The English U-11 Individual Championship was held at Nottingham High School recently, with local interest centring on 10 year old Theo Slade of Marhamcurch, near Bude. After 5 hard-fought games he finished in 3rd= place with 4/5 points, his only loss coming in this game from Round 2 when he faced the eventual Championship winner playing on his home patch.
My notes are much-condensed from those of Dr. Dave Regis, who runs the Exeter Juniors Club and coaches Theo mostly via the internet.
White: Theo Slade (103). Black: Michael Fletcher (141).
Sicilian Defence – Morra Gambit. [B21]
1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Bc4 e6 6.Nf3 Bb4 7.0–0 Nge7 8.Nb5 The right square but probably too early. 8…0–0 9.Bf4 Ba5 10.Qe2 a6 This just nudges the knight to where it wants to go anyway. 11.Nd6 Bc7 12.Rfd1 b5 13.Ng5 White has time to play 13.Bb3 before launching into the double knight attack. 13…h6? Again, just helping a knight on its way. 14.Ngxf7! Rxf7 15.Bxe6!! dxe6? 16.Nxf7 Qf8?! 17.Nxh6+ gxh6 18.Bxc7 After this skirmish, White has rook and 2 pawns for 2 minor pieces. Also, with the queens still on, the Black King can never feel safe. 18…Kh7 19.Rac1 Qg7 20.e5 tending to block in White’s bishop and free up squares for the enemy knights. 20.Bg3. 20…Bb7 21.Qe4+ It’s always tempting to get a check in, but Black has a devastating ambush lined up. 21…Kh8 22.Rd7 Na5! with a threat of mate on g2. 23.Rxe7 Qxe7 24.Qg6 Rc8 25.Qxh6+ Better to unpin the bishop and develop the rook in one move with 25.Rc3 and then maybe 25…Qg7 26.Qxg7+ Kxg7 27.Bxa5 Rxc3 28.Bxc3 leaving White 2 pawns up and a draw at the very least. 25…Qh7 26.Qf6+ Qg7 27.Qh4+ Kg8 28.Qh3 Rxc7 29.Rxc7 Qxc7 30.Qxe6+ White is 2 pieces down, but his 4 passed pawns are some compensation. 30…Qf7 White’s best chance might have been to swap queens and try pushing those 4 free pawns. 31.Qd6? Qxa2 Suddenly it’s all over as the Black pieces cut loose. 32.f4 Qa1+ 33.Kf2 Qxb2+ 34.Kg3 Qxg2+ 35.Kh4 Qxh2+ 36.Kg5 Qg3+ 37.Kf6 Qxf4+ 38.Ke7 Nc6+ 39.Ke6 Qf7# 0–1
The solution to last week’s minimalist problem was for White to underpromote to a rook by 1.Pg8=R Ka2 (forced) 2.Ra8 mate. Promoting to a queen, as is usual, would have denied Black any move at all, resulting in a stalemate draw.
By contrast, there’s a lot going on in this Soviet 2-mover from 1945. Can you sort it all out and find White’s quickest kill?