Alan Dommett's Column


More Grand Games

The Bournemouth Grand coverage continues with two offerings from the main prize winners in the Challengers section, plus a win from a grading prize winner in the Intermediate event. Each one has a swift, often surprising, conclusion and only the speed with which opportunities are taken reflects any difference in the standard of play in the three games selected.

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Majoring on the Minor

As with every good competition reprise, this 2nd Bournemouth Grand Congress review is in reverse order, kicking-off with the Minor event and games from Under 100 grading prize winners, Jake Holton and Keven Lamb. The standard is high in both and even though the final game in my trilogy fails to match them I hope you will agree that it merits inclusion for the sheer amount of interest and unpredictability it packs in over the short course of eighteen moves!

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Bournemouth ‘Grand’ Best Games Span Open and Minor

There were joint winners of the Best Game prize at the Bournemouth ‘Grand’ Congress this year with Ian Clark’s fine combination, in his second round game in the Open, matched only by Barry Childs fourth round effort in the Minor event. Both games feature splendid finishes and are given below:-

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A Case Of ‘If Only’ In Critical Open Game

The last of the Dorset Congress Open selection and perhaps the most interesting of them all. No doubt the players concerned came away from this game thinking both the best and worst of what went on, but their perceptions may be altered with hindsight and the following analysis…

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Boxing Clever

Another Dorset Congress Open game and another pugilistic analogy, this time used to describe a middlegame combination that would have been good enough to floor most opponents!

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− one = 7

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Morra the same, in terms of White’s aim

Unusual, I know, but here I am commenting on the next game and a gambit that isn’t a BDG! It is, in fact, a Morra and there is a strong instructive element to be found in this classic example of White getting an early e5 hit right where it hurts most, flush on his opponent’s centre.

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Impressive, but if only I had played…

Next up is a Closed Sicilian that could have come within a whisker of the Brilliancy Prize, if there had been one and the key to the whole combination had actually been found! Nevertheless, a fine attack by White still manages to put a smooth finishing touch to an entertaining game.

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Are Lions For Life, Not Just For Christmas?

Second cracker - this time it’s a loose Lion that turns the opening into a bit of circus, although there is a lovely piece sacrifice that re-cages the beast before any real damage can be done.

  1. Russell Pegg on said:

    Hi Alan,
    I think Nc5 is a mistake. (In the line 1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nbd7 4. f4 e5 5. Nf3 exd4 6. Nxd4 Nc5). I played it against Steve Pearson and struggled. Later found that this is an older line that has been refuted. Current vogue is to transpose the Lion into a Pirc set up fianchettoing the Black bishop and holding Nc5 for a later move depending on what white does. If you like I can send you some analysis.
    Hope you are keeping well,
    Russ

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Open Crackers Over Christmas

The first of the Dorset Congress Open games previously promised is an opening round example of knights proving more influential than bishops, with a rather nice exchange sacrifice thrown in for good measure.

  

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A Storming Congress Game Before The Flood Arrives

Last time on here I expressed the hope that new season games might flood in and they have – all eight of them and at the moment I’m sifting through to find the pearls. In the meantime Phil has reached his own saturation point by loading every Dorset Congress game on the Bournemouth Congress website for your enjoyment and my longer term benefit, as the plan will be to analyse at least one from each round of the Open in the near future.

However, before setting off along this path, I’ve been distracted by the following miniature from the Major event which has a few hidden treasures that I simply could not resist sharing. There is a ‘guess the right move’ addition near the end, so I’d advise you not to whisk through it if you wish to take part!

  1. Phil T-B on said:

    Although I’m the first to directly comment on one of Alan’s posts, I hope there are many other readers who enjoy his column as much as I do!

    I was also struck by this game as I entered it, superficially Black is seemingly simply outplaying White and then out of nowhere is mated!
    However my new assistant Houdini 3×64 actually prefers White from 12…Qxe5 onwards. In the critical position, it seems that the suggested defence 20…d5 doesn’t help since 21.Rf1 Qe7 22.Bh4 Qc7 23.Re1+ Kf8 24.Re7 Qf4 25.Bg3 Qf6 26.Bd6 also snares the Queen for Rook and Bishop with what must be a winning position.
    Note that in this line 25…Qc1+ 26.Re1 Qh6 27.Qxd5 Be6 28.Qxb7 Rd8 29.Qc7 Qf6 30.Bd6+ Rxd6 31.Qxd6+ leaves White “only” a pawn up, but with the Rh8 out of play Black will not survive long.

    Thus Houdini prefers 20…d6 after all, with the main line being 21.Rf1 g6 22.Qd5 Bf5 23.Bxf5 gf 24.Re1+ Kf8 25.Bxd6+ Kg8 26.Qxb7 Qxd6 27.Qxa8+ Kg7 28.Qf3 with White a safe pawn up having a more secure King, passed c pawn and better pawn structure and more than likely to prevail.

