Thursday, 7 December 2017

Game 84 - club match. Rochester v Tunbridge Wells

Rochester vs Tunbridge Wells - Stevenson Cup - Board Two
Thursday 7 December 2017
White: J. Anstead (164) - Black: K. Nevols (157)

1. f4

This is known as Bird's Opening, named after the 19th century player, Henry Bird. The idea is to control the e5 square, and White's following two moves add to this.

1. ...   d5
2. b3 Nf6
3. Nf3 e6
4. e3 c5

Not knowing a great deal about this set-up I decide to position a sort of reverse-Dutch.

5. Bb2 Nc6
6. Be2

Continuing development with Bd6 or Be7 might be sensible here, but I could not resist putting a spoke in the wheel.

6. ....  d4!?
7. exd4 cxd4

My idea was to hold up White's development and just to be annoying.

Your Generated Chess Board

Best for White is now 8. Bb5 Bc5 and he could think about 9. b4!? or 9. Qe2. Instead White brings his knight into the action with four consecutive moves.

8. Na3 Bc5
9. Nc4 O-O

The computer recommends 9. .. Nc5 10. g3 f6 or even the fun line 10. ... d3 11. Bxd3 Nxf4 12. Bxh7 Rxh7 13. gxf4 leading to a position where both sides could have chances.
10. Nce5 Qb6
11. Nd3 Rd8

I was quite content with my position building up around the d4 pawn, although the bishop on c8 looks like it could be a problem.

12. O-O Nd5
13. Kh1 Ndb4?!

It might be a mistake to exchange off this well-placed knight and 13. .. Be7 or 13. Bd6 may have been better, but I was concentrating on the initiative.

14. Nfe5 Nxd3
15. Bxd3

Your Generated Chess Board

Of course my eyes were now on my kingside defences. If, for example, 15. .. Nb4 then White wins with 16. Bxh7+ Kxh7 17. Qh5+ Kg8 18. Qxf7+ and then 19. Rf3 - or 16. ... Kf8 17. Qh5 Qc7 18. Nxf7.

So I decide to block the diagonal and relocate the bishop to add to the defences, while also offering to exchange the other bad bishop.

15. ...  g6
16. Qe2 Bd7
17. Rf3 Bf8
18. c4

This move surprised me. I had been concerned about a possible g4-f5 attack but instead White opens a front over the other side. I had continually avoided Nxe5 because I did not like the idea of fxe5 which would open the f-file and give White some good squares on f6 and d6 to consider.

18. ....   Bg7
19. Ba3 Qc7
20. Nxd7 Rxd7

Exchanging his well-placed knight for my bad bishop was a deal I was pleased with. However the computer rates it as White's best move.

21. b4 a5

Active defence. I wanted to swap off one more bishop before I could feel safe.

22. b5 Nb4
23. Rb1 Nxd3

The computer prefers 23. .. Bf8 and then 24. Bxb4 axb4 25. Rb2 Bd6 which opens the a-file and centralises the bishop.

24. Qxd3 Re8!

I was quite pleased with this. White's position is slightly un-co-ordinated and a counter offensive in the centre could make some progress.

25. b6 Qc6
26. Qf1

A sign that White was running out of ideas. 26. Kg1 preparing g4 is an option. 26. Bb2 can't be played as it loses the b-pawn. It is also difficult for White to attack the black pawn on a5. 26. Rb5, for example, is met by 26. .. e5 27. fxe5 Rxe5.

The queen drop back is to allow the pawn on c4 to be defended by another pawn.

26. ....  e5

Grabbing the initiative.

27. fxe5 Rxe5
28. d3

Your Generated Chess Board

28. ......   Re3?

Although, at the time, I liked this move, it is a mistake. 29. Rxe3 fxe3 30. Qf4! and the tables are turned with the threat of Qb8+. Black must play 30. .. Rd8 and then 31. Qxe3. Black can get the pawn back by 31. .. Qd7 (32. Re1 Qa4 wins a piece) but any winning chances would be with White.

Black should play 28. ... Qa4!. If 29. Qc1 then 29. ... Re2 exploits White's un-co-ordination. If 29. Rb3 Black can choose between 29. .. Bf8 30. Bxf8 Qxa2 31. Rb5 Rxb5 32. cxb5 Kxf8 - where he is a clear pawn up and a passed-a pawn - or the difficult move to see, the computer move, 29. ... Rd8 planning Rde8 and threats along the top two ranks.

Fortunately White overlooks 29. Rxe3 and my initiative continues.

29. Bc1? Rxf3
30. Qxf3 Qxf3
31. gxf3 Re7

Black is now better and intends the invasion. White decides to counter by queenside play.

