Category Archives: Sam Davies

Building A Centre

I liked this game by Mikhail Botvinnik because he showed how to build a centre for White in the Queen’s Gambit Declined Exchange Variation. This is an alternative plan to the minority attack with b2-b4-b5.

Sam Davies

Staying Active

One thing I’ve been working on recently with my Dad is not to play passively, especially when winning. This helped me win my first game in a long play open tournament, which was especially welcome after I lost my first three games.

I think Black missed 17.Nd4 but the position became a bit dangerous for me with Black’s pieces around my king. Things looked especially nasty after 25…Rxe3, but I started a counterattack with 26.Nf5 and regained the initiative.

Sam Davies

My First Open

At the end of January I played in my first Open tournament at the Nottingham Rapidplay. It went well and I scored 2.5/6 but it wasn’t easy to play against stronger opponents than usual because they make fewer mistakes.

Here’s my game against the strongest opponent I played, Shabir Okhai, who now has a 197 grade. My Dad, who wrote down the moves for me, thought I should play 26…d4 instead of 26…Rfe8 and the engine confirmed that this would have held the balance:

Sam Davies

A Turning Point

Here’s a game from almost two years ago when I’d been playing in adult long play tournaments for less than a year. Up to that point I’d struggled to hold my own in the bottom section but this was the start of a surge forwards. The following summer I won Minor sections at Heywood and then Manchester and was ready to move up to the Majors.

My dad showed me the Caro-Kann so I could learn more about pawn play and avoid the tricky lines White has after 1.e4 e5. In this game I got a broad pawn centre with …f6 and …e5 which helped push White’s pieces back, then afterwards I got a winning sacrifice on g3:

Sam Davies

Using The Pawns

Here’s a game I played in which I used my pawns to take space and leave Black very cramped. The opening was a Closed Sicilian which is a good way to get a positional game against this sharp defence.

The key moment came when I levered open a file on the queenside and got in with my rooks.

Sam Davies

Smothered Mate

This game had a flashy finish with a queen sacrifice and smothered mate. I probably saw this because my Dad makes me do tactics training on Chessity, so he’s right to say it’s important.

Sam Davies

Harrogate 4NCL Congress

I had a tough start in this last weekend’s Harrogate 4NCL Congress with a draw and then two losses against strong opponents. One thing that I’ve talked about a lot with my Dad is to never give in and fight on in the next games, regardless of what has just happened. And I managed it here by winning my last round.

I think I castled a bit early because Black’s attack with …h5 and …h4 was quite dangerous. But I kept calm and eventually got a counterattack along the c-file. The computer says I was never worse:

Sam Davies

Exploiting a Weak Kingside

It can be very dangerous to move pawns in front of your king. In this game, that I played over a year ago, was one in which my opponent moved lots of kingside pawns forward but after 26.Qh5 probably started to regret it:

Sam Davies

Provoking a Weakness

Provoking a weakness is often worthwhile even if it loses a tempo. Here’s a game I played at this year’s Manchester Summer Congress in which my 19.Nc5 looked as if it lost time but when Black drove it back with 19…b6 he could no longer defend the c7 pawn with another pawn.

Black’s position started to deteriorate as the pressure increased and a blunder (23…Ra7) gave me a winning combination.

Sam Davies

My Best Game of 2016

This was my best game of 2016, played against a strong club player and the father of GM Stewart Haslinger. My Dad joked that this was family revenge as he had lost a couple of games against Stewart some years ago!

Sam Davies