Author Archives: Sam Davies

About Sam Davies

Sam Davies is the 15 year old son of GM Nigel Davies and a keen chess player in his own right. After a slow start with the game he has made rapid progress in the last few years and is now winning tournaments. Unlike other juniors he does not play in junior tournaments and likes playing positional chess.

The Importance of Tactics

I was surprised that Magnus Carlsen missed several tactics in his game yesterday but he did seem a bit out of sorts. Black’s 33…Rxc5 had probably been missed by White and then later he must have missed 36…Qa4!, which was a killer. It all shows the importance of tactics, which is why I do my Chessity every day!

Sam Davies

A King’s Indian Attack Game

The King’s Indian Attack is a set-up that was first used as a Black opening and then adopted with colours reversed. It can be used almost regardless of what Black plays though it does seem to be better against certain set-ups.

In the game below my Dad uses it against the French and wins a complicated game:

Sam Davies

Beating the Scandi

This last weekend I had White against the Scandinavian Defence and did not know what to do. But since then my Dad and I found a good game which shows how to play against it with White.

It’s a good idea to use Grandmaster games in this way:

Sam Davies

Beating the Schliemann

In the last round of the British Rapidplay Championships my opponent played the Schliemann Gambit against my Ruy Lopez (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 f5) and I replied with what seemed like a natural move, 4.d4. My Dad told me afterwards that this often leads to a piece sacrifice after 4.d4 fxe4 5.Nxe5 Nxe5 6.dxe5 c6 (my opponent played 6…Qh4, which seems dubious) 7.Nc3!?, but White can also just let the e5 pawn go with 7.Be2 and still gets compensation.

Here is a nice game of Judit Polgar’s in which she plays this way and gets strong pressure:

Sam Davies

Going for the Win

It makes sense to going for the win in chess instead of playing it safe. In this game I did so by turning down a draw offer, and I ended up winning my biggest prize ever by getting first place on my own:

Sam Davies

An Important Pawn Lever

Here’s a game I played last weekend. It was a bit of a dull game but Black had an important pawn lever with …c6-c5 at various points. Eventually I broke out with 28…e5 instead, which led to an exchange of rooks and a draw.

Sam Davies

Snuffing Out Counterplay

One of the things my Dad has been teaching me is how to try and snuff out the opponent’s counter play. I think I did a reasonable job of this in the following game from the 2016 Leyland Major:

Sam Davies

Material for the Queen

Here’s my other win from the Crewe Major in which I allowed my opponent to get my queen but had more than enough material as compensation. At one time I would not have wanted to part with the queen at any price, so this is something new for me. I also sacrificed a piece for several pawns in order to break through (24.Nxa6) which again is not something I would have willingly done 6 months ago. So it looks like stepping up my tactics and combination practice is paying off.

Sam Davies

Difficult Pairings

Everybody gets difficult pairings now and then. One of the toughest situations is if you have to play a very young player who is also very good; it’s very embarrassing to lose.

In the Crewe Major last weekend I had to play one of the best 8-year-old players in the World whose ECF grade is 150 already. Fortunately I managed to win after playing one of my best games of the year. It looks like I was strongly motivated!

Sam Davies

Winning A Dodgy Endgame

My position was not that great when I went into this endgame with 9…Qxb3, mainly because of White’s pressure on the open a-file. But when he failed to capitalize on this I gradually consolidated my position with 23…a5! being an important move. After more ups and downs I finally won with just a couple of minutes left on the clock.

Sam Davies