Sunday 3 November 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 18

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Column 18

Dear Readers.....

The minutes of the most recent meeting of the Cleveland Chess Association are now up on this site for your perusal.

It was an interesting meeting with a very good turn out. This was, of course,mainly due to the amalgamation of the meeting with the presentation of prizes,due to the cancellation of the earlier presentation evening.

Here’s a few personal comments based on the topics discussed at themeeting.

The Chess Set

This subject has been running for some time and needs resolving. Opinionseemed to be split about 50/50 between those present at the meeting on thequestion of whether or not the antique set should be sold. My personal view is that it should not be sold. The set is an important part of our local history; it was around before any of us and will still be around long after we’ve all gone. Selling it just because the association is strapped for cash seems to be a knee-jerk reaction. There are plenty of other avenues to explore to cure the fragile financial situation before we should even think of selling this magnificent chess set. It should not be used as a quick fix.

Decorum in the Forum

The anonymous forum abuse has been stopped by the need to register to post messages. This should be the complete solution to the problem. The depth ofhostility unleashed was at times very surprising and equally disappointing.However, now that the problem has been solved, I hope that all who wanted a ‘clean’forum will take the time to post there and enjoy the discussions. I’d also like to propose an amnesty on all of the previous unpleasantness, and encourage ALL previous posters to register and join in. We should all be on the same side,the side of chess, whatever our views on a particular subject might be.

CCA Officials

The Association currently lacks a Secretary. Ernie Lazenby kindly stepped into take the minutes of the last meeting but has no intention of taking over theposition on a permanent basis. It is easy to sit back and be critical of the CCA but it is not so easy to actually do something and try and improve the situation. I believe that there is a need for some very frank talking on the future of the CCA. We need a way forward, a way to return a sense of pride and enthusiasm for our own Association. We are not unique in fighting apathy and falling numbers. It’s a nation-wide disease. I think we must change to survive. Gerry Walsh is often accused of running the CCA as a one-man band.Unless people are prepared to take up positions within the Association, then hehas little choice. I have started a thread in the forum about this, and I welcome your suggestions. What is the way forward for Cleveland Chess?

The BCF Grading List

The matter of the £15 copyright fee for reproduction of the grading list was resolved in a satisfactory manner. The worrying thing was that the web site and every club would have to pay this amount to use the grading list for their club walls, handbooks etc. However, the single payment of £15 covers all copies ofthe list used by all clubs in our county for the year.

In Praise of Printed Matter

There is a big danger, a few years down the line, of printed chess magazines dying out due to lack of interest. How on earth can anything compete with the Internet? Why wait for a month or so to see a few recent games from a GM tournament when you can download the whole lot, instantly, from any number ofweb sites? I don’t the answer. I still buy chess books and magazines but I think I’m in the shrinking minority.

Here’s a few recent highlights from the world of printed matter.

1) Anyone with an interest in famous tournaments and matches should pop alongto:

They are reprinting lots of classic books, including Golombek’s works onthe

‘1948 World Championship Match Tournament’, ‘World Chess Championship 1954’ and‘World Chess Championships of 1957 and 1958’. There are also very welcome reprints of Botvinnik’s ‘Championship Chess’ as well as Alekhine’s books ‘Nottingham International Chess Tournament 1936’ and ‘World Chess Championship 1937’

, and a whole load of others. (There’s also a proposed series on Bob Dylan which could well interest one of our better known chess friends!).

3) The Northumberland Chess Bulletin

As a former writer of such bulletins myself, I know well how much hard workis involved and how little feedback and apparent enthusiasm one sees in return.These bulletins must be under a greater threat than ever before, given the universal apathy currently afflicting our great game.

However, The Northumberland Chess Bulletin really is an excellent read, well worth the£5.30 annual subscription. Clive Waters, top chess coach, great player and fantastic annotator, is the current editor of the bulletin. Every issue ispacked with top quality material and games.

4) BCF Book of the Year 2002: Shortlist

Four books make up the shortlist and the winner will be announced soon.

