An update, or lack of it…

There is still little news I am afraid with regards to restarting the chess season, a few tentative emails have been passed around asking opinions on what members are in favour of, whether that be trying to restart the 29-20 season, or conclude it in someway perhaps via a playoff between ourselves and Atherton. Most likely it seems to me that the season will be written off with hopes of starting afresh again in the autumn.

I have been made aware lately that it has been some time since an update was published on this blog, sadly there is little to no fresh material avaliable for analysis from members, however Nick Burriss has kindly provided a nice game he played online recently with time controls set at 45 mins with 45 second increment. Personally I am often suspicious playing such long time controls against an unsupervised opponent, the obvious reason is people have more time to cheat, however equally annoying to me is that often having achieved a won position the opponents just stop moving! Leaving you sitting there watching a clock run down. Such behavior would get called out pretty quick over the board but sadly seems to be all to common online. Nicks game is below with his usual self deprecating analysis :

On the other end of the time control scale, Keith Maudsley sent in this nice win played at 3 mins each time controls I am told. From a quiet looking opening position Keith develops a strong kingside attack which ends in a nice checkmate.

Finally I had a couple of interesting correspondence games with Steven Jones, I ought to have won the first and was lucky to avoid a loss in the 2nd. Both games ended up as drawn. The London system game was most interesting which followed a similar pattern to a game I played against Mike Rotchell in the league season, Steven however captured upon c5 early which led to a more unbalanced game:

Culcheth against The Greats: Part 2

Kasparov presenting a book to Richard Furness, who organised the event and co-founder of Culcheth chess club.

Considered by most to be the strongest player of all time Kasporov’s dynamic style was a refreshing throwback to the days of Alekhine. Which gave a tremendous boost to chess which had previously been dominated by the Karpovian Soviet style for the previous decade.

Kasparov’s long reign as World Champion ran between the years of 1985 to 2000, when he was finally defeated by compatriot Vladimir Kramnik, whose Berlin Wall defence in that match proved too strong to break down.

In terms of UK chess, Kasparov had his biggest impact in 1993 when he was to defend his title against Britain’s Nigel Short. I won’t go into the controversies surrounding the match itself, however I will say it gave UK chess a huge boost being billed as “The strongest British chess player of all time” V “The strongest player the world has ever seen,”

Sadly Short was to lose the match despite achieving many promising attacking positions. The matches were shown live on channel 4 which I eagerly followed after school. Not much footage remains of the match sadly but there are a few surviving snippits online;

In 1989 Kasparov whilst on a visit to the uk hosted a simultaneous exhibition organized by Richard Furness, in which some of our local players took part.

Simon Myles (from Winwick) was one of these, as well as Rob Furness whom has very kindly provided pictures and an annotation of his game below.

A win against a World Champion! That is certainly something you can always be very proud of.

A young Robert Furness (left) with Simon Myles who now plays for Winwick 2 boards down in stripey shirt.

Kasparov is now semi retired from the game of chess, however in recent years he has made the odd appearence in rapid chess, he has shown in these matches that he is still more then capable of mixing it up with the worlds best. Below is a full game I recorded from last year (2018) where he demonstrates his deep understanding of a Sicilian structure from start to finish.

Culcheth against The Greats: Part 1

I hope you are all managing to keep well in these most unusual times.

Chess activity has ground to a halt in Warrington along with everything else due to the virus, some however are still managing to play plenty of chess of the online variety while others may be casting their minds back to yesteryear playing through games of the greats.

During the 1970’s all the way through to the early 90’s chess was pretty much dominated by three players, the three K’s as they were known;

Korchnoi, Karpov and then Kasparov.

Firstly Viktor Korchnoi, widely considered to be the strongest ever player not to become world champion. A feat he would no doubt have achieved but for the long reign of Karpov.

Korchnoi

Born in Leningrad USSR he learned chess at the age of seven and won the Soviet Championships four times.

In 1968 he reached the Candidates final but failed to beat Spassky in the final. Then in 1971 he lost in the semi final to another Soviet legend Petrosian.

He challenged again in the Candidates final in 1974, this time against his long time rival Karpov but again lost the match.

In 1976 Korchnoi defected from the USSR and soon took up residency in Switzerland.

In 1978 Korchnoi finally challenged for the World Chess Championship again against Karpov. In a thrilling match Karpov took an early 5 – 2 lead (they didnt count draws in those days) but Korchnoi staged a thrilling comeback! Winning three games to tie the match at 5-5! Karpov however was to win the final game and retain the title. This was to be the closest Viktor would come to winning the title.

In 1981 Viktor again met Karpov in the World title rematch however this time Karpov came out a convincing 6 – 2 winner.

After this with the emergence of a young Kasparov, Korchnoi never challenged for the world title again. However he continued to play at a very high level well into his 80’s.

Remarkably in 2011 aged 79! Viktor pulled off a win against a young up and coming Fabiano Caruana, at the time this was widely talked about as a great win however now looking back at what Caruana has gone on to do becoming the worlds number 2 and 2019 World title challenger this seems even more remarkable. That game can be viewed in the video below.

Sadly in 2012 Viktor suffered a small stroke, however even this did not stop him playing chess!

Visiting the London Chess Classic which has now become one of the preeminent tournaments on the world chess tour he gave a number of simuls which again showed his amazing stamina. He played our own Nick Burriss in one of these and this game with Nick’s comments can be viewed here:

A was privileged to be in the room for this commentary session of which this is a very small surviving snippet