Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Game 80 - club match. Rainham v Rochester

Rainham v Rochester - Stephenson Cup - Board One
Thursday 15 November 2017
White: K. Nevols (157) - Black: T. Owens (173)

A short trip across to Rainham to play for Rochester - and I discover I am up against an old Swale team-mate, who I knew to be a very strong player.

1. e4 c6

The Caro-Kann. I had put on the club's website a game which I won by using 2. Ne2. Figuring my opponent might have something prepared I decide on plan B - the exchange variation - with 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Bd3.

2. d4 d6

But it is not to be - we enter a form of Indian defence.

3. Nf3 Nbd7
4. Be2 e5
5. Nc3 Be7
6. O-O Qc7

So my development is going OK, and Black is somewhat behind. I am planning to put my bishop on e3 and so prepare in advance against a knight or bishop landing on g4.

7. h3 Nf8!?

Black has a plan.

8. Bc4 h6
9. Be3 g5?

And here it is. Black is a keen fan of mixing things up, and his plan is to leave the king in the middle, advance the kingside pawns and place the knights behind them.

I now overlook the fact that White can now win a pawn with 10. dxe5 dxe5 11. Nxe5 (11. ... Qxe5?? 12. Bd4) but then Black might be intending to sacrifice this to play 11. .. Ne6 and then b5 and b4.

Your Generated Chess Board

Instead I decide to defend the g4 point.

10. Nh2? Ng6
11. Qf3 Nf6
12. Ng4 Bxg4
13. hxg4 Nh4
14. Qe2

I was now thinking whether I could get an attack with g3. Kg2 and using the h-file.

14. ....   Qd7

White really needs to open up the position while Black has his king in the centre. 15. dxe5 dxe5 (15. .. Nxg4?? 16. e6!) 16. f3 is good, with a rook coming to the d-file next. I kept the centre closed as I wanted to limit the bishop on e7.

Another idea for White here, which I did not see at this time, was 15. Nd5. The loose g-pawn was occupying my thoughts but White could sacrifice it with 15. Nd5 Nxg4 16. Nc7+!? Qxc7 17. Qxg4 and get some play.

Your Generated Chess Board

15. f3 Ng6

It was here that I now saw 16. Nd5. It looked flashy but might be effective.

I concentrated on the Black reply 16. .. Nf4 although Black could play 16. .. b5 17. Nxf6+ Bxf6 18. dxe5 Bxe5 and then either 19. Bb3 Bxb2 - and White would have to play 20. Rad1 to try to get some play for the pawn - or better would be 19. Bd3 Bxb2 20. Rab1 Be5 21. Rxb5 Nf4 22. Bxf4 Bxf4 23. Rb1 with an equal but possibly eventful position.

The reply I focused on was 16. Nd5 Nf4 17. Nxf4 gxf4 18. Bf2 but I did not like the half-open g-file and the possible play against my king. I decided to protect the f4 square first.

16. g3

After this big think, I now had 27 minutes left for 19 moves. Keeping a knight out of the game can't be bad.

16. .....  h5?!

Staying in character by keeping the attack going. The computer now recommends 17. Rad1! preparing dxe5. It also considers 17. d5 hxg4 18. dxc6 bxc6 19. fxg4 Qxg4 20. Bxf7+! These are both better moves to what I played - I just liked the flashy idea and was very reluctant to open any files in front of my king.

17. Nd5

Black admitted after the game that he did not see this.

17. ....   b5

Now there are two alternatives.  I gave a lot of thought to 18. Bd3 hxg4 19. Nxf6+ Bxf6 20. fxg4 but did not like it - although it is not so easy for Black to defend. 20. .. Be7 21. d5, or 20. .. Qe7 21. d5. He has to find 20. .. exd4 21. Rxf6 dxe3 and then 22. Qxe3 Qxg4 is equal or 22. Rf5 f6! 23. Rxf6 Qh7 24. Qg2 Ne5.

But with the clock ticking and the time running, I decide to simplify.

18. Nxe7 Kxe7
19. Bb3

We later discovered the interesting 19. Bg5!? bxc4 20. f4! and White has a fantastic attack for the piece. Needless to say, I did not see that - and I probably would not have played it if I had.

19. ...Nf4!?

So Black decides to sacrifice the piece instead - a brilliant Tal-like tactic in the circumstances. In return Black gets a great attack but if White plays calmly he can hold this off with 20. gxf4 gxf4 21. dxe5 or 20. .. exf4 21. Bd2 hxg4 22. e5!.

Your Generated Chess Board

Instead I take Black at his word.

20. Bxf4? gxf4
21. dxe5 dxe5
22. Rad1 Qc7

Now White should play 23. g5 dislodging the knight. 23. .. Nh7 24. gxf4 exf4 25. g6! fxg6 26. Qg2 Kf6 27. Qd2 - White is a pawn down but might have compensation in the fact of the open King. Or 23. Qf2 is another idea with 23. . c5 24. g5 Nh7 25. g6 fxg6 26. Bd5 - a nice square for the bishop

23. gxf4? hxg4
24. fxg4??

