Round Three Overview by James Harrison
In an action packed round, we saw a crazy statistical anomaly as the white pieces won on all 8 boards.
I’d like to highlight a tactical idea that occurred in several of the games, called an intermezzo (also called an “in-between move” or “zwischenzug”). This is where instead of playing the obvious move, e.g. recapturing a piece, you first play another threatening move like a check, and then play the obvious move afterwards. You should always be on the lookout for these moves, although they don’t always work. In the games we saw both good and bad examples. You can read more about the intermezzo here.
James Harrison 1-0 Jake Sullivan
Jake arrived a bit late to the board and decided he had to play very quickly. He rushed the opening and got a bad position after a few moves, having used less than a minute of thinking time. I’ve already spoken previously about how disappointing it is to see people playing too fast, but it seems the message hasn’t gotten across. Anyway I was much better after the first complications, with his king stuck in the middle, and then in a couple more moves I won his bishop. Then the game went on forever because he didn’t want to resign, but there was nothing to play for.
Stephen Harrison 1-0 Perry Moore
Steve wrote up a summary but sadly lost it due to technical issues. Anyway it was an important result for him which keeps him in contention with the other top seeds.
Peter Hamill-Stewart 1-0 Harry Mitchell
Harry made a mistake early on and got his queen pinned to his king by Peter’s bishop. Much like in my game, Peter was too good to let the game slip, and his younger opponent probably regretted not thinking for longer in the opening. The game finished in checkmate after 19 moves.
Adrian Breakspear 1-0 John Martin
Here is Adrian’s summary:
“John was very unlucky with the draw, bring paired against the two highest rated players in the tournament in successive weeks. I opened with my favourite Colle system, which although initially passive, often takes white into the middle game with a slight advantage and can become very tactical. John played well and was initially fine, but looked to ease the pressure by launching a kingside attack. I was able to simply ignore it and exploit the weaknesses in his pawn structure that resulted. After some exchanges I entered an ending two pawns up and was able to convert.”
If it’s any consolation to John, the last two games will have stretched him as a player, and he will see a benefit to his game in the long term.
Aaron Milne 1-0 William Smith
William played a slightly unusual opening system, but after some reasonable moves by both sides it turned into quite an even looking middlegame (to my eyes). Aaron started a plan of expanding on the queenside, and William tried to counter in the centre with pawn to d5. However this allowed a sequence which won Aaron a pawn. Then soon after there were tactical complications with various pieces attacking each other. Aaron played the nice intermezzo Ne6, forking black’s heavy pieces, rather than saving his own rook. William perhaps missed this, and it allowed Aaron to win material. The damage could have been limited, but instead William blundered his queen and promptly resigned.
Ashley Norton 1-0 Cade Birch
Henry Booth 1-0 James White
James will struggle to believe he lost this one. He appeared to be cruising to victory before self-destructing at the end. It just goes to show that one move can turn any game around. The opening was an English and they reached an original position after about 5 moves. Henry made a questionable decision to put his queen on f3, a square that was best kept for his knight. James castled which lined his rook up with the queen. In the next few moves James completely took over the f-file and won the f2 pawn with check. Black’s attack was very strong and should have decided the game. However James traded down into what he thought was a winning endgame, and it backfired. Henry got the chance to play the intermezzo bishop takes b7, winning James’ rook in the corner (rather than the obvious move, saving his other bishop). Then the endgame was materially winning for white.
Cara Birch 1-0 Chester
The game started as a London system, and there was some drama early on. In a lapse of concentration, Cara put her bishop on a square where it could be taken. But Chester was in a generous mood and declined to take it. Chester played pawn e5 breaking the centre and leading to some trades. Then Cara made a mistake with pawn to f4, allowing black to capture either of two pawns. There was a tactical melee for the next several moves, with some mistakes and missed opportunities for both sides. Chester played an intermezzo which actually made his position worse: after checking with one rook, white’s king moved up and attacked it, and then both his rooks were hanging. Cara was ahead a rook, but after the next round of captures that was reduced to a knight. The last decisive moment came on move 31, when Cara played a correct intermezzo, counter-attacking Chester’s rook with a pawn. The endgame was then a straightforward win, with white’s pawn unstoppable on the 7th rank.