Fischer World Champion! by Max Euwe & Jan Timman, New in Chess

Nezhmetdinov’s Best Games of Chess by Rashid Nezhmetdinov, Caissa Editions

Fundamental Chess Endings by Karsten Müller and Frank Lamprecht, Gambit

"The English Morphy"? by Owen Hindle and Bob Jones, Keverel ChessBooks

The first two books on the list are reprints, but they are appearing in English for the first time. The endgame book has received high praise, but as with most endgame books, I wonder how many people have actually read much of it? My favourite from the shortlist is without doubt "The English Morphy"? Although I must declare an interest in it (it features a few local snippets) I genuinely believe it to be the most interesting of the four books, and it is the first effort by Keverel Chess. I have a sneaky feeling that this book will pick up the title.

Saturday 2 November 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 17

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


No 17

Dear Reader....

As promised, here’s three games from Norman Stephenson’s latest success.He shared first at the Middlesbrough Open congress (with Jim Simpson and FIDE Master Richard Webb) with 4/5. Here are his three wins, with his own notes. Enjoy!

First, a text-book demolition of the King’s Indian Defence. Norman’s handling of this formerly obscure system has scared off many life-long devotees of the K.I.D. At times, he makes the system look like a forced win for White!

Stephenson,N - Widrascu,P

Middlesbrough Congress (2), 07.2002

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Bd3 This is a line that Tom Wise played against my King's Indian over 40 years ago...and thus converted me into a QGD player! 5...e5 6.d5 c6 7.Nge2 cxd5 8.cxd5 a6 9.0–00–0 10.h3 Nbd7 11.Be3 Nh5 Here it comes....the knee-jerk King's Indian reaction...but it isn't always apposite. 12.Qd2 f5 13.exf5 gxf5 14.f4 This blockading move, in the best Nimzovich tradition, is a complete answer to Black's aggressive pawn advance. 14...exf4 14 ... e4 was another type of game (one which I tried without success against Tom all those years ago), but Black's Knight-on-the- rim would have been a liability for its owner 15.Nxf4Nxf4 16.Bxf4 Ne5 17.Be2 b5 Some coaches in their books have recently taken to implying that a player should 'talk to his pieces' before making any move...I have been doing the same for years - but I also include in my coaching 'talking to your squares'...the 'c6' square might have a comment or two about this particular move, which gains nothing in a strategic sense but abandons that square to its fate 18.a4

18...b4 19.Na2 White has his eye on three (!) weak squares - at d4, c6 and e6...not to mention the poor pawn on f5. 19...Rb8 20.Kh1 Qa5 21.Nc1 Qb6 22.Nb3 Rb7 23.a5 Qa7 24.Nd4 Ng6 What else? 25.Nc6 Qa8 The tragi-comic situation of Black's Queen suggests some sort of tactical finish could be 'in the air' 26.Bxd6 Rff7 26 ... Re8 was forced but after27 Bxb4 and 28 Bc3 it is difficult to see any compensation for Black's missing pawns. 27.Nd8 Ne5 28.Bxe5 Bxe5 29.d6 Rg7 30.Bf3 Bf6 31.Nxb7 Bxb7 32.Bxb7 Qxb733.Rxf5 Bd4 34.Raf1 1–0

Winning with Black is never easy against strong players


but Norman didn’thave the option of playing for the draw; he’d drawn in round one and taken a half-point bye in the third round - so two wins on the final day were absolutely essential to have a chance of taking one of the top spots.

Gregory,P - Stephenson,N

Middlesbrough Open (4), 07.2002

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0–0 6.Nf3 h6 7.Bh4 b6 My own recollection is that I play Lasker's 7 ... Ne4 more often here, but Paul was sure that I would go in for Tartakover's System...and had this line prepared for some years! 8.Bxf6 Bxf6 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Qb3 Be6 11.Be2 I had been expecting 11 Rd1 to discourage Black from getting active in the centre. 11...c612.0–0 Qe7 13.a3

