Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Final chess league match of the season


Tonight I should be playing Jonathan Hawkins (from Leam Lane) in the final chess league match of the season. Unfortunately, my team can't be champions, but pride will be at stake in what is a direct shoot-out for second place.

Jonathan Hawkins is the rising star of North East chess, after an unprecedented run of tournament victories over the past 18 months, including a very impressive unbeaten 9 out of 11 in the Major Open at the British Championships. At the very strong Blackpool Congress last month, only tenacious defence from Grandmaster Mark Hebden to secure a last round draw prevented Jonathan from notching another tournament first place.

We've played a number of times, usually tussles in the King's Indian. After some near misses, Jonathan got his first win at our last meeting. It also gave him victory in the tournament and appears to have been the springboard to his great series of performances.

In this game from 2003, I met his Anti-King's Indian system head on, riskily opening lines in front of my own king, but releasing my pieces with force:

Jonathan Hawkins - Roger Coathup, Durham Open 2003, Rd. 5
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3

These Anti-King's Indian systems were particularly popular in the '90s. They aimed to stifle Black's typical kingside counterplay, and had the benefit of being relatively simple systems to learn as White. Initially, they caused Black players a lot of problems, but guided by books like Gallagher's "Beating the Anti-King's Indians", we developed the confidence to tackle them with direct play.


6. ... e5 7. d5 a5 8. Bg5 h6 9. Be3 Na6 10. g4 h5 11. g5 Nh7 12. Rg1 c6 13. Na4 c5 14. Nc3 Bd7 15. h4 Nc7 16. a4 Na6 17. Rg3 f5 18. gxf6 Rxf6 19. Ng5 Qf8 20. Qd2 Nb4 21. Nb5

(see diagram)


21. ... Nxg5 22. Bxg5 Rf3 23. Be7 Qxe7 24. Rxf3 Qxh4 25. Nxd6 Bf8 26. Rxf8+ Rxf8 27. Nxb7 Qxe4+ 28. Kd1 Bg4+ 29. Kc1 Qh1 0-1

3 comments:

Jon said...

Thanks for keeping our Classical Nimzo game a secret :)

Roger Coathup said...

Jon,

I was going to mention it, but ran out of space!

I also decided not to mention the missed win late on against Hebden (giving up the h-pawn, but bagging him in a mating net).

What opening you going to play tonight? Have you got a grading?

I've been booking up on 1... b5; honest!

Jon said...

Probably my usual d4, and hope I don't run into your Nimzo prep again.

To be honest though, with Bob driving, I'll be glad just to get there.

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Chess Tales by Roger Coathup: A collection of online articles about chess and chess players.