32. c5 Re1+
33. Kg2

While 33. ... Bh6? looks like it will win a piece, White has 34. c6! and Black will have to bail out with 34. .. Bf8 35. c7 Re2+ 38. Kh3 Rc2 39. Bf4 - and White has the advantage.

Short of time, I had not considered Bh6 and always intended to use the following tactic to pick up the dangerous pawn.

33. .....  Re2+
34. Kg3 Rc2
35. Bf4

At the time, I was not sure what to do after 35. Ba3 but Black can defend with to do 35. .. Rxa2 and 36. Bb2 Be5+ or 36. c6 Rxa3 with either 37. cxb7 Be5+ or 37. c7 Re3.

35. .......  Rxc5
36. Rc1

Offering a bishop ending a pawn up. Black can decline with 36. .. Rc3 but then 37. Re1 gives White some counterplay.

Your Generated Chess Board

White could have played 36. Re1 with 36. .. h5 37. Re8+ Kh7 38. Re7. Then Black has the great resource 38. ... g5 (which is not possible in the above line after 36. .. Rc3 as the g-pawn would not then be defended) 39. Bd2 Kg6 when 40. Rxb7 Rc2! places the white King in a mating net.

Confident that I would not lose this position, I enter the ending.

36. ....   Rxc1
37. Bxc1

Black is a pawn up and White has isolated pawns. I was not sure I could win but decided to advance the king and see how we go.

37. ..  Bf8
38. Bd2 a4
39. f4?

A mistake - not only blocking the routes for White's bishop but putting it on a square where Black can attack it.

39. ....  Bc5

The computer recommends fixing the f-pawn with 39. .. f5 but I wanted to force his bishop to a poor square.

40. Ba5 Kg7
41. Kg4 Kf6
42. h4

Delighted to see another pawn on a black square. It was not clear how White intended to defend all these pawns.

42. .....  h5+
43. Kf3 Kf5
44. Kg3 Ke6
45. Kf3 f5

Taking a chance. By closing down the queenside, I stopped any avenues for his king but also any way forward for my own.

46. Ke2 Kd5
47. Kd1 Kc6
48. Kc2 Kb5
49. Bd2 Kxb6
50. Kb2 Kb5

Now two pawns up I had to find a way through.

Your Generated Chess Board

51. a3 Bb6
52. Bb4 Bd8
53. Be1 Ba5
54. Bf2 Kc5
55. Ka2 Bd2
56. Bg3

OK, a bit of jigging about and I have forced his bishop out of the game. Time to advance the other pawn.

56. .....   b5
57. Kb2 b4
58. axb4 Kxb4
59. Kc2

Does 59. ... a3 win? I gave a lot of thought to that question .... and the answer is yes. 60. Kxd2 a2 or 60. Kb1 Kb3.

But the other way is good enough too.

59. .....  Bc3
60. Bf2 Ka3

No, that's not right. Go back and try again.

61. Bg3 Kb4
62. Bf2 a3

That's right. White now resigned to end a tough battle.

Rochester v Tunbridge Wells

Keith Hyde (166) 1/2-1/2 C Lucjan Karpinski (164)
Keith Nevols (157) 1-0 Jerry Anstead (164)
Vytautas Gedminas (130) 1/2-1/2 Robin Wilson (163)
David Page (122) 1/2-1/2 David Tidmarsh (132)
Tyrone Jefferies (116) 0-1 Thomas Stevens (128)
Aurimas Liuberskis (110) 1/2-1/2 Richard Woodfield (123)

Rochester 3-3 Tunbridge Wells

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Game 83 - Swale Club Championship 2017-18 - Round Six

Swale Club Championship - Round Six
Thursday 30 November 2017
White: K. Nevols (157) - Black: B. Sawyer (83)

1. e4 g6

Not sure what to make of this so just develop as normal and we get into a King's Indian type position.

2. d4 Bg7
3. c4 e6
4. Nc3 d6
5. Nf3 Nd7

I take the chance to cause a weakness with a tempo.

6. Bg5

The point is that Black cannot now play either knight to f6 because 7. e5 wins material. So I was expecting 6. .. Ne7 after which I was considering 7. Qd2 h6 8. Be3 and Black cannot castle kingside.

6. ....   f6?!

This move blocks in the kings' knight and those four pawns lined up side-by-side just do not look right.

7. Be3 Qe7
8. Qd2

A nice little move which stops Nh6 and holds up Black's kingside development by being unable to move the knight. Black could now consider 8. .. f5, to make some space, or 8. .. a6, to prevent the forthcoming knight move.

8. ..   Qf8?