Two blunders which open up the kingside for Black to neatly finish off.

24. ...    Nxg4

I simply overlooked 25. Qxg4 Rag8. White is now simply lost.

25. Qd3 Qb6+
26. Kg2 Ne3+
27. Resigns

A great game played by my opponent with sacrifices and gambles which came through. The great Latvian player Mikhail Tal made his name for making sacrifices that were later proved to be unsound but which the opponent could not defeat at the board - and this game reminds me of that.

Rainham v Rochester

Alistair Compton (186) 1-0 Keith Hyde (166)
Trefor Owens (173) 1-0 Keith Nevols (157)
David Barnes (173) 1-0 Martin Tsatsarov (136)
Chris Marshall (151) 1-0 Vytautas Gedminas (130)
Stephen Pike (134) 0-1 Tyrone Jefferies (116)
Gary Clifford (110) 0-1 Andrew Gillard (107)

Rainham 4-2 Rochester

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Game 79 - club match. Rochester v Hastings

Rochester vs Hastings - Stephenson Cup - Board Two
Thursday 9 November 2017
White: K. Nevols (157) - Black: H. Cove (170)

I had played my opponent before but we were wearing different hats - it was a game between Weald of Kent and Swale (Game 24) where I was fortunate to escape with a draw.

1. e4 c5

And another game in the closed Sicilian.

2. Nc3 Nc6
3. f4 g6
4. Nf3 Bg7
5. Be2

This modest deployment of the bishop is now my preference over the more aggressive Bb5.

5. ....   e6
6. O-O Nge7

If 6. .. Nf6 Black might fear 7. e5. There is an interesting pawn sacrifice after 7. .. Nd5 with 8. Ne4!? Nxf4 9. Nd6+ Kf8 10. d4 Nxe2+ 11. Qxe2 where White could get some pressure down the f-file.

Your Generated Chess Board

7. Qe1 Nd4
8. Bd1 d5
9. d3

My preference so I can meet 9. .. dxe4 with 10. Nxe4 and follow up with c3 at some stage with perhaps Bb3.

9. ...   O-O
10. Ne2 b6
11. c3 Nxf3
12. Rxf3 Bb7

The computer now gives Black a small edge with those well-placed bishops and the tension in the centre. My next move is more or less forced - as opening the centre and the diagonal with 13. exd5 would be a mistake.

13. Ng3 Qd7

13. .. h5! is more energetic and a move I was worried about. While it can be a risk to move the pawns in front of your king, White is getting slightly cramped and that knight on g3 does not have a lot of options. Perhaps best is 14. Bc2 h4 15. Nf1 Nc6 and the game is equal.

Your Generated Chess Board

I was not sure why 13. .. Qd7 was played but now I had a big think how to continue the attack. The rook on f3 needs to be moved. I considered 14. Qf1 with the idea of pushing down the f-file. I also looked at 14. Rf2 with the idea of Rd2 or Re2. In the end I decided to go back to base.

14. Rf1? Ba6!

And I completely overlooked this move. Now admitting the mistake and going back with 15. Rf3 is an option which gives Black another chance to play 15. .. h5. But it looked weird. 15. Bc2 exd4 16. Qxe4 left me with a weak d-pawn and so I had to move the bishop the other way.

15. Be2 Rae8

Again 15. .. h5 is more aggressive and 15. .. Nc6 is also to be considered. Now I had to sort out my pieces before I could go over on to the attack. I wanted to move that knight on g3 back to the centre, so I needed to vacate the e2 square, therefore I needed to defend the d3 pawn by some other way.

I also looked at 16. a4 opening up a front on the left but after 14. .. Nc6 there is nothing there.

16. Qd1 Qc6?!

Another surprise. Nc6 and h5 are still good options but I did not understand this move which takes away a good square from the knight and gives me extra time to sort out the defence.

17. Rf2

Gives the knight a square to drop back to, and/or relocate to e3, defends the bishop on e2, and allows the bishop to move without worrying about the pin of dxe4. Not bad for one move but should have been played on move 14.White now has 17 minutes left for 18 moves (!) while Black had 22.

17. ....  Rd8
18. Qc2 Rd7

So this was Black's plan all along - to double up on the d-file. Time to get moving.

19. f5?!

If now 19. .. exf5 20. exf5 gxf5 21. Nxf5 Nxf5 22. Rxf5 then Black has good play with 22.... d4 or 22. ... Qg6. But the path he takes is also fine.

Your Generated Chess Board

19. ......  dxe4
20. dxe4 Bxe2
21. Qxe2 exf5
22. exf5

And now 22. .. gxf5 23. Nxf5 Nxf5 24. Rxf5 and the position is level. The computer suggests 24. .. Qe6 to give Black a passed pawn after 25. Qxe6 but 25. Qg4 would be better.

Then just as I thought the game was drifting to a draw - Black blunders.

22. ........Qd5??
23. f6 Qd1+

Black was relying on 24. Qxd1 Rxd1+ 25. Rf1 Rxf1+ 26. Kxf1 Bxf6 but White does not have to exchange queens.

