Friday, June 08, 2007


A couple of weeks ago, Justin wrote about the best game of 2006.

What follows is not my best game of last season but it is my most memorable one, although not for what happened on the board. It was played in early April when I, as an emergency reserve, made it into the London League First Team to play the match against Cavendish.

I realised it was going to be a difficult match when I arrived to see Cavendish had GM Willie Watson on board 3(!). I was to play a guy graded about 25 points higher than me but at least I had White. We whipped out our opening moves then after a flurry of exchanges we reached the following position...

I had just played my 15th move (Knight from d2 to f3) and wandered off to take a leak.

For reasons that I shan’t trouble you with I ended up in the disabled toilet. As I left I pulled the chord to turn the lights off, as you do, only to find it was the light switch at all – it was the alarm to signal the person using the facilities was in need of assistance. I searched frantically for the reset switch but needless to say it was nowhere to be found.

I don’t know if you’ve ever emerged from a public toilet to a siren blaring out in an otherwise silent room and 30 pairs of eyes looking straight at you. It is, I have to say, a rather unnerving experience. “Now”, I thought, “would not be the time to have forgotten to zip up.”

Eventually the OFF switch was found and the room returned to silence (well it did until Natasha Regan tripped the alarm in the Ladies’ an hour or so later). Sheepishly, I returned to the board, and my game was eventually drawn.

I remembered this game last night when I obtained a very similar position in my game from the Surrey Individual Tournament. From the diagram, if you remove the Knights, return Black’s Bishop to c8 and move his pawn from g7 to g6 you have White to play his 16th move in JB v MW, 7/6/07.

The differences must all be in my favour and make the position much better for White than the one I had against Cavendish. In any event, those S&B members (or any other regular readers of this blog) who are fed up of my constant whinging regarding my streak of games without a win will be relieved to learn I actually managed to translate it into a full point – precisely 20 games, and four and a half months since my last victory.

I came across this snippet from John Clare the other day…

[Chess victories] … forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes.”

No more my friends.



ejh said...

Were you assisted in your triumph by the advice you were given by your fellow blog columnists down the pub a few Sundays ago?

Since I was drinking without having eaten, my memory of this may not be reliable, but what recollection I have suggests that I told you the position was good for White and Tom demurred.

Anonymous said...

During the original game I (an my opponent) thought White was slightly better because of the IQP - although I had no real idea how to play it.

In the pub afterwards TC thought Black might have an edge because of his actively placed pieces.

When I got home Fritz 8 thought it was level.

When we all met up for the pub quiz everybody thought White was slightly better - and Tom had come around to this view.

Whatever the objective merits of the position I would always prefer to have White because activity is a temporary advantage that can disipate with inaccurate play whereas a pawn weakness is much more dificult to let slip away.

Tom Chivers said...

I think black might be a bit better, after all.

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised you favour Black Tom. You're that kind of player. I doubt Robin spends many of his games grinding away against an IQP either.

Black's pieces do look suspiciously active I agree. Last night's game was much better (Knight's already exchanged and Bishop still at home).

I suppose there's still a lot of room for personal taste - certainly at the level I play at.

Anonymous said...

"I realised it was going to be a difficult match when I arrived to see Cavendish had GM Willie Watson on board 3(!)".
Yes so did I. I was on board 3.