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.

Miserable Defences

It always surprises me when I see players choose miserable defences as Black.Not only can the results be pretty bad, you can also get a game in which you do nothing but suffer.

My Dad and I recently looked at the defence played in the game below but it just looked too miserable for Black. Black’s doubled pawns on e6 and e5 can be defended in the short term but in the long run they leave his position looking very passive. After 25 moves it was only White who could win and he finally did so after another 50 moves.

Sam Davies

Last Round Wins

Winning in the last round makes all the difference to a tournament. After four rounds in Blackpool I was only on one point, despite having had two winning positions with White but I managed to win the last game which changed the result completely:

Sam Davies

Bent Larsen’s Influence

My Dad has told me how Bent Larsen’s booklet Solide Apninger (Solid Openings) influenced a generation of young Danish players with the openings choices presented. Here is an example of this with Peter Heine Nielsen beating a Russian GM with the Old Indian, a really good moment being the queen sacrifice with 20…Qxe3:

Sam Davies

Another King’s Indian Attack Win

Since switching to 1.e4 last November my most successful opening has been the King’s Indian Attack. My Dad has played this a lot and taught it to me by showing me some thematic games and quizzing me about what I should do next in certain positions. I think this is a better way to learn openings than just trying to remember a series of moves because you learn how to handle the middle game.

Here’s a win from the Doncaster Major which gave me 4 wins out of 4 with it:

Sam Davies

Digging Deep

Even when a situation seems hopeless it’s not always so clear. In this game White lost a piece after 29…d4, but the endgame proved to be complicated.

The lesson to be learned is to never give up and always try to find ways to create chances.

Sam Davies

Sacrificing the Exchange

Here’s a game I went through with my Dad which featured a win by Nigel Short in the Closed Sicilian. His exchange sacrifice with 17.Rxc6 was very good, he got both of Black’s central pawns with 18.Nxe5 and then 19.Nxd4 and then managed to shut down Black’s counterplay:

Sam Davies

Grinding Out A Win

Here’s a game of mine from this last weekend in which I managed to grind out a win in what looked like an even endgame. I was helped by my opponent’s shortage of time but I had a slight edge later in the game that was enough encouragement to keep going.

Sam Davies

A Rapidplay Secret

My Dad and I played in the Stockport Rapidplay yesterday, I got 3.5/6 in the Major and Dad got 5.5/6 to win the Open. One of the things he has told me is that in faster time limits its really important to stay ahead on the clock, and this was probably what decided his round 5 game against Macklin:

Sam Davies


Here’s a complicated game I played this last weekend. It also took almost 4 hours, which is one of my longest games so far.

I think I kept my position alive by finding tactical resources, though my Dad says I was lost at various points and should have advanced my queenside pawns. In any case I was happy to draw:

Sam Davies

Chess and Table Tennis

Yesterday I played in my first table tennis tournament and won three of my seven matches. Overall I would say that table tennis tournaments seem more fun because people talk more and it’s less tense. I also think it will help my chess because you can’t make a draw and always have to play to win.

It seems that Bobby Fischer was also a fan of table tennis and always played to win in his chess games. Here is a Fischer game in which his opponent finally cracked under the strain. It seems Geller thought that 67…g3 was impossible because of 68.fxg3+ followed by 69.Kxf1!, all of which is illegal!

Sam Davies