24. Rf1

I was going to win a piece with a pawn and began to look at the position after 24. .. Qxe2 25. Nxe2 Bxf6 26. Rxf6 Rd1+ 27. Kf2 when Black decided to resign instead.

Rochester v Hastings

Keith Hyde (166) 0-1 Paul Kelly (170)
Keith Nevols (157) 1-0 Henry Cove (170)
Martin Tsatsarov (136) 1/2-1/2 James Wheeler (159)
Vytautas Gedminas (130) 1-0 Marc Bryant (136)
David Page (122) 0-1 Marc Woodhams (136)
Jerry Pol (120) 1/2-1/2 Derek Cosens (129)

Rochester 3-3 Hastings

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Game 78 - Swale Club Championship 2017-18 - Round Four

Swale Club Championship - Round Four
Thursday 2 November 2017
White: I. Lappin (118) - Black: K. Nevols (157)

My opponent for this game is a very difficult prospect. I have never played anyone with this style. Earlier in this blog I referred to shadow boxing - he will make seemingly innocent moves, develop calmly, then slowly advance. Although I won our two games last year, I was very fortunate - in the first, he missed some wins, in the second, he walked into a mate in one.

The plan was to do likewise - don't get involved in tactics - build advantages - and see what happens.

1. c4

The English Opening - to which I reply with a system which I had known as the 'Dutch with e5'

1. ...  e5
2. a3

Is he planning a St Georges Defence in reverse - with b4 and Bb2? I briefly considered 2. .. a5 to prevent that, but brought myself back to earth.

2. ....  d6
3. g3 f5
4. d3 Nf6
5. Bg2 Be7
6. b3 O-O
7. Nc3

So White is playing a double fianchetto, delaying the development of the king's knight and keeping me guessing as to what he will do with his king. 7. .. c6 is recommended to protect d5 and the long diagonal but I wanted to stabilise the queenside first.

7. ....  a5
8. Nd5 Nxd5

I decided to exchange his one active piece and assumed he would now play 9. cxd5 to which I was considering replying with Bf6 and Na6. White took with the bishop which, as we will see, helps me as the King is now safely tucked away.

9. Bxd5+ Kh8
10. Bg2 Nc6

Still developing nicely, I was satisfied so far.

Your Generated Chess Board

11. e3 Qe8

I thought maybe White was now considering advancing his central pawns and so I prepared for the opening against his king.

12. Bb2 Bf6
13. Nh3

13. Ne2 might have been more solid as this knight is out of the way. I thought he was preparing f4.

If 13. Nf3 then 13. .. e4 14. Nd4 Ne5 gets the advantage for Black. (15. dxe4 fxe4 16. Bxe4?? Nxc4 17. bxc4 Qxe4 18. Rg1 c5).

13. ....   Qg6

A favourite square for my queen which puts White off castling kingside.

14. Qd2 Bd7

The immediate 14. .. Rb8 might have been better. I feared 15. Bxc6 bxc6 16. Qxa5 completely overlooking that 16. .. Rxb3 was now possible and the threat of f4 against the undefended knight is deadly.

The computer recommendation is the sequence which begins 14. ... f4 and then 15. exf4 Bxh3 16. Bxh3 exf4 17. Bxf6 Qxf6 18. O-O Qh6 19. Bg2 fxg3 20. Qxh6 gxf2+ 21. Rxf2 gxh6. But this looks like a draw to me - Black is a pawn up but his king is open, he has the knight against a bishop, and the extra pawn is doubled.

Delaying Rb8 may have meant my opponent had not seen the forthcoming manoeuvre. 14. ...Rb8 15. Ke2 might have been interesting although a future f4 could have tried to open lines again.

15. O-O-O Rab8

Other interesting moves are 15. .. a4, 15. .. Qh6 and 15. .. Qh5 - the latter two forcing either Ng1 or f4. I expected 16. d4 and indeed the computer confirms that the position would then be equal. I tried to work out the complications when White surprised me by going the other way.

16. f4

Although this ends any ideas I had of f4 (although now the king has gone off to the queenside, I had already given up on f4 ideas), I was pleased to see this. I had feared the prospect of his knight getting to f4 and then on to d5.

16. ....  b5!

And now the attack is on. I figured that 17. Qc2 was now essential to avoid the opening of the b-file.

17. Rhg1?!

This allows the possibility of Bxc6 without worrying about Bxc6 in return, and White could think about ideas based around g4. However it allows Black to open the b-file - and an open file with a rook in the general direction of the other king always seems to be a good idea.

Had White played 17. Qc2 then Black should play 17. .. e4 and then double the rooks on the b-file.

17. ....  bxc4
18. bxc4

I gave a lot of thought about that pawn on a5 and whether I should let it go and, if I did, what advantage could I get. For example, 18. . Rb7 19. fxe5 dxe5 20. Bxc6? Bxc6 21. Qxa5 - overlooking that Black could now play 21. .. Qh6 with advantage.  Moving the queen to the h-file was a possibility I continually overlooked.

