An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire : Graham Burgess

An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire
An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

FIDE Master Graham Burgess needs no introduction to readers of English language chess books ! Minnesota, USA based, Graham has authored more than twenty five books and edited at least 250 and is editorial director of Gambit Publications Ltd. In 1994 Graham set a world record for marathon blitz playing and has been champion of the Danish region of Funen !

We previously reviewed Chess Opening Traps for Kids also by Graham Burgess and, more recently we reviewed (and enjoyed) A Startling Chess Opening Repertoire (New Edition)

FM Graham Burgess
FM Graham Burgess

We searched the BCN office and, as the most obvious idiot, it was decided that John should evaluate the repertoire to test the title’s ambitious claim…

Burgess has provided a comprehensive repertoire aimed at the club player for both colours. Here are the chapters :

Repertoire for Black

  1. Scandinavian
  2. Queen’s Gambit Accepted
  3. Slav
  4. Queen’s Pawn
  5. Flank Openings (as Black)

Repertoire for White

  1. Closed English
  2. Other Reversed Sicilians
  3. Symmetrical English (as White)
  4. English : Other 1st Moves

So, Burgess recommends the Scandinavian (Centre Counter) Defence against 1.e4 and specifically the relatively modern Pytel-Wade Variation as championed by GM Sergei Tiviakov and others :

Of course this is a very reasonable alternative to the (arguably) more mainstream 3…Qa5 and is well supported in the literature and with DVD and online resources. In other words, if you adopt this line and want to delve deeper then the resources are out there.

As the second player versus 1.d4 Burgess offers an interesting hybrid of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted and the Slav Defence :

popularised by David Navara, Igor Khenkin, Christian Bauer and Matthew Sadler to name but a few : clearly a respectable line. The “idea” is that after 4. e3 Black will attempt to hang on to the pawn with 4…Be6 :

and an interesting struggle will ensue more or less on Black’s terms. If you had to name this line then The Khenkin Variation is most likely.

Against the various queen pawn openings (where White does not play an immediate c4) then Burgess champions concrete lines against the London System (Modern and with 2.Nf3), Torre Attack, Veresov Attack, Colle System, Pseudo-Trompovsky and even the amusing Blackmar-Diemar Gambit! Missing (for some reason) is the Stonewall Attack : not sure why?

Burgess provides recommendations for Black against the most common and sensible Flank openings.

For White we are offered the English Opening with a quick “Kosten style” g3 with most material covering 1…e5 but also good coverage of 1..c5, 1…Nf6 and others. In fact, you could buy this book simply to learn the English Opening as Burgess provides an excellent introduction and not worry about the Black repertoire.

For amusement we pitted the book’s white repertoire against its black repertoire and came up with this fabricated game :

which has been seen in just under 900 games in MegaBase 2020.

In summary, this is a coherent and well-thought out repertoire devoid of cheap tricks or dodgy gambits. I’m not entirely convinced that someone who enjoys the English Opening would also champion the Pytel-Wade Variation of the Scandinavian but who knows ! Clearly the first player opening is solid and “positional” (whatever that means). The second players lines are active and interesting and may even allow our player to dictate terms with The Khenkin Variation.

So, is the title accurate?

With careful study and practice (online for the time being!) you can learn this repertoire without fuss. So, the answer must be Yes!

As with every Gambit publication the typesetting is excellent and the use of diagrams generous. The book is available in physical form and, for around half the price, in Kindle format. In usual fashion you may “Look Inside” before purchasing. At $22.95 (physical) this is a lot of material for your money and represents good value.

As a bonus we decided to play a game where the “Idiot-Proof” repertoire plays the “Startling” repertoire. Here is what happened :

Gambit Publications have recently started their own YouTube channel to publicise their products. Here we have GM John Nunn introducing this book :

Enjoy and good luck !

John Upham, Cove, Hampshire, August 31st 2020

John Upham
John Upham

Book Details :

  • Hardcover : 192 pages
  • Publisher: Gambit Publications Ltd (11 Jun. 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911465422
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911465423
  • Product Dimensions: 17.15 x 1.52 x 24.77 cm

Official web site of Gambit Publications Ltd.

An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire
An Idiot-Proof Chess Opening Repertoire

Happy Birthday FM Kevin O’Connell (28-viii-1949)

Kevin O'Connell at the London Chess Conference, 2016, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Kevin O’Connell at the London Chess Conference, 2016, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN wishes happy birthday to FM Kevin O’Connell (28-viii-1949)

Kevin J O'Connell
Kevin J O’Connell

Kevin John O’Connell was born on Sunday, August 28th 1949 in London.

