sides. White plays ambitiously meeting 7…cxd4 with 8.Nb5 rather than the safe 8.Qxd4, and then 14.Nc7 with a double-edged position. Black defended well, but could have reached a really messy position with 16…g5! Instead White is able to squeeze off a pawn, and the position trades down to an endgame in which Black has a little initiative for the pawn, and plays really well to trade down to a Rook pawn endgame in which White’s broken pawn structure gives Black good chances to hold. Rook pawn endgames are incredibly difficult though, and White’s a-pawn breaks free to force the transposition to a won pawn endgame. Congratulations to dikankan, and Ped123 can be proud of fighting all the way to the end.
Jamie_K v Alienmove22:
An illustrative game on the challenges of playing the Chigorin defence. We follow an important mainline up to move 9, when Black plays 9…exd4?! This swaps a central pawn for a wing pawn and solidifies White’s central advantage and we reach a position in which all the long-term advantages rest with White. White doubles on the g-file to attack Black’s castled King and defence is tricky, Black misses a tactical resource for White and drops a Rook. White closes the game out without any major problems.
Riff-Art v Calcina:
With a shot at 2nd place up for grabs we had an interesting fighting game. Calcina played a gambit line in the Scandinavian and picked up a developmental lead, but probably not enough for a full pawn. White went for a slightly passive choice in going for a d3 system, but backed itup with nice piece play. This should have been sufficient for advantage with accurate play, but a slight move order hiccup enabled Black to threaten checkmate and emerge with level material and more active position. The Queen and Rook endgame that arises is sharp and complicated and Riff-Art should be admired for avoiding a couple of drawing variations and if Riff-Art had found 29.h4! then it would have paid off. Instead after a tight tussle Calcina comes out a pawn up (due to tiredness or time, both players missing 37…Rxa7 winning on the spot) however with Queens on the board and White having doubled pawns, with all the pawns on the Kingside, a draw could still be quite likely. Calcina’s winning plan is hugely entertaining an wins this week’s brilliancy prize.
ChilliReyes v szveltz:
A curious game. White plays the rather unambitious 4.Bd2 in the Nimzo-Indian, Black plays well, but at the critical moment declines to take an ‘Isolated Queen’s Pawn’position, and recaptures a pawn on d5 with the f6 Knight, not the e6-pawn. The result is highly thematic, Black lagging in development and having major trouble with the bishop on c8. White plays really well punishing Black’s passive position, and with winning tactics looming for White, a draw is agreed!
BehindBluEyes v snowDeath:
If ever an opening was misnamed for what follows it is this Giuoco Pianissimo (very quiet game). The opening phase has been argued by Grandmasters for centuries and I’m sure holds a range of subtle ideas. White plays 9.Bg5!? which may be an inaccuracy, after 9…h6 10.Bh4, Black plays 10…g5!? Which though risky, might just work. White decided to play aggressively, sacrificing a knight for Black’s g and h-pawns, but Black has a stunning plan, instead of defend passively to use the newly opened g and h files for Black’s Rooks. Black’s move 14…Bxh3! is a model of efficiency, and an equal material position arises in which White’s lag in development is a key factor. The position is very sharp, but Black’s attack on the White King is stronger than White’s attack, and persists even after Queens come off, forcing resignation shortly after.
harrison4 v Kobra666:
A very exciting Modern game. White plays an early h4 push, and after the response …h5 settles back to playing central chess. Black gains space on the Queenside with a large number of pawn moves lagging in development, but keeping a flexible position. White castles Queenside into the pawn storm, and then pushes through in the centre. White follows up with a bishop sacrifice to trap Black’s King in the centre. A chaotic position arises, but eventually lines open and Black’s exposed King is more important than the extra piece and Black is forced to resign. A great game by harrison4.
onlinek v straven239:
This game is giving me nightmare flashbacks to when I tried to play the mainline French as White. Black has a myriad of schemes and ideas and White needs to play exactly the right idea against all of them. In this French Classical White sacrifices a pawn, but after 9…f5 White needs to keep the Queens on the board. White plays pretty well to minimise the effect of Black’s extra pawn, but in the endgame reached Black has the more active Rook, and the apparent ‘bad bishop’ proves highly effective in attack as well as defence. Black squeezes a second pawn off, and is able to marshall a passed g-pawn down the board to Queen.