Your Generated Chess Board

The best move for Black may be 18. .. e4. If then 19. Bxf6 Qxf6 20. d4 Black can play 20... Rb3! or 19. d4 Rb3 20. Qe2 Rfb8 21. Rd2 Be6. I got this far but could not see anything clear to break through, so took a brief timeout to protect the pawn just in case I needed it later on.

18. .....  a4

White should now play 19. fxe5 dxe5 20. d4. He needs to open up the centre and make some squares for his pieces. Black might have an edge but the centre is a bit fragile with an isolated pawn on c7. An interesting move in this line might be 20. .. Qh6 21. dxe5 Rxb2!? If then 22. Qxb2 Qxe3+ 23. Kc2 (23. Kb1 Rb8) Bxe5 or 22. Kxb2 Nxe5 23. Ka2 Be6.

The prospect of sacrificing the rook for bishop on b2 was one I kept in mind but I could not see how to make use of it. While White was able to close the centre, it was not possible to exploit.

19. d4? e4

The centre is now closed and the White kingside pieces are out of the game - although I did wonder if he was considering an attack based around g4. At the moment, 20. g4 can simply be answered by 20. .. Qxg4.

Black could also play 19. .. exd4 20. exd4 Rb3 but I did not want to risk any White counterplay based around the open e-file. White now sets up a defence while Black builds on the b-file.

20. Kc2 Qf7
21. Bf1

I had expected 21. Qe2 when I had planned 21. .... Na5. Black could now play 21. .. Be6 but I wanted to get that b-file.

21. .....  Rb3
22. Rb1 Rfb8

If 23. Ng5 on this or previous moves I had intended 23. .. Qg8. I now had 19 minutes to reach move 35.

23. Nf2

White continues to plan for 23. g4 as well as considering the defensive move 23. Nd1. I had planned to answer g4 with g6 so I could keep the bishop on the long diagonal. I invested some precious minutes into seeing if there was a breakthrough here - and then saw it.

Your Generated Chess Board

23. .... Nxd4+!!
24. exd4 e3

In itself this does not immediately gain material. I saw 25. Qe1 Rxb2+ 26. Rxb2 Rxb2+ 27. Kxb2 Bxd4+ and then exf2 , so I expected 25. Qe2 exf2 26. Qxf2 - had I got here, I liked to think I would have seen 26. .. c5.

But after 25. Qe2 then 25. ... Bc6! is stronger, coming to e4 with devastation. 26. Nd3 Qxc4+ 27. Kd1 Be4 or 26. Nd1 Be4+ 27. Kc1 Bxb1 28. Kxb1 Bxd4.

White uses the third option for the queen.

25. Qd1 exf2
26. Rg2 Bc6

26. .. c5 and 26. .. Qe6 are also strong moves.

27. Rxf2 Be4+
28. Kc1

28. .. Bxb1 29. Kxb1 Rxa3 should win, and 28. .. c5 does win. But I wanted something clearer.

I noticed another combination, but needed to use the bathroom and had ten minutes left for eight moves. I dashed off while playing over the position in my head. Unfortunately I was beaten to the staircase by a large chap who ascended with the speed of a tortoise. I kept dancing behind him but could not overtake - conscious that my clock was ticking.

Your Generated Chess Board

Eventually I got back with eight minutes left - quickly checked my sequence and then played ..

28. ...   Rc3+
29. Kd2 Rc2+!?

This is not the best move. Had he noticed the error, Black should go back with 29. .. Rcb3 and then play c5.

I did not consider that White could now play 30. Qxc2 Bxc2 31. Kxc2. Black should still win but it would not be as clear cut as it could be.

30. Ke1 Rxf2
31. Kxf2 Bxb1

The position I had in my head after my 28th move. 32. Qxb1 Bxd4+ was the next move in my mind. White goes a different way.

32. Bc3 Rb3
33. Bb4 Qe7

The entrance of the queen finishes off the black king.

34. Qd2 Qe4
35. Be2 Bxd4+
36. Ke1 Qh1+
37. Bf1 Re3+

White now resigned. If 38. Kd1 Qxf1+ mates. If 38. Kf2 Rf3+ 39. Ke1 Qe1++.

A very satisfactory win against a difficult opponent - and for the club championship I was on four out of four.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Game 77 - County U-160 League - Middlesex vs Kent

Middlesex v Kent - Board One
Saturday 28 October 2017
White: P. Kennelly (158) - Black: K. Nevols (157)

My first match for the Kent under-160s and, through a leap in grading, I found myself on top board - feeling a bit of a fraud. The game took place at Willesden's working club, tucked away in Brent, north west London. I had been forewarned about parking problems but had not bargained for the amount of traffic after coming off the M25.

Fortunately I found a parking space quite quickly, walked rapidly to the venue, and was just five minutes late.

1. e4 d5
2. exd5 Qxd5
3. d4

White chooses a system where he delays Nc3 and places a pawn on c4 instead of a bishop. The advantage of this is that he can consider a well-timed d5 to break up Black's centre. The disadvantage is that his king's bishop struggles to find a role.

3. ....  c6

3. .. Nc6 might have been better but I stick to the set-up I am familiar with.

4. Nf3 Nf6
5. c4 Qa5+
6. Bd2 Qc7

I glanced at 6. .. Qb6 but could not see much to get excited about after 7. Bc3. There is a neat trap with 7. c5 as after 7. .. Qxb2??? 8. Bc3 traps the queen.

7. Nc3 Bf5
8. Be2 e6

Your Generated Chess Board

This is the defence I am familiar with and all along thinking what is the difference between a pawn on c4 and a bishop? For one thing, I can't stick a knight on d5. On the other hand, he can't defend the pawn on d4 with a pawn.

9. Bg5 Nbd7

I need to get the king castled in case of a d5 attempt to break up the centre.

10. O-O Bd6
11. Bh4

A relocation to exchange bishops.

11. ...   O-O
12. Bg3 Bxg3

I felt this was forced as I did not want to risk a piece landing on e5. But Black could try 12. .. Ne4 with 13. Bxd6 Qxd6 14. Bd3 or 13. Nxe4 Bxe4 14. Bd3 - each case looking equal.

13. hxg3 Rad8

The target is now the pawn on d4. The plan is to play the rooks into the middle - maybe double-up on the d-file.

But here, 13. .. e5 is interesting. 14. dxe5 Nxe5 15. Nxe5 Qxe5 16. Qb3 Qc7 and Black might have a slight edge. Or 14. d5 Rfe8. Or 14. Nh4 Bg6 15. Nxg6 hxg6. Perhaps the centre would get cleared and a quick draw result.

White now decides to move the queen forward to begin a slow creeping move.

14. Qd2 Rfe8

Now I am thinking of e5.

15. Nh4

I automatically drop the bishop back. I had seen 15. .. Nc5 with the possibility of coming to e4 but this just looked flashy. I did not want to end up with a loose pawn on f5.

15. ...   Bg6
16. Nxg6 hxg6
17. Qe3

Your Generated Chess Board

Eyeing up the pawn on a7. I looked at various combinations with d5 to try to see if I could trap the queen. For example, d5 exd5; Qxa7 Nb6; Qa3 Ra8; - but could not see anything. Aware that White might play around a 'smash-and-grab' how should I defend the pawn? I did not like 17. .. b6 because 18. Bf3 looked good. Instead I went for a move to defend the pawn and also prevent d5.

17. ...  Nb6
18. Rad1

We could go into an endgame with 18. .. e5 19. dxe5 Rxe1 20. Rxe1 Qxe5 21. Qxe5 Rxe5.

18. ....  Rd7
19. Qe5 Red8

I did not want to exchange queens. 19 ... Qxe5 20. dxe5 results in a wonderful square for White.

20. b3

To free up the bishop from the defence of the c4 pawn.

20. ...    Nc8

A redeployment - and a sign that I was running out of ideas.

21. f4 Ne7
22. g4

Now I was getting a bit worried. Let's continue the build-up along the d-file.

22. ....  Rd6
23. Kf2!?

A surprise! I thought 23. Rd2 was better. White instead plans to defend the centre pawns with the king and start an attack down the h-file. An amazingly imaginative idea.

I had a big think - and saw that I could defend down the kingside with Kf8 and Ng8. Then I saw I could force his King onto e3. And then another idea hit me ... 

23. ....  Qd7
24. Ke3

Your Generated Chess Board

This is it!! Now my question was - can I play 24. ... Nf5+? Then 25. gxf5 exf5 - with the threat down the e-file.
He has to move his king or queen.

If 26. Kf2 Re8 27. Qc5 Qe6 28. Kg3 Qe3+ and then either 29. Rf3 Qxe2! (I had overlooked that) 30 Qxa7 with equal material but good play or 29. Kh2 Qxc3 30. Qxd6 Rxe2 where Black has a pawn and an attack for the exchange.

What about the other way? I considered 26. Kd2 Re8 27. Qa5 b6 28. Qa3 Rxd4+ 29. Kc2 and nothing. But I did not consider, after 26. Kd2, the stronger 26. .. Re6 when 27. Qa5 b6 28. Qa4 Qxd4+ (a better piece to take on d4 with) 29. Qa4 Qxd4+ 30. Kc2 Rxe2+ 31. Nxe2 Qe4+ and once the knight on e2 goes, Black has two pawns and an attack for the exchange.

What if the queen moves? 26. Qa5 would be a better move. 26. .. b6 (not 26. .. Rxd4? 27. Qxd8+!) 27. Qa3 Rxd4 gets a second pawn for the piece then 28.Qc1 adds to the defence.

After much thought, I decided against Nf5+.

So what about Ned5+? After 24. .. Ned5+ 25. cxd5 exd5 26. Qg5 Re8+ 27. Kf2? Qe7, Black threatens Qe3 mate.
If 28. f5 then Qxe2+! If 28. Rd3 then 28. .. Re6 gives good pressure. And if 28. Ke1 Qe3! and White's only move would be 29. Rf3 when Black could force a draw with 29. .. Qg1+ 30. Rf1 (30. Kd2? Rxe2+ 31. Nxe2 Ne4+) Qe3.

But after 26. ... Re8+ White could play 27. Kf3! when after 27. .. Qe7 there is 28. f5 - no worries about knight forks in that line.

So, if White plays calmly, he can easily hold off the attack and come out a piece for a pawn ahead.

The computer in the above position recommends 24. .. b6 with an even position. I just decide to threaten the sacrifices.

24. .      Re8
25. Kf2

White, having also seen the sacrifice possibility, decides to discreetly retreat, so I renew the attack in the middle.

25. ....    Rd8
26. Ke3 Re8

By now a bit short of time, and with a long journey home, I decided to force the draw. A satisfactory result as my debut at such a high level.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Game 76 - club match. Snodland v Swale

Snodland vs Swale - Fuller Cup - Board One
Thursday 26 October 2017
White: G. Hollands (155) - Black: K. Nevols (134)

My opponent is a well known strong player - he is local to us and has come along to some of our quickplay events. In our simul against Matthew Sadler, he was the only one of 14 of us not to lose with a good draw.

Our swords had crossed before (Game 3) when I lost a drawn game and was outplayed in an ending. So I knew I would be up against it with a tough battle.

1. d4 f5
2. c4 Nf6
3. g3

Adopting a quiet approach against the Dutch and taking us into the main line.

3. ....  e6
4. Bg2 d6
5. Nc3 Be7
6. Nf3 O-O
7. O-O a5

The recommendation by Simon Williams GM - taking time out to hold up White's queenside counterplay. Another possibility is 7. .. Qe8 planning to come to the kingside.

8. Re1 Ne4
9. Qc2 Nxc3
10. Qxc3

All one of the main lines - Black swaps knights to delay White's e4.

Your Generated Chess Board

Now I had used up my memory of the theory. I remembered that Black should try to meet e4 with e5.

10. ....  Bf6?!

The move Simon Williams recommends (which I had forgotten) is 10. .. Nc6 with 11. e4 e5 12.exf5 Bxf5 13. Be3 Be4 14. Nd2 Bxg2 15. Kxg2 d5! 16. a3 Bf6 (Gallagher-Williams). (If 11. d5 then Bf6). My move places the bishop opposite the queen and I am thinking of moves like c5 and Nc6.

11. e4 e5
12. dxe5 dxe5
13. Qc2

White could have tried 13. Nxe5 as it is not clear if Black gets enough for the pawn. 13. .. Nc6 14. f4 Re8 15. exf5 Bxf5 16. Bd2! Nb4 17. g4! Bxg4 18. Bxb7 or 13. .. Nc6 14. Bf4 g5 15. Nxc6 Bxc3 16. Nxd8 Bxe1 17. Bxc7.

I now gave some thought to 13. .. g6 with the idea of 14. exf5 Bxf5 but it did not look right. Moves such as Bh6 and Qb3 could get the king in trouble. As the White d-pawn had gone I decided to bring into play the queen's knight to hit the centre and offer a pawn sacrifice.

13. ..... Nc6
14. Rd1

If 14. exf5 Nb4 15. Qe4 Nd3 16. Rd1 Nxf2! is equal but 16. Re2 and Black is beginning to look clumsy. Fortunately for me White remains cautious.

14. ...   Nd4

Although I felt a little confident, the computer gives White a clear lead, now recommending 15. Nxd4 exd4 16. exf5. The question then is whether Black can make use of that passed pawn in the middle or whether White can round it up and use the open spaces in the centre.

Your Generated Chess Board

15. Rxd4?

But this was a stunner. White gives up the exchange. Initially I could not see what White gets for it so had to play along with great caution.

15. .....  exd4
16. e5 Be7
17. Ne1 c6

To prevent Bd5+ and keeping protection of the d-pawn. White is planning to blockade the pawn and play around it. He has 54 minutes left for 18 moves whereas I was at 38 minutes.

At this point, the digital clock blanked out - the battery had gone! Fortunately my opponent had noted the times and knew how to set up a new one, so after a short pause, we were away again.

18. Nd3 g5!

A double functioning move - both to attack on the kingside but also to keep his knight out of the f4 square where it would have been a nuisance. I was aware of the king looking unsafe but so far those White bishops are kept well under control.

19. f4 h6

I did not like 19. .. g4 blocking the position - with a material advantage I needed to get those pieces out. I did not see much mileage in h5-h4 and opening the h-file which seemed to me to be too slow.

20. Bd2 Be6
21. b3 Kh8

To prepare for the opening of the g-file.

22. Rd1 Rc8

I now have 21 minutes for 14 moves. At this point, I was struggling to see how I could advance. The computer has consistently recommended g4 and h5-h4 but I wanted open spaces for my bishops and decided to advance on the other wing with b5. This move prepares that, and also moves the rook off the bishop's diagonal.

Your Generated Chess Board

23. Bc1

White is planning to round up the d-pawn so I had better get going.

23. ....   b5
24. Bb2

Some thought was now given to 24. .. bxc4 25. bxc4 c5. Instead I did it the other way round - and now had 14 minutes left for 11 moves.

24. ...   c5!?