Kevin attended Ilford County High School and The University of Essex following by an MSc in Sports Sciences at The University of Essex.

The Batsford Chess Yearbook
The Batsford Chess Yearbook

According to The Games of Robert J. Fischer :

“Kevin is an Essex county player and bulletin editor”.

Kevin J O'Connell
Kevin J O’Connell

According to How to Play the Sicilian Defence :

“Kevin O’Connell is editor of the FIDE Chess Yearbook, author of many other chess books and chess columnist of London’s Evening News

From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987.  Kevin J O'Connell is fourth from right
From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987. Kevin J O’Connell is fourth from right

Harry Golombek wrote in The Observer Magazine (about The Batsford Chess Yearbook 1975/6) :

“O’Connell has done his work extremely well and I found all the contents interesting”

and Leonard Barden wrote (of the same book) :

“Book of the year…this reviewer admits to consulting it more frequently than any other book on his shelf”

Kevin makes a telephone call
Kevin makes a telephone call

Kevin was coach (they lived in the same road in Suffolk) to GM Nick Pert and IM Richard Pert

Kevin became a FIDE Master in 2006 and his peak rating (according to Felice) was 2360 in July 1993 at the age of 44.

From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987.  Kevin J O'Connell is third from left
From the Praxis Bath Zonal Tournament of 1987. Kevin J O’Connell is third from left

Kevin became a FIDE International Arbiter (IA) in 1998. He is the FIDE Delegate for the Republic of Ireland and is Honorary Chairman and Secretary of the FIDE Chess in Education Commission (EDU). He is also a FIDE Senior Trainer.

Kevin O'Connell at the London Chess Conference, 2016, courtesy of John Upham Photography
Kevin O’Connell at the London Chess Conference, 2016, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Here is his Wikipedia entry

The Games of Robert J. Fischer, Robert Wade and O'Connell, Batsford 1972, 2nd ed. 1972, reprinted 1973, First limp edition 1981, Reprinted 1985, 1981, 1989, Second edition (The Complete Games of Bobby Fischer) 1992
The Games of Robert J. Fischer, Robert Wade and O’Connell, Batsford 1972, 2nd ed. 1972, reprinted 1973, First limp edition 1981, Reprinted 1985, 1981, 1989, Second edition (The Complete Games of Bobby Fischer) 1992
The Batsford Chess Yearbook
The Batsford Chess Yearbook
The Batsford Chess Yearbook 1975/6
The Batsford Chess Yearbook 1975/6
The Complete Games of World Champion Anatoly Karpov
The Complete Games of World Champion Anatoly Karpov
The Complete Games of World Champion Anatoly Karpov
The Complete Games of World Champion Anatoly Karpov
How to Play the Sicilian Defence, Batsford, 1978
How to Play the Sicilian Defence, Batsford, 1978
Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, Volume 1 1485-1866., OUP, 1981
Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, Volume 1 1485-1866., OUP, 1981
Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, OUP, 2009
Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, OUP, 2009

Happy Birthday GM Daniel King (28-viii-1963)

GM Daniel King
GM Daniel King

We offer best wishes to GM Daniel King on his birthday

Daniel John King was born on Wednesday, August 28th 1963 (the same day as the Martin Luther King “I have a dream” speech) in Beckenham, Kent.

He attended Langley Park School whose motto is “Mores et Studia” meaning “good character and learning” or “morals and study”.

Daniel has a brother Andrew (AJ King) who is also a strong player.

Daniel became an International Master in 1982 and a Grandmaster in 1989.

Daniel King
Daniel King

His peak FIDE rating (Felice) was 2560 in July 1990 at the age of 27.

Daniel plays for Guildford in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

This was written (by Leonard Barden) about Daniel who was 15 just prior to the 1979 Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display :

“Langley Park School, Shortlands and Bromley. Rating 201. British under-14 co-champion, 1977. 2nd Lloyds Bank junior international, 1979.”

Danny was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 1983-84 and 1985-86 seasons.

According to Test Your Chess With Daniel King, Batsford, 2004 :

“Grandmaster Daniel King has been a professional chess player for 20 years. During that time he has represented his country on many occasions including an historic match victory over the Soviet Union in Reykyavik, 1990. Besides his chess career, Daniel has built up a reputation as a commentator on TV and radio,

Jonathan Speelman and Daniel King share headphones at the 2013 FIDE Candidates event in London
Jonathan Speelman and Daniel King share headphones at the 2013 FIDE Candidates event in London

and has reported on four World Championship matches and several Man vs Machine events, including the controversial Kasparov vs Deep Blue encounter in New York, 1997. He is an award-winning author of 15 books, including Winning with the Najdorf, Mastering the Spanish, and Kasparov vs Deep Blue for Batsford. ”

On April 8th, 2020 New in Chess released Sultan Khan: The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire which is Daniel’s most recent book.

