Bulletin No.48 – Valentine’s Special – Share the Love, Share the Draw, Share the Point!

Bulletin No.48 – Valentine’s Special – Share the Love, Share the Draw, Share the Point!

We often remember many of our fantastic wins and our worst losses, especially those short ones, covering combinations galore and brilliant finishes. This has been fully illustrated when you submitted your games in droves for our articles on Local Blunders and then the Countdown to Christmas Short Games series. Indeed, there were so many games submitted for the latter feature (over 80 in total) that we were totally spoilt for choice!

Memorable draws, on the other hand, are a little harder to remember as very often, they are quite simply ‘not so memorable’!

However, as we all know, there is often a place in our busy chess lives for a well played draw, and at times, there is nothing more satisfying than when we have had to dig so deep into our reserves, to earn that extra half a point to secure a win (or draw) for the team or for ourselves!

So thank you to everyone who submitted their games. We give below our fantastic collection of 17 Valentine’s Memorable Draws as sent in by local players which cover a range of different valid themes, and one or two perhaps less so! We never realised just how many different types of draw there are – Please read on!

Martin Simons 13/02/21

Bailing Out Against Stronger Opposition

Of all the games submitted from local players, this is probably the most popular category. This happens when perhaps the higher rated player offers a draw (and creates doubt in their opponent’s mind) or there is an opportunity for the lower graded player to take a perpetual. Here are some great examples.

Raymond Keene – Phil Taylor-Bowd, Simultaneous 2012

This was played in Dorchester for the Mind Your Head Showcase Charity run by the Phoenix Legacy. We have already reported in Bulletin No.13 on Allan Pleasants who picked up a lovely chess board at the same event for being the only player to beat GM Raymond Keene, as reported here in the Dorset Echo

In Phil’s words this was a ‘tactical brawl in a GM simul where I bailed out with a repetition, although the computer shows that I could have grabbed the Rook on h1 and lived to tell the tale’. Perhaps Phil showed too much respect.

1.d4 d6 2.c4 e5 (known as ‘The Rat’ reported in Bulletin No.26 Animal Openings Part 1. It has a very good record!) 3.Nc3 exd4 4.Qxd4 Nc6 5.Qd2 Nf6 6.e4 Be6 7.b3 a5 8.Bb2 a4

9.Nxa4?

Here the veteran GM goes wrong. Central pawns are generally worth more than a wing pawn especially early on in the game.

9….Nxe4 10.Qe3 d5! A great move by Phil! 11.O-O-O

11…Rxa4! And another great move! 12.bxa4 Bc5 13.Qf4 But now Phil bottles it! 13…Bd6 

13…Nxf2 is safe as even though 14.Rd2 Nxh1 15.cxd5 Bxd5

16.Bxg7 looks scary for Black, after 16…Rg8 17.Bf6 Qd7 18.Bc4 Rg4! Phil is winning. Peel back, if White tries 16.Bc4 Qe7! 17.Bxd5 Be3! is winning.

14.Qe3 Bc5 15.Qf4 Bd6 16.Qe3 Bc5 and a draw agreed as there is a 3 move repetition

Alan Dommett (2050) – Mibo (2149), Chess24 blitz game, 2021

1.d4 e6 2.Bf4 d5 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Bd3 O-O 6.c3 c5 7.Nbd2 Nc6 8.Qe2 Qb6 9.Rb1 c4? Probably not recommended particularly with the queen on b6, as it releases tension in the centre.

10.Bc2 Qa5 11.a3 b5 Black’s queenside play has come to a temporary halt whilst White has a free hand on the kingside.

12.Ne5 Nxe5 13.Bxe5 Nd7 and what follows looks pretty but, unfortunately, in this position, is only a typical drawing idea! However, it is always worth remembering in these type of structures as it is forcing!

14.Bxh7+!? Kxh7 15.Qh5+ Kg8 16.Bxg7! Kxg7 and the game was agreed a draw here as Black cannot escape the perpetual check. However, we wonder if either player had seen 17.Qg4+ Kf6?

We suspect Alan would have played 18.Qh4+ Kg7 drawing but after 18.h4! e5 19.Ne4+! is winning but the rest all lose! 19…dxe4 20.d5! when Black cannot prevent Qg5 mate!

Perpetual Checks

This is another popular category as often many draws are reached when the defending side finds a way to secure a perpetual check.

Martin Simons – Mark Littleton, Dorset League 2018

In the following position, it looks as though Black’s position is busted as if the queen moves then Rh4 is devastating but Mark finds an excellent way to keep the game alive!

25…Nf4! 26.Rxf4 This looks equally devastating as there appears to be no defence to Martin’s attack down the h-file.

26…Qxf4 27.Rh2 Qe3+ 28.Kf1 Martin thinks he can escape the checks with a king march.

28…Qc1+  If 28…f6? 29.Bxe6+! Qxe6 30.g6! when it would have been game over as Black has no more checks.

29.Ke2 Qxb2+ 30.Kd3 Qb1+ 31.Kd2 Qb2+ 32.Bc2

This is the position Martin had envisaged. The king is now safe or is it?

32…Rxd4+! A brilliant sacrifice and also only move to open up White’s position.

33.cxd4 Qxd4+ 34.Ke1 … 34.Bd3 may have been a better try but Mark is still holding. One example line 34…Qb2+ 35.Ke3 Qe5+ 36.Kf2 Qd4+ 37.Ke2 Qe5+ 38.Kf1 Qf4+ 39.Rf2 g6 40.Rxf4 gxh5 41.Rh4 Rd8 and it is unlikely that White will be able to win this (due to not enough pawns) but he may lose it.

34…Qc3+ 35.Kf1 Qc4+ 36.Kg1 Qd4+ when there is no escaping the checks.

Mike Waddington – Parminder Sanghera, Wijk aan Zee 2017

Notes by Mike Waddington.

In the position below Black seems ideally placed. He is 2 pawns up and there are no checks available to the white queen. However he cannot advance his queenside pawns which would be the ideal option so has to think about k-side play with g4.

1.Kf2! This means 1…g4 2.hxg4 and 2…Qxg4 is not check. It also stops Qe2+ and most importantly it gives him options. This is very important in chess as he might make the wrong option!

1…Qxh3? The wrong option! The tasty morsel proves too tempting!

2.Qg8+ Kf6 If 2…Kh6 3.Qh8+ and if 2…Kh5? A foretaste of what is to come 3.Qh7+ Kg4 4.Qd7+ winning

3.Qf8+ Ke5 The only attempt to evade the checks.

4. Qc5+! Back you go!

4…Kf6 If 4…Kf4 or 4…Ke4 5.Qd4+ Kf5 6.Qd7+

5.Qf8+ Ke5 6.Qc5+ Kf6 7.Qf8+ and my 210 grade opponent was greatly relieved with the draw!

Graham White – Houdini 6, at home! Unknown year

An article would not be complete without including a crazy game against a chess engine! Notes by Graham White.

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Ne4!? 5…Nfd7 is the main line but there is nothing wrong with this move.

6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.Qg4 Nxc3 8.Qxg7 Qb4! 9.Qxh8+ Kd7 10.Rd1 Ne4+ Instead 10…Qxb2 11.Qxh7 Nxd1 12.Qxf7+ Kc6 13.Kxd1 Qb1+ 14.Ke2 Qxc2+ 15.Kf3 Qc3+ 16.Kg4 Qxd4+ 17.Qf4 Qxf4+ 18.Kxf4 Kc5 was a crazy game G White vs Chess Genius in the 1980’s which also somehow ended in a draw in the endgame and was published in the Chess magazine.

11.Ke2!? I thought 11.c3 Qxb2 12.Ne2 Nxc3 would be a draw but 13.Qxh7!? Nxd1 14.Qxf7+ Kc6 15.Kxd1 Qxa2 is mighty unclear.

11…Qxb2 12.Ke3 Nc6 13.Qxh7 Nxd4 14.Qxf7+ Kc6

15.Rxd4 There is no way to avoid perpetual. Houdini provides this King Hunt as one remarkable sample line of many. 15…Qe8+ Bd7 16.Qxa8 Qxc2 17.Nf3 Nf5+ 18.Kf4 Nxf2 19.Qf8 Qe4+ 20.Kg5 Qg4+ 21.Kf6 Ne4+ 22.Kf7 Qh5+ 23.Kg8 Qg6+ 24.Kh8 Qh5+ Draw!

15…Qc1+ 16.Ke2 Qxc2+ 17.Ke3 Qc1+ Draw!

Some unbelievable analysis, Graham, which fully illustrates that many draws are exciting and end with perpetual check!

Stalemate Tricks!

This is a common idea in the defender’s armoury to trick your way to a draw against an unsuspecting opponent!

Steve Chivers – Peter Anderson, Hampshire Junior Championship, 1973

Both players were very young at the time!

1.b7 Bxb7 2.Bxb7 White is completely winning but Peter has one last devilish trick he can try!

2…Kg5 3.Kf3 Kh4 4.Kg2 h5! and here it is 5.Bf3 e5 6.gxh5? White just could not resist winning a further safe pawn! (6.Kf2 maintaining the pawn on g4 wins comfortably)

6…Kg5! And here is the point. Black will simply retreat his king to h8 and sit there as it cannot be removed from this queening square. All White can do is deliver stalemate … a valuable lesson! The game was drawn a few moves later.

Tim Ketts – Allan Pleasants, British Championship, 2014

The position below has been reached after Allan’s 44th move.

White hastens to mop up Allan’s potentially dangerous d-pawn.

45.Rxd3? Instead 45.Ng5+! Kg8 46.h6 b3 47.Rg6+ simply wins as the h-pawn either queens or there is a mating net!

45…Kh6! Now White’s h-pawn is less dangerous and must be defended.

46.Kh4 Rc4+ 47.Rd4 White has been banking on this move but Allan finds a well known drawing technique.

47…Rxd4+ 48.Nxd4 It looks as though White can win both of Black’s remaining 2 pawns, and as we know, a knight and pawn wins against a lone king … Right? Wrong!

48…f4 49.Kg4 f3 50.Nxf3 b3 51.Nd2 b2 52.Kh4

White can make progress but there is a twist.

52…Kh7 53.Kg5 Kg7 54.h6+ Kh7 55.Kh5 Kh8 56.Kg6 Kg8 57.Nb1 Kh8 58.Nc3 Kg8 59.h7+ Kh8 60.Kh6 b1=Q! 61.Nxb1 and it is stalemate!

Pre-arranged Draws

Perhaps this type of draw should be banned from our list as, in some circles, this would not be permissible but we are sure it does happen, especially in lower ranking event, hence its inclusion.

Phil Taylor-Bowd – Felix Buchkremer, Budapest 2003

As Phil Taylor-Bowd describes this game, ‘it was a “dishonourable draw”, which was actually prearranged. In our defence, we had travelled to Budapest together to secure FIDE ratings and neither of us wanted to ruin the trip for the other. But at least we created a crowd pleaser, and perhaps of interest to those who like to sacrifice their pawns on f3 in the opening!’ We will let the reader decide!

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.f3

The local fraternity will probably know Phil does not normally sacrifice pawns in the opening even though he has been known to sacrifice 3 rooks! Please see Countdown to Christmas – 24th December when he won the best short submitted game for the Countdown to Christmas series.

4…e5 5.Be3 Bb4 6.Bc4 Qa5 7.Qd2 Nd7 8.fxe4 Nb6 9.Bb3 Nf6 10.Nge2 Nxe4

The position looks winning for Black 11.Nxe4! What’s this, does it not lose a queen? 11…Bxd2+ 12.Bxd2 Qa6 13.Nc5 Qb5 14.Nc3 Qb4 15.Ne2

Very clever, there is a perpetual attack on Black’s queen! 15…Qb5 16.Nc3 and the players agreed to the draw ensuring their friendship remaining intact!

Resolute Defence

There is perhaps nothing more satisfying than when you have a difficult position but you then manage to dig in, you enter into the 4th, 5th, 6th then eventually 7th hour and your opponent is becoming increasingly frustrated as they cannot finish you off. Cometh the hour, cometh the man!

This following game is one of Keith Gregory’s favourites, as in his own words it shows him as being ‘tough to beat’!