But this is a mistake. The c7 square is left unguarded and gives me the chance to dislodge the king and get some initiative.

9. Nb5 Kd8
10. c5

The plan is to open up the centre and see if I can get some play against the king. White is not yet fully developed but Black is behind. The computer favours development with 10. Bd3 and castling.

Your Generated Chess Board

10. ....  a6
11. Nc3 Bh6

An unexpected defence is the computer's suggestion of 11....  b5!? 12. cxb6 Nxb6 with Bb7 and Ne7 to come. Probably White should keep developing with 13. Bd3 and then castling.

12. cxd6

Staying with my plan to open up the centre. Black overlooks a check and ought to pay 12. .. cxd6 where I would choose between 13. Bd3 or 13. Rc1.

12. ...  Bxe3?
13. dxc7+ Kxc7
14. Qxe3

So I am a pawn up. Still behind in development, Black decides to run with the king.

14. ...  Kd8
15. Be2

15. Bc4 might have been more aggressive with 15. .. Nb6 16. Bb3 but I opted for the quieter move as I wanted to castle and develop the rooks while the Black king is in the centre.

15. .....   Ne7
16. O-O Ke8
17. d5!

I thought this was well-timed myself. I intend to open some files before bringing the rooks in.

17. ...  e5

And Black opts to keep the files closed. Here I considered bringing the rooks to the c- and d-files but was aware that Black may be aiming for counterplay based around f5 or blockading the d-pawn.

Your Generated Chess Board

18. d6 Nc6
19. Rfd1 Kf7
20. Nd5 Rb8

Of course if 20. ... Qxd6 then 21. Nb6 wins at once.

21. Nc7 b5?

21. .. Nd8 is an attempt at defence but Black is hopelessly behind now.

22. Qb3+

Black resigned. 22. .. Kg7 23. Ne6+ wins the queen.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Game 82 - club match. Rochester v Maidstone

Rochester vs Maidstone - Stephenson Cup - Board Two
Thursday 23 November 2017
White: A. Wisman (151) - Black: K. Nevols (157)

1. b3

Larsen's Opening. The plan is to simply fianchetto the queen's bishop, point it at where the White king might be, and gradually build up in the centre.

1. ...  e5
2. Bb2 d6

Not knowing much about this opening, I decide to set up the system I usually use against the English. However, as I cannot really move my kings bishop to g7 at some stage, it might have been wiser not to play this move which also limits its options.

3. e3 f5
4. d4 exd4
5. Qxd4 Nc6
6. Bb5 Bd7
7. Qd2

7. Qf4 is interesting. Black cannot immediately attack the queen and it might prove to be a pain situated there.

7. ....  Nf6
8. Nc3 a6
9. Be2 Qe7

Your Generated Chess Board

White has a clear edge in development and I was having a problem developing my king's bishop. One issue at a time - so I decide to get my king out of the way by castling queenside.

10. Nh3!

A knight on the rim is usually, so they say, a bit dim - but this deployment is quite effective, planning to come to f4 and peer at the d5 and e6 squares in the Black camp.

10.    ...   O-O-O
11. Nf4

It was time for a big think over the options. White is set to use those white squares - d5 and perhaps e6 - with a forthcoming Bc4. And I am still having problems developing that bishop on f8.

I considered 11. .. Ne4 12. Nxe4 fxe4 where White could keep up the pressure and advantage with 13. Nd5 or 13. Bc4 or by just castling. (And the computer likes 13. h4!? to keep the f4 knight where it is).

I also took a look at sacrificing a pawn with 11. .. d5?! 12. Ncxd5 Nxd5 13. Nxd5 Qf7 and freeing my pieces with a later Be6 or Bb4.

In the end I selected a move which would stop Bc4.

11. ....  Ne5
12. Ncd5 Nxd5
13. Nxd5 Qf7
14. O-O-O

Adding to the pressure on the centre and the game was getting very uncomfortable.

If 14. .. Be7 White wins with 15. Qa5! b6 and then there are lots of checkmates after 16. Qxa6+ Kb8 17. Nxc7!! (17. .. Kxc7 18. Qa7+ where there is quite a nice mate after 18. .. Kc6 19. Bb5+ Kxb5 20. Qa4+ Kc5 21. Ba3++ or 19. ... Kc5 20. Ba3+ Kxb5 21. Qa4++).

Or 17. Nxb6 cxb6 18. Qxb6+ Ka8 19. Rxd6! Bxd6 20. Qa6+ Kb8 21. Qxd6+ Kb7 22. Qa6+ Kc7 23. Be5++.

The quiet 14. .. Re8 is met by 15. Qa5 Bc6 and White can keep building up.

