Monthly Archives: December 2015

Slipping Away

slipping away

In my final round I faced another strong opponent, an adult this time, rated close to 1800. Again I felt I played well and I must have been ahead with 2 Rooks and 2 Knights vs his 2 Rooks and extra pawns. I’m not used to concentrating so hard for so many days and I think that my brain just shut down towards the end of this game. Another title for this blog might be Pawn Power but I’ll leave that for my opponent. Here is the game, I am black.

Thanking The English

the english

It’s not often that a Scotsman would thank the English but I have to thank Englishman GM Simon Williams for making a series of videos about ‘The English Defense’. Obviously it is not a defense I would be drawn to given that I’m Scottish but I’ve always struggled to find good responses to 1.d4 (I haven’t entered the world of 1. …d5 yet) and this defense looked like it would take many positional and defensive d4 players into unhappy waters. My opponent was a very talented girl who is currently fourth in Australia for her age and the only reason she didn’t do better is because the opening is very dangerous and easy to get caught out in. Here is the game and I am black.

Slowing Down


My next game was against a very talented 13 year old with a FIDE rating approaching 1700 and who is probably beyond 1800 given the rating lag. In the past I have drawn with him once in a very closed game. In this game I tried to slow down my thinking given the horror of my previous game in which I could have easily been in a winning position against an 1800+ player (see previous post). This game is one of my favourite all time games (until I ran it through an engine) and I wish I could have won. I felt that my Bishop sack on move 36 gave me a good attack but I couldn’t convert it and when the attack petered out it was all over. In this game I recorded the time I took for each move and it was a great way to help me slow down. My longest move was only seven minutes long so I have some way to go before I really slow down but the longer play rate allowed me to discover better moves and to spot threats that were fairly complicated coming from my opponent. In the end I had 9 minutes left on the clock, my opponent had 2 minutes – the game lasted nearly 4 hours.

Here is the game, I am black

Running the game through an engine was a bit disappointing. We both missed many chances and it shows a number of blunders and mistakes.

A Game That Will Haunt Me


I have recently finished a competition in swiss format that lasted for seven rounds and took place over four days. The first game haunts me still, here is that game and I am white.

Madness overcame me. I was working out my final move and I saw that if I took with my Queen on d4 he would be able to fork me with Ne2+ so I dismissed the move and was looking at Qxf7+ but I couldn’t see a clear win. I gave up on Qxf7+ temporarily and automatically took his Queen without remembering the fork. When he forked me I thought I had made a massive blunder and lost the Queen so I resigned. It was only when I went through the game later that I realised I was only a pawn down, not a queen down. Later analysis shows that not playing Qxf7+ is a blunder with the following showing +5.46! on an engine.

But it doesn’t stop there. I googled my opponent to check his rating afterwards and discovered that he had been released early from a nine year prison sentence for attempted murder of the father of a woman he was stalking. I believe in the powers of change but on the off chance that rehabilitation hasn’t fully worked it was probably good that I left early in-case I caused an upset.

A Drunk Commander On The Bridge

Officers on the bridge of a destroyer, escorting a large convoy of ships keep a sharp look out for attacking enemy submarines during the Battle of the Atlantic. Officers on the bridge of a destroyer, escorting a large convoy of ships keep a sharp look out for attacking enemy submarines during the Battle of the Atlantic, October 1941. A 5667 Part of ADMIRALTY OFFICIAL COLLECTION Royal Navy official photographer Tomlin, H W (Lt)

This is not another post about drinking and chess, for that see my post ‘Alcohol’. This post is about facing a lower rated player and not playing with due care and attention – like a drunk person at the wheel. I played very quickly which is a big problem of mine that leads to blunders. Secondly I was lazy, I was a pawn up, my position was fine and I decided to just swap off till I was in a better endgame – I didn’t bother to work and find good chess moves. Naturally I started well but made some mistakes and found myself fighting from a losing position. It is at that point that the drunk commander was mutinied against and in came First Lieutenant sensible. The hatches were locked down and reparation work began. The game is below and I am black, I think it is useful to look at from a defensive point of view.