Saturday, November 18, 2006

London League - First Team, So Far

Despite a 2.5 - 9.5 defeat in the opening London League Division One match of the season at the hands of last year's Champions Wood Green, Streatham & Brixton Chess Club First Team bounced back in our second match, beating the ever-hospitable Drunken Knights 8-4.

The next test was on November the 15th against Ilford. That match is currently poised 5-3 to them - with four adjournments waiting to be played out. Here's my win from the evening, where I played white on board 8 against David Chandler.

1. e4 e6 2. d4 c5 3. Nf3 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Nc6 6. Nxc6 dxc6 7. O-O e5 White has a slight advantage - a tiny lead in development, and a few holes in the black queenside to aim his pieces at. 8. Be3 Nf6 9. f3 Bb4!? 10. Qe2 Qe7 11. Nd2 Be6 12. Nc4 Bxc4 13. Bxc4 Rd8 14. Qf2 b5 15. Be2 Qe6 Black has played inaccurately, and now will have to make one kind of concrete compromise or another on the queenside. 16. a4 O-O 17. c4 bxc4 18. Rfc1 a5?! (18. ... Rd3! was the best way to confuse matters.) 19. Bxc4 Qd7 20. Rc2 Rb8 21. Rac1 h6 22. Bf1 Rfc8 23. Ba6 Rd8 24. Rxc6 Ra8 25. Bb5 Rab8 26. Bb6 Rf8 27. Rxf6 Qd2 28. Rfc6 Over the last eight or so moves, black has been playing for traps rather than sitting back and suffering a long defence. He was short of time and perhaps intended 28. ... Rxb6 - but that loses to 29. Qxb6. Black resigned.


Jonathan said...

Hi Tom,

congratulations on your win.

Ages ago I considered playing this line as Black but came to the conclusion that 3. d5! is just good for White. Of course 3. Nf3 is also a pain given that if Black wanted to play a Sicilian he probably wouldn't play ... e6 on the first move.

I still have happy memories of the line though - albeit from the White side. The first time I ever beat a 150+ player the game started 1. e4 e6 2. d4 c5 3. d5!

Tom Chivers said...


I thought about the Benoni route but figured that was probably what he was after, for whatever reason.

Or maybe he wanted to play the Sicilian after all, but was afraid of the gambits on move 2 - since two of their top boards played the Smith-Morra. Just dunno.

Maybe I'll play 3.d5! next time though . . .

Jonathan said...

This advantage the Benoni has over this line is that Black gets play down the e-file.

In this line because White doesn't have to take back on d5 with the c-pawn Black doesn't get any play on a semi-open file against a pawn on e4.

Also, there's no need to play c4 at all for White which saves time and leaves a nice square available for Ng1-f3-d2-c4.

That and the possibility of Bc1-f4 and Black will probably just end up with a horrible pawn on d6 and a nasty game.

That's how I saw it anyway.

Still, I think Nf3 is a good practical choice as well. In my eyes it just goes to show how ropey the line is for Black - White has two very good replies against it. One objectively strong and one subjectively awkward.

Tom Chivers said...

That makes sense.

I'm not sure that the Sicilian with 2. ... e6 (to which we transposed) needs to be that ropey though. It's just a bit slow if you play ..a6, ..Qc7 etc - which means white might do something with the space and time he has. But at least unlike the Najdorf, it's not going to be Bxe6 followed by five piece sacrifices and the black king mated on e3!

martin smith said...

That 1 e4 e6 2 d4 c5 sequence has the monicker "Franco-Benoni" defence. There is even a book about it; though why anyone would call an opening after a Fascist dictator is beyond me. It's a "play-it-a-against-anything" defence.
Back to the match against Ilford. Two adjourments have resolved, and we've clawed our way to 4.5/5.5. Adam Woodruff has this nice finish:
W: Qf6, Rf4, Nc7, Kh1, pawns c4, g2, h2
B: Rd8, Rf8, Bg6, Qc5, Kh6, pawns d6, f7, h7

37. .Qg5
38. Rh4+ Qh5
39. RxQ KxR
40. Nd5 Rd-e8
41. g4+ Kh6
42. g5+ Kh5
43. Qf3+ Kxg
44. Qf4+ Resigns

Queen and knight ( and pawn ) combine economically to mate the king. Nice one Adam!

Tom Chivers said...

Thanks Martin - I'll post that up properly over the weekend on the blog itself, rather than the comments . . . unless you beat me to it!

Anonymous said...


Just bumped on this discussion about the Franco-Benoni. The line with 3.Nf3 in Chivers-Chandler is called the Basman-Sale. I play it against 1.e4, and would be interested in hearing a bit more from you guys on this line, as well as 3.d5 so as to learn a bit more.

BTW, what's the ELO rating of Chivers and Chandler (so they go into my database with the right information where it belongs) ?

Thanks a bunch !


Tom Chivers said...


We have a different rating system in England - the ECF. Mine is 160 - my opponent in that game was similar. There is a formula you can use to estimate Elo from ECF - and it implies 160 is around 2050 Elo.

I don't know anything more about 3.d5 than posted here.

However, the Sicilian we transposed to is I believe usually called the Kan. The advantages it holds for black over other Sicilians is that with pawns on e6 and a6 but not yet b5, there is much less for white to hit at with thematic sacrifices, and through the middle hacks. The disadvantage is it doesn't press white for any committal decisions, eg the way an early Nf6 obliges Nc3, blocking the c2 pawn from going to c4. So white has a fair bit of time and space - my game is an example of that in fact. The recently completed rest of world game versus GM Arno Nickel also provides an example of this.

I'm glad you find something useful here! If I was to annotate the game again, I would probably just add that it was ironic ..Bb4 was exposed as weak by a4 w c4 - since rather than being a target, it blocked the b5 pawn from advancing to a safe square which would have thus kept lines on the queenside safetly closed.