Perhaps the best move is the steady 14. .. Kb8 or the retreating 14. .. Nc6 where 15. Bc4 can be met with 15. ... Be6. Instead, in such a difficult position, it is no surprise that I make a mistake.

14. ... Be6?

My initial thought was that he can't play 15. Bxe5 because, after I retake with the pawn, I am opening an attack on his queen - until I realise that the rook on d8 is not defended by his friend because that awkward bishop has got in the way. To my horror I then saw 15. bxe5 dxe5?? 16. Nb6+ which wins on the spot.

(Black can minimise his losses by 16. .. Kb8 17. Qxd8+ Ka7 18. Kb1 cxb6 - with the two bishops Black has some swindling chances - but that is a bit desperate).

As I sunk into deep thought, I managed to discover the only way to get out of this - but it would mean shedding a pawn, and entering an ending.

15. Bxe5 Bxd5
16. Qxd5 Qxd5
17. Rxd5 dxe5
18. Rxe5

Your Generated Chess Board

OK - a fresh evaluation. I am a pawn down and behind in development. However now I can get my bishop out and try some counterplay.

18. ...  Ba3+
19. Kb1 Rd2

If 20. Bd3 Rxf2 21. Bxf5+ Kb8 22. Be4 and White is still a pawn up and now has a passed pawn.

He goes the other way allowing me to keep the f5 pawn and prevent a passed pawn. If I could exchange all the queenside pawns then a 4v3 on the kingside must give me chances of holding a draw.

20. Bf3 g6

I expected 21. Rf1 to be played now when I planned 21. .. Rhd8.

21. Ra5?

This did not worry me as I had seen that White could not go after that bishop and now I was going to get my pawn back.

21. ...  Bb4
22. Ra4

But he did go after the bishop! Maybe Black would have best played 22. Re5 to give the pawn back and then 22. .. Rxf2 and we are looking like a draw.

22. ......  a5

Trapping the rook - I am about to win the exchange.

23. a3

The computer gives the line 23. Rf1 b5 24. Rxb4 axb4 25. Bc6 Rhd8 26. Kc1 and Bxb5 - so White would have two pawns for the exchange.

White though chooses a sequence where he can get compensation for the exchange by way of an outside passed pawn.

23. ....  b5
24. axb4 bxa4
25. bxa5 axb3
26. cxb3 Rxf2

Your Generated Chess Board

Back in the game - but not over yet. The a-pawn is now three steps from queening and White controls the a8 square. I thought I might have to give the exchange back with Rxf3 to round up the a-pawn and try to be a pawn up in a rook ending - and after a bad defeat earlier in the year, rook endings are now something I try to avoid.

27. Rd1 Re8

Activating the other rook.

28. Rd3 Re5
29. b4 Rb5
30. Rd4 c5!

Better was 30. Rb3 - now I get another pawn.

31. Rd5 Rxb4+
32. Kc1 Rc4+
33. Kd1 Ra2
34. Be2 Rc3

Playing 34. ... Rcc2 may have been more clinical.

35. a6 Kc7
36. Re5 Kd6

With the a7 square covered, the king can move forward to a good post.

Your Generated Chess Board

37. Re8 Rb3
38. Kc1 Rxe2

38. .. Kd7 is considered more accurate with 39. Rh8 Rxe3 40. Rxh7+ Kd6. But it is often hard to resist a piece, and I have made the decision to enter a pawn ending two pawns up.

39. a7 Ra3

The plan was 40. a8(=Q) Rxa8 41. Rxa8 Rxg2 which I am confident I could win. But White decided to resign.

Rochester v Maidstone

Keith Hyde (166) 1/2-1/2 Cliff Chandler (204)
Keith Nevols (157) 1-0 Arnaud Wisman (151)
Vytautas Gedminas (130) 0-1 Robert Lane (149)
David Page (122) 1/2-1/2 Barrington Beavis (147)
Tyrone Jefferies (116) 0-1 David Heath (144)
Aurimas Liuberskis (110) 1-0 Christopher Wise (88)

Rochester 3-3 Maidstone

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Game 81 - Swale Club Championship 2017-18 - Round Five

Swale Club Championship - Round Five
Thursday 16 November 2017
White: K. Nevols (157) - Black: T. Jefferies (116)

I had made a great start in the club championship with four wins but knew this would be a difficult challenge as my opponent is famously tough to beat.

1. e4 e6
2. Qe2

Presently my favourite anti-French move.

2. ....  b6

Black decides to set up a Queens Indian style defence.

3. Nc3 Bb7
4. d3

Whereas I decide to establish a closed Sicilian attack type set-up but without the Black pawn on c5.