Keith Gregory (165) – Alexis Harakis (204), 2009

We pick the position up on Keith’s 59th move!  You can also follow this in an interactive board here.

It is clear only Black can play for the win but Keith has been defending resolutely throughout.

Keith now plays 59.Bb4. Interestingly 59.Bd6+! Kxd6 (59…Kf5 60.Bxf4! looks the simplest way to the draw as after 60…Kxf4 61.Bb1 Keith can move his bishop from b1 to c2 and back again) 60.Bxe4 is a draw similar to the game.

59…f3+ 60.Kf1 d3 61.Bd1 Kf4 62.Bd2+ e3 63.Bc1 Ke4

64.Bxe3! An excellent move, in fact it’s Keith’s only move as the rest all lose but the opposite bishop endgame is completely drawn. 64…Kxe3

Without an endgame database, chess engines assess this position as +2 for Black or more. What do they know!

65.Ba4 Bd4 66.Bd1 f2 67.Bb3 Kd2 68.Ba4 Kc1 69.Bb3 Kb2 Keith has just enough squares for his bishop.

70.Ba4 Kc3 71.Bd1 Kb4 Black’s attempts to deprive Keith of the b3 and a4 squares are futile, Keith now goes the other way! Black now continues to play nuances but Keith is up to the challenge and the game was drawn 11 moves later.

Well played Keith, wish we could all show the same resilience!

Keep Creating Threats

When losing it is always a good idea to keep creating threats and plenty of choices for your opponent to go wrong. Here are a couple of great examples.

Mike Waddington – Nicholas Fallowfield, Wijk aan Zee, 2019

Instructive insightful notes by Mike Waddington.

This hopeless looking position has been reached after 4 hours of play and 60 moves. All is not completely lost as Black’s king is vulnerable and one false move might spell disaster. Added to that this was the only game going on and therefore had a large crowd. The pressure is on Black to convert. First though I must attempt to stop g3.

1.Rg1 h5 2.Ka2 Re2 3.Qa7+ Kd8 4.Qb8+ Ke7 5.Rd4 f2 6.Rf1 g3 7.Qg8 Kd7

Still unable to find shelter the king heads back. I am playing on increments while my opponent still has 30 mins but this is not easy to play at the board after a long battle.

8.Qf7+ Qe7 9.Qf5+ Kc7 10.Qf4 Re1?! 10… h4 seemed simpler to me. 11.Rxf2 gxf2 12.Qxf2 Suddenly I felt a lot happier despite the material deficit.

12…Re5? Too safe. We have all been there. 13.Rf4! Now Rf7 and a queen invasion are both threatened. Black does well to stay on the board and the time differential was not so large.

13…Rd7 14.d6+! Giving Black options. 14…Qxd6! If 14…Kxd6 15.Qb6+ Kd5 16.Rd4#  or 14…Rxd6 15.Rf7 looks about equal.

15.Qa7+ Kc8 16.Qa8+ Kc7 If 16…Qb8?? 17.Rf8+ 17.Qa7+ Kd8 18.Qa8+ Kc7 and a draw was agreed. If 18…Ke7?? 19.Qf8+ Ke6 20.Qg8+! Ke7 21.Rf7+ Ke6 22.Rf8+ mates.

John Weatherlake – Christian Westrap, Dorset League, 2019 

To appreciate the whole game please refer to Christian’s excellent insightful notes on an interactive board here. We join the game after John’s 15th move.

Christian has played well up to this point and John’s position appears to be crumbling but he can be very dangerous in these situations. We now pick Christian’s commentary.

15…Nb6??

The only explanation I have for this move is that I was being lazy and trying to play Nxd4 a move later but without having to calculate anything. I thought I will over protect d5 and then capture on d4. I knew Rb1 was harmless as I can capture on c2. If 15…Nxd4 16.Nxd4 (If 16.Nxd5 Nxf3 and Black is winning) 16…Qxc3 wins for Black and would have been the end of a good night for me!

16.Ra2! winning. Oh dear! I missed this one and, surprisingly, the queen is lost. John actually apologised shortly after making this move, not for the move itself, I’m sure, but for the look on my face about 5 seconds after he made it!! The knight on b6 blocks the queen’s only retreat square and the rook protects c2 ‘through’ the queen – which is why I missed this rather clever move.