Again, talking to your squares would leave 'b3' wondering why it had been left vulnerable. 13...Rd8 14.Rfd1 c5 15.Rac1 c4 16.Qb5 Qb7 17.Qa4Bf5 Threatening to catch White's Queen 18.Ne5 a6 19.Rd2 b5 20.Qd1 Nc621.f4 Na5 Now the 'b3' square isn't talking back to White - it's yelling at him! 22.Bf3 Be4 Snatching at the exchange with 22 ... Nb3 would leave Black losing at least the same in return after 23 Nxd5...White is rather 'winging it' around here. 23.Bxe4 dxe4 Black had seen that he could ge this Knight to the 'd3' square by now 24.Rf2 Nb3 25.Rb1 Nc5 26.Ng4 I had missed the strength of this shot... 26...Be7 ...but, fortunately, 27 Nxh6 gxh6 28 Qg4 Kh8 29 dxc5 Bxc5 is also OK for Black. 27.f5 Nd3 28.Rf1 Bg5 Paul said later that he had missed this move completely but I wasn't sure if 28 ...b4 was perhaps stronger. 29.Qe2 a5 30.Nf2 Maybe White could have grabbed his chance to play 30 b3 30...Nxf2 31.Qxf2 b4 32.Ne2 Qe7 33.axb4 axb4 34.Rfc1 Rdc8 35.Nf4 Bxf4 36.Qxf4 Ra2 37.f6 Time-trouble was looming equally for both players but Black's game is much the easier to play. 37...Qxf6 38.Qxe4 c3 39.Rf1 Qe6 40.Qxe6 fxe6 41.bxc3 Rxc3 If now 42 Rf2 I had noticed the strong reply 42 ... b3! 42.Rxb4 Rcc2 'The absolute seventh' usually wins but draws at worst. 43.Rb8+ Kh7 44.Re1 Rxg2+ 45.Kh1 Rxh2+ 46.Kg1 Rhg2+ 47.Kh1 Rge2 48.Rxe2 Rxe2 49.Re8 Rxe3 50.d5 This does not quite work. 50...e551.Kg2 e4 52.d6 Rd3 0–1

So, to the last round, and given that the top two players had agreed a draw very quickly, the players knew that a win would give a share of first place

Stephenson,N - Ross,C

Middlesbrough Open (5), 07.2002

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0–0 5.Bd3 d6 Unusual. 6.Nge2

(Note: Why do all books and databases insist on this superfluous ‘g’? The ‘c’ Knight is pinned and cannot go to e2!) e5 7.0–0 Bxc3

There is a real danger now that White will reach a 'standard position' with an extra tempo through not needing to have played a3. 8.Nxc3 Thus, 8 bxc3 would be a Samisch plus an extra move. 8...c5

Again, talking to the abandoned 'd5' square might have caused Black to reconsider this move. 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.b3 Nc6 11.a3 Bg4 They saythat a bad plan is better than no plan at all...I have never been convinced of this. 12.Qc2 Bh5 13.Bb2 Bg6 14.Rad1 Qc8 15.Nd5 The consequence of Black's 8th move. 15...Nd7 16.f4 Bxd3 17.Qxd3 Re8 18.Qf5 Nf8 19.Qh5 f6 20.f5 20fe was tempting if only because I could not help feeling at the time that Chris had missed that 20 ... Nxe5 lost to 21 Bxe5 (21 ... Rxe5 22 Qxe5 fxe5 23 Ne7 or21 ... fxe5 Qf7 Kh8 23 Ne7) but I could not see anything convincing against 20fe fe 21 Qf7 Kh8 22 Rf3 Ne6! 20...b6 21.Rf3 It might not be readily apparent that this is a very risky manoeuvre....if White cannot set Black serious problems on the Kingside, the off-side nature of this Rook could easily cost White the game. 21...Qb7 22.Rg3 Qf7 Seeing that 23 Qxf7 Kxf7 24 Nc7Rad8 is OK. 23.Qf3 Red8 24.h4 Ne7 25.e4 Nc6 26.Qe2 Kh8 27.h5 h6 28.Bc1 Rd629.Rg6

It should be mentioned that only by winning (or losing) this could either of us catch the two leading players...who had agreed a four-move draw hours earlier! 29...Nxg6 Now, or on the next move, Black had to throw in the ...Nd4 manoeuvre....but Chris was playing quite quickly now and giving the impression that he had seen his way past White's attack. 30.hxg6 Qd7 31.Qh5 After ..Nd4 now (or earlier) White had planned a second Rook-jump, Rd3/Rg3 Rh3 before sacrificing on 'h6' but now there is no need. 31...Kg8 32.Bxh6 gxh6

33.Nxf6+ 1–0