The point is whether I could play 25. cxb5 c4. This looked quite strong to me. 26. bxc4 Bxc4? would be a mistake because of 27. Bb7 Rc7 28. b6! Rxb7 29. Qxc4 Qxb6 30. Bxd4 and with a pawn for the exchange and Black's draughty king, White is back in the game.

26. .. Rxc4 with Qb6 and then bringing the other rook across to the c-file was the plan. A timely Bc6 from White at some stage could have been a nuisance. In the event, White decided to trust me.

25. Ba3 bxc4
26. bxc4 Qc7

Overprotecting the c5 pawn to prepare Rb8.

27. Bd5 Qd7

27. .. Bxd5 28. cxd5 did not look like much fun, although the computer says there is nothing to fear after 28. .. c4 29. d6 cxd3 30. Qxd3 Qc3! 31. dxe7 Rfe8 32. e6 - perhaps not, but this does not look like a position one would be confident in playing.

28. Bg2 Rfd8
29. Re1?!

A good plan for White would be Rb1 and then either Rb5 or Rb7.

29. ...    Rg8
30. Rd1 gxf4

At last!

31. Nxf4 Bg5

Your Generated Chess Board

32. Nd3?

I was happy to see this. Either 32. Rf1 or 32. Bc1 to defend the f4 point would have been a tougher defence.

White accompanied this move with an offer of a draw, but I could see a sequence which I wanted to give a try.

32.       Be3+
33. Kh1 Qf7

This was the move White told me he had overlooked. Black threatens the c-pawn and also f4 with an attack on the king. I had two minutes left for the next two moves.

34. Nb2 f4

The computer likes the flashy 34. .. Rxg3! with 35. hxg3 Qh5+ 36. Bh3 f4! 37. Qh2 Bxh3 with Qf3+ to come. Of course I did not see any of that - my existing winning plan seemed to suffice.

35. Rf1 Bf5

If now 36. Be4 then 36. .. Bh3 and 37. .. Qh5.

36. Nd3 Qg6
37. Rd1 fxg3
38. h3 Qh5

Your Generated Chess Board

And now White resigned. Those bishops did the job after all.
I was delighted with this result against such a good player.

Snodland v Swale

George Hollands (155) 0-1 Keith Nevols (157)
Robert Thompson (146) 1/2-1/2 Vytautas Gedminas (130)
David Lettington (143) 0-1 Tyrone Jefferies (116)
Neil Miners (100) 0-1 Aurimas Liuberskis (110)
Hugh Broadbent (96) 1/2-1/2 Andrew Gillard (107)
Charlie Palmer (81) 1/2-1/2 Barry Sawyer (83)

Snodland 1.5 - 4.5 Swale

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Game 75 - club match. Hastings v Swale

Hastings vs Swale - Harvey Cup - Board One
Sunday 22 October 2017
White: D. Ruane (161) - Black: K. Nevols (157)

A nice trip to the south coast. All through last season, I had not lost a single game playing for Swale. Now saddled with a high grade, I thought that things might change and how right I was - with a crushing defeat in an awful performance.

1. Nf3 f5

The Dutch defence.

2. b3

An unusual set-up so I develop normally.

2. ...  Nf6
3. c4 d6
4. d4 e6

The computer recommends 4. ... Ne4!? Curious to move the knight twice in four moves but the idea is to obstruct a White Nc3 and to reply to 5. Nbd2 with 5. . e6 and perhaps d5, or to 5. e3 with 5. .. c5 and 6. dxc5 Qa5+ or 6. Bd3 Nc6. An interesting thought in an opening I am still learning.

5. Nc3 Be7
6. Qc2

White has delayed the deployment of his kings bishop in order to get the move e4 in, but the presence of the queen on c2 allows me to develop the other knight towards the centre.

6. ...  Nc6
7. e4 fxe4?!

Maybe 7. .. Nb4 would be better but it was the following break I had in mind.

8. Nxe4 e5

The plan is to break open the centre while his king is still there. The irony is that, as we will see, it is my king which gets trapped instead.
If 8. .. O-O I was concerned about some white central play but 9. Bd3 result in 9. .. Nb4 exchanging the bishop, and 9. Neg5 h6 seems OK.

Your Generated Chess Board

9. Bb2

White considers castling queenside.

9. ..  exd4
10. Nxd4 Nb4

Castles is better for Black. Now White picks up the initiative.

11. Nxf6 Bxf6
12. Qd2 a5
13. a3 Qe7+
14. Be2 Na6

White cannot play 15. Qxa5 because of 15. .. c5 winning a piece.

15. O-O

Last chance to castle. But White would still be better - he can bring his rooks into the middle while Black is sorting himself out.

Your Generated Chess Board

15. ....   Nc5??

Completely overlooking White's next move.

16. Bh5+ Kd8

If 16. .. Kf8 17. Re1 and Re8+.

17. Rfe1

With the king stuck in the middle, I knew the game was up.

17. ...  Qd7

The computer suggests 17.   Qf8 18. Re8+ Qxe8 19. Bxd8 Rxe8 keeping material losses to a minimum.

18. b4!

White has his eye on a possible Ne6+. The game is now won for White.

