Category Archives: 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

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