According to British Chess (Pergamon, 1983) by Botterill, Levy, Rice and Richardson :

1977 British Under 14 Champion
1979 Lloyds Bank 6/9 (aged only 16)
1980 First Ilford Open
1981 Represented England in Glorney Cup scoring 4.5/5
1981 Fourteenth equal British Championship
1981 IM norm Manchester 5.5/9
1981 Second equal Ramsgate Regency Masters 6.5/9 IM norm with a round to spare
1982 First Equal Guernsey 6/7
1982 First Hamar IM norm and title
1982 Second equal Molde
1982 Second equal Hallsberg Junior
1982 Third equal Phillips and Drew Knights
1982/3 Tenth equal Ohra, Amsterdam 5/9
1982/3 Fifth European Junior
1983 Fourth equal Gausdal
1983 First Portsmouth Open

In the same article Daniel gave the following game as his favourite up to 1983:

Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team !
Streatham & Brixton becoming BCF National Club Champions in 1989. The team was Tony Kosten, Mark Hedben, Daniel King, Nigel Povah (Captain), Joe Gallagher and Julian Hodgson : quite a strong team
Daniel King (seated, second from left)
Daniel King (seated, second from left)

Here is his Wikipedia entry

At the Lloyds Bank Masters : Front (l-r) : Joel Benjamin, Ian Wells, Rear : Peter Morrish, Stewart Reuben, Richard Beville, Gary Senior, Richard Webb, John Hawksworth, Andrew King, Nigel Short, Mark Ginsburg, Daniel King, David Cummings, Erik Teichmann, John Brandford and Micheal Pagden
At the Lloyds Bank Masters : Front (l-r) : Joel Benjamin, Ian Wells, Rear : Peter Morrish, Stewart Reuben, Richard Beville, Gary Senior, Richard Webb, John Hawksworth, Andrew King, Nigel Short, Mark Ginsburg, Daniel King, David Cummings, Erik Teichmann, John Brandford and Micheal Pagden
Mastering the Spanish, Batsford, 1993
Mastering the Spanish, Batsford, 1993
Kasparov v. Deeper Blue: The Ultimate Man v. Machine Challenge. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8322-9., 1997
Kasparov v. Deeper Blue: The Ultimate Man v. Machine Challenge. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8322-9., 1997
How to Win at Chess: The Ten Golden Rules (Cadogan Chess Books), 2000
How to Win at Chess: The Ten Golden Rules (Cadogan Chess Books), 2000
Kasparov Against the World: The Story of the Greatest Online Challenge. KasparovChess Online. ISBN 0970481306., 2000
Kasparov Against the World: The Story of the Greatest Online Challenge. KasparovChess Online. ISBN 0970481306., 2000
Winning With the Najdorf. Sterling Pub Co Inc. ISBN 0713470372., 2002
Winning With the Najdorf. Sterling Pub Co Inc. ISBN 0713470372., 2002
How Good Is Your Chess?. Dover. ISBN 048644676X., 2003
How Good Is Your Chess?. Dover. ISBN 048644676X., 2003
Test Your Chess With Daniel King, Batsford, 2004
Test Your Chess With Daniel King, Batsford, 2004
How To Play Chess. Kingfisher. ISBN 0753419181., 2009
How To Play Chess. Kingfisher. ISBN 0753419181., 2009
Chessbase Fritz Trainer
Chessbase Fritz Trainer
Chessbase Tutorials
Chessbase Tutorials
Sultan Khan: The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire
Sultan Khan: The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire

Remembering FM Max Fuller (28-i-1945 27-viii-2013)