18. ...   axb4
19. axb4 Rxa1
20. Bxa1 Bxd4

And while he was thinking,  saw the winning move - and a few minutes later he played it.

21. Qg5+

Your Generated Chess Board

Black must resign. The only move is 21. .. Bf6 and then 22. Bxf6+ will force ruinous material loss.
A terrible game to start the county league season with.

Hastings v Swale

Brendan Ruane (161) 1-0 Keith Nevols (157)
Gary Wilson (129) 0-1 Tyrone Jefferies (116)
John Kimber (119) 0-1 Vytautas Gedminas (110)
Gregory Chandler (76) 0-1 Andrew Gillard (107)
Umberto Joe Jozwiak (78) 1-0 Barry Sawyer (83)
James Wheeler (159) 1-0 default

Hastings 3-3 Swale

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Game 74 - Swale Club Championship 2017-18 - Round Three

Swale Club Championship - Round Three
Thursday 19 October 2017
White: A. Luberskis (-) - Black: K. Nevols (157)

My third game of the season was against a new member - an unknown factor.

1. e4 d5
2. e5

White meets my Scandinavian with the 'advance' option.

2. ....  c5
3. Be2 Bf5
4. Nf3 Nc6

White chooses a quiet set up and allows Black to develop calmly.

5. h3 e6
6. Bb5

The second move of the bishop wastes time. Better is castling.

6. ....   Qc7
7. c3 Be7

The computer prefers 7. .. O-O-O attacking the pawn on e5 and then gives 8. Bxc6 Qxc6 9. d4 Qa6 or 8. d4 cxd4 9. cxd4 Nb4 10. Na3 Nc2+?! 11. Nxc2 Qa5+ 12. Bd2 Qxb5 13. Ne3 - which looks good for White as he has the open c-file and Black's kingside is not yet developed.

The pawn on e5 is restricting development and I intended to resolve that problem first.

Your Generated Chess Board

8. O-O a6
9. Ba4?

9. Bxc6+ was forced. Now Black wins a pawn.

9. ...    b5
10. Bc2 Bxc2
11. Qxc2 Nxe5
12. Nxe5 Qxe5

Now Black is much better. He is a pawn up and can sort out his development.

13. d4 Qc7
14. Be3

14. a4 would be a good way to bring the rook into the game and gain some initiative. 14. .. Rb8 15. axb5 axb5 16. Be3.

14. ....   Nf6
15. Nd2 O-O

Your Generated Chess Board

Now I have the king in safety it is time to think of a plan. Advancing on the queenside and making play against White's centre seems to be a good plan.

16. Rae1 Nh5
17. Qd1 Nf4
18. Nf3 c4

The d3 square looks very attractive to my knight so White decides to sacrifice the exchange. 19. Bxf4 Qxf4 20. Ne5 is better.

19. Re2? Nxe2+
20. Qxe2 b4

Intending to open lines for the rooks.

21. Ne5 bxc3
22. bxc3 Rab8
23. Qg4! Bf6

If now 24. Bh6 I had planned to play 24. .. Bxe5 25. dxe5 Qxe5. White manages to arrange a strong kingside attack.

24. Rd1 Bxe5
25. dxe5 Qe7

Of course 25. .. Qxe5?? walks into 26. Bd4 which I thought was game over. However Black has 26. .. h5! which would save the game albeit with loss of material after 27. Bxe5 hxg4 28. Bxb8 Rxb8 29. hxg4 and Black would be a pawn up.

Your Generated Chess Board

26. Bg5 is the best move here. 26. .. Qc7 27. Bf6 g6 28. Qg5 wins, so Black has to play 26. .. f6 27. exf6 Qf7 which looks ugly but just about holds but not without a few beads of sweat. White though misses this chance.

26. Qe2? Rb5
27. a4 Rb3
28. f4 Rxc3
29. Rb1 Qd7
30. Bd4 Rd3
31. Qb2 Qxa4

White has given up two pawns to open some lines on the queenside but I can exchange a pair of rooks.

32. Ra1 Rd1+
33. Rxd1 Qxd1+
34. Kh2 Qb3
35. Qa1 Ra8

The bishop is good for White, there are spaces to exploit, and the back rank is still weak so it is not over yet. I decide to defend the goal line before I can get those pawns going.

Your Generated Chess Board

36. Qa5 Qb5
37. Qc7 Qe8
38. f5 Rc8
39. Qa5 Qc6
40. Qa3 Rb8
41. f6 Rb3
42. Qa5 Qc8
43. fxg7 c3

With the posts covered, it was time to get moving.

44. Qa2 c2
45. Qxb3 c1(=Q)
46. Qg3 Qh6

And now the win is straight forward. White decides to play on to mate.

47. Be3 Qxg7
48. Qf4 Qc2
49. Qf1 Qe4
50. Bf4 d4
51. Bg3 d3
52. Qb1 Qe2
53. Qb8+ Qf8
54. Qxf8+ Kxf8
55. h4 d2
56. h5 d1(=Q)
57. Bh4 Qdd2
58. h6 Qxg2 mate