Friday, 26 November 2010

Two Games

The recent Mike Closs Memorial Tournament produced many fine chess battles. The two most interesting encounters featured the tournament champion, Julian Allinson.

The first of these came in his Quarter-final match with Ian Elcoate. The random selection of openings led to the Milner Barry Gambit appearing on the boards. Mike and I contested a couple of bruising encounters with it a few years ago.

Ian Elcoate is a fan of the French Defence so I think he was happy to take the Black pieces in the game.

Julian, normally favouring a controlling, positional sort of game, adjusted remarkably well to the gambit style of the day.

Julian Allinson v Ian Elcoate
Mike Closs Memorial Tournament


1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.Bd3 White offers a pawn but Black can't win it straight away without losing his Queen. However, White has no intention of defending the pawn after Black's 7 ...Bd7 so it is a genuine gambit. 6...cxd4 7.cxd4 Bd7 8.0–0 Nxd4 9.Nxd4 Qxd4 10.Nc3 a6 11.Re1 Qa7 12.Qg4

Mike and I used to joke about his games with White. 'How is it', I would ask, 'that you always have a safely castled King, a Rook on e1, a Bishop d3, Queen on g4 and pawn on e5?' Mike would laugh and reply, 'It's just me, isn't it?'

In this game, Julian unintentionally mimics the finer points of Mike's game. This is remarkable, because Julian is normally to be found fishing in the relatively calm waters of Catalans and Caro-Kanns.

12...Ne7 13.Be3 Qb8 14.Bb6 Ng6 Logical enough; Black must sort out his development and this apparent gain of tempo seems to give Black a bit of time. However, White continues in gambit style...

15.Nxd5 exd5 16.e6 Bxe6 Black must have been unwilling to enter the position after 16 ...fxe6 17 Bxg6+ hxg6 18 Qxg6+ Ke7 but his King ends up on the run in this line too.

17.Qa4+ Ke7 18.Rac1 A cool move, preparing the final King hunt. 18...Qe8 19.Rc7+ [Fritz forces mate here after 19.Qb4+ Kf6 20.Bd4+ Ne5 21.Bxe5+ Kg5 22.Qf4+ Kh5 23.Be2+ Kg6 24.Qg3+ Kh6 25.Qh4+ Kg6 26.Qh5#]

19...Kf6 20.Qd4+ [Fritz finds another way here too: 20.Bd4+ Ne5 21.Bxe5+ Kg5 22.Qf4+ Kh5 23.Be2+ Kg6 24.Qg3+ Kh6 25.Qh4+ Kg6 26.Qh5#]

20...Kg5 21.h4+! Nxh4

22.Qe3+ [Fritz again: 22.Qe5+ Bf5 23.Be3+ Kg6 24.Qg3+ Kf6 25.Bg5+ Kg6 26.Bxh4+ Kh6 27.Qg5#] 22...Kh5 23.Be2+ Nf3+ 24.Qxf3+ Kg6 [or 24...Kg5 25.Qh5+ Kf4 26.g3+ Ke4 27.Bxa6#] 25.Qh5+ 1–0

A fantastic King hunt, entirely worthy of the occasion. It was a very nice game to watch 'live'!

The final attracted a lot of interest. Julian had to show the defensive side of his game this time.

David Wise v Julian Allinson
Mike Closs Memorial Tournament


1.e4 e5 2.d4 It was very fitting indeed that the last of the randomly drawn openings should be Mike's all-time favourite - The Danish Gambit. 2...exd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Bc4 cxb2 5.Bxb2 Nf6 Not as highly regarded as the main line with 5 ...d5. Black usually ends up in trouble after this. 6.e5 Bb4+ 7.Kf1 Ne4 8.Bxf7+

8 ...Kxf7 9.Qd5+ Ke8 10.Qxe4 Nc6 11.Nc3 Bxc3 12.Bxc3 Qe7 13.Re1 We all thought Black was suffering here and he was slipping behind on the clock too.

13...b5 A reasonable attempt at counterplay. Black is very cramped but this gives a fighting chance of developing the Queen's Bishop, maybe even with check. The general feeling at the time of the game was that White is clearly better here.


14 ...Kd8

Probably the only move to offer a chance of survival, but very difficult to find under pressure.


It seems that 15 Rd1 is the better try as Qd5 gives Black an unexpected chance...15... Rb8 which goes unseen over the board. [Fritz happily points out the improvement: 15...b4 16.exd7 Ba6 + 17.Ne2 Qxd7 18.Qxd7+ Kxd7 19.Bxg7 Rhe8 20.Rd1+ Kc8–+] 16.exd7 Qxd7 17.Qf3 b4


Looks good, but White missed a clear win here with 18 Bf6+! The remainder of the game was played quickly, with both sides very short on time.

Julian managed to turn the tables. 18...Ba6+ 19.Ke1 Re8+ 20.Ne2 Qxd1+!! Black is suddenly winning! 21.Kxd1 Bxe2+ 22.Qxe2 Rxe2 23.Kxe2 bxc3 24.Kd3 Rb2 25.Kxc3 Rxf2 0-1

...and David's sporting smile and handshake brought to an end what was probably the strongest themed tournament ever held in our county.

No comments: