Sunday, 17 September 2006

Chess Reviews: 16

Discovering Chess Openings
By GM John Emms

It is becoming an extremely difficult task to keep on top of chess theory. Any player trying to take up a new opening will invariably be met by a veritable forest of information in which it is all too easy to stray from the right paths and end up entangled in an unmanageable thicket.
This new book from GM Emms attempts to use fairly simple principles to enable the reader to get to grips with the openings without having to learn the entire contents of unwieldy encyclopedias.

The first three chapters take a close look at ‘Central Issues’, ‘Introducing Development’ and ‘King Safety’.

Armed with the basics, the reader is then able to get to grips with some more advanced material in the subsequent chapters: ‘Delving Deeper’, ‘Pawn Play’ and ‘Chess Openings in Practice’.
The chapters do ‘exactly what it says on the tin’.

The openings themselves are not covered in great depth; here’s a random example of how far the analysis goes:

All of the moves leading up to this standard French Defence position are explained in detail and then of course the reader will have to move on to other books in order to take things further.
There are plenty of entertaining examples to back up the advice.

In this position, Black doesn’t need to castle Kingside (he can always 0-0-0 quickly instead) and can instead launch a quick attack with 7 …g5!

Fast-forward a few moves and Black’s attack is close to ending the game in his favour, even though he has allowed his Queen to be taken…

13 …Nf3+! 14 gxf3 Bxf3 15 hxg3 Rh1 checkmate.

The author generally follows up such examples with some pertinent ‘Points to remember’. In this case he comments:

1) With a closed centre it’s sometimes not such a necessity to castle so early. In certain positions leaving your king in the centre for a few more moves can give welcome flexibility: your opponent isn’t sure which side to attack.

2) Pins in the opening are powerful weapons and they need to be handled carefully; that’s true for the piner as well as the one being pinned!

Experienced players will not need this book but it could be an excellent aid for juniors and club players who have always had plenty of questions regarding openings but have been afraid to ask. The explanations are excellent and the writing displays all the usual Emms polish.

For details of Everyman chess books, please visit:

Happy reading!
September 2006

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Archive: UNCUT! 52

The Sean Marsh
Chess Column
*Column 52*

Dear Readers,

The new chess season is now upon us and in addition to the usual events there are several new ones to enjoy.

The first of these is the SME Match Championship, featuring eight strong local players. The first round sees the players contest two-game mini-matches, followed by four-game matches in round two and then a final of six games.

Playing a match, rather than a one-off championship or league game, opens up new possibilities and dimensions as regards preparation, timely draw offers and several other competitive aspects.

The first round games were all played at the same time and this added extra interest.

All four games were hard fought and contained much of interest.

Norman Stephenson won nicely on the Black side of a Trompowsky – against 2 Bg5’s biggest local PR man!

John Garnett - Norman Stephenson
(Notes by Norman)
18. Ne2? The rush to prepare defences for the backward pawn leads to a cure that is worse than the disease 18...Bxe3! 19. fxe3 Qxe3+ 20. Rf2 Ng4 21. Raf1 white isn't too badly off...without the follow-up combination.

21...d4! 22. Nc4 Rxc4 23. bxc4 d3 and white resigned in view of 24 Qc1 dxe2 25 Qxe3 exf1(Q)ch and recapturing on 'e3' 0–1

Black also won the following encounter…

Dave Edmunds – Sean Marsh

There has been a game-long dispute over the d4-square. White finally gets a Knight back on there…
27 Nd4 …but this move runs into a shocking refutation 27 …Qxd4 0-1

Black looked set to strike again in this game…

Mike Closs – Ian Elcoate
Black had earlier given up a piece for two pawns – but what pawns! Mike shortly felt obliged to return the Knight to shatter the fearsome pawn roller.
The position at the time-control was still in the balance…

…but Ian rather took his eye off the ball and didn’t counter Mike’s raid on the Queenside in the correct manner, allowing the latter a winning advantage (1-0, 57)Ian has put his game online so that you can play through it click the link below:

Only one game was drawn, but it featured some tricky and intriguing chess.

David Baillie – David Wise
White had sacrificed a pawn in the opening for positional pressure. Black seems to be doing well now though. According to the players, White should now try 17 axb5 axb5 18 Ra7 with decent play for the pawn. However, David B. thought that the best way to deal with the Knight heading for the c4 outpost was to prepare to remove it as soon as it lands.

So he played 17 Qa2 and after 17 …Rad8 18 e3 Nc4 he chopped it off with the instructive exchange sacrifice 19 Rxc4!?

A few moves later it became clear that White enjoys compensation, not only on the board, but on the clock as well.
Here, Black offered a draw - which was accepted.

There is still all to play for as the vanquished have a chance to even up the score in game 2.

Here are a few photos from a very enjoyable evening.

All smiles during the post-game analysis. L-R Norman, Dave and John

David Wise and David Baillie look for the truth: Does White have enough for the pawn?

Just after the time-control in the last game to finish. Ian writes as Mike contemplates a raid on the Queenside pawns.

Sean Marsh