Category Archives: Dan Staples

False(?) French Fears

“True attacks are realised only with many coordinated pieces and rarely with one or two.” Andre Philidor

I’ve had problems as Black against the Kings Indian Attack. I’ve tended to get overly concerned with White’s Kingside attack and her h pawn advance. As a result, I’ve often, as in this game, played f5 – which is either too early or unnecessary. Having gone through this game with Nigel I think(!) I will feel less concerned about the h pawn advance in future. The variation Nigel gives at move 10 was particularly interesting to me. In it Black focuses on advancing his pawns on the Queenside and while White gets his pawn to h6 Black maintains control of the dark squares around his King.

Dan Staples

Critical Central Control Combat

“The centre is the Balkans of the chessboard; fighting may at any time break out there” – Aron Nimzowitsch

I seem to keep making mistakes playing the French. The crucial pawn lever is c5 and Black has to play it in a timely manner. In this game it was important to play 6…c5. Instead I got a very cramped position with a very troublesome light squared bishop. However, Nigel thought I defended well and was able to take advantage of White’s blunder on move 23.

Dan Staples

Good Gurevich Game

In my lesson today we looked at a QGD game I played against David Buckley.

I was concerned about White playing 11. Ne4 instead of 11.O-O. Nigel suggested the Cambridge Springs as a possibility to consider in future.

Here is a video clip by Andrew Martin on the Cambridge Springs covering some tactical ideas in a game by Gurevich.

Happy New Year.

Dan Staples

Keep It Simple Staples

The Woodhouse Cup is a Yorkshire inter city competition running from September to April. I’ve played for a couple of years and until Black’s excellent 33…g5 I thought I was going to win this game.

I had played fairly well to gain an exchange advantage. However, I having done so I should have reset my attitude and just played slowly for another advantage. Instead I tried to force things. My big error was with 22. Rh4. which with hindsight looks just plain wrong. I had some convoluted reasoning involving the Black Knight, playing f4 and getting my bishop on the long diagonal which don’t convince in the cold light of day. I didn’t consider 23…f5.

A cautionary tale about keeping things simple.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated” – Confucius

Dan Staples

Slav Extraction

I’ve been down at the London Chess Classic. I worked 10 days straight. It was too hard to resist playing and I entered the weekday U2050. I won my games with White but lost with Black. I was so tired that is was hard to calculate. Also, I had intermittent toothache.

I registered with a dentist while there and saw him yesterday. He said I had fractured a tooth and it needed extracting. In the evening I had to play a delayed game in the York Club Championship – which I’m organising. Btw I can recommend this free software.

I had struggled to get an advantage with White against Paul in the past and decided to play 3.c4. I still didn’t get much. His pieces seemd rather far from his King so I decided to attack on the Kingside and played 14.g4. If I had seen 20.Qh4 things would have been different. I tried a speculative Knight sacrifice which Black easily defended.

Today my dentist gave me a 2.30 appointment (it did!). My tooth didn’t want to leave my jaw but with the drill and some heavy duty instruments it succumbed.

Dan Staples

Should have gone for a Hedgehog

This game against Paul Johnson was not one of my better efforts! Paul is a stalwart of York RI and has contributed greatly to its success.

I think I should have gone for a Hedgehog formation, as Nigel suggested in our lesson (notes below), with for example 8…d6. Nigel thought that 18.Ne4 was good by Paul, good to keep pieces on in an IQP position. I hit out (lurched!) with 21…f5 as is my wont. Nigel suggested the calmer and, in the cold light of day, far more aesthetically pleasing 21…Ne7. In the end I’m dead in the water but time was a big factor in Paul’s decision to accept the draw!

Dan Staples

A Loss for The London

As ever, I will be very interested to hear what Nigel thinks of this game when we go through it.

My position was very cramped and I thought I was worse after the advance of White’s b pawn. However, looking at it with HIARCS the engine prefers Black after the gain of the bishop pair on move 4. Though Nigel will not necessarily agree with that assessment!

After the game Gary thought he was better after the exchange of Queens. He thought opening the a-file was good for him. He also criticised 3…Nh5 but I was happy to gain the bishop pair and disrupt White’s pawn structure.

Looking back I’m surprised (and disappointed!) that I felt the need to withdraw my knight to d8 on move 14 rather than starting to free my position with Bd6.

The game finished with a blunder. However, going through a few variations it looks as though Black would be able to free his position eventually and be a little better.

Dan Staples

Colle Flower

This was a nice win for the Colle. Last season I’d played IM James Adair in these lines and lost, albeit narrowly! However, our Captain said after the game that he’d never known Yousuf to lose. Yousuf himself said that he used to play the Colle but frustratingly had forgotten the correct line.  I had been anticipating playing James Adair again and had looked at 11.a3 lines instead of 11.Qe2 but in response to 10… Qc7 not 10…0-0. So in the absence of 10… Qc7 then in hindsight I expect 11.e5 was the move! How our minds work… I’d be interested in comments from fellow Colle players.

Dan Staples

London Loss

This is a game against a friend, John Foley. Nigel thought I was playing over ambitiously because of good recent results! I hope today that I wouldn’t even consider 12…Bxh4 and that the 11…c5 lever would be more automatic. Nigel shared a couple of interesting games in this system.

Dan Staples

Post into Practice

My first game after last week’s post on the French Rubinstein was a French Rubinstein. I think that looking at Georg Meier’s games helped me think about being more active with Black particularly with the major pieces. So moves like 8…Qa5+ and 16…Rxd6 and later activity with the rooks and queen.

I’ve found that most players at my level don’t play 6.Nxf6, which is the most common master move, however White did so here.  I was unsure about playing Black’s key lever 7…c5 straightaway and the most common move after 7.Bg5 is 7… h6 which is what Nigel recommends. It’s so hard to remember!

In the Rubinstein White’s knight does sometimes come to e5 and can be very dangerous but it doesn’t seem right here and then coming to d3 felt a little awkward for White.  I was aware of the idea of pushing the e pawn as a way of activating Black’s light squared bishop and was pleased to have played it. I think seeing the potential of exploiting the pinned knight with 18…Bf5 was a result of my Chessity tactic training. Although I hadn’t looked at 19.g4 in reply which came as a surprise. I thought it was just a wild swing but it is what my engine suggests and I really should have considered it. I lost a lot of my advantage by not taking the g pawn with my knight but I didn’t analyse it very well and missed that after the exchanges on g4 I’d have Rg6 pinning White’s queen.

I like the look of the final position with his rooks and queen lined up on the e file and my rooks and queen lined up on the 2nd rank.

Dan Staples