FM Max Fuller (28-i-1945 27-viii-2013). See full caption in photograph below.
FM Max Fuller (28-i-1945 27-viii-2013). See full caption in photograph below.
September 15th, 1980. Australian Open Chess Champion Max Fuller (35) is currently on  a grand chess playing tour of Britain and Europe. He played in the British Championships last month and has included three tournaments in Denmark in his busy schedule.   His tour culminates in Malta in December when he plays in his 8th chess Olympiad.   Max has been playing chess since he was 13.  He lives in Hamilton Avenue, Earlwood, Sydney.   In the picture Max is playing in the Benedictine International Chess tournament in Manchester in which he was equal fourth.   The Benedictine Championship was won by Britain's number 2 seeded Grandmaster John DM Nunn of Oriel College Oxford.   Picture from John Madden (NUJ)
September 15th, 1980. Australian Open Chess Champion Max Fuller (35) is currently on a grand chess playing tour of Britain and Europe. He played in the British Championships last month and has included three tournaments in Denmark in his busy schedule.
His tour culminates in Malta in December when he plays in his 8th chess Olympiad.
Max has been playing chess since he was 13.
He lives in Hamilton Avenue, Earlwood, Sydney.
In the picture Max is playing in the Benedictine International Chess tournament in Manchester in which he was equal fourth.
The Benedictine Championship was won by Britain’s number 2 seeded Grandmaster John DM Nunn of Oriel College Oxford.
Picture from John Madden (NUJ)

BCN Remembers FM Max Fuller (28-i-1945 27-viii-2013)

Tonight two Sydney ***** the N.S.W. Chess Championship at the Chess centre Liverpool St., City. They are Fred E Flatow, 28 of Belmore (left.) and Max Fuller, 21, of Kingsgrove (right). They have been playing for about 10 Hrs up till 6.15 p.m. and had move 121. The match will go on till move 144 at which stage a draw will be declared or until either man wins before then. February 23, 1966. (Photo by Richard John Pinfold/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
Tonight two Sydney ***** the N.S.W. Chess Championship at the Chess centre Liverpool St., City. They are Fred E Flatow, 28 of Belmore (left.) and Max Fuller, 21, of Kingsgrove (right). They have been playing for about 10 Hrs up till 6.15 p.m. and had move 121. The match will go on till move 144 at which stage a draw will be declared or until either man wins before then. February 23, 1966. (Photo by Richard John Pinfold/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

Maxwell Leonard Fuller was born on Sunday, January 28th 1945 in Sydney, New South Wales. He was brought up by his mother and, according to Ian Rogers, his step-father with whom he did not get on.

Knight moves: Max Fuller in 1964. He went on to become Australia's No.1 player and toured the world.CREDIT:STUART MACGLADRIE
Knight moves: Max Fuller in 1964. He went on to become Australia’s No.1 player and toured the world.CREDIT:STUART MACGLADRIE

He was Australian Junior Champion in 1962.

He won the New South Wales title in 1965 (and then in 1986 and 1988).

Max came to England in late 1968 to play at Hastings and then chose to settle here. He played for Lewisham chess club. He won the Whitby Open in 1969 (See BCM, Volume LXXXIX, Number 8, page 264).

In the 1970s be played board one for Australia whilst maintaining a FIDE rating of 2450, and, according to chessgames.com : “Fuller finished equal second in the British championship in 1970 and 1975, winner of the Doeberl Cup three times, winner of the Australian Open three times, Joint Australian Champion 1972 with Trevor Hay and competed in nine Olympiads for Australia from 1964-1990. In 1974, he won the 101st Athenaeum Chess Club Jubilee tournament, held in London.”

He became a FIDE Master in 1980

Fuller returned to chess in 2004 after an eight-year absence and finished equal second in the 2004 and 2005 NSW championships.

According to IM Gary Lane : “Max had a heart attack and died on the day he was attending the funeral of his pal Peter Parr”

With the white pieces Max essayed the Ruy Lopez with a penchant for the exchange variation but nonetheless he was flexible and varied.

As the second player against 1.e4 he was versatile with a broad range of defences and likewise facing 1.d4/1.Nf3 he was difficult to prepare for.

According to British Chess Magazine, Volume CXXXIII (2013), Number 9 (September), page 450 :

“From Australia the saddest of news, the passing Maxwell Leonard Fuller (28 i 1945 Sydney – 27 viii 2013 Sydney). FM Max Fuller played in seven BCF Championships, 1969 -80. He later claimed the scalps of Short, Miles and Chandler. He was the most determined player imaginable and had the broadest of opening repertoires. (James Pratt)”

Aleandro Trimboli (10) of Leichhardt plays Mr Max Fuller of Newtown, Australian Open Chess Champion. As part of the Waratah Festival Celebrations the NSW Chess Association is conducting chess games with chess champions playing up to 30 players at once, in Hyde Park. October 17, 1973. (Photo by Golding/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).
Aleandro Trimboli (10) of Leichhardt plays Mr Max Fuller of Newtown, Australian Open Chess Champion. As part of the Waratah Festival Celebrations the NSW Chess Association is conducting chess games with chess champions playing up to 30 players at once, in Hyde Park. October 17, 1973. (Photo by Golding/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

In this obituary from Ray Keene, Ray very thoughtfully provides a game in which Max loses to Ray.