    Finally in my database, 10.Bd2 is actually the most frequently played move with a whopping 81.7% success rate – which both suggests that White may have actually prepared this line, and that the Black position is far more precarious than first impressions would indicate!

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+ 7 = twelve

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Another Young Gun Shooting For Stardom

Before the season begins in earnest and an anticipated (I always live in hope) flood of brilliant Bournemouth and Dorset League games leaves me spoilt for choice, here is yet another played by a youngster who is surely destined for success at the highest level.

Only 8 years old, Alex Golding took Michael Basman’s annual tournament by storm, defeating four players with grades much higher than his own, including a 190+ who may still need some time to recover from the shock!

However, what really stands out the most for me in this game is the clarity of play when faced with a modern take on the Sicilian that was probably, at such a tender age, something of a step into the unknown for him – the finish isn’t bad either!

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Queens Off, But Game Definitely On!

There are many ways of nullifying the advantage White has [allegedly] when making the first move in a game, the simplest being to try to get the queens off the board at the earliest opportunity. However, should achieving this aim come at a price, such as committing your king to the centre right from the start, there is a natural reluctance to be so bold early in proceedings, especially without some established theory to rely on.

The following game, taken from one of the recent e2e4 events and featuring Wimborne’s Allan Pleasants, shows this type of strategy in action and it provides enough evidence to suggest that, when well prepared and of a mind to press on, Black might even look forward to something more than just equality.

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Ledger entry at a quiet British

Local league player representation at this year’s British Championships was limited, to say the least, and only Mike Waddington flew the flag for Dorset chess in the Major Open, finishing in a logjam for 5th place with a 6.5/11 score. GM Gawain Jones took the trophy in the main event, sharing top spot with GM Stephen Gordon on 9/11, following a last round win against FM Dave Ledger that caught the eye of most annotators.

However, the Ledger game that impressed me most was his defeat of Jack Rudd, one that effectively propelled him into the showdown with the eventual trophy winner. An adventurous Austrian Attack against the Pirc, this victory followed an earlier round loss to GM Danny Gormally, which took a similar path in the opening, except that here Jack transposes and pays a heavy price.

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A Final Look At The Grand

Our Bournemouth Grand trilogy ends with Paul Errington flinging a tempo or two to the winds on his way towards the downing of a Colle System. Whilst the win is not achieved without the smallest slice of luck in a winning position, it is nevertheless well deserved and due to some astute decision-making in the middlegame.

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Another Local Hero

Next in line on our Bournemouth Grand conveyor belt of local interest is Ivan Willis in the Challengers and he provides an impressive slaying of the Accelerated Dragon that would not have been out of place if it had been played in the Open event. An astute middlegame tactic is quickly followed by a clinical finish as his opponent is tempted into taking that ever-dangerous poisoned pawn.

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A Grand Performance By Local League Players

There is a mistaken belief amongst some players of a certain standard that the best competitive chess is always played in the top divisions of leagues or at the highest level at a Congress, but, whilst this may be true in terms of overall quality of games and the quantity of them, there will always be a few gems to be found in the lower sections, if you are prepared to look.

So I have… and I’m pleased report that the Bournemouth Grand Congress Challengers and Upper Minor Section not only provide the next three games for these pages, but they all feature local league players supporting the inaugural event in the best way possible – by competing in it and playing well.

Unfortunately, the first of these involves two Bournemouth League stalwarts and they couldn’t both win, although in this instance we must cut Norman some slack because his organisational skills were often required elsewhere throughout the tournament, not solely restricted to the board and a marshalling of his pieces on it!

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More Emerging Talent

Having showcased Peter Williams in the Bournemouth Grand Congress another 16 year-old catches the eye in this 4NCL game taken from the Division 3 top of the table clash between KJCA Kings and British Universities CA. Bearing in mind the (100 elo pt) rating difference between Victor Jones and his FIDE Master opponent this must go down as another impressive display from a youngster destined to rise swiftly through the rankings.

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One to watch from the Bournemouth Grand

The following game is taken from the recent Bournemouth ‘Grand’ Congress which was won by GM David Howell with a perfect 5/5 score after he defeated FIDE Master Jovica Radovanovic in the last round, the Serbian losing on time in the closest of finishes.

This new addition to the weekend event calendar proved an unqualified success, attracting a quartet of GMs plus a further 150 players who competed in various sections for prize money topped by an Open section winner-takes-all £1000 first prize and this impressive closing round win for 16 year-old rising star Peter Williams took him to a 4.5/5 score and a share of second place alongside GM Alex Cherniaev. 

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New feature!

This page will display articles by our eminent columnist Alan Dommett.

The display chessboard is the pgn4web WordPress plugin by Paolo Casaschi – details here. Almost every square on the chessboard has a function, for example e7 flips the board. Other useful functions are d8 (shows the PGN), and f8-h8 which show help for all the many options.

Feel free to comment on Alan’s writings on this page – if you have technical issues or queries then simply email the webmaster.

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