On Tuesday evening I met up with Ardle and took him along to Dr M’s for a much-anticipated game of chess between two players who have recently taken up the game again, as I have, after a long period of neglect.
In my estimation, Dr M and Ardle are pretty evenly matched at the post-beginner level.
Dr M & Chess
Dr M, being Japanese, brings to the table his knowledge of schoolboy shogi (the Japanese version of chess) and the experience of playing a game or two of chess with me at the end of our “History in English” classes over the last few months.
Actually, one of his teachers, a Jesuit, taught him chess because he disapproved of shogi because of the “drop rule”, whereby a captured piece can return to the board and treacherously fight for its new master.
It is certainly the case that chess is a more “feudal” game, shogi a more “mercenary” one.
Ardle & Chess
For his part, I suppose Ardle played some chess at school, and then a few beery games during the liberty of his bachelerhood, some of which I vaguely remember. Those dim and distant days, the mid ’90s in Hiroshima, served at least to raise his prowess at the board above that of English literature’s prize duffer, Jenning’s schoolboy chum Darbishire in the immortal Jennings stories by Anthony Buckeridge…
Doubtfully he moved a pawn, hesitated, changed his mind and shifted his king to the next square. Jennings unplugged his ears and shaped his hands into a megaphone.
“You can’t do that, Darbishire,” he shouted at the top of his voice. “You’ve made a bish and put yourself in check.”
Jennings Follows A Clue, pg 10
In the last few months, my own renewed interest in chess has coincided with Ardle’s discovery of the iPhone chess app. Ardle is definitely improving. Both Ardle and Dr M will beat me if they play well and I commit one of my habitual “oversights”.
Actually, that’s not quite true. I usually need to commit one criminal gaffe in order to start playing well; victory is assured for the other party if I manage to commit a second gaffe, such noticing and then forgetting that my queen is threatened by a knight.
Dr M is the least gaffe-prone of the three of us, which I suppose his patients would be relieved to know. Before the game, I felt that Ardle had a slight edge, and even after his first gaffe of the evening, I thought he could still win. Ultimately, though, it was his bish with the bishop that bashed him…
|1.||P-Q4||Kt-QB3||The beginnings of the Lundin-Kevitz-Mikenas Defence. For more info on 1... Nc6 see: The Kevitz System on the Kenilworth Chess Club blog.|
|2.||P-K3||P-Q4||Could Dr M be setting up a Stonewall?|
|3.||B-QKt5||B-Q2||Dr M has bolted the 3rd move of the Ruy Lopez onto his Stonewall opening. Interesting, but not too disruptive or threatening...|
|5.||B x Kt||B x B|
|10.||Kt-K5||B x Kt|
|11.||P x B||Kt-K2?||
... Q-Kt4 is more aggressive, an attack on two pawns simultaneously.
|14.||Kt-B3||Q-Kt4?||Timing is crucial. Unfortunately, Black has seriously mistimed this move. Earlier, or later would have been better, but not right now!|
|15.||P-K4!||Q-Kt3||This is White's decisive move.
|16.||P x Kt||Q x BP|
|17.||P x P||Q x P??||Ardle's disastrous oversight was a pity because ... P x P followed by ...P-Q5 keeps White under pressure in spite of everything... Instead, the loss of the Bishop is compounded by having moved the Queen off the KKt file.|
|18.||P x B||P x P|
|19.||Q-Kt4||Q-Q3?||...P-KB4 would at least attack the Queen and stave off the Q+B combination attack...|
|20.||B-R6!||P-Kt3?||... Q-K4 defends the Knights pawn and attacks the knight.|