Sunday, 16 December 2007

Playing for Derbyshire

Yesterday I had a great honour in representing my home county of Derbyshire at chess. I played for the U125 side against the respective team from Leicestershire. It was played near Leicester, and I was very pleased when the captain Ron Harrison asked if I could play. Maybe it had something to do with me getting a draw against him a few weeks ago!

The format is 16 of us against 16 of them, each team ranked in grading order, with me obviously on board 16. They had a much stronger side, probably more so because of the difficulty in getting players for away games. So we were outgraded on every single board. My opponent was Stevan Preocanin, graded 92, double my 46. Time controls were 36 moves in an hour and a half, then clocks back 30 minutes to completion.

[Event "U125 County match"]
[Date "2007.12.15"]
[White "Stevan Preocanin, Leicestershire"]
[Black "Dean Madden, Derbyshire"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B01"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. d3 c6 6. Be2 Bf5 7. O-O e6 8. Bf4 Nbd7 9. Rb1 Nh5 10. b4 Qb6 11. Be3 Qc7 12. Nd2 Nhf6 13. Nc4 b5 14. Na5 Bxb4 15. Rxb4 Qxa5 16. Qb1 O-O 17. Bf3 Ne5 18. Be2 Rfd8 19. Bc5 Rd7 20. d4 Ng6 21. Bf3 Rc8 22. Re1 a6 23. Qb3 Qc7 24. Ne4 a5 25. Nxf6+ gxf6 26. Bxc6 Qxc6 27. Rxb5 Nf4 28. f3 Qa8 29. c4 Nd3 30. Rf1 Nxc5 31. dxc5 Rdc7 32. Qa3 Ra7 33. Qc3 e5 34. Kf2 Bd7 35. Rb6 Rxc5 36. Rxf6 Qc8 37. Rc1 Rac7 38. Re1 Qe8 39. Re4 Kg7 40. Rb6 f6 41. f4 Bf5 42. Qg3+ Qg6 43. Qxg6+ Kxg6 44. Re3 exf4 45. Re8 Kf7 46. Ra8 Rxc4 47. Rxa5 Be6 48. Rbb5 Rc2+ 49. Kf3 Rxa2 50. Rxa2 Bxa2 51. Kxf4 Rd7 52. Rb2 Bd5 53. g3 Kg6 1/2-1/2

I would have been very pleased beforehand to get a draw, but the frustrating thing is I had a won endgame but basically had no idea how to force the win. We were the last board by a long margin to finish, we both had about 15mins left on our clocks. But after playing for over three and a half hours I wasn't able to think straight, almost throwing the bishop away for nothing. So since I had no idea how to force the win we agreed a draw. The added pressure of a crowd of people around the board also added to the anxiety and pressure, I should probably have just kept on playing simple moves to see what happened, but part of me wasn't sure if the position was already a certain draw and I was just wasting time. However afterwards people said I could possibly have forced a win, but it's very difficult. I guess this sort of endgame is where years of experience definitely come in handy!

I gather we lost the match overall, but I think we had a few wins which isn't bad. I'm pleased with my play overall, as getting to an endgame a bishop up is great. Not knowing what to do with it is the sad part. Any tips from more experienced players would be appreciated.

He blundered when he played b4 at move 10 above, but for the life of me I can't understand why I didn't see the simple Bxb4. I just presumed the pawn was protected and that I had to get my queen out of the way.

Thankfully I managed to snatch that same pawn on move 14 as it then removes the guard from the knight on a5.

I was able to trap his rook at move 24 by playing a5. He sacrificed his bishop to allow it to escape, so I was up a bishop for a pawn. However a better move above would have been Bxe4, swap off some material, and play a5 later.

At move 27 above, I was too preoccupied with creating a mating threat with the knight, when Bxc2 would have been much better.

I think for the rest of the game I played much too passively, just trying to keep my material advantage, not really exploit it.

On move 47 above, I had a forced mate in 4. I'd considered Rc2, but I couldn't see how to force a mate, so was more worried about him mating me and played defensively.

I've had Fritz play itself through the game as it finished, it is able to force mate after 86 moves, it seems the idea is to seperate the king from the pawns, and gradually push a pawn through.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Derbyshire Rapidplay 2007

I had a very enjoyable time yesterday at the Derbyshire Rapidplay tournament, held at my home club Spondon. There was a good turnout, over 70 people. I turned up early, in case they needed help setting up etc. All the boards were already setup, so I was asked to man the table where people pay their entry fees and any late entries turn up. I felt so important :)

Because of the quick rate of play, 30mins each, most people including me didn't keep score. So my recollections may already be skewed. Round 1 I played Peter Ellis who used to play for Rolls-Royce but has been inactive the last few years. I was pretty dominant throughout, and was up a whole rook towards the end. But in time trouble I overlooked my weak back rank and was mated.

