Summer Cup – Round 1

The First event this year is The Summer Cup. This year it is 7 rounds with Club Members playing in 5 grades. As mentioned elsewhere things are very full this year so some players had to be turned away.

Summer Round 1 PGN by Ewan Green

A Grade

Bruce Watson vs Daniel Gong 1-0 – Daniel was playing quite well and looked to have a strong position but a pawn push left a big hole in his position that Bruce exploited.

John Duneas vs Alphaeus Ang – 0-1 – After 14 movies of theory John pushed on the Queen side while Alphause push on the King side. Alphaeus’ attack got there first.

Mike Steadman vs Paul Garbett – 0-1 – A fairly even game before a swap left Paul with a big space and mobility advantage which he eventually capitalised on.

B Grade

Jasmine Zhang vs Paul MacDonald – 0-1 – Jasmine lost and early pawn and then another.

Tony Wang vs Nathan Goodhue – 0-1 – Tony was looking very comfortable but lost a pawn to a tactic. Nathan then swapped almost all the pieces (but gave the pawn back). Nathan managed to pick up another two pawns to win the endgame.

Allen Fan vs Alex Nagorski – draw – Alex got a good attack but couldn’t find the continuation ( The Computer says there isn’t one but to retreat and consolidate since he is 2 pawns up).

Clinton Wells vs Gordon Morrell – Draw – Clinton got a pawn up but Gordon’s position was very solid so a draw was agreed.

C Grades

Tim Ha vs Caroline Yang – Commentary from Tim with additional comments from Gordon Morrell in italic.

I usually play French Defense myself as Black, and I saw that Caroline played a lot of French during George Trundle Reserves 2016, so I tried a line with King’s Indian Attack today.  Somehow Caroline got confused and locked both of her bishops on queenside. As Black c8 bishop is her problem piece and your f1 Bishop is your strength in the King’s Indian Attack moving it to h3 and then back to exchange his bad bishop is rarely if ever going to be a good idea…If that
is your ‘best’ move then things are going wrong in a hurry. Yes, my bishop on h3 was aiming for e6. So moving it back, then exchanging with the bad French bishop of the Black was not good at all.  The Queen exchange also killed off my counterplay possibilities.

However, I was too slow to attack and was not brave enough to take on Nxd5 and push e6 to expose the uncastled king.  I could not really calculate that, although that line was waiting to be executed (what’s the purpose of putting Re1 if not for that 🙂 ). It is very good that you considered Nxd5 -the main thing in an opening like this (this is a good question generally of course) is that you keep asking ‘where is my play’?  ‘Is the resulting position easier for me to play than alternatives?’  ‘Would I like to be Black trying to defend?’  Even strong grandmasters do not try to ‘see to the end’ in such positions – Gelfand’s most recent book on Dynamics talks about this.  He basically says that you need to cultivate your intuition and trust it.  I saw that line with Nxd5 and e6 push all along, but I didn’t believe in a checkmate.  Looking at the computer evaluation I now understand that there was enough compensation and a chance to crack open the position, not a
checkmate.  But that plan was good enough and grew naturally from the position itself.  And since I didn’t execute the plan, I lost due to the French pawn chain on queenside.

Since I didn’t attack well, Caroline just pushed her queenside pawns and won comfortably.

The attack I missed is in the screenshot.  It’s interesting that Stockfish continued to suggest Nxd5 even several moves later when it seemed like I already missed that chance.  So the threat was really strong along e-file…