April 2009

Tue 14th: Return of the Rook
Fri 17th: Under Attack

Tue 14th: Return of the Rook
OK folks, you asked for it - Rambling Rook is back, wobbling his way across the chess-scape. Absence was due to the untimely death of my host for whom I was trialling his blogging software. I have elected to simulate a blog within my main site. This means that any comments you make will not appear immediately, but instead will be mailed to me to be added by hand (but please do send), and that there will be no polls for the time being at least.

In due course I intend to add back all of the old articles, barring the pure polls, but they won't appear all at once. To work!

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Fri 17th: Under attack
Wednesday saw RR turning out for the A team against unbeaten Cheddleton B, who are already guaranteed at least a share of the title. Chris Baxter, who I have not played for very many years sat opposite. Chris placed his pieces aggressively, RR castled early (move 7 is very early for RR), giving he position left.
8 g4 Ne4 Looks like RR has castled into an attack. Try not to panic. Close the b1-h7 diagonal as quickly as possible. May need to follow up with f5
9 Qf3 f6 The knight is rather short of squares, so we should see some exchanges to help blunt the attack.
10 Nxe4 Chris goes for the sacrificial attack. Nec4 would prevent material loss as black's d-pawn is needed to protect his knight.
10 ... fxe5, 11 dxe5 g5 Not the best move RR has ever played
11 ... dxe4, 12 Bxe4 Bxe4, 13 Qxe4 leaves black a piece for two pawns up and scuppers white's attack. Black even has the option of then continuing Qd5 forcing off the queens. Instead RR injects more life into the white attack by weakening his own defences.

12 Nf6+ Not as strong as Nxg5 Bxg5, 13 Qh3
12 ... Bxf6, 13 h4 (vain attempt to open the h-file) gxf4
14 Qxf4 (see diagram right) 14 ... Bg7 Bxh4 with a discovered attack on the queen skewering through to the f-pawn sounds good, but white can reply Qh6 to put black on the defensive big time.
15 Qg3 Nd7 Materially black is up two pieces for two pawns, but has been playing without his queen's knight and rook. He now belatedly switches into boring mode to bring his full army into play. The moves may not be the best, but seem to be a fairly sure way forward.
16 f4 d4, 17 Rh2 dxe3 Considered 17 ... Nxe5 which leaves white no attractive options, but content with a slow kill.
18 0-0-0 Qe7, 19 Qxe3 Qc5, 20 Qg3 Rad8 (again Nxe5 is stronger)
21 Rhd2 Bd5 0-1 as it is clear that white has no prospects of gaining adequate compensation for his material deficit.

Meanwhile Barry was beating Craig Whitfield and Alex and Alan were holding their own on the top boards against Rob Shaw and Jason Mckenna respectively, so despite Ralph being turned over by Simon Edwards the team triumphed and thus prolonged the title fight.
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