Sundower v Zigger88:
Black won the game by default.
Leilapeymani v forknskewer64:
A curious opening by Black, which if I’m hyper-critical simply loses. An excellent demonstration of how dull boring, simple moves by White can win a game without the need for any pieces to cross the 4th rank. The e-file opens while Black’s King is still on e8, and as often happens this is pretty fatal. White doesn’t find the quickest knockout blows, but keeps a winning advantage, slowly making progress until a misjudgement allows Black to reach a pawn down endgame, which gives Black drawing chances. Accurate defence however is hard, and black sacrifices more pawns in order to generate a passed a-pawn, but White correctly sacrifices the last White piece for it, to leave White with an easily won 3 pawns vs Knight endgame.
ewaawoowaa v Steerpike2020:
An illustrative Queen’s Gambit Declined. In my mind this is a difficult opening to play as Black, and requires a good understanding of how to fight back in the centre. This game is effectively won by White solely on intent, White has a plan, Black doesn’t, and White’s plan is a good one. It should however be noted, that Black had tactical opportunities, most notably …Bxh2+ for two moves, and at least one point when the central break …c5 was good. However, White’s plan was simple and thematic, develop pieces onto good squares, play Nge2! to allow White to expand with f3 and e4, and then launch a Kingside attack. Black’s lack of a clear plan for counterplay meant that White did not require a high level of accuracy to be successful.
diegoff29 v jcruz4:
An interesting Guiccio Piano with the ambitious 3…f5. White gets a lead in development, and there is a complex central clash, Black needed to find the brilliant 8…b5! to hold equality, and while Black shatters White’s Kingside pawns, Black lags in development and White has the bishop pair. White’s pieces drop into the Kingside and fatal material loss is unavoidable as Black’s pieces aren’t active enough to put up a defence.
Swanonch v P1nFork:
A c3-Sicilian with some useful learning points. White plays aggressively, with 4.Bb5+ and 5.Qe2. However, this should have backfired as Black can simply capture the e4-pawn, when White’s Queen is overloaded, and therefore White is forced to play Bxd7 releasing the tension and giving Black a lead in development. Black misses this resource, and the next phase of the game is fascinating as three times White uses a pin along the e-file to cause damage, firstly a pawn win with 6.exd6, secondly shattering white’s pawns with 13.Bxf6, and thirdly picking up another pawn with 15.Qxc5. Given this triple whammy it is understandable that White felt in total control, which may explain one slightly lazy move in 18.Rad1. In chess one move is all it takes 18…Bb4 wins the exchange, but further Black’s centralised pieces are all suddenly optimally places and the tactical threats keep on coming, White does as well as possible, but sadly that isn’t much and White is forced to resign in a hopeless position.
Bobik98 v Aytacoglu:
A curious English opening. White plays a little eccentrically allowing Black to play …d4, and losing tempos playing Qxd4 and then Qd1. Black fails to grasp the initiative with 7…d4! and later fails to play 12…e5 or 17…e5 while complete equality. White gains an edge with the thematic 18.Nd4, releasing the bishop on g2, while Black’s queenside is yet to get fully developed. Black then blunders horribly and the game ends in mate on move 20.
Winwick v Mark2_alias:
An interesting advance French. White plays aggressively and succeeds in confusing Black, gaining an edge. The key learning point for Black is that the move …cxd4 is a powerful resource in the French (as central moves often are), and should be considered every move if it is possible. White pressurises, but can’t break through, and when Black manages to castle Queenside, White’s position is very difficult due to the half open g and h files for the Black Rooks. White drops a piece, and Black has no problems converting.
hsk4u v ersZ43T:
Black won the game by default
Cinek56 v Chalkenstein:
A London System, after the standard …d6 and …Nf6,Black develops actively with the aim of pushing …e5 via …Bd6, …Nbd7 and …Qe7. The game is very illustrative of how effective central pawn breaks can be, and also illustrates one antidote, White had the simple 8.Ne5 ‘blockading’ the e-pawn and preventing …e5. Instead Black was able to push on with …e5 and then …e4 and suddenly White is cramped for space. White the miscalculates or is overoptimistic, swapping Queens and sacrificing two minor pieces for a Rook. In the resulting middlegame the two minor pieces are worth more than the Rook, and it is fascinating how quickly White is overpowered. A key feature is that with the locked pawn structure Black’s remining Knight is more active than White’s Rook.
