A great new Dorset Blitz event was held on Sunday 17th September, at a new venue, the Furzebrook Village Hall in Wareham. This venue was chosen so that it would be within close proximity for all Dorset players, east and west, whilst also attracting players from further afield. All 30 players enjoyed the day. It proved to be a very spacious and accommodating venue and much thanks is owed to the organiser Steve Peirson who not only chose the venue and meticulously did the pre-event organisation but also worked tirelessly throughout the day ensuring that everyone had a fantastic time. It is not often there is a tournament where the prize fund is more than the basic entry fees and three players went away £50 richer! It is hoped that this enjoyable event will become a permanent annual event on the Dorset Chess fixture calendar.
On the chess front, despite having the FIDE blitz rulebook to hand, I was amazed with the sportsmanship of all players (there was not one dispute!) and I was totally impressed with the performance of the winner of group C, John Harris (Southbourne), who managed to score a maximum of 10 out of 10 which was almost double the score of any other player within his group. Well done to John and also many congratulations to all the prize winners. My play was very mixed, 10 minutes is not my ideal time limit, as this time control seems to be better suited to players who are more instinctive in their play, less prone to tactical mistakes and who are also good at handling the clock, all three of which I am atrocious at.
One of the troubles (perhaps I should say excitement) of the 10 minute blitz chess format is that sometimes the standard of one’s play can vary enormously from game to game and the key to success is to accept that mistakes will be made, get over them, set your opponents lots of problems, aim for the initiative and, most importantly, endeavour not to make the last mistake! Blunders are a common feature and in many cases, can lead to some comical moments (see 2nd game below) and some very quick victories and losses!
Here are my two shortest games, one win and one loss, which provides a flavour and insight into the highs and lows of the 10 minute blitz format.
My grateful thanks must go to Ian Clark for allowing me to publish the second bizarre game which only lasted 6 moves! I suspect this will be his only offer of charitable chess kindness for the coming season!
Game One – A great move found by Mark!
1st Dorset Blitz – Furzebrook Village Hall, Wareham
17th September 2017
White: Martin Simons (193) Black: Mark Littleton (176)
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. e4 At last, a Blackmar Diemer Gambit!
3… c5!? Maybe not! There are simply so many good defences to the BDG despite the opinions of my BDG mentor, Alan Dommett.
4. exd5 cxd4
5. Qxd4 g6 6. Bg5 Bg7
7. Qd2 O-O 8.Nf3 Qb6 9. O-O-O? This moves now fails to Mark’s 10th move but he fails to spot that it can be played immediately when it would be even stronger. 9… Rd8? 10. Bc4? It seems so natural to develop the final piece but Mark does not need a second chance to unleash his thunderbolt!
10… Ne4! What a fantastic move to find! The Knight cannot be captured due to 11… Qxb2 mate. However, because it was played one move later I did have a defence.
11. Be3? But this was not it. To be honest, I had not seen Mark’s move, I had gone into anaphylactic shock and was struggling to get back off the floor, not good when you only have 10 minutes to play the whole game on your clock! I had only briefly considered 11.Qe3 but did not like 11… Nxf2 winning the exchange but 12.Qxe7 would have given White a fighting position. 11… Qb4
Now the Bishop on c4 is also attacked. The rest of the game is a formality.
12. Qd3 Nxc3 13. bxc3 Bxc3 14.Rdf1 Bf5
Well played Mark, a great victory!
Game Two – Please do NOT blink!
It was getting towards the end of the day when we were all becoming very tired and all logical thinking had been thrown out of the window.
1st Dorset Blitz – Furzebrook Village Hall, Wareham 17th September 2017 White: Ian Clark (183) Black: Martin Simons (193)
Black has sacrificed a pawn and with the last move and threatens Bxc4. Ian spent a while considering his options and lent forward a couple of times feigning to play 6. Be2 but this still allows me to play 6… Bxc4 as the Bishop is then pinned to the Queen on e7. Ian realised this and then, because he was perhaps spending too much time, chose an ‘in-between’ move which defends his pawn on c4 whilst also checking the Black King. All very logical, after all, what harm can be done by playing a move which gives check?
Ian announced ‘Check’. It shows how badly I was playing as I was taking my time to respond. I was trying to to make 6… b5? to work but then it became obvious, pieces can move backwards with devastating effect!
6… Bd7+! (discovered checks are always good)
I could not resist temptation, it also shows my untimely and poor sense of humour as I announced ‘Out of check’ and then ‘Check’. Luckily, Ian saw the funny side as he had to resign (the Queen on a4 is lost!).
0-1 I think we are still friends!!
Perhaps the shortest game in the tournament, but it shows how we can all feel the pressure of the clock ticking in such short time controls, even when digital clocks are being used!