I’ve been given a number of recent games played by the club’s players to share on the website. I’ll share three now and two more later in the week. Enjoy!
Starting with the earliest game, and some may have heard a rumour over the Kilkenny weekend that I beat Tom O’Gorman. Well, it’s true, and I was quite pleased with the game, so here it is.
Tom O’Gorman (1718) v Kevin Burke (1581); Kilkenny Major round 2; 29/11/14
The last time I played Tom was in a couple of blitz games when in Dún Laoghaire with the Bodley team for a Cup game in May. I drew the first with white, and lost the second in rather spectacular style – in a French Tarrasch, I lost a queen in under 45 seconds despite being in book for the first 30 seconds. I’d seen the draw for round 2 on the Friday night, and spent a good half hour trying to remember the line that was played in the blitz game so I could avoid losing in 45 seconds on Saturday morning. About 1am, I eventually remembered the line and worked out where I was going to improve on my previous effort…only for Tom to vary in move 1, so all that prep was out the window.
1. … e6
Trying to tempt him back into prepared lines…
But no dice. A Dutch it is, so.
2…. f5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Bb4 5. Nf3 BxN+
You don’t really give up a minor exchange (bishop for knight) this early in the game unless you get some compensation. Here, white’s knight was controlling e4, which is a key square in the Dutch. I want control of it, so the knight (and my bishop) must die.
6. PxN 0-0 7. g3 d6 8. Bg2 Qe8 9. BxN
I hadn’t really expected this, although I was threatening Ne4 with tempo. Fritz says it’s ok though. I don’t think white gets as much for the minor exchange as I did on move 5 though; I still control e4, and I now get to lift my rook to the sixth rank for free.
9. … RxB 10. e3 Nd7 11. Qb3 Qh5 12. 0-0 g5
A standard Dutch plan – bring pieces to the kingside, lash pawns at the king, crack it open and deliver mate. Fritz doesn’t really like it, giving white +0.8 here (compared to +0.3 on move 9). I don’t know if it’s an inaccuracy or just that Fritz doesn’t like the Dutch in general, the way it doesn’t really like the King’s Gambit (which in reality can be quite dangerous).
Understandable, but Fritz would prefer the move to be prepared first – Rfe1, for example. Black’s attack maybe looks scarier than it is!
The point is to bring the knight to g6 and put the question to white’s h4 knight, which would hopefully make it easier to crack open white’s king. Fritz says this allows a moment for white to counter with 16. c5, however. But the momentum in the game is with me, and white went with the flow. Knowing when the time is right to counter is a valuable (and very tricky!) chess skill.
16. Qc2?! e5 17. Qf2 Ng6 18. NxN RxN 19. fg?
Maybe white missed that this lets in my light-squared bishop?
19. … BxP 20. gf??
And here, he did miss that this, again, lets in my light-squared bishop. Though it’s not as straightforward as at first glance.
20. … Bh3 21. Qf3 (D)
Maybe the best practical defence. White’s pieces all defend each other, and attack mine. Something like 21. … BxB?? 22. QxQ Bf3+ 23. QxR PxQ 24. RxB is just losing for me. So how does black win from here?
21. … RxB+ 22. Kh1 RxP+!
This is the key move. Now white loses his queen.
23. KxR is similar to the game
23. … Rg2+ 24. Kh1 (D) Bg4+
This wins, of course, but there is a stronger move. Given the pattern may well arise in other games, it’s a handy exercise. What move did I overlook?
I missed 24. … Rg4! The threat is 25. … BxR+ with mate next move, so white is forced to give up his queen on my terms – 25. QxR BxQ and I’m up a piece compared to the actual game. Not to worry.
25. KxR BxQ+ 26. RxB ef
A nice little move, keeping the white rook off the g-file.
27. RxP Kh8
Clearing the g-file which I made mine with my previous move.
28. Re1? (D)
White is lost anyway, but leaving pieces undefended is often the key to a tactic. Here, neither of white’s rooks are defended, and it turns out there is a way to win one of them. How?
28. … Rg8+ 29. Kf2 Qh2+ 30. Ke3 Qg3+ 0-1
A nice family fork. If white defends his hanging rook, his other one falls.
In round 3, Finn was up against Enniscorthy’s Joshua Redmond in the James Mason, a game which may be repeated in the Bodley later this year; both players have been on either board 2 or 3 for their respective teams this year. Finn gained a little upper hand with this nice win –
Joshua Redmond (1298) v Finn McDonnell (1112); Kilkenny James Mason round 3; 29/11/14
1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. e3 e6 4. Bd3 c5 5. b3 b6 6. 0-0 Bb7 7. Nbd2 Nc6 8. a3?!
I presume white wanted to keep black’s knight out of b4, and so keep the light-squared bishop on its nice diagonal. He maybe overlooked the possibility of, say, 8. Bb2 Nb4?! 9. Bb5+, and he’s grand.
8. … Rc8 9. Bb2 cd 10. ed Bd6 11. c4 h5 12. Re1 Bf4 13. g3?
This move will prove white’s undoing later.
13. … BxN 14. QxB Na5
Threatening NxP, winning an exchange. White blunders immediately.
15. … dc
Winning material – all because white has neglected to defend his knight on f3.
The only way to not lose a piece immediately. But now, black’s pieces come swarming in.
16. … Be4 17. Qd1 NxP 18. Ra2
The only square for the rook! Though Fritz does find 17. … c3! 18. Bc1 c2 19. Qd2 BxN (to protect d4) 20. BxB NxP and black wins an exchange (the knight will probably never come out of a1)
18. … b5 19. Nd2 NxN 20. QxN Nd5 21. a4 a6 22. Bc1?
Black was threatening 22. … c3, forking bishop and queen. It turns out this is Fritz’s least favourite way of avoiding the fork!
23. … QxQ 24. BxQ Nb4 25. Bf1??
White didn’t need to give up the exchange in this position – 25. Raa1 was best here – but his position is awful either way.
25. … NxR 26. RxB 0-0 27. ab ab 28. BxP c2 0-1
Next up is me again – a round 6 game against an opponent I hadn’t played in, ooh, a good four days.
Henry Li (1640) v Kevin Burke (1581); Kilkenny Major round 6; 30/11/14
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nd7 5. Bd3 c5 6. c3 Nc6
In the Heidenfeld the previous Wednesday, Henry had played f4 instead of Bd3.
7. Ne2 cd 8. cd f6 9. Nf4!?
This is supposed to be a maybe slightly dubious line for white, especially if black knows his theory. And for once, I did! I had encountered it this time last year, also against a Rathmines player, and learnt the line after going wrong early on in it. The !s below are for the slightly counter-intuitive, but theoretically-favoured, moves
Actually, 13. … Kf7 was easy enough to find given white was threatening Qh4+, picking up the knight. Still, I’ve gone 14 moves of theory – and I go wrong immediately…
15. … Ne2+??
I was happy enough to remove white’s bishop pair, as I figured they were fairly strong raking down towards my open king. The problem is, I just replace his bishop on c1 with a rook, which has an open file and can easily come to the third rank to hit my king. Oops! Fritz suggests 15. … Qf6. 15. … e5 is an obvious alternative. Fritz gives the text +1 for white, compared to +1 for black for the best lines!
16. Kh1 NxB 17. RxN Qf6 18. Nf3?! e5 19. Nh4?
White has given his advantage away, and then some. Instead, 18. Rc3 was called for, with immediate threats on the king, and maybe even on the f8 bishop. With my next move – my only move, but not a hard one to find – not only is g6 protected, but white’s knight has no squares.
19. … e4 20. g3 b6 21. Bc2 Bb7 22. f3 d4 23. Rf1? (D)
I knew I was winning here, but a combined nine hours’ sleep on a couch over the whole weekend came back to haunt me, and though I saw the threads of the win, I couldn’t put it together. What would you play here?
23. … d3!
After the game, my opponent pointed out that 23. … ef was winning. I rejected it because of 24. BxP+, when I reckoned I was in trouble. But my opponent pointed out the reply 24. … QxB! and 25. NxQ is met by f2#. I’d seen the mate alright, but hadn’t added two and two together and realised it meant the bishop check was worthless! So 23. … ef is basically a free pawn, and my threats are building. And yet it turns out the move I played in the game is actually better.
24. fe BxP+ 25. Ng2 (D) Bf5??
Here’s where I mess it up. So what’s the winning move now?
It’s 25. … PxB!! The game might continue 26. RxQ+ PxR 27. Kg1 (unpinning the knight) Nd3 28. Qh3 (threatening Qd7+) Rd8 29. Kf1 c1=Q+ 30. RxQ NxR and black has a rook and two bishops for the queen – more than enough compensation.
26. Bb3+ NxB 27. PxN QxP??
There’s really no reason (other than tiredness) to miss 27. … Qd4, preventing 28. g4, winning the bishop. I might hang on then; now I’m just lost.
28. g4 QxP 29. PxB c2 30. ef+ KxP 31. Nh4+! Kg5 32. Rf5+ 1-0
I had vague notions of reaching an awkward pawnless ending. Instead, it’s mate in three.
In the next installment, we have games from the Armstrong’s two Johns.