16…Bxa3 17.Rxb2 Bxb2 18.Nb5 I felt like resigning but thought the position was still difficult and my pieces were active so I decided to play on.

18…O-O 19.Qb1? This move loses time and gave me fresh hope. 19. Nf4 looks better.

19…Nc4 20.Kf2 Nb4 21.Bd6 Bxc2

22.Bxb4?! Understandable as Black’s activity is getting scary. The computer recommends 22.Qg1 Nd3+ 23.Kg2 but I can understand John not wanting to play this line due to the poor position of his pieces. He would keep his extra queen though!

22…Bxb1 23.Bxf8 Kxf8 24.Rxb1 a6 25.Nd6 Nxd6 26.Rxb2 g6

With 3 pawns for the piece the game has reached a balanced ending. I think we were both a bit exhausted though after the complications of the middle game and so after 27.Rb6 Ke7 28.Nf4 Rc4 29.Ke3 we agreed a draw!

Martin Clancy – Philip Stimpson, 2018 

To appreciate the whole game please refer to Martin’s enjoyable notes on an interactive board here. We join the game after Black’s 27th move and Martin is in some trouble.

Martin now explains …

28.Qh2? a last desperate trap! 28…Bd6? The correct move is 28…Qh5 29.Rdd2 Kh8 winning.

29.Bb3+! Kh8 30.Nxd6 Qxe2

31.Qxf4! Qxd1+ The queen can’t be taken! Black’s back rank is too weak after 31…Rxf4? 32.Nf7+! and it is mate in 3.

32.Bxd1 Rxf4 33.Nxb7 b4 34.Bb3 Draw agreed. White is a little bit better, but I was pleased but feeling a bit guilty on having survived!

Well played Martin, a fine recovery!

Creating Chaos against a Stronger Opponent!

Sometimes just creating a chaotic, messy, tactical skirmish can create doubt in your opponent’s mind, often a great tactic when they have a higher rating. Who better to illustrate this than Captain Chaos himself!

Ian Clark – Steve Shutler, B&DCL, Weymouth Congress 1986

Notes by Ian Clark.

We pick up the game on Black’s 19th move.  You can also follow it on an interactive board here.

19…Bg4 Starting to get interesting after a standard opening

20.Bf5 Nxg2!? an interesting choice unbalancing the position.

21.Bxg4 Nxe1 22.Rxe1 22.Nxe1 was much better as the move played allows 22…f5

23.Ne5 23.Re6! is a good tactical alternative

23…fxg4 24.Qxb7 Rab8 25.Qd7

25…Nf4 still good but missing the crushing 25…Rxf2!

26.Qxg4 Nh3+ again missing 26…Rxb2!

27.Kg2 Rxb2 28.Qe6+ to get the queens off and give me a chance.

28…Qxe6 29.Nxe6 Nxf2 30.Kg3 Re8 31.Nxc6 Nd3 32.Re3 Nb4 missing 32…Rxa2 and if the knight is taken on d3 then the white knight on e6 en-prise – probably due to time trouble.

33.Nxa7 Rxa2 34.Nb5 Ra5 35.Nd6 and a draw was agreed so White escapes.

Never Give Up!

You never win or draw a game by resigning and in blitz this is even more relevant.

Unknown – Robert Halse, Chess.com Blitz, 2021

Clearly Robert is losing and 99.9% of the time he would lose easily but just watch this!

1…Kd6 2.Qxf3 e1=Q 3.Nxe1 Ke5 4.Nd3+ Kd4 5.Kb3? and unbelievably this is stalemate!

Well done to Robert for having the courage or is that nerve to play on!

Adjournments – Remember them?

Do we remember when in the good old days before guillotine finishes and then time increments, when the 3 hours were up, games had to be adjourned and moves sealed? This is because many premises had to close either at 11pm or perhaps earlier at 10.30pm. The caretaker was there often prodding his watch waiting impatiently for that sealed move to be made.

This gave each player a great opportunity to carefully analyse the position at home and sometimes there was an unfair advantage to the player who was winning as they could then use chess engine analysis to find the win for them.