GM Ian Rogers wrote this detailed obituary

Greg Canfell posted this item

Max Fuller at the Doeberl Cup in 1985. Photo :  William Anderson-Smith
Max Fuller at the Doeberl Cup in 1985. Photo : William Anderson-Smith

Here is his Wikipedia article

FM Max Fuller (28-i-1945 27-viii-2013) from around 1992
FM Max Fuller (28-i-1945 27-viii-2013) from around 1992

Many Happy Returns GM Aaron Summerscale (26-viii-1969)

GM Aaron Summerscale courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Aaron Summerscale courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN offers best wishes to Aaron Summerscale on his 51st birthday.

Aaron Piers Summerscale was born on Tuesday, August 26th 1969 in Westminster, Greater London. His mother’s maiden name is Mayall. Aaron lives in SW18 and teaches chess. He married Claire Lusher (Basingstoke) but they are now separated.

Aaron Summerscale
Aaron Summerscale

He became a FIDE Master in 1992, an International Master in 1994 and a Grandmaster in 1997.

Aaron was runner-up (to Jonathan Parker) with 8/11 in the 1995 British Championship in Swansea.

British Championship (Swansea) 1995 Crosstable
British Championship (Swansea) 1995 Crosstable

His highest FIDE rating was 2513 in October 2000 and was joint (with Ameet Ghasi) British Rapidplay Chess Champion in the same year.

Aaron Summerscale courtesy of John Henderson
Aaron Summerscale courtesy of John Henderson

His highest ECF grading was 244A in 2001 and he won the Staffordshire GM tournament in the same year :

Staffordshire GM Tournament 2000 Crosstable
Staffordshire GM Tournament 2000 Crosstable

Aaron plays for Wood Green in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) and has played for Pride and Prejudice.

Aaron Summerscale
Aaron Summerscale

Aaron wrote “Confessions of a British Nightclubber” for Kingpin Magazine.

With the white pieces Aaron is very much a Queen’s pawn player mainly employing the Colle-Zukertort System and the Barry Attack.

As the second player Aaron prefers the Classical French and the Slav Defence.

Here is a video of a young Aaron talking about his 150 Attack video for Foxy Video :

Aaron Summerscale courtesy of Gabriele Winkler
Aaron Summerscale courtesy of Gabriele Winkler

Books :

Summerscale, Aaron (1999). A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire. Globe Pequot. ISBN 978-1-85744-519-0.

A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire
A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire
A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire
A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire

Summerscale, Aaron; Summerscale, Claire (2002).

Interview With a Grandmaster. Everyman Chess. ISBN 978-1-85744-243-4.

Interview with a Grandmaster
Interview with a Grandmaster
Foxy Video : d4 Dynamite by Aaron Summerscale
Foxy Video : d4 Dynamite by Aaron Summerscale
GM Aaron Summerscale courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Aaron Summerscale courtesy of John Upham Photography

Birthday Greetings : GM Alexander Cherniaev (26-viii-1969)

GM Alexander Cherniaev, London Chess Classic 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Alexander Cherniaev, London Chess Classic 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN sends Birthday Greetings to GM Alexander Cherniaev

Alexander Sergeevich Cherniaev was born on Tuesday, August 26th 1969 in Arkhangelsk, Western Russia.

He became an International Master in 1993 and a Grandmaster in 2004.

He became a FIDE Senior Trainer in 2016.

His peak FIDE rating (according to Megabase 2020 and Felice) was 2509 in July 2002, aged 33.

(Gaige is silent on Alexander).

Alex is registered with the Russian Federation and plays for Hackney, Wood Green, Russia (unsurprisingly!) and 4NCL Barnet Knights and makes regular appearences in Richmond, Golders Green and other rapidplay events, the London Chess Classic and 4NCL amongst others.

He made his first appearance in a UK event at Hastings 1993/1994. Since 1999 he has been London based playing in many UK events.

He won the Coulsdon Easter Congress in 2007 with 7.5/9 and the Canadian Open in 2019 with 9/9

As the first player Alex mainly champions the Ruy Lopez and with the Black pieces he enjoys the Sveshnikov Sicilian and the Old Indian Defence.

Alex is a well-known player on the English chess scene and has enjoyed a lively relationship with organisers and arbiters alike.

