Happy Birthday GM Willie Watson (18-iv-1962)

William Watson
William Watson

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to GM William Nicholas Watson (18-iv-1962)

William Watson
William Watson

Here is his brief Wikipedia entry

This was written about William who was 16 just prior to the 1979 Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display :

“St Paul’s and Barnes. Rating 204. British under-21 co-champion, 1977. 16th British men’s championship, 1978.”

William Watson at a BCF National Club Final (top left)
William Watson at a BCF National Club Final (top left)

William Watson (2nd from left)
William Watson (2nd from left)

William Watson (2nd from left)
William Watson (2nd from left)

The King’s Indian According to Tigran Petrosian

The King's Indian According to Tigran Petrosian
The King’s Indian According to Tigran Petrosian

The King’s Indian According to Tigran Petrosian : Igor Yanvarjov

International Master Igor Yanvarjov is a professional chess coach. He has been a coach at the Moscow Chess Club “Spartak,” and has been on the coaching staff of a number of chess schools, including those of Petrosian, Geller, Karpov and Garry Kasparov. Grandmasters he has worked with include Lembit Oll, Rustem Dautov, Yury Piskov, among others. He currently teaches chess at the Anatoly Karpov Chess School in Moscow.

Igor Yanvarjov with Tigran Petrosian
Igor Yanvarjov with Tigran Petrosian

Tigran Petrosian, the ninth world chess champion was born to Armenian parents on June 17, 1929 in Tiflis Georgia.  He was known as one of the deepest thinkers the chess world has ever seen. His handling of complex strategic positions was legendary. His play combined deft tactical awareness with an acute sense of prophylaxis, so that opponents had the greatest difficulty in laying a finger on him. For his own part, he often seemed content holding the margin of the draw  rather than undertaking any heroics in pursuit of a win. In the analysis room, and in blitz games, Petrosian’s abundant tactical skills were apparent to everyone, but to the spectator of his tournament games, these were far from obvious, and he was regarded as dull. Petrosian responded to this criticisms by saying: “They say my games should be more ‘interesting’. I could be more ‘interesting’—and also lose.” Petrosian still remains one of the greatest players in the history of chess and if you were to consult the now defunct Chessmetrics Website, Tigran Petrosian was listed in the top 20 players of all time and was ranked at No 8 in  the 20 year peak range category (1954 – 1973). He was an expert against the King’s Indian Defence and played the system that now bears his name (although he was far more successful with the Samisch variation).

This is the first book by Russian international master Igor Yanvarjov. He has put together a superb collection of virtually all the known games played by Tigran Petrosian – with both colours – in the King’s Indian Defence and other closely related Indian  structures. He does this with the presentation of almost 300 deeply annotated, complete games. Although the material is organised by variations and tabias  this is not an opening manual but it demonstrates the skill and nuanced handling of positions that Petrosian was known for. The author’s objective wasted reveal the richness of Petrosian’s chess world and to follow the strategic development of the King’s Indian Defence through the prism of Petrosian’s creative work.

The book is divided into three parts with each part being split into several chapters. preceded by a preface from Levon Aronian a forward from Igor Zaitsev and a note from the author.

They are as follows :

Part 1 Tabiyas (Tabia number in brackets)
Chapter 1 Classical Variation (A1 – A7)
Chapter 2 The Samisch System (B1 – B10)
Chapter 3 The Fianchetto Variation (C1 – C10)
Chapter 4 The Benoni (D1 – D10)
Chapter 5 Other Systems (E1- E10)
Part 2 Elements of Success
Chapter 6 Portrait of a Chess Player
Chapter 7 Lessons from Petrosian
Chapter 8 The Problem of the Exchange
Chapter 9 “Furman’s Bishop”
Chapter 10 “Pawns are the Soul of Chess”
Chapter 11 Playing by Analogy
Chapter 12 Manoeuvring Battle
Part III Experiments
Chapter 13 Realist or Romantic?
Chapter 14 The King’s Indian with Colours – and Flanks – Reversed

The bibliography in this book contains nearly 80 entries which will give the reader some idea of the amount of research that the author has carried out for the  preparation of this book.

The games are all annotated to varying degrees of depth. Some have only light notes, whereas others have very detailed analytical variations. It is in this area Yanvarjov has done an excellent job. Many of the games contain quoted historical analysis or comments, whether by Tigran himself or his contemporaries.  In addition the author goes into great analytical detail where it makes sense to do so. I also thought that IM Yanvarjov did an excellent job in getting the right balance between prose and variations to describe the action taking place within the positions. In some cases a verbal description is given which should be helpful to players of club level in particular.

The following game is considered to be one of Petrosian’s finest achievements

In my opinion this is a superb book, written as a labour of love to showcase the player who appears to have made the biggest impression on the author. It contains a splendid collection of annotated games that will have enormous appeal to King’s Indian players.  Not only will it appeal to anyone who wishes to increase their strategic understanding of the game but also to anyone who wants a superb games collection from which any reader will derive a great deal of benefit and enjoyment.

Tony Williams, Newport, Isle of Wight, 17th April 2020

Tony Williams
Tony Williams

Book Details :

  • Softcover : 424 pages
  • Publisher: Russell Enterprises, Inc. (June 17, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1941270573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1941270578
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.5 x 10 inches

Official web site of Russell Enterprises

The King's Indian According to Tigran Petrosian
The King’s Indian According to Tigran Petrosian

Remembering Timothy George Whitworth (31-vii-1932 17-iv-2019)

Timothy George Whitworth
Timothy George Whitworth

BCN remembers Timothy George Whitworth (31-vii-1932 17-iv-2019)

Endgame Magic
Endgame Magic

Here is an excellent article from Brian Stephenson

Endgame Magic
Endgame Magic

Here is an obituary from The Guardian

Leonid Kubbel's Chess Endgame Studies
Leonid Kubbel’s Chess Endgame Studies
Mattison's Chess Endgame Studies
Mattison’s Chess Endgame Studies
Mattison's Chess Endgame Studies, Whitworth, T. G., 01-12-1987. ISBN 978-0-900846-47-2., British Chess Magazine, Quarterly, Number 23
Mattison’s Chess Endgame Studies, Whitworth, T. G., 01-12-1987. ISBN 978-0-900846-47-2., British Chess Magazine, Quarterly, Number 23
The Platov Brothers : Their Chess Endgame Studies
The Platov Brothers : Their Chess Endgame Studies
Timothy George Whitworth
Timothy George Whitworth

Happy Birthday GM Peter Kenneth Wells (17-iv-1965)

GM Peter Wells, courtesy of John Upham Photography
GM Peter Wells, courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to GM Peter Kenneth Wells (17-iv-1965)

Here is his very brief Wikipedia entry

Peter Wells (seated, far LHS)
Peter Wells (seated, far LHS)

This was written about Peter aged 13 prior to the Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display in 1979 :

” St John’s College and Portsmouth. Rating 174. British under-14 co-champion, 1978.”

and from chessgames.com :

“Peter Kenneth Wells was born in Portsmouth, England and became a FIDE Master in 1982, an IM in 1987, and a GM in 1994. He is also a FIDE Senior Trainer (2015).”

Peter Wells (between Harry Golombek and Ray Keene) takes part in the obligatory "Staring at the board" posed picture during the 1985 Varsity Match
Peter Wells (between Harry Golombek and Ray Keene) takes part in the obligatory “Staring at the board” posed picture during the 1985 Varsity Match

Peter Wells (second from right) at a Lloyds Bank event.
Peter Wells (second from right) at a Lloyds Bank event.
GM Peter Wells
GM Peter Wells
The Complete Semi-Slav
The Complete Semi-Slav
Piece Power
Piece Power
The Complete Richter-Rauzer
The Complete Richter-Rauzer
The Scotch Game
The Scotch Game
Winning with the Trompowsky
Winning with the Trompowsky
Chess Explained : The Queen's Indian
Chess Explained : The Queen’s Indian
Grandmaster Secrets : The Caro-Kann
Grandmaster Secrets : The Caro-Kann
Dangerous Weapons : Anti-Sicilians
Dangerous Weapons : Anti-Sicilians
GM Peter Wells
GM Peter Wells

Smyslov on the Couch

Smyslov on the Couch
Smyslov on the Couch

Smyslov on the Couch : Genna Sosonko

Gennadi Borisovich Sosonko
Gennadi Borisovich Sosonko

 

Genna Sosonko emigrated from the USSR to the Netherlands in 1972.  For the past 20 years or so he’s made a career out of writing essays and books about chess in the Soviet Union, and interviewing many of the leading players from that period.

This, following on from books about Bronstein and Korchnoi, which will be reviewed later, is the third of a series of memoirs. Whereas Bronstein and Korchnoi were strong personalities who had controversial careers, Smyslov was a much more balanced character.

The word most associated with Smyslov is ‘harmony’. He sought harmony in his chess games, always seeking the most harmonious placing of his pieces. He was also a talented opera singer:  harmony again.

In the first part of this book, Sosonko introduces us to his friend. The life of a chess player in the Soviet Union must have been a mixed blessing. While you were living in a totalitarian regime, chess was valued and its exponents respected – as long as they toed the party line. Smyslov, we learn, was a man of profound and sincere religious convictions: a member of the Russian Orthodox church. Beyond that, he was also, rather unexpectedly, interested in all things paranormal. He seemed to believe in astrology and the prophecies of Nostradamus, and was convinced that chess originated on Atlantis. It always intrigues me how many strong chess players, who excel at thinking rationally over the chessboard, have totally irrational views on other subjects.

Perhaps it was this fatalism, the belief that everything in his life was pre-ordained, which enabled Smyslov to ‘go with the flow’ during his chess career.

At the end of this part, we have eight pages of photographs, before moving onto part 2

Now we turn the clock back to the 1953 Candidates Tournament, and, specifically, this game, from round 26.

The tournament was approaching its end: Smyslov was leading but Bronstein still had a chance to win the prize of a title match against Botvinnik. The Soviet authorities instructed Bronstein to play for a draw, which, as you can see, he did, choosing the Exchange Variation of the Ruy Lopez, long before Fischer rehabilitated it as a winning try.

Bronstein never forgot this, and, nearly half a century later, published an article about match fixing in the 1953 Candidates Tournament which angered the usually placid Smyslov. Bronstein’s article and Smyslov’s reply both appear here.

Sosonko then moves on to discuss, in more general terms, the Soviet Chess School, offering revealing insights as to what life was like for grandmasters from the USSR.

The final third of the book returns to Smyslov, and is based on conversations with the great man during the last eight years of his life: from 2002 to 2010. I’ll have a lot more to say about this when I review Sosonko’s memoirs of Bronstein and Korchnoi, but I’m not sure how much this adds to our knowledge of Smyslov, or how much he would have wanted to be remembered for his declining years.

If you’ve read any of Sosonko’s other writing you’ll know that he writes well, and, very often, poignantly. He tends to throw in a lot of cultural references, which you might find helpful, but, on the other hand, you might just think is showing off. Me: I enjoyed the musical references but mentions of Russian literature often mean nothing to me.

It’s not quite true that there’s no chess in the book: there’s just one game, played when he was 14, which, although Sosonko doesn’t mention it, is spookily similar to the Famous Game Rotlewi-Rubinstein.

If you’re looking for a book that will improve your rating, then, you’ll want to look elsewhere. If you want to know more about Smyslov as a person, you’ll probably enjoy the first third of the book. If you’re interested in the history of chess in the Soviet Union, particularly in the years following the Second World War, you might want to read the second part, but you’ll need to bear in mind that the author is an compiler of memoirs and anecdotes, not a historian. It’s the final section that leaves me with mixed feelings. A moving testimony of the final years of a much loved and respected champion, or just voyeurism? I’m in two minds: maybe you should read the book and decide for yourself.

 

Richard James, Twickenham 15 April 2020

Richard James
Richard James

Book Details :

  • Paperback : 199 pages
  • Publisher: Limited Liability Company Elk and Ruby Publishing House (5 Nov. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 5950043324
  • ISBN-13: 978-5950043321
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm

Official web site of Elk and Ruby

Smyslov on the Couch
Smyslov on the Couch

Remembering Joseph Edmund Peckover (15-xi-1896 – 16-iv-1982)

We remember Joseph Edmund Peckover (15-xi-1896 – 16-iv-1982)

From The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks :

Born in London on the 15th November 1896, Peckover has lived in New York since 1921. He has composed about 70 endgame studies :

JE Peckover , 1st Prize, Problem 1958 – 59 Award July 1960.

Here is his Wikipedia entry

Here is his entry on chesscomposers.com

Remembering IM Colin Stamford Crouch (14-x-1956 16-iv-2015)

IM Colin Stamford Crouch
IM Colin Stamford Crouch

BCN remembers IM Colin Stamford Crouch (14-x-1956 16-iv-2015)

From Chessgames.com :

“Colin Stamford Crouch was born in Bushey, England. He was an International Master, and the author of a number of chess books.”

IM Colin Stamford Crouch
IM Colin Stamford Crouch

Here is an obituary from the ECF written by Stewart Reueben

Colin at Hastings with John Nunn at Hastings 1992-3
Colin at Hastings with John Nunn at Hastings 1992-3

An obituary from Kingpin Magazine

Evgeny Bareev and Colin Crouch at Hastings 1992 - 3
Evgeny Bareev and Colin Crouch at Hastings 1992 – 3

An obituary from The Telegraph written by Malcolm Pein

Colin and friends during a Lloyds Bank Masters
Colin and friends during a Lloyds Bank Masters
Colin Crouch at a BCF National Club Final
Colin Crouch at a BCF National Club Final

An obituary from The Guardian by David Crouch

Colin Crouch by Cathy Rogers
Colin Crouch by Cathy Rogers
Rate Your Endgame
Rate Your Endgame
Hastings 1895 - The Centenary Book
Hastings 1895 – The Centenary Book
Attacking Technique
Attacking Technique
The Queen's Gambit Declined 5.Bf4!
The Queen’s Gambit Declined 5.Bf4!
Rate Your Endgame
Rate Your Endgame
How to Defend in Chess
How to Defend in Chess
Modern Chess Move by Move
Modern Chess Move by Move
Magnus Force
Magnus Force
Fighting Chess Move by Move
Fighting Chess Move by Move

IM Colin Crouch
IM Colin Crouch

Remembering Herbert William Trenchard (08-ix-1857 15-iv-1934)

Herbert William Trenchard
Herbert William Trenchard

BCN remembers Herbert William Trenchard (08-ix-1857 15-iv-1934)

From Wikipedia :

“Herbert William Trenchard (8 September 1857, Thorncombe – 15 April 1934, London) was an English chess master.

He took 11th and tied for 4-5th in London in 1886, shared twice 3rd at Cambridge 1890 and Oxford 1891, tied for 4-5th at Brighton 1892, took 2nd at London 1892 (B tourn), tied for 3rd-4th at Woolhall Spa 1893, and took 3rd at London 1896,[1]

He also participated at Vienna 1898 (Kaiser-Jubiläumsturnier, Siegbert Tarrasch and Harry Pillsbury won) and took 19th place there.[2][3]”

Here are his games from chessgames.com

Here is a fascinating article about the National Liberal Club Chess Circle

from the chess column of the Essex Times, 22 April 1905
from the chess column of the Essex Times, 22 April 1905

Happy Birthday Peter Richard Markland (13-iv-1951)

Peter Richard Markland
Peter Richard Markland

BCN wishes a happy birthday to Peter Richard Markland (13-iv-1951)

Here is his brief Wikipedia entry :

“Peter Markland (born 13 April 1951 in Bolton, Lancashire) is a British chess player. He was a member of the British team at the Chess Olympiads in 1972 and 1974.[1]

Peter Markland is since 1984 an ICCF Grandmaster.[citation needed]” See here

Peter Markland was the highest ranked British chess player in the first official FIDE Elo list in 1971. This was published in July 1971.

From the rear cover of “Sicilian:…e5 :

“P.R. Markland is a British Master, and a member of many English international teams, including those at the 1972 and 1974 Olympiads, and is also a British correspondence international”

Peter first qualified the British Championship in 1967 (Oxford) and obtained an IM norm at Hastings 1979.

Peter became a banker and lives in Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP13.

The Best of Karpov
The Best of Karpov

Sicilian:...e5 by TD Harding & PR Markland
Sicilian:…e5 by TD Harding & PR Markland
Sicilian Richter-Rauzer
Sicilian Richter-Rauzer

Happy Birthday FM Harry Grieve (12-iv-2001)

FM Harry Grieve
FM Harry Grieve

BCN wishes happy birthday to FM Harry James M Grieve (12-iv-2001)

Here is an article from Harry’s school, RGS Guildford.

Harry at the 2012 UKCC Terafina, Loughborough Grammar School
Harry at the 2012 UKCC Terafina, Loughborough Grammar School

Harry is studying mathematics at St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge having previously been a pupil and member of the very strong chess team of Royal Grammar School, Guildford. He started his league chess with Fleet & Farnborough Chess Club (same as Simon Williams !) and then transferred his allegiance to the very strong Farnham chess club playing top board in many matches.

He was recruited to the AMCA 4NCL team and then played for the BCM 4NCL team and now plays for Guildford in 4NCL and Farnham in the Surrey Border League.

Round 5 of the Caplin Hastings International Chess Congress featured the board 10 clash between one of England’s stronger Grandmasters, Danny Gormally (2508) and FM Harry Grieve (2299).

Here is their game :

Following this game Harry needs 2.5/4 to obtain his first IM norm : Good luck !

Harry Grieve, 2014 Terafinal
Harry Grieve, 2014 Terafinal