The last posting mentioned a game played by your correspondent that ended with a horrible blunder losing a queen and the game. Well, folks, the game has been traced and it was worse than I originally thought. Resignation was not required as it was not my queen that I lost but my king….and after only eight moves. The game was played at the Thanet Congress in 1989. It was in round 2 against Jeremy Lynn who plays for Crystal Palace – the chess club not the football team – so if you are out there Mr Lynn, I hope this brings back happier memories for you than it does for me.

White:   Robert Page (125)    Black:  Jeremy Lynn (136)

Thanet Major 1989

1.  d4 Nf6 2. c4 e5 3. dxe5 Ng4 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. b3 Bb4 6. Nd2 Qe7 7. a3 Ngxe5

Have a look at the position. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and looking at it now it seems inexplicable that not only was I facing mate in one and did not notice but that I was given a fairly unsubtle hint that something was coming by being offered a free bishop. Furthermore, I remember thinking for a few minutes about my next move. Was I looking a gift horse (or, in this case, bishop) in the mouth? I could see no danger, possibly because the knight on e5 obscured the real threat, the queen on e7. So I took the bishop…..

8. axb4??

My opponent did not need to think as long as I did for his next move.

8……Nd3! mate

How we laughed – both of us but for different reasons. I could not believe how stupid I had been and he could not believe his luck. As mentioned in the last report, one of the players on my neighbouring board had not arrived to start his game and I had lost in about five minutes. Notwithstanding this result, this was quite a good tournament for me. I scored 50% in a group where I was one of the lowest graded players, emerging with a tournament performance of 136 – and we’re talking old money here. But of all the games I played in that congress, this is the one I remember. It provides a neat bookend to my other serious congress blunder (see Blunder of the Week April 1st 2015).  That was far more calamitous in that this was at the beginning of the game while the 2015 one – and no, it was not an April Fool, it really happened – came right at the end when I had mate in one and lost! My opponent went on to win the section, thereby confirming what I have always thought, that in order to win a tournament you need a little luck.

 

 

 

Yes, folks, it’s back – Blunder of the Week! Everyone’s done it and everyone loves it apart from the poor sucker who’s made to look a wally all over the world wide web. This week it’s Reg who was guilty of a mental blank and the beauty of this one is that it took place after only five moves….The beneficiary was Michael Doyle who points out that he has a grade 26 points below his opponent’s so Reg’s generosity was even more appreciated.

White:   Reg Pidduck (107)    Black:  Michael Doyle (81)

Goodall Cup

1. e4 e6 2. d4 c5 3. Be3 cxd4 4. Qxd4 Nc6

Have a look at this position. White’s queen is threatened so clearly it has to move so what could be safer than 5. Qc3?? Well, quite a lot actually and I suspect it did not take Michael long to realise that this was his lucky day. The game continued:

5…….Bb4! 6. Bd4 Bxc3 7. Bxc3 and White resigned after 24 moves.

So Black won a queen for a bishop but if it is any consolation to Reg – and I don’t think it is – Michael could have won it for nothing. Presumably, White played 6.Bd4? in the hope that Black would play 6….. Nxd4 to which he would reply 7. Qxb4 and he escapes …….except that he doesn’t.

7……Nxc2+!

Ouch! Losing your queen for nothing after seven moves might constitute Blunder of the Year. Your correspondent can certainly remember losing his at the Thanet Congress once after a similar number of moves – I recall the player next to me had not even arrived to start his game and I had already lost. I’m not proud, I’ll dig it out. Watch this space.

Bad luck, Reg, but thank you for allowing us to enjoy some welcome schadenfreude.

 

After a quiet start to the Altibox Norway Chess tournament, there has been no little drama in the last few days including a cook-off between the players – definitely worth checking out – a withdrawal as a result of an injury and a defeat for Magnus Carlsen.  The premature exit was by Ding Liren who injured himself while cycling during the first rest day. Initially, he thought it was not serious but later it was decided that he would need surgery on his hip and so he withdrew from the tournament. Before quitting, however, he chose to go through with the players’ cook-off competition which had been arranged for the rest day. The players drew lots to be paired off in five groups of two and were then given recipes to cook. Their culinery experience appeared to be limited in most cases so it must have been a surprise when Ding and Vishy Anand – who claims only to have once cooked an omelette – were declared the winners. This clip, courtesy of Chess.com, is worth a look:

https://www.chess.com/news/view/cook-off-winner-ding-hospitalized-with-fractured-hip

Carlsen had made a confident start to the tournament and amid a cluster of draws, he was the only one to have achieved two wins in the first five rounds to sit on top of the table with 3½/5. However, he was beaten in Round 6 today by Wesley So who in doing so registered his first win. The leader board now looks much more interesting as the players head for the second rest day.

White:  Wesley So (2778)    Black:   Magnus Carlsen (2843) 

Altibox Norway 2018 Round 6

Hibernation is defined as a period when mammals spend the winter moving very little and sleeping a lot in order to save energy. Substitute ‘estivation’ for ‘hibernation’ and ‘chess players’ for ‘mammals’ and you get the general picture for most chess clubs after Easter. Not so here at Broadstairs where we have another two and a half months to go which involves several remaining matches in the club championship, three more rounds of the Summer Swiss, the semi-finals and finals of the knockout competition and the Broadstairs Blitz on July 2. If that is not enough, there is also the 49th Thanet Chess Congress to look forward to in August to which everyone is invited.  Details and online booking can be found at http://www.thanetchesscongress.co.uk. Entry is free for GMs and IMs, and only £5 for U16s.

No such rest for the world’s top players who have descended upon Stavanger for the Altibox Norway Chess tournament, an all-play-all competition featuring ten of the top players in the world. Rather than list those attending, it is easier to name those of the leading thirteen who are not (Kramnik, Giri, Grischuk). To give you an idea of the standard of the tournament, Vishy Anand is the weakest player with a pathetic FIDE rating of 2760. Round 1 featured an intriguing rehearsal for November’s World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana, and it was the only game with a positive result.

White:   Magnus Carlsen (2843)    Black:   Fabiano Caruana (2822)

Altibox Norway 2018 Round 1

Stavanger iImage result for stavangers described as the oil capital of Norway and is an attractive city well worth a visit. If your idea of a fun evening is watching Scandi noir serials on tv, you might be forgiven for thinking that Norwegians lack a sense of humour but don’t you believe it. On a visit there last year, your correspondent came across a Mexican restaurant outside which there was a sign displaying the following recommendation in perfect English: “Mexican food so authentic that Donald Trump would build a wall around it.” If a visit to the oil museum is not your cup of tea, try tracking down the dozen or so Antony Gormley statues liberally scattered around the city in the most unlikely places including one inside a shop. Meanwhile, as none of the ten stars currently appearing at the Altibox tournament has yet replied to my request for them to opt in to my updated post-GDPR privacy notice enabling me to display their photographs, here is a picture of Stavanger instead.

 

This week’s Game of the Week, nominated by Michael Doyle, is his demolition of Richard Bowles in the second round of the Summer Swiss. Michael is proud of the win and says of the game, ‘I haven’t seen a black blitzkrieg like that since I first played chess when Bobby Fischer torpedoed Spassky’.

White:   Richard Bowles (52)    Black:  Michael Doyle (81)

Summer Swiss Round 2