The Samisch King's Indian Uncovered
The Samisch King’s Indian Uncovered
The New Old Indian
The New Old Indian
David Janowski: Artist of the Chess Board
David Janowski: Artist of the Chess Board
Harry Nelson Pillsbury ( 5 December 1872 - 17 June 1906): A Genius Ahead of His Time
Harry Nelson Pillsbury ( 5 December 1872 – 17 June 1906): A Genius Ahead of His Time
GM Alexander Cherniaev, Hastings 2013-2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Alexander Cherniaev, Hastings 2013-2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Happy Birthday IM Jeff Horner (25-viii-1949)

Jeff Horner
Jeff Horner

BCN wishes IM Jeff Horner, all the best on his birthday.

Jeffrey Horner was born in Bolton, Lancashire on Thursday, August 25th, 1949.

Jeff played for Poulton-le-Fylde Teacher Training College and is registered for Lancashire CA.

Jeff became a FIDE Master in 1989 (aged 40) and an International Master in 2008 (at the age of 58) and a gap of some 19 years!

(Compare this with John Pigott : John became a FIDE Master in 1984 and an International Master in 2017, a gap of some 33 years!)

He achieved a peak rating of 2450 in January 1975 at the age of 26.

His most recent ECF grading was 233E in January 2017. His last recorded game was played on June 30th 2018 and was a win with black versus Andrew Ledger graded 227.

Jeff played 1.e4 playing 1.g3 once against Graham Lee and winning and the Trompowski once against Murray Chandler and losing. In recent years he favoured the Wormald (Alapin) Attack in the Ruy Lopez.

With the black pieces Jeff defended the main line Ruy Lopez and the King’s Indian Defence.

Here is a comment from PQB4 from chessgames.com :

“A pity we don’t have more games here by this gifted attacking player, arguably the most respected amateur in the North of England. 220 BCF/2300+ for about 30 years, he’s beaten a string of grandmasters, but his best stuff probably occurs in weekend congresses, hence we don’t have enough recorded. I hope there are many such players in the world whose respect for the game and other players shows more of the quality of a true chess black belt than that of some of the more famous. Off the board he’s a schoolteacher, and presumably a pretty inspiring one, to judge by his infectious love of chess and the encouraging words he invariably has for opponents. I’ve had the pleasure of playing Jeff a few times and… let’s just say that The Day of My Revenge will surely come.”

According to David Norwood :

(from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/chess/3601119/David-Norwood-shows-how-there-is-life-in-an-old-dog-yet.html)

“There have been so many headlines about Britain’s 12-year-old chess prodigy, David Howell, that it nice to turn our attention to someone at the other end of the spectrum. Perhaps few readers will have heard of 53-year-old Jeff Horner- unless, that is, you have played on the north of England chess circuit, where Jeff has been dominating events since before I was born. My first meeting with Jeff was at Bolton Chess Club at the age of six, but it was another ten years before I fancied my chances against him. And it wasn’t just me who feared him. Few indeed were the top players who travelled “Up North” and got the better of Horner.”

1993 : Jeff Horner takes on world under-10 chess champion Luke McShane blindfolded
1993 : Jeff Horner takes on world under-10 chess champion Luke McShane blindfolded

The above photograph was recovered from The Bolton News

which goes on to write :

“IT’S hard enough challenging a world champion to a game of chess, but to then say you’ll do it blindfold is bordering on the ridiculous.

But that’s exactly what Jeff Hormer from Radcliffe did back in 1993.

Teacher Jeff’s showdown with Luke McShane, the world under-10 chess champion from London was the main attraction at a two-day chess festival held at Bolton’s Moat House.

Jeff, 43, faced off against nine-year-old, Luke, with a thick black cloth placed over his eyes.

The youngster had full view of the board, but Mr Horner was forced to play with the aid of an assistant who placed his pieces and let him know the moves Luke was making

Jeff’s amazing memory and powers of concentration coupled with his greater experience proved too much for the young chess champion.

And despite the handicap of the blindfold, he beat the world champion relatively easily..

It ended up being one of the few matches that Luke McShane lost as he gained international recognition as a chess prodigy.

Jeff Horner, Isle of Man 2008, Photograph : John Saunders
Jeff Horner, Isle of Man 2008, Photograph : John Saunders

Aged just 16 he became the youngest British chess player to be awarded the title of Grandmaster by the International Chess Federation in 2000 and now, although he works as a trader in the City of London, Luke is regarded as the best amateur chess player in the world.

