SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
“Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole (1717–1797)
We say that LIFE can be funny, but what we really mean is that sometimes we need a sense of humour in the face of so much tragedy…
WITNESS the case last week of Augusto Naia, a 52 year old fisherman from Ovar, who narrowly escaped with his life when the boat he was in sunk off the coast of Portugal . LINK
Two of his colleagues drowned in the boating incident last Wednesday…BUT while attending the funeral Saturday of one of these victims, Naia suddenly became ill and died within minutes. A family spokesperson said that Naio could not bear the pain of having lost his best friend…
This reminds me of the curious story of Johanna Ganthaler, from Italy, who was on vacation in Brazil in 2009 with her husband when they arrived late at the airport in Rio de Janeiro and therefore missed their flight back home: the doomed Air France 447 which crashed hours later in the Atlantic Ocean, killing everyone on board.
ONE WEEK LATER the wife was killed in Italy in a car accident! I suppose you can say that when your time is up, your time is up! That there is no escaping your destiny. Even so, we can only laugh or cry…or both.
CANADIAN HAMBLETON WINS WEEKENDER IN ENGLAND!
Congrats to Canadian IM Aman Hambleton for winning the Sunningdale Open held over the long weekend (24 to 27 May)! The seven round Open tournament was held in two sections, with the top section fielding 3 GMs and 3 IMs. Time control was the standard 90/game plus 30 seconds per move. One game Friday evening; two rounds for the rest. Congratulations also to the organizers for being able to put all of the games in pgn just hours after the tournament finished! That is being PROFESSIONAL!
The Canadian youngster defeated two tough GMs (Williams and Hebden) and drew with GM Arkell, winning first prize of 450 pounds. Aman also won 21 rating points, more than making up his below-par performance in Bolívia at the Continental earlier this month.
As mentioned in an earlier blog entry, Hambleton and Eric Hansen both intend to spend a year in Europe, playing in the tough European tournament circuit and training. Both intend to qualify for next year’s National Team that will play in Norway.
Below is Aman’s game against the GM Simon Williams, author and expert on the Dutch Defence. Aman punished some overly ambitious play by the Englishman. I especially like the finale!
gm WILLIAMS, S
Position after 29 moves. Black had just captured a Rook in the corner. Aman can now capture the Knight and he should win, though he has to be a bit careful about backrank tricks…HOWEVER, White found a classy way to put a quick end to Black’s suffering…
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
1. d4 e6 2. c4 f5 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. Nh3 d6 6. b3 e5 7. Bb2 Ng4 8. O-O O-O 9. Qd2 Nc6 10. Bd5+ Kh8 11. f3 Ne3 12. Qxe3 f4 13. Nxf4 exf4 14. gxf4 Nb4 15. Be4 d5 16. cxd5 Bh3 17. Nc3 Bd6 18. Qf2 Bxf4 19. Rfd1 c6 20. dxc6 bxc6 21. d5 c5 22. Kh1 Be5 23. Na4 Bxb2 24. Nxb2 Qf6 25. Nc4 Rae8 26. Qg3 Qh6 27. d6 Rxe4 28. fxe4 Nc2 29. Ne5 Nxa1 30. d7 Bxd7 31. Nf7+ 1-0
SHORT AND SOKOLOV LEAD SIGEMAN’S
This year’s edition of the traditional Sigeman &Co is a very strong tournament with just one round remaining. Both Short and Sokolov have 4 points, just one half point ahead of 3 others. Should be an exciting finish as Short plays Tikkanen while Sokolov plays Grandelius. Pity it is only an 8-round event!
Time control is a very relaxed 100 minutes for 40 moves; 50 minutes for the next 20; then 15 minutes to finsh; plus 30 seconds per move starting from move one.
The 5th round encounter between Short and Van Wely was an exciting affair that saw the English star sacrífice a piece in a sharp Sicilian.
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 18th MOVE (18.0-0-0)
gm VAN WELY
The reader might do well to pay special attention to the unusual variation in the opening. In my opinion Black was overly optimistic when he played the centre break d5, but in any case the resulting position is complicated and difficult to play for both sides. But now Short has succeeded to open the h-file and has dangerous attacking chances
PERHAPS Van Wely should now play 18…Nf5, supporting the pawn on d4. However, he decided to sacrífice his Queen for Rook and Knight, an arguable decision that creates a real mess on the board:
With the help of hindsight, we find that this sacrífice is not really correct. Apparently Short can now take the Queen and still remain with a very strong attack: 19.RxQ! Pxb2+ 20.Kb1 RaxR 21.Bc5! with Nf4-d5 coming up quickly.
HOWEVER, one’s emotions in over the board play can often cloud our objectivity and sometimes we find ourselves convinced by our opponent’s optimism, resulting in us playing a second best line. HERE Nigel decided to decline the Black Queen sacrífice and to instead make a real sacrífice of his Knight by simply re-capturing the pawn on c3:
19. Nxc3!? Qc8! 20.Qh7+ Kf8 21.Ne4!
White has excellent compensation for the piece, but the position is not at all clear. This piece sacrífice reminds me of Short when he was at his best in the 1990’s. In these messy positions Nigel has few equals. There are some dangerous ideas, such as Bc5 as well as Nf6.
Here Black was not up to the position and made a serious mistake with 21…Qf5? (correct is 21…Ne5!) and was quickly routed. A game worth replaying several times!1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 e6 3. Nf3 a6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 d6 6. g4 Ne7 7. h4 b5 8. Bg2 Bb7 9. g5 Nbc6 10. a3 g6 11. h5 Bg7 12. Nde2 O-O 13. hxg6 hxg6 14. Qd3 Re8 15. Qh3 d5 16. exd5 exd5 17. Be3 d4 18. O-O-O dxc3 19. Nxc3 Qc8 20. Qh7+ Kf8 21. Ne4 Qf5 22. Nf6 Red8 23. Bd5 Rxd5 24. Rxd5 Qf3 25. Nd7+ Ke8 26. Rdd1 Nf5 27. Nf6+ Ke7 28. Bc5+ Ke6 29. Rhe1+ Ne5 30. Qh2 Bxf6 31. gxf6 Be4 32. Bd4 Nc6 33. Bc3 Rc8 34. Rd3 Qg4 35. f3 Qg5+ 36. Kb1 1-0
Nigel and Van Wely in the postmortem.
A PICTURE IS WORTH A 1,000 WORDS…
TODAY’S WINNING CHESS LEGS!
NO! NOT THESE CHESS LEGS, DUMMY!
THESE CHESS LEGS!!!
CHESS AND MUSIC!
TOCADA MOVIDA is an argentine music group that specializes in spanish songs with a chess-theme. Translated roughly ”Touch Move”, the group is very popular and works with the Buenos Aires government for promoting chess in schools, among other things.
One of their hits is PEON AISLADO, translated as ”Isolated Pawn”They have even convinced Judit Polgar to sing for them when she was recently in Argentina! VISIT THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE!