Monthly Archives: March 2015

Defence

Emmanuel Lasker’s ‘Manual of chess’ is a strange book. Lasker, writing in the 1920s or early 1930s, spends much of his time praising the theoretical contributions of the player he had overthrown in the 1890s, Wilhelm Steinitz: and in particular contrasting Steinitz’s idea that the game has a natural balance, which can only be disturbed by dubious play, with Lasker’s own less pure but more practical approach. If this is Lasker’s Oedipus at Colonus, it’s a very rueful one.

While characterising the everyday experience that Steinitz had to see beyond to reach his theoretical insights, Lasker (who I suspect knew a bit of Nietzsche and Freud) says one of the truest things I have ever read about the psychology of chess:

“The ordinary experience is rather that he who has a slight disadvantage plays more attentively, inventively and more boldly than his antagonist who either takes it easy or aspires after too much; thus a slight disadvantage is very frequently seen to convert itself into a good, solid advantage”.

In each of the three games below, I am playing Black and have to do some defending. In this first game I always thought I was fine until I overreach at the end: in the second, I am lost after ten moves and rather outrageously escape: and in the third, it is my opponent who overreaches in a promising position.

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1. e4 {This was a league game for Pimlico.} c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Qb6 {The Grivas or Godiva variation. It&#8217;s reasonably sound and little known. White&#8217;s practical problem in the Open Sicilian is that Black has at least ten reasonable setups by move 5 and they each have their own wrinkles. This one barely makes the top ten.} 5. Nb3 Nf6 6. Nc3 e6 7. Be3 ({According to Grivas a more cunning move order is} 7. a3 {when Black should deter Bf4 by} 7... Qc7) 7... Qc7 8. a3 {This cuts out various Bb4 ideas and there&#8217;s nothing wrong with it, but it&#8217;s not the most aggressive way of playing against this structure.} 8... a6 9. f4 d6 10. Be2 b5 11. O-O Be7 12. Qd2 {In the Scheveningen this move is usually played when White has deterred b5 by playing a4. Now that Black has got b5 in he is fairly comfortable.} ({In his book Grivas recommends} 12. Qe1) ({or} 12. Bf3) 12... O-O {Throughout the middle name that follows Black has to defend against White&#8217;s threats, but he can end up with a positional advantage. I was happy with my position.} 13. Rad1 Bb7 14. Bf3 Rfd8 {Not the brightest of ideas.} 15. Qf2 Re8 16. g4 Rac8 17. g5 Nd7 18. Bg4 Bf8 19. Be2 {After five minutes&#8217; thought and with some frustration.} 19... b4 20. axb4 Nxb4 21. Rd2 Qb8 22. Bd4 Nc6 23. f5 Nde5 ({It&#8217;s nice to seize e5, but I&#8217;m not sure why I didn&#8217;t play} 23... Nxd4) 24. fxe6 fxe6 25. h4 Qc7 26. Ra1 Be7 {A neat indirect defence of a6.} 27. Bb6 (27. Bxa6 {is met by} 27... Rf8) 27... Qb8 ({Not} 27... Qd7 28. Nc5) 28. Nd4 Rf8 29. Qg3 Nxd4 30. Bxd4 Nc4 {Black gets the two bishops after all, but White&#8217;s dark-squared bishop is the more valuable one.} 31. Bxc4 Rxc4 32. Qd3 Qc8 33. Rf2 e5 34. Rxf8+ Bxf8 35. Bf2 Qe6 ({the computer thinks Black is doing well after} 35... d5 36. Nxd5 Rxc2) 36. Kh2 Rc7 37. Nd5 Bxd5 {I realised Black&#8217;s bad bishop could become a problem but felt my initiative outweighed this.} 38. exd5 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> Here my opponent offered a draw. But I felt the drift was in my direction.} 38... Qc8 39. c3 Rc4 40. Qh3 Qb7 41. Qe6+ Kh8 42. Ra2 (42. Qf5 {keeps more pressure.}) 42... Rf4 ({The computer thinks} 42... Qb3 {should win after} 43. Bg3 Qxa2 44. Qe8 Rxh4+ 45. Bxh4 Qxb2+ 46. Kg1 Qc1+ 47. Kg2) 43. Bg3 Rf1 {Now the position begins to swing against me. I had three minutes left plus increments; my opponent had four.} 44. b4 Qb6 45. Rg2 Rf3 46. Qc8 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> } Qb5 {Losing.} (46... g6 {and the computer thinks it&#8217;s a draw}) 47. Rf2 {Seizing his chance.} 47... Rxf2+ 48. Bxf2 Kg8 49. Qe6+ Kh8 50. Qf7 {This was what I had missed.} 50... Qb8 {The last few moves were recorded inaccurately but roughly} 51. Kg3 e4 52. Bd4 Qd8 53. Kf4 Qe7 54. Bxg7+ {and I resigned.} *
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The second game was as Black against a somewhat lower graded player, but it didn’t look that way after ten moves.

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1. Nf3 {This was in the Public Service league for Pimlico but with analogue clocks at 75 minutes for 30 moves plus 15 minutes&#8217; quickplay.} 1... c5 2. b3 d6 3. Bb2 e5 {Trying to shut White&#8217;s bishop out} 4. Nc3 (4. e3 {has been played, aiming to break up Black&#8217;s centre with d4.}) 4... g6 5. e4 Nc6 6. Bc4 Bg7 {The structure resembles some open games or closed Sicilians. Black&#8217;s pawn moves have left him behind in development, so he has to be careful.} ({Avoiding} 6... Nf6 7. Ng5) 7. h4 Bg4 8. Nd5 (8. Bxf7+ Kxf7 9. Ng5+ Qxg5) (8. Ng5 Bxd1 9. Bxf7+) 8... Nge7 {Not careful enough.. After moving I realised he was likely to have Ne3 in mind, a manoeuvre justified by Black&#8217;s loss of time on pawn moves.} (8... Nd4) (8... Nf6) 9. Ne3 {Now Black has some problems. I spent six minutes seeing the flaws in most of my options and then feeling rather glad to have found a good move.} 9... Qd7 {?? <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> This manages to be worse than all the unsatisfactory alternatives. Black must defend or move the bishop, but there is nothing very appealing.} (9... Bxf3 10. Qxf3) (9... h5 10. Nxg4 hxg4 11. Ng5) (9... Be6 10. Bxe6 fxe6 11. Ng5 Qd7 12. Qg4 Nd8) (9... Bd7 {may be best.}) 10. Bxf7+ {This was a shock.} ({After making my move I got worried about something, maybe} 10. Nxg4 {which is also good for White:} 10... Qxg4 11. Bxf7+) 10... Kd8 {Black loses a pawn and the right to castle, and is about ten minutes down on time. But move 10 is too early to resign.} (10... Kf8 {looks worse}) ({Of course if} 10... Kxf7 {then} 11. Ng5+) 11. Bc4 ({If} 11. Nxg4 {Black can put up a fight with} 11... Qxg4 12. Ng5 (12. O-O) 12... Qxg2 13. Rf1 Bf6) 11... Rf8 {Deciding that the f file had better serve as my compensation.} 12. Be2 Bxf3 {Reluctantly giving the bishop pair to stop the tactical tricks.} 13. Bxf3 h5 14. c3 (14. g4 {might be met by} 14... Nd4) 14... Kc7 15. Qe2 {It&#8217;s natural to castle but it gives Black some breathing space.} ({I was worried about} 15. g4) ({The computer suggests} 15. g3 {followed by kingside castling, which deals with the f file pressure.}) 15... Rf7 16. O-O-O Raf8 {Now White will have to find a plan, which felt like progress on my part.} 17. Qb5 a6 18. Qe2 {Another small moral victory.} 18... Kb8 19. Nc4 Ka7 20. Qe3 b5 {Perhaps it would be better to avoid this as it might give White a target &#8211; Black&#8217;s best chance is to make it hard for White to make progress.} 21. Na3 Kb7 22. Nc2 Nc8 {This probably makes things worse.} (22... Qc7) (22... Rf4) 23. d4 cxd4 24. cxd4 Nb6 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> }(24... exd4 {might be better.}) 25. dxe5 {So far White has played well, and it&#8217;s understandable that he wants to open some lines, but Black begins to get some resources.} (25. d5 {is probably better with a big advantage for White}) (25. Qg5 {also tightens the screw.}) 25... Bxe5 {In this position the knight is worth preserving because it will be annoying on e5.} 26. Bxe5 Nxe5 {Nxf3 is already a threat.} 27. Nd4 Qe7 {Putting the queen on two potentially useful diagonals. White misses his dark-squared bishop.} 28. Rh3 {White tries to hold the extra pawn, but the decentralisation of this and the next move is ominous.} 28... Rf4 29. Rdh1 {Black may now have enough to draw.} ({After moving I realised I had overlooked} 29. Nf5 {when Black can save the exchange with} 29... Qc7+ 30. Kb1 Rxf3 31. Rxf3 gxf5 {but} 32. Rxf5 {still looks good for White.}) ({The computer prefers} 29. Kb1) 29... d5 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> I spent about eight minutes here and wasn&#8217;t sure what was happening, but this is an unpleasant move for White close to the time control.} (29... Ng4 30. Qd2) (29... Nxf3 30. gxf3 {would have been worth considering.}) 30. exd5 {My opponent wondered if this has been a mistake, but there may be nothing better..} (30. Ne2 Ng4) 30... Qc5+ {Another difficult choice on the time control, forcing an endgame where I start two pawns down.} (30... Qc7+ 31. Kb1) ({After} 30... Qa3+ {the computer likes White.} 31. Kb1 Nxf3 32. Rxf3 Nxd5 33. Qe5) 31. Nc2 {My opponent had five minutes more than me for the quickplay finish.} 31... Rc8 (31... Qxe3+ {is met by} 32. fxe3 ({not} 32. Nxe3 Nd3+)) 32. Qxc5 Rxc5 33. d6+ (33. Rd1 Nxf3 {is similar.}) 33... Nxf3 34. Rxf3 {At this point my opponent caught up with me on time.} (34. gxf3 {seems clearly worse to me as the h3 rook is terrible.}) 34... Rxf3 35. gxf3 Rd5 36. Rd1 Rxd1+ ({I had thought about} 36... Kc6 {and missed} 37. Nb4+) 37. Kxd1 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> } Nd5 {An important move. Black&#8217;s knight is now very strong and the d6 pawn will fall, after which the endgame is no worse for me though there are pitfalls for both sides.} ({Not} 37... Kc6 38. Nb4+) 38. Kd2 (38. Ne3 Nf4 {should be drawn.} (38... Nc3+ {is riskier after} 39. Kd2 Nxa2 40. Nd5 (40. Nc2 {is interesting but can&#8217;t be bad for Black.}) 40... Kc6 41. Ne7+ Kxd6 42. Nxg6)) (38. Nd4 {can be met by} 38... Kc8 ({or} 38... Nf4 39. Kd2 Ng2 40. Kd3 (40. d7 {runs into} 40... Kc7 41. Ne6+ Kxd7 42. Nf8+ Ke7 43. Nxg6+ Kf6) 40... Nxh4) (38... Nc3+ {is too risky})) 38... Kc6 39. Kd3 (39. Ne3 Nf4 {looks like a draw.}) 39... Kxd6 40. a3 {With four minutes left, White starts to allow Black some slight winning chances.} (40. Ne3 Nb4+ {is all right for Black.} (40... Nf4+ 41. Ke4 {gives White some chances})) 40... Nf4+ 41. Ke4 Ng2 42. Nb4 a5 43. Nd3 Nxh4 {An outside passed pawn in a knight ending is usually dangerous. As the proverb reported by the weepy mystic and autobiographer Margery Kempe says, &#8220;He is wel blessed that may sitten on his wel-stool and tellyn of his wo-stool&#8221;.} 44. f4 Nf5 45. Ne5 Ne7 (45... h4 46. Nxg6 h3 47. Kf3 Nd4+ 48. Kg3 Nxb3) 46. Nf3 Nf5 47. Ne5 Ne7 48. Nf3 Nd5 49. Ne5 Nc3+ 50. Kd4 {White&#8217;s flag fell while making this move. This particular model of clock is rather treacherous as one can think one has a minute left when the flag falls: I once lost a won game this way and I think it may have affected Nigel Short when he lost on time to Kasparov at the start of their 1993 match. I think White should still hold though a brief post-mortem showed that it&#8217;s tricky, since Black can try to create another passed pawn on the queenside. My opponent was very gracious but I had to feel sorry for him.} (50. Kd3 {is safer.}) *
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The third game was a less radical peripeteia, but reasonably cathartic all the same:

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1. d4 {Played in the London League for Dulwich.I am playing Black.} Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. b3 {There are various ways of rejecting the Benko. This isn&#8217;t one of the most highly regarded but I couldn&#8217;t remember what to do against it.} 4... e6 {This is a reasonable move against many of the sidelines in the Benko, and turns out to be recommended by both Aveskulov and Tay.} 5. g3 (5. dxe6 fxe6 6. cxb5 {is a bit like a Blumenfeld.}) 5... exd5 (5... bxc4 6. bxc4 ({perhaps better} 6. dxe6 fxe6 7. bxc4) 6... exd5 7. cxd5 {might be better because if the bishop then goes to b2 it will be vulnerable.}) 6. cxd5 Bb7 {The light-square bishop is often a problem piece in this Benoni structure. It might have been better to keep it on c8 and take the knight if it goes to h3. But I wanted to be ready to meet a4 with a6 and hoped the bishop&#8217;s pressure on d5 would be useful.} 7. Bg2 g6 8. Bb2 Bg7 9. e4 d6 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> We reach a Benoni where Black has got b5 in before White has played a4. I liked the look of this but in the event it wasn&#8217;t easy to play. Most of my experience with this structure is with White and I may have played the black side too cautiously. Also, the b2 bishop is quite effective in neutralising Black&#8217;s g7 bishop, usually one of his main assets, and the omission of a4 arguably makes it harder for Black to generate queenside play.} 10. Nh3 {f2 is sometimes a good square for the knight in this structure.} 10... O-O {Here I noticed my clock wasn&#8217;t working and we replaced it with allowance for the time I had spent when it was stopped.} 11. O-O Nbd7 12. Re1 Re8 13. Na3 {This strange-looking move does keep the long diagonal and d file open, but the knight never recovers. I sometimes wondered about c4 bxc4 b4 to embarrass it further.} 13... a6 14. f4 Nb6 {Black deters the e5 break by attacking d5. But this leaves the queen short of good squares.} 15. Rc1 Rc8 {Planning Rc7-e7. But now I wondered if I&#8217;d allowed e5 dxe5 d6 which is an important trick in the Benoni, and spent quite a bit of time on the next two moves.} 16. Rc2 (16. e5 dxe5 17. fxe5 Nfxd5 {is good for Black though it wasn&#8217;t easy to be sure that the White couldn&#8217;t exploit the pin on the diagonal.}) 16... Rc7 17. Nf2 {The possibility of Bh3 further cramps Black.} 17... Rce7 18. Rce2 Qb8 {Here I couldn&#8217;t see any move that improved my position.} ({A move or so later I wondered if I should have played} 18... Nxe4 19. Nxe4 ({not} 19. Bxg7 {when} 19... Nxf2 {exploits the position of the knight on f2.}) 19... Bxb2 20. Rxb2 Nxd5) ({The computer suggests} 18... h5) 19. g4 ({About here I think I saw} 19. Qa1 {which the computer likes for White e.g} 19... Nbd7 (19... Nbxd5 20. Bf3) 20. Bh3 Qd8 {with strong pressure.}) 19... Qd8 {This manoeuvre may have won me the game as my opponent now overreaches.} 20. g5 ({Now if} 20. Qa1 {Black has} 20... Nbxd5 21. Bf3 Nxf4 22. Bxf6 Nxe2+) 20... Nh5 21. Bxg7 Kxg7 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> Feeling, rightly in the event, that it was worth keeping the knight&#8217;s pressure on f4.} 22. f5 {I had been so focused on the e5 break that I had not considered this. Fortunately it isn&#8217;t good. I found a recent game by my opponent online where he&#8217;d won with this break in an exchange Gruenfeld, but here it&#8217;s too loosening.} ({If} 22. Qd2 {the computer suggests} 22... f5 ({I was considering} 22... Nxd5 23. exd5 Rxe2 24. Rxe2 Rxe2 25. Qxe2 Nxf4 26. Qb2+ Kg8 {but} 27. Ne4 {is strong.})) 22... gxf5 {I sensed my opponent had concentrated on other moves.} 23. exf5 ({The computer suggests} 23. Nh3 Kg8 {with an edge for Black, but this isn&#8217;t why White played f5.}) 23... Rxe2 24. f6+ Kg8 25. Rxe2 Nf4 {Keeping the e file.} (25... Rxe2 26. Qxe2 Nf4 {runs into} 27. Qe7 {when} 27... Qxe7 {loses to} 28. fxe7) 26. Rxe8+ Qxe8 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> White&#8217;s minor pieces are scattered and he cannot hold the d5 pawn. The Black king is safer than it looks; even if White gets the queen to h6 Black can often just play Qf8 or Qg6.} 27. Qg4 {White was already clearly worse, and now collapses.} 27... Nxg2 28. Kxg2 (28. Qxg2 Bxd5 {forces} 29. Qf1 {e.g.} 29... Qe3) 28... Nxd5 29. Kg3 Qe5+ 30. Kh3 {and having reached the time control White resigned. I hadn&#8217;t seen how to finish it but had in mind 30...Nf4+ followed by Ng6+ or Ng2+. The computer finds a forced mate after Ng6+ but even if Black doesn&#8217;t find it he should reach a good ending.} *
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Narrative and the computer

Most players have a story about the game they have just played. Nowadays, though, narrative in chess depends on an elctronic imprimatur. In this game I told myself had pressurised a lower-graded player who had done well to hold out; but it turns out he had the best chances.

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1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. cxd4 e6 6. Nc3 {This poses an interesting problem.} (6. Nf3 {is usually regarded as the main line.}) 6... d6 (6... Nxc3 7. bxc3 Qc7 8. Bd2 d6 {is a natural response. White can exploit the omission of Nf3 with} 9. f4 {when one possibility is} 9... g5) 7. Nxd5 (7. Nf3 {is also possible.}) ({With the queen still on d8} 7. f4 {looks risky though it&#8217;s not entirely clear e.g. the computer likes White after} 7... Nxc3 (7... dxe5 {may be better}) 8. bxc3 dxe5 9. fxe5 (9. dxe5 Qxd1+ 10. Kxd1 {is pleasant for Black}) 9... Qh4+ 10. Ke2) 7... exd5 8. Nf3 Nc6 9. h3 (9. exd6 Bxd6 {looks equal.}) 9... dxe5 10. dxe5 {The pawn structure is hard to assess. Both d5 and e5 pawns might be a strength or a weakness.} 10... Bc5 (10... Bb4+ {might be more accurate.}) 11. Bd3 h6 ({Avoiding} 11... O-O 12. Bxh7+ Kxh7 13. Qc2+) 12. O-O O-O ({The computer prefers} 12... Be6) 13. Bf4 (13. Bb1 {poses some problems.}) 13... Qb6 14. Qe2 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> } Nd8 {Rather too subtle.} (14... Nd4 {seems to maintain the balance.}) 15. a3 ({The computer points out} 15. Bc2 {when White seems to be better}) (15. Qd2) 15... Ne6 {For most of the middle game, I felt I was making the running, though the computer generally doesn&#8217;t agree.} 16. Bg3 Bd7 17. b4 Nd4 {Suggesting that Nd8-e6 was a waste of time.} 18. Nxd4 Bxd4 19. Rac1 Rac8 20. Kh1 a6 21. f4 Bb5 22. f5 Be3 23. Rce1 d4 24. Bf4 Rc3 25. Bxb5 axb5 26. Bxe3 Rxe3 27. Qf2 Re8 ({The computer suggests} 27... Rxa3 {with a draw after} 28. f6 g6 29. Re4 Qe6 30. Qxd4 Rxh3+) 28. Rxe3 (28. Qf4 {is also possible when} 28... R8xe5 {can be met by} 29. Qxe5) 28... dxe3 29. Qg3 ({I expected} 29. Qf4 {and couldn&#8217;t see anything better than} 29... Qc7 30. Qxe3 Rxe5 {when I hoped to have some pressure though it seems White&#8217;s f pawn can still be dangerous e.g} 31. Qg3 {and here} 31... Qe7 {loses to} 32. f6) 29... Qd4 {I thought Black&#8217;s centralisation was strong here but underrated White&#8217;s pawns.} (29... Qc7 {heads for equality with} 30. Qxe3 Rxe5 31. Qg3 f6) 30. e6 {A very resourceful move that I had discounted or missed. White&#8217;s kingside majority makes itself felt. My opponent now had two minutes plus increments.} ({While my opponent was thinking I was worrying about} 30. f6 g6 31. e6 Rxe6 32. Qb8+ Kh7 33. Qf8 {but then saw I would win with} 33... Rxf6) 30... Qd3 {Underrating the danger; Black&#8217;s queen is needed for defence.} ({Now I realised that} 30... fxe6 {loses to} 31. f6) ({the computer recommends} 30... Qf6) (30... e2) 31. Re1 ({ <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> White should win with an extra pawn after} 31. Rf3 {since} 31... Qd1+ 32. Kh2 e2 ({or} 32... fxe6 33. f6) {loses to} 33. f6 {e.g.} 33... g5 34. exf7+ Kxf7 35. Qc7+) 31... Qxf5 32. exf7+ {Now it&#8217;s a draw.} 32... Kxf7 33. Rxe3 Rxe3 34. Qxe3 {In the queen ending Black&#8217;s king is more centralised but also more exposed than White&#8217;s.} 34... g5 35. Qd4 Qf1+ 36. Kh2 Qf4+ {I stopped recording the moves here but think the finish was} 37. Qxf4+ gxf4 38. g4 {It&#8217;s sensible to play this as soon as possible as it is going to be necessary to exchange the f pawn in many variations.} ({After} 38. Kg1 Kf6 39. Kf2 Kf5 40. Kf3 h5 {White still holds with} 41. g3 ({or} 41. Kf2 Ke4 42. g3 ({but not} 42. Ke2 h4 43. Kf2 f3 44. gxf3+ Kf4) ({nor} 42. h4 Kf5)) ({and not} 41. h4 b6)) 38... fxg3+ (38... Kf6 {looked like asking for trouble and does indeed lose.}) 39. Kxg3 Kf6 40. Kf4 h5 41. h4 b6 {This spare tempo had given me some faint hopes when entering the king and pawn ending but in the event it merely saves the draw.} 42. Ke4 Ke6 43. Kf4 Kf6 {Draw agreed.} ({I didn&#8217;t bother to calculate} 43... Kd5 {which duly loses to} 44. Kg5 Kc4 45. Kxh5 Kb3 46. Kg6 Kxa3 47. h5 Kxb4 48. h6 Ka3 49. h7) *
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Blunders

Some authors recommend mental routines to prevent blunders, for instance: consider all the forcing moves available on your own move or possible as responses to your preferred candidate. I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to stick to this and I wonder how many players do. In the following two games, I overlook a simple undermining tactic in a good ending. I was lucky only to drop half a point and am hoping that this particular tactic is now branded on the cortex, but we shall see.

What I overlooked in both games was a capture by a bishop that I had been trying to incarcerate. If human beings can be thought of as fields of force, this is no doubt even truer of chess pieces. Maybe some pieces seem to emanate less force than others.

The first game was played for Dulwich in the London League:

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1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. e3 {A line popular in the 1970s and still quite interesting.} 4... Bb4 ({My previous essay in this line was a rather lucky win with} 4... d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bb5 Qd6 7. O-O Be7 8. d4 Nxc3 9. bxc3 e4 10. Ne5 O-O 11. Bxc6 ({perhaps better} 11. Nxc6) 11... bxc6 12. a4 Qe6 {now White&#8217;s knight is embarrassed} 13. f4 exf3 14. Qxf3 {and Black blundered with} 14... Qd5 15. Nxc6) 5. Qc2 O-O 6. Nd5 a5 ({Keene and Steam developed an interesting line, I think for Korchnoi&#8217;s 1978 match with Karpov, involving} 6... Re8 7. Qf5 (7. Bd3 {is also possible})) 7. Bd3 (7. Qf5 {might be good here too but I wasn&#8217;t sure how the sharp lines go}) 7... h6 8. a3 (8. b3 {might run into} 8... a4) 8... Bc5 9. b3 d6 10. Bb2 (10. Nxf6+ Qxf6) 10... Be6 (10... Nxd5) 11. Nxf6+ Qxf6 12. O-O Qe7 13. Bf5 {Not wanting to allow f5.} 13... Bb6 14. Bxe6 fxe6 {Now White can hope to restrain and ultimately attack the pawn mass. But Black makes good use of the f file.} (14... Qxe6 15. d4 e4 16. d5 {is good for White}) 15. Qe4 (15. d4 {allows a promising exchange sacrifice with} 15... Rxf3 16. gxf3 exd4) 15... Rad8 16. Qg4 Rf5 (16... d5 {can be met with} 17. d3 ({not} 17. Nxe5 Nxe5 18. Bxe5 dxc4) ({The computer likes} 17. b4) 17... d4 18. exd4 Bxd4 19. Nxd4 Nxd4 20. Bxd4 exd4 ({or} 20... Rxd4 21. Qe2)) 17. d3 Rdf8 18. Rad1 Qf6 19. Qg3 Kh7 20. Ba1 (20. d4 {runs into} 20... e4 21. Nd2 (21. d5 Qxb2) 21... d5) 20... g5 (20... Bc5 21. d4 {is interesting}) 21. d4 exd4 22. Nxd4 Nxd4 23. exd4 Qg6 24. b4 axb4 25. axb4 Rf4 26. c5 Ba7 27. Qc3 Qf7 28. Rd2 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> White may be a little better here.} 28... d5 {This felt like a concession. Black was short of time.} 29. Re2 Re4 {Unnecessarily dropping a pawn.} 30. Rxe4 dxe4 {Time control; now a quickplay finish. White is winning a pawn and should have good winning chance, but it&#8217;s not trivial.} 31. Qe3 Qf5 (31... Qf4 {also fails against} 32. Re1 Kg8 ({or} 32... Qxe3 33. Rxe3 Rf4) 33. Qxf4 Rxf4 34. Bc3 ({better than} 34. g3 Rf3)) 32. Re1 Kg8 33. Re2 c6 34. Qxe4 Qxe4 35. Rxe4 Ra8 36. Bc3 Kf7 37. g3 {With the idea of keeping the bishop cramped, but this makes it harder to make a passed pawn on the kingside.} 37... Bb8 38. Kg2 Ra3 39. Re3 g4 40. h3 h5 41. Bb2 ({The attempt to force a kingside pawn through with} 41. hxg4 hxg4 42. f3 {fails to} 42... Ra2+ 43. Kf1 Bxg3) 41... Ra2 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> } 42. Rb3 {I was pleased with this idea, switching my attention to Black&#8217;s cramped bishop and the queenside pawns.} 42... e5 43. hxg4 hxg4 44. b5 (44. dxe5 Ke6 {seems to help Black.}) 44... cxb5 45. Rxb5 Ba7 ({not} 45... Ra7 46. c6) 46. d5 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> This looked very good, but I was missing something.} (46. Rxb7+ {should win.}) 46... Ke8 ({Both teams&#8217; top boards were watching and spotted} 46... Bxc5 {which should hold though I might have won on time anyway.White can keep the extra pawn and exchange bishops but Black&#8217;s king is active enough to keep the balance after e.g.} 47. Rxb7+ Kf6 48. Rb5 Kf5 49. Rxc5 Rxb2) 47. d6 (47. Bc1 {would eliminate the risk.}) 47... Kd8 (47... Bxc5 {is still available though White can then play} 48. Rxc5 Rxb2 49. Rxe5+ Kd7 50. Re4 {with some winning chances in a difficult ending}) 48. Bxe5 {Now it&#8217;s easy.} 48... Kd7 49. Rxb7+ Kc6 50. Rc7+ Kd5 51. d7 Bxc5 52. d8=Q+ {and Black resigned} *
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The second game was played for Pimlico in the Public Service League.