An adjournment also meant there was the prospect for the original home player to travel away on their own for the resumption. These were not always enjoyable and some players would go to many great lengths to avoid them! Michael Litchfield submitted two games in this category. In the first game against Phil Holt, rather than commit himself just before the time control, he played some waiting moves, sealed a move, turned up to the venue, only to find out, that his home analysis and journey was totally in vain! He had completely forgetten one important crucial point!

In the second, Michael stood better but he accepted Bruce’s draw offer just before the time control to avoid travelling some 20 miles!

Michael Litchfield – Phil Holt, Bournemouth Swiss, 2007

We pick up the game after Phil’s 33…Nd4

White stands better having a queen and a pawn for Black’s rook and bishop but Black has active pieces. Michael, short of time, chooses to coast to the adjournment so he can ‘find the win’ at his leisure in the comfort of his home! Michael explains ‘I’ve allowed him to get some very good counter-play and I’m very short of time.’

34.Qh3+ Kb8 35.Qg3+ Kc8

36.Qh3+ Kb8.

Michael decided to adjourn as both players had played 36 moves and he sealed 37.Qg3+ thinking it gave him a holding position for him to find the win at home.

However, after Black’s intended 37…Kc8, do you recognise this position (for the third time)?

Michael explains ‘Of course when we returned to the board a week later, he claimed a draw as soon as he saw my sealed move. It was a game I let slip away by going on the back foot and not finishing it earlier. In the final position I had winning chances and the win for White, although still there, had to be meticulously played. Phil deserved a lot of credit for his fightback.’

Michael Litchfield – Bruce Jenks, B&DCL, 2008

Bruce offered a draw in this position. Michael was better but he did not fancy the journey all the way to Lymington on his own so a draw was agreed. Michael’s comments were ‘The match was already lost for Wimborne. We were playing a “long” game, so an adjournment was just 3 moves away and I would have to go to Lymington to complete. In the analysis with Mike Yeo, Bruce and myself, it seemed that White won comfortably, especially with the 2 Bishops and as Black is going to lose more material. So I was pretty ashamed of myself for cowardice!’ Today’s chess engines suggest that Michael is a lot better but he may not have been winning so maybe he made the right decision.

Time Gentlemen Please!

Sometimes a draw has to be taken when a player sees they are running out of time, which often happens in blitz!

Barry Jolly (Dolphers) – Martin Clancy (Wingwood), Ringwood Team Battle 2021, Lichess Blitz

We pick up the position with Martin about to play his 29th move. Although Black is winning, it’s a bit of a mess with both players only interested in their attack and paying no attention to defence!

Martin can recapture on f6 in three ways. Two are good but unfortunately Martin chooses the third!

29…Nxf6?? 29…Rxf6 was best

30.Nxe7?? Instinctive move but 30.Ne5 was best then 30…Rdf8 31. Re2 d4 32.cxd4 Qg3+ 33.Kh1 cxd4 34.Rc8 Qh3+ 35.Kg1 d3 36.Rxf8 Rxf8 is equal.

30…Re8 31.Qd6?! Inaccuracy. 31.Rc2 was best

31…Qxg4+ 32.Kh1 Qf3+ 33.Kh2 Ng4+ 34.Kg1 Qf2+ 35.Kh1 Qf3+ 36.Kg1 Qf2+ 37.Kh1]

Under severe time pressure (less than 10 seconds left on the clock) Martin understandably played 37…Qf3+?? when the difficult to spot 37…Rd8 to divert the White queen away from the h2 to b8 diagonal is winning.

38.Kg1 The game is a draw by 3 move repetition.

Well played, Barry, for putting time pressure on Martin, so important in blitz chess.

And Finally, there are Gentlemanly Draws!

Richard Allis reports ‘Hi Martin, I don’t have (any games) but I have had 2 tournaments where I have missed the deadline and both opponents refused to take the default win. I went on to win but gave both players a draw for their good sportsmanship’.

Well done Richard, you are true gentleman!

Summary

Hopefully we have shown you a host of alternative, interesting ways of drawing a game, and we hope you have found some of them truly exciting. However, have we missed any? Please let us know.