Irenge v FADEC:
An odd Ruy Lopez, Black plays 3…Bc5, which Wikipedia informs me is the ‘Classical Variation’, but is quite rare. After 4.c3 Black plays the provocative 4…a6, and after 5.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Nxe5 Black should have play 7…Qg5 attacking both White’s knight and the g2 pawn. Instead 7…Qf6 8.d4 enables White to seize the centre in a rather permanent manner. White’s advantage is winning having both an extra pawn and complete control of the centre. It is unsurprising that material winning tactics emerge as White’s position is so dominant. Black is able to create minor threats, but White easily handles them picking up a couple of additional pawns, and then forcing checkmate. A great game by White punishing Black’s opening mistakes.
Johnc75 v Yolksac:
A rather confusing London System. White picked up a small edge in the opening, but a speculative knight sortie helped Black catch up on development. White’s Queen does a grand tour of the board, and is eventually rewarded when Black fails to defend a pawn. White is allowed to capture a second pawn, and seems to have the game in the bag. White’s f-pawn is powering its way to glory and only needs a little Queen support, when instead a draw is agreed.
freddiecrane v robbo1985:
Both sides get nil-points as the game wasn’t played and we have no idea why.
jonmill v AdeDoesChess:
An odd advance Caro-Kann with f4. I think Black might have been best to play 5…c5, instead of 5…Bb4, as 7.a3 and 8.b4, cut the …c5 break out of the game, which restricted Black’s play and made it harder to develop. Despite this Black was fine and managed to grab a pawn with a nice exchange of pieces. At move 18, Black responds to an attack on the f5-Bishop with 18…Be4? allowing 19.Nxe4! after which the loess of central control helps White a great deal.The game then gets very sharp, and White’s 24.b5 would have been better played a move earlier, as the game variation allowed Black the strong Knight sacrifice 25…Nxe5! However, Black missed this vital defence and White’s pawns and pieces swarmed in with fatal effect.
Damo770 v Mags2020:
White plays 1.Nc3 and 2.d3, which fails to grab the centre by the throat. White loses a couple of tempos by playing Bf4 & Bxb8, and an unnecessary Queen sortie, which is repelled with sensible developing moves. Black gains a big advantage in the centre, but blunders a piece, which White then blunders back. White’s lack of space then tells as Blacks is able to smash through on the Kingside with a nice pawn storm forcing the win.
Dr_MelR v Smthdeedog778:
A game of three halves. The opening is a Queen’s Gambit Accepted, and Smthdeedog778 plays a great game, hitting in the centre, attacking White’s King with check, winning a pawn and disrupting White’s position. The next phase both sides jostle for the advantage, in a pleasingly chaotic position with minor pieces scattered over the board. The White pieces are better centralised, but Smthdeedog778 could have won a piece with 21…Ba6 pinning a Knight against White’s King, but instead blunders with 21…c6, when White’s Knight goes from victim to hero with 22.Nd6. This ushers in a short brutal final phase of the game in which Black suffers huge material losses to vicious crunching tactics.
Blackscorpion2020 v Tilbs_11:
White won the game by default.
dmh6 v bikerpeavey:
A Bc4 Sicilian with d3 and Nf3. Black defends with …d6 and …e6, and expands on the Queenside with …a6 and …b5. As often happens in the Bc4 Sicilian Black comfortably equalises, and stands slightly better. White tries to set up for a Kingside attack, but the lack of central control hamstrings White’s ability to make this dangerous. A useful thematic move that Black missed in the game is …c4, which attacks the bishop on b3, and undermines White’s e4 pawn. White presses forward, but Black well places to counter this and White drops an exchange. Black makes further progress and the game should be won, but bikerpeavey makes a series of thematic errors, which end up turning the game on its head. In an endgame you should never check your opponent’s King without there been a concrete reason. The King is worth almost as much as a Rook as an attacking piece, and every time it is checked it if it can move in a direction that helps your opponent, you’ve given your opponent a free move. I would strongly recommend looking at the position at move 33, and move 43, to understand how Black lost the game.