4. ....  Nc6
5. f4 Be7
6. Nf3 Nh6!?

An unusual placement of the knight, presumably to keep the future options of f5 and Bh4+.

7. g3 a6
8. Bg2 Bc5

The main difference with the closed Sicilian is that there is no pawn on c5 to stop the bishop taking the square instead. This move stops me castling so I decide to change the bishops.

9. Be3 Bxe3
10. Qxe3 Ng4
11. Qe2 Nf6
12. O-O O-O

Your Generated Chess Board

Black has adjusted his defence and both sides are now developed.

I now think it is time to grab some space in the centre.

13. e5 Ne8?!

After 13...  Nd5 I had intended 14. Ne4 f5 15. Nf2 preparing g4. This could be a bad square for the knight where it blocks the rook and may find itself restricted by the e5 pawn.

14. Ng5

My intention here was just to provoke the h-pawn and then return to base.

14. .....  h6
15. Nf3 Ne7
16. Ne4

Black would now be advised to strike out with d5 and then c5 to grab some space. If 16. .. d5 I would have probably played 17. Nf2 and see if I could make anything out of an offensive based around g4.

16. ....   Nf5?

At this point I saw a nice sequence which would loosen the defences around Black's king. I examined the possibilities carefully and decided play it.

17. g4 Nh4

I had expected this. Going back with 17. .. Ne7 would be rather pointless although perhaps slightly better.

18. Nxh4 Qxh4

Your Generated Chess Board

The computer recommends 19. f5 and then Qe1 to swap off the queens and concentrate on the initiative via the e- and f-files, but I could not resist this small trick.

19. Nf6+ gxf6

Better is 19. ... Nxf6 20. Bxb7 Rab8 21. Bf3 (21. Bxa6 Nxg4) Nd5 and the position is equal - Black's queen is well placed.

Another line is 19. .. Nxf6 20. exf6 Bxg2 21. fxg7 Bxf1 22. gxf8(Q) Rxf8 23. Rxf1 f5! and the ending is anyone's guess.

20. Bxb7 Ra7
21. Bg2 fxe5
22. fxe5

This was the position I had foreseen at move 17. Black's pieces are slightly misplaced, the king is a bit open, and there are chances of using the f-file and the f6 square. I needed to bring the rooks into the action.

22. ....  Qg5
23. Rf3! d6

Of course, if 23. .. Qxg4 then 24. Rg3 wins at once.

24. exd6?!

24. d4 was better - White gives up the pride of his position. After 24. .. Nxd6 the position is equal.

24. ...   Qc5+?!

This helps me - as not only does Black keep his knight on the back rank - considering perhaps coming to g7 - but it clears the g1 square in case I choose to put a rook there.

25. Kh1 Qxd6

Your Generated Chess Board

26. Raf1 c5

Having been nudged to the a7 square through my earlier combination, the rook is well-placed to add to Black's defence. So I decide to zone in on Black's one weakness.

27. Qe3 e5?

Better is 27. .. Qd4! 28. Qxh6 Qxb2 29. Rh3 Qg7 although it is quite understandable that Black would want to defend the h6 pawn. However I was quite pleased to see this move as it gives me the use of the f5 square.

If now 28. Rh3, it is not possible to defend the h6 pawn. 28. .. Kg7 29. g5! Rh8 30. gxh6 Rxh6 31. Rxh6 Qxh6 32. Qxe5+ Kf8 (32. .. Nf6 33. Rg1) 33. Qb8 Re7 34. Be4.

But I decide to go for an immediate win.

28. g5

If now 28. .. hxg5 then 29. Qxg5+ Qg6 30. Qxg6+ fxg6 31. Rxf8+
or 28. .. Ng7 29. Rf6 with Be4/d5 and Rg1 will win.

Black could try 28. .. Qd4 with 29. gxh6 Qxe3 30. Rxe3 Re7 31. Bd5 keeping the pressure on.
Or 28. .. Re7! - not easy to spot but planning to come to e6. 29. Rf6! Re6 30. Rxh6 or 29. gxh6 Kh8! and Black might just about hold.

28. .....   h5
29. Rf5 Re7
30. g6!

The winning move. I can break through on the f-file or come over onto the h-file. If .. 30.. Qxg6 then 31. Rg5.

Your Generated Chess Board

30. ...    Ng7
31. Qh6!

Black has to give up a rook to avoid mate.

31. .....  Qxg6
32. Qxg6 fxg6
33. Rxf8+ Kh7
34. R8f6 Nf5
35. Be4 Kg7
36. Rxb6 Nd4
37. Rg6+

And here Black resigned.

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.