Jeff Hormer was a long-standing member of Bolton chess club and was renowned for his ability on the board, often taking on – and beating – internationally-renowned players.

He famously beat British Grand Master Tony Miles, who himself had only recently defeated the reigning world champion Anatoly Karpov.

Jeff was awarded the title of International Master by the International Chess Federation.”

Jeff Horner
Jeff Horner

Here are his games

More from David Norwood :

“I still remember Tony Miles, fresh from his historic victory against World Champion Anatoly Karpov, stopping off at the Blackpool Open. Miles had become a legend overnight but nobody bothered to tell Jeff, who calmly trounced him just as he would us. Two weeks ago David Howell had to play Jeff Horner in Blackpool. Both players needed two wins from their last two games to earn an international master (IM) result. Would it be Britain’s youngest new IM or our oldest new IM?”

Jeff Horner
Jeff Horner

Best Wishes WFM Helen Milligan (25-viii-1962)

WFM Helen Milligan
WFM Helen Milligan

We wish WFM Helen Milligan all the best on her birthday, this day (August 25th) in 1962.

Helen became a Woman’s FIDE Master in 2000 and a Candidate Master in 2013.

Her highest FIDE rating was 2138 in July 1999.

From Wikipedia :

“Helen Milligan (born Helen Scott; 25 August 1962) is a Scottish-New Zealand chess player holding the FIDE titles of Candidate Master (CM) and Woman FIDE Master (WFM), and three-time Asian senior women’s champion.

WFM Helen Milligan
WFM Helen Milligan

In 2004 Milligan co-authored the book “Chess for Children” with Grandmaster Murray Chandler.[2] She is an officer of the New Zealand Chess Federation,[3] and works as a coach at Murray Chandler’s National Chess Centre in Auckland.

Milligan has won or jointly won the Scottish women’s championship three times: in 1982, 1986 and 1988.[5] In 1983 she was joint British ladies’ champion with Rani Hamid.[6]

WFM Helen Milligan in 2010
WFM Helen Milligan in 2010

Milligan represented Scotland in eleven Women’s Chess Olympiads between 1982 and 2006. Since 2008 she has played for New Zealand in this competition,[7] having transferred national federations in 2007.[8]

WFM Helen Milligan vs Susan Arkell
WFM Helen Milligan vs Susan Arkell

Milligan became Oceania women’s champion at the Queenstown Chess Classic tournament in January 2012.[9] She also competed in Women’s Zonal Chess Championships in Bath 1987, Blackpool 1990, Delden 1993, Saint Vincent 1999, and Gold Coast 2009.[citation needed]

She won the Asian senior women’s champion title in 2015 in Larestan, Iran,[10] 2016 in Mandalay, Myanmar[11] and 2017 in Auckland.[12]”

Here is Helen’s chess web site

Here is Helen’s Lichess coaching account

Helen co-authored Chess for Children with Murray Chandler in 2004 :

Chess For Children
Chess For Children

Here is a notable game :

Book Review ‘The Hippopotamus Defence’ – Alessio De Santis

16 Chapters, Bibliography, Explanation of Symbols, Contents, 3 page Index.

This is too detailed a book for what amounts to a very trivial system, an opening pattern obviously popular in bullet or blitz chess.

The Hippopotamus Defence: A Deceptively Dangerous Universal Chess Opening System for Black

A booklet would have done. I don’t give it the thumbs down here because the author has made a sincere and enthusiastic stab at a difficult topic, divided his text into well classified sections and annotated with great guts and gusto. A glance at the Index also shows that he has the courage of his convictions and, by this I mean, lots of games by him. Keene and Botterill wrote about this sort of thing 40+ years ago and I would still refer interested parties to an elderly Batsford rather than this newly issued effort, pleasant and imaginative read though it is.

In case you are wondering, such as  … e6 … d6 … a6 … h6 … Bg7 … Bb7 is the sort of thing this River Horse begins as, labelled on its cover as ‘A Deceptively Dangerous Universal Chess Opening System for Black’. I begin to wonder whether the author may very well have argued his case so well that GMs throughout the known world will sign-up. The cover price of $32.95 looks too expensive to this Old Scrooge.

The author is an FM from Italy.

