With grateful thanks to Alan Dommett who has submitted and analysed all the games below. Alan has regularly contributed to the British Chess Magazine and is also a chess author. The games below were played in the British Championships at Bournemouth in the summer of 2016.
First up, Alan looks at a sound win by Wimborne’s Steve Pollyn. Steve had a very good Championships, finishing with 3.5/5 and equal 3rd in the Under 160. Especially impressive here is how Steve converted a material advantage into a convincing win.
Postcards from Bournemouth’s British (2)
A couple more good performances from local players on the opening day in the Major Open and the Over50s Under 150 – James Forster makes light of a massive grading difference while Frank Hamilton-Taylor counter-punches his opponent into early submission.
Postcards from Bournemouth’s British (4)
Next up two games from the Over 50 and Over 65 Under 150 events respectively. In the first Dorchester’s Kevin Goater compiled a 5/7 score to finish joint runner-up and his combative style is shown to good effect in this roller coaster contest against Malcom Hunt. The second features Wimborne’s Jorgen Nielsen, whose 3/5 score secured a share of fourth place. This game is a much quieter affair, but trust me, the sting in the tail is well worth waiting for!
Postcards from Bournemouth’s British (5)
Exchange sacrifices and third places are themes running through the two following games. Highcliffe’s Richard Ursell opens proceedings in the Under-140s in the most bizarre of ways, before settling into a solid performance, compiling a 4/5 score and taking his share of third place. Then David Dixon does Purbeck proud in a fine game from the Weekend Under-120 event, where he is similarly placed, scoring just a half-point less.
Postcards from Bournemouth’s British (6)
Mike Waddington is the solitary Dorset presence featured on this postcard, but the selected game is one of several I could have chosen from his first week of competition in the Championship, such was the quality of his play. Winner of the trophy for “Best Overall Performance By A Dorset Player”, Mike could not quite maintain the same high level during the second week, but that should not detract from an opening 5-day salvo during which he amassed 3.5 points, culminating in a hard-fought draw against GM John Emms.
A previous round downing of Charlie Storey’s colours, in a contest that proved far more lively than the war of attrition it threatened to be after the opening ten moves, is my choice and if I was to single out one factor behind his success in this game it would be calmness under fire in what was clearly a middlegame fraught with difficulty.
It will surely not come as a shock to many of you to learn that there are a couple of Blackmar-Diemer Gambits on this particular postcard, the only surprise being that it has taken me this long to succumb to the temptation to put them in the public domain. As usual, my thanks must go to Martin Simons for once again championing the cause of the gambiteer, this time at the highest level and under the type of full forensic glare that database preparation affords opponents so armed and aware of what they are about to face in terms of opening play.
And the good news for us, if not for Martin, is that in the first of these games a new move was played with dramatic effect in a previously well-established defence providing chances for both sides. Whether that assessment can be made now is a judgement call for those who wish to use the deterrent in the future, but, as for reaction in this event, Martin faced the prospect of the same weaponry being deployed in a later round and his response opens up another theoretical BDG debate altogether
Postcard No.11 is all about promising juniors performing well on debut in the British, the first being Poole’s Andre Reid who bounced back from a torrid two-loss start in the Under-14 event (in which he was the lowest rated player) to finish with a very creditable 2.5/7 score. The featured game not only shows good basic knowledge of a difficult defence to master, but also provides evidence of sound endgame technique, a discipline often neglected at club level, sidelined as it is in the onrush for blitz tournaments and quickplay finishes.
The second is a miniature arriving courtesy of Adam Ursell who compiled a remarkable 3.5/5 score in the Weekend Under 120 event, which took him to a share of third place alongside Purbeck’s David Dixon. The contrast between this win with the black pieces and Andre’s is stark, the Highcliffe junior relentlessly stalking his prey from beginning to (somewhat brutal) early end, but whatever your preferred way of skinning the chess cat, don’t say you haven’t been warned… these two are definitely young players to be wary of.
Playing to your strengths is a phrase often used in a variety of sports, but it was never more appropriate than when used to describe the next two games featuring Weymouth’s Allan Pleasants and Wimborne’s Ian Clark. Firstly, Allan steers a destabilising course through those typically uncharted waters he always seems to thrive in and then Ian performs his now all too familiar escapologist’s act, emerging triumphant, in true ‘with one bound he was free’ style, leaving his opponent totally bemused as to how the feat was accomplished
Postcards from Bournemouth’s British
Finally, 3 games featuring the youngest players the County has to offer. While I am not really sure what exactly can be gleaned from them, it is at least good to know that they are being played and these kids are not afraid to go up against the best from other counties in an event of this calibre. It is certainly not my intention to put our talent under the microscope or to endeavour to improve upon it, as this is a field in which Eric Sachs, Ian Clark, Paul Errington and others have excelled in recent years and no single contribution made on my part here would be anything other than a drop in an ocean of time they have devoted to an extremely good cause – the furtherance of chess in the county of Dorset.
These 3 games will instead, I hope, give some insight into the development process in action and a comparison of them with the previous two, played in the Under-120 and Under-14 competitions, will show how rapidly that advancement can take