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.

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

Tactics Practice

When I started chess I was not very good at tactics. My Dad explained that this was a very important area and since then I have solved over 100,000 tactical positions. The first 70-80k were using the tactics software from ChessOK and after that I have done daily practice on Chessity.

At the moment I’ve solved just less than 30,000 positions on Chessity, which ranks 22nd for the most positions solved on the site. My real ranking might be higher than that as some accounts may have quite a few people using them.

The following game shows this training paying off with the 16…Bxc5 followed by 17…Qxc4 combination.

Sam Davies


After a tough week in school I started with a miserable 1.5/4 in the Intermediate section of the English Rapidplay Championships. But I managed to win both the junior and grading prizes by getting 4 points from the next 5.

It’s important to persevere when things are not going well as this builds character. My Dad has always insisted that I fight on in tournaments and never withdraw, even if I get fed up. This is a great lesson that can be adapted to many situations outside of chess.

My Dad came 4th in the Open with 6.5/9 and he himself bounced back after slumping to 4.5/7. His last round win was against International Master James Poulton:

Sam Davies

King Power in the Endgame

Following up my earlier column about king centralization, here’s a great example of a strong king being decisive in the endgame. It was also a huge upset, with Vishwanathan Anand losing to a player 259 Elo points lower than himself!

Sam Davies

Centralizing the King in the Endgame

This was one of my best rapid play games that I played in Atherton in 2015. At that time I played the Closed Sicilian with White and got a nice advantage out of the opening.

My Dad liked the breakthrough on the queenside with 19.b4 which led to the win of a couple of pawns. He also liked the fact I centralized my king in the endgame while giving Black no counter play.

Sam Davies

No Hurry Against Rush!

I played Steve Rush again on Saturday and managed to win with an endgame squeeze. One thing I’m learning is not to hurry in good positions and instead try to cut out my opponent’s counterplay. Indeed one of the rules of good endgame play is not to hurry, even if your opponent’s name is Rush!

Sam Davies

Manchester Congress

My Dad was equal first in the Manchester Open last weekend with three wins, a draw and a half point bye. I thought this was a good game by him, in a quiet looking position he took the initiative starting with 15…Bb4 and offered the sacrifice of two pawns to maintain it:

Sam Davies

Controlling the Open File

Controlling an open file is especially useful when you can penetrate to the 7th or 8th ranks. Here’s a game in which I managed to do this from the 2015 British Rapidplay Championships:

Sam Davies