Round 2 I played my old foe from previous events, 11 year old Amy Milson. I luckily got a draw last time in Leicester. This time I played quite well and had a good attack going. She was able to defend against it initially and counterattack, but I'd damaged the defences a bit too much, with a nice Knight near her king. This led to mate.

Round 3 was against Barry Lings of Rolls Royce, who I lost to a couple of months ago in a league match. I won a pawn quite early on, can't remember much else from the game apart from that he forced a draw by repitition late on.

In round 4 I lost to Lloyd Clarke after I overlooked a bishop fork of queen and king.

Round 5 I finally beat Phil Smith after many times of trying, I was black for a change. It was close and could have gone either way but I managed to force my rooks through to his king.

The final game was against Neil Milson, Amy's father. This was an important game pyschologically for me, as I played him about 8 months ago in Rotherham and was absolutely decimated. This time I played infinitely better, and was proof to me that I'm progressing as a player. Sadly I could only get a draw, it was a rook and pawns ending with me having more pawns, but I just couldn't manage to promote a pawn or force him to swap rooks.

So final score of 3 out of 6: 2 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses. It was nice to finish mid-table rather than towards the bottom as I have done previously.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Ron Harrison

On Wednesday I drew against Ron Harrison in round 2 of the Derbyshire Individual championship, a great result for me considering he's rated 108 (about 1790 fide) compared to my 46 (apparently about 1480 fide, but think is inflated). We played in Belper and it was a long long game. It ended up with me having two pawns and a rook against his pawn and rook, but I couldn't figure out a way of winning so offered a draw instead of playing on in a tired state and maybe losing.

[Event "Derbyshire Individual Championship"]
[Date "2007.11.28"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Ron S Harrison"]
[Black "Dean Madden"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B01"]

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. Bc4 c6 5. d3 Bf5 6. Bd2 Qc7 7. Qf3 e6 8. Nge2 Bd6 9. g4 Bg6 10. h4 h5 11. g5 Ne7 12. Nf4 Nd7 13. Nxg6 Nxg6 14. d4 Qb6 15. Ne4 Qxd4 16. Bc3 Nge5 17. Bxd4 Nxf3+ 18. Kd1 O-O 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Nxd6 b5 21. Be2 Nde5 22. Bxf3 Nxf3 23. Ne4 Rad8+ 24. Ke2 Nd4+ 25. Kf1 Nxc2 26. Rc1 Nd4 27. Rh3 Rc8 28. Rhc3 Rfd8 29. Ng3 Kg6 30. Ne2 Nxe2 31. Kxe2 Rd6 32. Rc5 a5 33. Rxb5 cxb5 34. Rxc8 Rd5 35. f3 Rd4 36. Rc5 Rxh4 37. Rxb5 Rh2+ 38. Kf1 h4 39. Kg1 Rc2 40. Rxa5 Rxb2 41. a4 Ra2 42. Ra7 Kxg5 43. Rxf7 Rxa4 44. Kg2 Rf4 45. Rg7+ Kh5 46. Rg8 1/2-1/2

It was an interesting game, swinging back and forth. The time controls for this tournament are 36 moves in an hour and a half, then add 30mins to completion. So plenty of time to really analyse each position.

I played a normal Scandinavian defence, until he started a kingside pawn push and I had to improvise a bit while still trying to catch up in development. Thankfully I just about managed to get to an evenish middlegame position.

Thankfully he missed Qe2 in the position below, he spotted it only after he played the wrong move.

This allowed me to keep the pawn advantage and simplify down a bit. Shortly after he played a nice bishop sacrifice to get the pawn back. What helped me after this was him having a wide open centralised king that couldn't castle, so I picked up another pawn.

Something I overlooked later on was Rxb5 below, I still have trouble getting myself to consider moves which appear to lose material initially, but obviously he could get another pawn out of it.

By move 34 below, I had started fatiguing. I wasn't really thinking on what the whole point now was. I needed to try and promote a pawn, and take away his pawns. His pawn on h4 is obviously weak and should have been the point of attack, but I just played defensively trying to guard my own pawns on the other side of the board.

Thankfully he gave me another chance to play Rd4, and I managed to create the passed pawn on h5. This gave him time to create his own passed pawn on a2, but I could easily get my rook behind it.

The final position is below. Fritz initially thinks I have a 1pawn advantage but after a few seconds thought agrees the game is drawn. I doubt there is much I could have done.

Tuesday of last week was the 3rd and 4th round of the Derbyshire Cup & Plate, two 30mins games. I again played for the C Team, had a nice win in the first game after reaching an evenish endgame but much more time left on my clock. Second game I blundered a knight after playing against a weird looking Scandinavian where he just kept attacking with the queen and not developing, but I played too quickly to really exploit it.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow, the Derbyshire Rapidplay Tournament, six 30mins games in the U90 section at my home club.

Circles update:

I completed the first chapter of 'The Complete Chess Workout' with 58 out of the 100 correct. The next chapter is much more difficult, so far I've got 7 correct out of 21. But I'll still plow on as I'm enjoying them.