BCN wishes IM Andrew Martin many happy returns on his birthday.
From ChessBase :
Andrew David Martin (born 18th May 1957 in West Ham, London) is an English chess player with the title of international master. Martin has won various national and international tournaments. He has been playing for years in the Four Nations Chess League, at present (July 2009) for Wood Green Hilsmark Kingfisher, previously for the Camberley Chess Club. Martin received his title as international master in1984. He earned his first grandmaster norm in the British Championship of 1997 in Brighton. Martin was a commentator on the chess world championship between Kasparov and Kramnik in 2000.
On the 21st February 2004 Martin set a new world record for simultaneous chess. He faced 321 chess players at the same time. His result was: 294 wins, 26 draws and only one loss. Martin is known as a professional chess teacher and head trainer of the English youth team. He trains eight schools (Yateley Manor, Aldro, Millfield, Sunningdale, Waverley School, St Michael’s Sandhurst, Wellington College, Salesian College). Martin is a chess columnist, an author of chess books and the author of various instructional videos. He was the publisher of the series Trends Publications. Martin lives in Sandhurst, England, is married and the father of two daughters and two sons. His present Elo rating is 2423 (as of July 2009).
BCN wishes GM James Clifford Howell best wishes on his birthday, this day (May 17th) in 1967.
From Wikipedia :
James Clifford Howell (born May 17, 1967) is an English chess grandmaster and author. He earned his international master title in 1985 and his grandmaster title ten years later, in 1995. He reached his peak rating in July 1995, at 2525. He became inactive in 1996.
BCN wishes TWIC founder, Mark Crowther, all the best on his birthday.
From Wikipedia :
The Week in Chess (TWIC) is one of the first, if not the first, Internet-based chess news services. It is based in the United Kingdom.
TWIC has been edited by Mark Crowther since its inception in 1994. It began as a weekly Usenet posting, with “TWIC 1” being posted to Usenet group rec.games.chess on 17 September 1994. Later it moved to Crowther’s personal web site, then to chesscenter.com in 1997, and in 2012 it moved to theweekinchess.com.
It contains both chess news, and all the game scores from major events.
TWIC quickly became popular with professional chess players, because it allowed them to quickly get results and game scores, where previously they had relied on print publications.
TWIC still exists as a weekly newsletter, although for important events the TWIC website is updated daily. It remains a popular site for up-to-date chess news.
BCN wishes GM Matthew Sadler all the best on his birthday, this day, in 1974.
From Wikipedia :
Sadler won the British Championship in 1995 at the age of 21 and again in 1997 (jointly with Michael Adams). He represented England in the 1996 Chess Olympiad, scoring 10½/13 and winning a gold medal for the best score on board four (England finished fourth), and also played in 1998 scoring 7½/12. He made 7/9 on board four for England at the European Team Chess Championship in Pula in 1997. His was the best individual score of the five-man English team and so contributed significantly to England’s first (and to date only) gold medal in a major competition.
For several years, he was the book reviewer for New in Chess magazine and also wrote books and articles for other chess magazines. In 2000, his book Queen’s Gambit Declined (published by Everyman) was awarded the British Chess Federation’s book of the year award.
Latterly a resident of Amersfoort, Sadler returned to chess in 2010 to play in a rapidplay tournament held in nearby Wageningen. He won the event with a perfect score of 7/7, finishing ahead of grandmasters Jan Timman, Friso Nijboer and Daniel Fridman. In August 2011, Sadler continued his resurgence by winning the XIII Open Internacional D’Escacs de Sants, scoring 8½/10, ahead of several grandmasters including Jan Smeets. Right thereafter, in October 2011, he went on to compete in the Oslo Chess International; participants included ten other grandmasters, among them Sergei Tiviakov, Jon Ludvig Hammer and Sergey Volkov, all being 2600+ rated. Sadler won convincingly, with 8/9 points and a performance rating of 2849. Going into 2012, the gain in rating points elevated him to fourth rank amongst active English players and also lifted him back into the World Top 100.
In a January 2012 interview, Sadler stated that chess was now primarily a “hobby” for him. While relishing his return to tournament play, Sadler noted that he was now an amateur, and would not be coming back as a professional. He contrasts his present lighthearted attitude with his demeanor during his time as a professional, when he was “working ten hours a day and incredibly intensively”.
FM Matthew Wadsworth, one of England’s most promising young players, has earned his first Grandmaster norm from his excellent performance in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL). Matthew, who is eighteen (nineteen in June), has a current FIDE standard play rating of 2413 and is ranked 34th amongst the active players in England (by FIDE rating) earning his FM title in 2016. Matthew has IMs norm under his belt but could leapfrog to Grandmaster status with further norms and by increasing his live rating to 2500. Most likely, however, is that the IM title will be ratified at the next FIDE Congress now that his live rating has topped 2400.
Matthew’s first ECF grade was 66A in 2007 (aged 7) and he played for Maidenhead in local leagues, St. Pirans’s School and then Reading School. Matthew joined 4NCL at an early age and played for AMCA (Andrew Martin Chess Academy) soon rising the ranks to the AMCA first team and he currently represents the Guildford 2 team in Division One of the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL). Matthew’s 4NCL results for the 2018-19 season were :
1. Fodor, Tamas Jr, draw
2. Ashton, Adam G, win
3. Gonda, Laszlo, draw
4. Kulon, Klaudia, win
5. Holland, James P, win
6. Stewart, Ashley, win
7. Ledger, Andrew J, win
8. Plat, Vojtech, loss
9. no game
10. Jackson, James P, win
11. no game
giving a performance of 7/9
One of the undoubted highlights of Matthews chess year was has draw with Oxford domiciled GM Hou Yifan, three times Women’s World Champion from China during the annual Varsity match, Matthew representing Cambridge.
The author of this book Herman Grooten is an International master and has taught players such as Loek van Wely.
At the start of the book Grooten emphasises that many chess players memorise lots of opening theory but it does not improve their results as they do not understand the position when their opponent deviates from theory.
He explores the various pawn structures in variations of openings in the Ruy Lopez (Spanish Game) and (Giuoco Piano) Italian game.
The first variation he looks at is the so-called Berlin wall (Berlin Defence) which was used very successfully by Vladimir Kramnik in his World Championship match vs Gary Kasparov.
Knowing Kasparov was a great attacking player Kramnik chose a variation which leads to a Queenless middle game.
Although Black ends up with doubled pawns on the Queenside (as in the Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation) his bishop pair is good compensation and his doubled pawns are not weak and easily exploited.
Grooten then shows what each side should be trying to achieve to progress their position.
In the Open Lopez the pawn structure is very different : White has a four to three pawn majority on the kingside and with a pawn on e5 and good use of the d4 he has good chances for an advantage and it is well known that Viktor Korchnoi played the Open Lopez in his famous match with Anatoly Karpov. Black has a four to three majority on the queenside but his c7 pawn is backwards and weak. If Black can play c5 then he will probably equalise but he normally cannot afford to play Nxd4 as after cxd4 his c7 pawn is very weak.
Next Grooten examines variations of the Closed Lopez where play typically goes 5 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 00 8 c3 d6 9 h3. Here the Zaitzev 9…Bb7 Chigorin 9…Na5 and Breyer 9…Nb8 are explored in detail. In all three of these famous lines the pawn structure is the same White pawns on c3 d4 and e4 Black pawns on c5 d6 and e5.
White normally can decide the structure by either playing d5 or d4xc5 or maintain tension with Nbd2 when Black can change the structure with c5xd4,
Paul Keres often did this in the Chigorin Variation.
Grooten looks in depth at the theory of the Two Knights where White plays 4 Ng5 including some variations in the main line 5 Na5 which I have not seen before and maybe are unusual and interesting.
Finally, He also looks at some interesting world class games the best of which is a win by Paul Keres over Mikhail Tal as Black in the Chigorin Variation.
In summary, this excellent book will appeal to club players who know these openings but are not sure what plan(s) to adopt in the consequent middle game.