Monday, September 07, 2009

Ray Keene: You read it here first

Peruse Streatham and Brixton Chess Club's history books, and you'll find many familiar names occupying the top of the team lists. Indeed, a few years ago the Firsts in the London League saw Board 1 appearances from International Masters Eddie Dearing and Susan Lalic - whilst head back to the early 1980s and you'll see that Grandmasters Julian Hodgson and Glenn Flear won the Club Championship.

But of all the Streatham & Brixton Chess Club players who've had their names up in lights, surely one out-shines them all. He played for the club in the 1960s when still a school boy, scoring for the First Team an awesome 82% - and went on to become England's second ever Grandmaster; he's organized a glittering array of events, from Staunton Memorial Tournaments to World Championships, and he's written countless articles and over a hundred books on chess. That player is, of course, none other than Raymond Keene. And did I even mention that he has an OBE for services to chess?

Now that's not to say that Ray has forgotten his old club. Quite the contrary: in fact Ray has kindly sent us never-before-published annotations of one of his wins for S&BCC. The game was played in 1967, and to this day his opponent remains a force to be reckoned with on the London club scene and UK tournament circuit - none other than well-known FM Michael Frankin.

And so to the game with Ray's notes:

And what a good game it is - also, in fact, to be featured in The Spectator later this week. Thanks Ray for sending it our way first!


Anonymous said...

'And what a good game it is'

I'm sorry to disagree, but at move 30 the position is blocked. To me it is a slow and boring game.


ejh said...

Don't knock it - he beat Michael Franklin, which is more than I've ever managed to do.

Naisortep said...

Its slow at first but the combination is more than worth the price of admission.

Naisortep said...

I analyzed the combo deeper with the CPU and it appears 33..Re8 holds in a tactical sense for Black. But 33.f4! is still a brilliant move that is White's only real winning attempt.

ejh said...

I don't know that the f4 break is all that surprising, to be honest. For a start, White doesn't have that many alternative ideas and additionally, given that White has his bishop and queen lined up on the long diagonal and that all Black's pieces are on dark squares, any player worth their salt would be looking at f4.

It's perhaps the following move, g5, that's a little more surprising since the inclination would be to recapture on f4 (obviously e5 will win if the rook is taken) which White can in fact do, but I think Ray's move is stronger.

Tom Chivers said...

Personally, as per Michael, I didn't see f4 coming, nor the g5 follow-up. I think the game is interesting not just for the break-through - but also for the psychological contours described by Ray.

John Saunders said...

31...Kg7 is a terrible move, inviting disaster. In fact, I think White could then play f4 immediately. It might even be stronger than Bc3 first. There seems to be nothing special for White if Black overprotects the e5 pawn with 31...Qe7. Maybe he still has an edge. But none of the above invalidates what is an attractive combination to exploit 31...Kg7.