Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Streatham Chess Teams - Bumper News Update

I've had stolid before, as well as boring, pain in the ass, dogged, dull and lucky - but never before has my style of play been described as scintillating chess. Still, that's how Captain Martin described my effort in Streatham & Brixton Chess Club's recent First Team match, on Monday in London League Division One against Kings Head I. I'd have gone for stereotypical myself, before anyone adds that in the comments.

Robin also won a spirited attacking game, but the evening itself ended up 6-4 to them with two games adjourned. We certainly have winning chances in each of them - and the prospect of a tied match would be a great result, since they outgraded us by 10 to 20 points on nearly every board.

However - and much more importantly, as far as the fate of the season as a whole is concerned - Toby won his complex adjournment from the match against Athenauem, meaning we win that one 7-4, with Susan's adjournment still outstanding. I don't know about you, but I'm starting to count some chickens...

Meanwhile, our Second Team - in London League Division Three - continue their remarkable run, having squeezed out victories from two close matches, beating both Battersea I and Wanstead by the score of 5½ to 4½. Although it remains incredibly tight at the top of the table - all this leaves them in second place, and thus in a promotion spot. Good luck for the rest of the season, chaps...

Are you thinking it's all good news for Streatham & Brixton Chess Club? Alas, not quite. On January 24th, Guildford knocked us out of the Alexander Cup, by a score of 5½-4½. Twelve days later they had the temerity to beat us again - this time in the Surrey Trophy at their venue - by a score of 4½-2½ (with Bob's game due for adjudication.) All that singing and dancing has obviously not gone to their heads, and Abba must be better for your chess than I'd guessed.

But - to finish on a high note - our second team faired considerably better on 8th February in the Croydon League, winning their match 3½-1½ against South Norwood. "Heroic performances from Alan and Alexey, who won both their games in spite of arriving late because of delays," emails Richard. The team now has a fully respectable score of 1½ points from 3 matches.

And - for now - that's it!


Anonymous said...

Tom, you're a chess thug!

Can we also see gang leader Robin's act of butchery on the blog?


Anonymous said...

My inner pedant demands I point out the Croydon League victory over South Norwood was 2.5 - 1.5 (it was a four board match). Still an excellent result for us as we were out graded to quite a reasonable degree.

Tom Chivers said...

Tom "Chess Thug" Chivers. I like it Angus! I emailed Robin to see if it's possible, btw.

Thanks for the correction Jonathan. I did wonder about that in Richard's email but figured my memory was playing tricks. Heh ho.

Anonymous said...

Nice hack Tom.

Back in my racier e4 playing days I once won about half a dozen games in a row by sacrificing a piece on b5 against sicilians. Then my opponents got better, started knowing what they were doing a bit more. There after I was just a hop skip and a jump away from 1. Nf3.

ejh said...

Possibly they played their joker on one of the boards and so their points counted double?

Tom Chivers said...

Justin - just the kind of thing chess needs to spice things up, eh!

Jonathan - you'd be surprised. My opponent was a 171. And in the LL1 game before, I beat a 143 from the white side of a Najdorf again using a typically piece of thuggery (this time e4-e5 rather than Bxb5+) in 20 moves.

I think after the Kasparov era of black Sicilian victories, everyone at our standard got so scared of the Open, 2.c3 and 2.Nc3 became the mainlines. 2. Nf3 and 3.d4 is, in fact, for us, the surprise anti-Sicilian.

ejh said...

I don't think it's Kasparov's lines they're scared of so much as the sheer variety of possible Black responses. Who wants to learn replies to all of them?

You get a similar thing playing 1...e5 whereby few players graded below 175 BCF will give you a mainline Spanish. But much above that line and it's the rule rather than the exception.

I can't think of any real equivalent in the queenside openings: maybe the variety of Black replies to 4.e3 in the Nimzo? Most of them aren't so sharp as Open Sicilians though.

Tom Chivers said...

You could be right. I know I avoided it for a while because it seemed scary in some sense (albeit with 3. c4 or 5. f3 so still Openish.)

Btw - I think the (mainline) Spanish is a different case, whereby the problem is not variety of responses or that it's scary - the problem is it's too deep to understand. The abysmal depths of chess, and all that.

Not sure whether there are 1.d4 counterparts. I believe, though, maybe a considerable number of white 1.d4 players duck the possibility of a Modern Benoni &/or Benko with Nf3 rather than d5 on the appropriate move?

ejh said...

Well I know I do.

Anonymous said...

Justin's right about the Sicilian thing. I might be still playing 1. e4 now if they all played the Najdorf.

It is, in my eyes, just rubbish. Black's behind in development so obviously that's an ideal time to play a small pawn move at the side of the board. Certainly club players don't seem to know how to play it (in my experience anyway) as soon as they run out of book.

So there you go. The Najdorf is rubbish and nobody but complete patzers like Fischer or Kasparov would tell you otherwise.

I lost heart when I got bashed (in consecutive games) against the Dragon and Sveshnikov.

Also, I played nothing but ...e5 for getting on for a decade and got no more than 5 or 6 Spanish openings in all that time. None of them went beyond the 12th move of theory - so knowing a couple of options at move 17 didn't do me any good whatsoever. Less of a problem there, though, because it's much less sharp.

Tom Chivers said...

The highest rated player I ever beat in a serious game, I beat in a Sveshnikov :)

I agree you need 'something' against the Dragon - unless you are willing to learn lots and lots in the Yugoslav. f4 and O-O is probably simplest which is =ish. I think Adams still plays against it that way?

The Najdorf, however, kicks butt! The logic to me is: you know you want Nc3 not c4, so you play Nf6. You don't know if you want e6 or e5, but you do know you don't want something on b5 in the meantime. So, a6 is the ideal waiting move. So it's uncompromising - but also very, very dangerous as a result, for both sides.

ejh said...

None of them went beyond the 12th move of theory - so knowing a couple of options at move 17 didn't do me any good whatsoever

Yeah, it's not worth it unles you're regularly playing against 180+/2100+ players. But I do, and I've been in a given tabiya after fourteen moves of the Breyer a number of times.

I really think the Najdorf is a poor choice for most club players because the logic behind the moves isn't so clear. Frankly if I were teaching somebody an opening that I thought would last them a lifetime, I'd suggest the Classical French. White tries to set up a d4/e4 centre, so Black dislodges it and then attacks it. Simple really.

Tom Chivers said...

Angus - I added Robin's victory here.