Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Some Midweek Chess

Imagine you're playing someone rated maybe 250-300 points below you. The game may not be a push over, but you are probably feeling confident that if you play with no major errors, then you should be a technically better player than your opponent. So play risk free, and wait for the chances to present themselves, which they surely must. The worst that could possibly happen is that by playing it safe, you end up with a draw, and only if your opponent plays above their usual game.

Sounds like a reasonable plan, and sounds like a plan used by most players. However, GM Simon Williams isn't most players! His philosophy seems to be more like, I don't care whether you're a beginner or a World Champion, I'm going to throw pieces around in the style of Tal, or Anderssen and smash you in the most brilliant way I can....or I'll lose in the process! It is a most admirable way of playing, and it has brought the 'GingerGM' a number of fans.

Yesterday at the British Championships, Williams was playing Richard Weaving who is no mug but at 2200ish, not in the same league as the GM (2480ish). But rather than playing it safe, Williams threw pieces around, creating half threats, full threats, bluffs and feints, before landing a knockout blow to finish the game.

White has sacrificed a pawn for this lead in development, but black needs only a couple of moves to get back on track, and to have a healthy endgame advantage. But it is white to play!

White to play and win!
(answer tomorrow:as it's the day after tomorrow...Williams finished the game elegantly with 1.Nf6+! Kh8 [1..gxf6 2.Qg4+ Kh8 3.Rg3 and black must part with the queen to avoid mate] 2.Rh3 1-0)

I was glad to see an old acquaintance, Don Mason, get a good draw against GM Peter Wells. Don used the age old method of mixing it as much as possible against a higher rated opponent. The opening was a Nimzo-Indian and Don chose one of the most aggressive systems, the Samisch, and eventually one of the most random positions of the tournament so far was reached:

Luckily this position was even too random for a GM to fathom, and it wasn't long after this that the game ended in a draw. I wish both these players well in the rest of the tournament. I used to play in the Birmingham League as did Mason, and I remember Peter Wells as a junior, Peter always being the strongest junior in our county, Hampshire. Don has another tough game in the next round against another GM, Mark Hebden while Peter plays Michael Yeo (am I getting mixed up, or is Michael another Hampshire player?).

There are currently 13 players on a maximum 2/2, 6 GM's, 5 IM's, and 2 FM's, including Australia's Gary Lane. The full rankings, and pairings can be seen here.

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