Featuring a thematic game in the Milner-Barry, another fun line from the analysis of Aodhán’s BEA game at the weekend, and wins for the Armstrong A and Bodley.
The fun lines from that BEA game are here, where material varies wildly but the result is still a draw. One other line arose in further analysis up the club on Wednesday, starting from this position –
Here, if play continues 1. Rd1 g2, white draws by 2. Rd3+ Kh4 3. Rd8, and the mate threat means white can’t promote.
But what if black tries 1. Rd1 Kg2 and promotes anyway? Solution at the end!
Wednesday saw the Armstrong A up against last season’s runners-up, Trinity, in a match which would go a long way towards deciding second place in the league. We had a boost early on when Gerry received his first walkover in many’s a year – Trinity’s board 3 had forgotten about the game, which was only finally confirmed once the other games were all underway for some 20 minutes. So 1 – -1 to us, and the 4 point gap we had on our visitors at the start of the evening had already extended to 6.
John lost, though pub analysis later showed he could well have had a good attack had he sacced a bishop on f2; it’s not often John can be criticised for being a bit too conservative! But Dave Willow picked up an excellent win over Oisín – his game can’t have been helped by the strains of captaincy on the day, but Dave still ground him down well in a bishop and pawn ending – and Mel beat Karl McPhillips FM, while Brendan and Ciarán went down to defeats when a couple of hundred points out-rated.
The last couple of games went right down to the wire. Sub Odhrán finally went down on board 8 after a lengthy battle against Tim Harding, which was only decided when Tim, a passed central pawn to the good, pushed it home with the support of queen and rook – but even then, there was a trap, as an immediate promotion, to leave him a queen up, would have seen Odhrán nab a draw by perpetual! Tim had to step out of this first before he could queen, but then was just one. That just left Stephen, who seemed to be in a level enough B, N+6 endgame, but I’m sure there was plenty more to the position than I could see! His opponent was also in big time trouble, and the end result of all of that was that Stephen forced a pawn far enough that a piece had to be given up, and though a few more pawns came off the board after that, enough remained for him to see out the win.
So a 4-3 win overall once Trinity’s points deduction is taken into account – after round 6, we’re still 4 points clear of third place, though it’s now Elm Mount, not Trinity, who occupy that spot. There’s a 7½ point gap to Gonzaga at the top, so it’s fair to say that the title race is over!
On Thursday, it was the Bodley‘s turn, up against bottom-of-the-table Rathmines. This ended up as a fairly traditional Bodley game, with all the games over well before 10pm. We picked up convincing wins on four boards – Rathmines’ tactical defences weren’t as strong as they could have been, but that happens at this level! – while Luke-Andrew ruined a nice position with a tactical oversight of his own, dropping a piece for nothing, and later dropping a second one. A 4-1 win will move us nicely up the table, though we won’t know how far until the rest of the round’s results come in.
Meanwhile, I was playing a ten-minute friendly, which saw a nice tactical motif crown off a relatively thematic Milner-Barry attack. I know it’s thematic, because by coincidence, I’d seen the exact idea last month when preparing for my Armstrong game against Gonzaga! (In the event, of course, I ended up switching boards In the event, figuring it’d be easy enough to pick something up on board 8, which went well. 🙂 ) So for anyone looking for a nice line to play either against the French or, as in this game, a c3 Sicilian which transposes, this is worth a quick run through, as is the relevant video, linked later –
Kevin Burke (1623) v Peter Lynch (1431); 14/01/16; 10-minute rapidplay friendly
1. e4 c5 2. c3 e6 3. d4 d5 4. e5 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 6. Bd3
White can also swap the pawns on move 4 – 4. ed cd 5. dc BxP – an option not available in the regular Advance variation, but often black can be uncomfortable when playing the Sicilian only to find himself in a French by mistake, so the main lines can be the way to go. The text is the Milner-Barry Gambit…
6. … Bd7 7. 0-0 cd 8. cd NxP
…and black accepts.
This move is currently a bit trendier than the main alternative, 9. NxN QxN 10. Nc3.
9. … Bc5 10. NxN BxN 11. Nf3 Bc5 12. Ng5 g6 13. Qf3
Not exactly subtle play from white! Though 10. b4 is an interesting sac, and more usually played than my move.
13. … Nh6 14. Qf6
Fritz says this is a mistake; I should instead play 14. Nxe6 BxN 15. BxN. But Fritz also says black’s best is to castle here, apparently. I’d certainly think twice or more about it!
14. … Rg8 15. Nxh7 Be7? (D)
Logical, but with a nice refutation. What is it?
I’d give this an exclamation mark – except that it comes from five minutes into this video.
16. … BxQ?
Black can’t accept this, of course. Best is 16. … Bd8, when he still gets in quite a tangle after 17. Qf4 Nf5 18. BxB KxB (QxB or RxB are met with Nf6+, winning the exchange – so black must forfeit castling rights instead) 19. BxN gxB 20. Qh4+ Kx8 21. Qe7
17. NxB+ Kd8
17. … Kf8 18. NxB+ and 19. NxQ
The same check wins after 17. … Ke7
18. … Kc8 19. NxQ+ PxN 20. BxN
And I’m a piece and a pawn up, and went on to win.
Finally, the solution to the question posed at the top – what happens if black plays 1. … Kg2 and tries to promote that way? The continuation is 2. Rd2+ Kf1 3. KxP and if 3. … h1=Q 4. Rd1+ Ke2 5. RxQ and black is lost. But black can try 3. … h1=N+ – though unfortunately, this still isn’t enough to save him as after 4. Kf3, the knight is trapped and will be lost. Underpromotion to a knight with check can be a drawing theme in rook v pawn endings – rook v knight is a draw if the defender can keep the king and knight close together – but if like here, the knight is trapped in the corner it’s usually easily won and the rook will win out. Of course, in this case, there are extra pawns on the board as well, which helps white’s case further. Still, another nice little twist in a fun position!