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1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 c6 {This move works well against 2.g3 but is less convincing here.} 3. Nf3 d6 4. d4 exd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. g3 Be7 {This seems a little passive.} (6... g6) 7. Bg2 O-O 8. O-O Na6 9. a3 h6 10. Qc2 ({Avoiding} 10. b4 c5) 10... Bg4 11. h3 Bh5 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> Now I decided to shut his bishop out. He had seen this but felt he would be able to revive the bishop later. White obviously contracts some weaknesses but I think it&#8217;s a reasonable approach.} 12. f4 Bg6 13. f5 Bh7 14. Rd1 Qc8 15. g4 Nc5 16. b4 Ncd7 {From now on I am angling for the b5 break but improve my pieces first.} 17. Be3 Ne5 18. Qb3 Rd8 19. Rac1 Nfd7 20. Ne4 {Deterring Nc5 after b5.} 20... Rb8 21. b5 ({Both players miss} 21. Nb5 {winning for White.}) 21... c5 {I felt this was a major concession.} 22. Nf3 Nxf3+ 23. exf3 {Although this reduces the value of White&#8217;s kingside majority it allows him to contest the e5 square.} 23... Nf6 24. Nc3 b6 25. Bf4 Bf8 26. Nd5 Nxd5 27. Rxd5 f6 28. Rcd1 Kh8 29. Bxd6 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> I was very optimistic here and felt I could safely take the pawn. But Black more gets more counterplay than I expected and my opponent rightly identified this as a mistake after the game.} 29... Bxd6 30. Rxd6 Rxd6 31. Rxd6 Bg8 32. Qd3 (32. Bf1 {might be better.}) 32... a6 33. a4 (33. bxa6 {is worth considering. But I didn&#8217;t see what he was up to.}) 33... axb5 34. axb5 (34. cxb5 {is worth considering.}) 34... Qc7 (34... Qf8 {may be better}) 35. f4 { <span class="PgnWidget-anchor-diagram">[]</span> I had simply overlooked my opponent&#8217;s reply. This is wrong, but White is no longer much better in any case as the threat is not so easy to meet.} ({If} 35. Rd7 {Black has good counterplay with} 35... Qg3 {and the a file is handy.} (35... Qe5 36. Qe4 Qxe4 37. fxe4 Bxc4 38. Bf1 Bb3 {is also possible}) (35... Bxc4 36. Rxc7 Bxd3 37. Bf1 {still gives White chances.})) 35... Bxc4 {My opponent had much less time and offered a draw here, which I accepted after a few minutes&#8217; thought. White is clearly worse and I was lucky to escape.} *
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