  • Flexicover : 320 pages
  • Publisher: New in Chess 2019
  • Language: English
  • ISBN 978-90-5691-831-6
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 17 x 2 cm

James Pratt

Basingstoke

 

The Modernized Grünfeld Defense

The Modernized Grünfeld Defense
The Modernized Grünfeld Defense

From the rear cover :

“Yaroslav Zherebukh was born in July 1993 in Lviv, Ukraine. He earned the Grandmaster title in January of 2009 at 15.5 years of age. In 2011 Yaro participated in the World Cup where he was seeded 97 th out of 128 contestants. He won his first three matches against Pavel Eljanov, Ruben Felgaer and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov before losing to David Navara. In 2013 he moved to the United States shifting his focus to coaching and academics. In 2017 he competed in the US Championship in 2017 where he scored a spectacular win over world #2 Fabiano Caruana and qualified to the 2017 World Cup! He has coached a plethora of talented American youths including world class GM Jeffery Xiong. Besides his chess activities, Yaro holds an MA in financial economics from Saint Louis University and has experience working for private equity firms in New York City.”

GM Yaroslav Zherebukh
GM Yaroslav Zherebukh

Also from the rear cover

“The Modernized Grünfeld Defense will be extremely helpful for any chess player looking for a reliable lifetime repertoire against White’s 1.d4. It will benefit current Grünfeld players as Yaro unveils his analysis and numerous novelties waiting to be played over the board.”

This new book on the Grünfeld, a welcome addition to Thinkers Publishing’s “Modernized” series, is written by a 2600+ GM who plays the defence himself. It is a repertoire book,  with the author recommending which variation (and sometimes a choice of variations) to play against each system that White may employ.

The book is arranged into five parts (Exchange Variation, 4Nf3, other 4th moves etc) each containing several chapters for the main sub-variations. There is no overall index of variations, but the reader can quite easily navigate to a particular line by using the Table of Contents and then the Guide at the beginning of each chapter.

The book is very up-to-date (one chapter is devoted to 5 h4) and includes much of Zherebukh’s own analysis and many of his novelties. He typically recommends combative lines which have been much tested in practice. When he does recommend an ambitious sideline (such as 5 …dxc4 in the 5 Bg5 variation) he also provides analysis of the less ambitious “main” line (5 …Ne4 in that example).

This excerpt from the book is, I think, quite typical of Zherebukh’s style. It arises from a rare line in the 7 Bb5+ variation:

Position after: 9…b5

10. Bb3
10 Bc2 b4N A cute novelty, although not terribly important as only 6 games have reached this position according to the ChessBase online database. Still, let’s enjoy the underlying idea. 11. cxb4 a5!

Position after: 11…a5!

A) 12. bxa5 c5=+ The last three pawn moves remind me of checkers: Black is begging White to take all of the pawns to get to the grand prize, the d-pawn.

B) 12. Bd2 axb4 13. Bxb4 c5! And yet one more pretty pawn sacrifice.

Position afer 13… c5!

14. Bxc5 [14.dxc5 Bxa1 15.Qxa1 Ba6 -+] 14 …Na6 The bishop on c5 suddenly doesn’t have any good squares. Note that it cannot retreat to a3 because we would win it after the devastating … Qa5+ followed by …Qxa3. If 15.Rb1 Nxc5 16.dxc5 Qa5+ 17.Qd2 Qxc5 18.Bd3 Be6 -/+ we are about to capture the extra pawn White currently enjoys and then our bishop pair would be vastly superior to White’s knight and bishop.

The material is well-presented and the repertoire suggestions are both aggressive and sound.

The book has some interesting features which I believe add value to the actual chess content. For example, it contains a “Conclusion” in which the author describes, in one or two paragraphs, what was covered in each of the 16 chapters with a couple of additional insights about the variation the chapter covers. For example, about the 4,e3 variation he writes:

While this system is not the most ambitious and is commonly played to avoid the major theoretical battles, I still recommend memorising the precise move orders for Black. In my opinion, White may have some venom in the 5.Nf3 6.b4 system which I suggest studying in detail.

Also, Zherebukh gives some tips on how to learn openings and how to memorise them, including some specifics on how to use software or web sites to achieve this and how he himself prepares to use a newly-learnt opening. (I should point out that the book itself does not rely on software or online content.)

As someone who has been playing the Grünfeld recently, I very much like this book and I can recommend it it to anyone who is seeking to take up the Grünfeld, or who is already playing it.

Colin Purdon, August 23rd 2020

Colin Purdon
Colin Purdon

Book Details :

  • Flexicover : 302 pages
  • Publisher: Thinkers Publishing; 1 edition (14 July 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9492510790
  • ISBN-13: 978-9492510792
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 23.5 cm

Official web site of Thinkers Publishing

The Modernized Grünfeld Defense
The Modernized Grünfeld Defense