FIXED OPENINGS & COACHING
Following on from the success of last year's tournament, Croydon CC is again running a Fixed Openings tournament. It is open to all club members (including those who join on the night! )
Playing dates: 5 rounds, from Thursday 24.05.2012 to Thursday 21.06.2012
Start time: 7:45 pm
Entry Fees: $20 adult non-members, $10 Croydon members and Juniors (U18)
Format: Two games per night will be played with a preset starting position, one as White and one as Black. Both players will have 30 minutes for each game. After the games, coaching will be conducted on the chosen opening for the following week. See below for details.
Coaching on chosen openings: Croydon's vice president, IM Guy West, has selected the openings and will lead discussions on two of them. FM Bill Jordan and FIDE Trainer N.Y. Wong have kindly agreed to conduct the lectures on the other three.
The lectures, on the opening for the following week, will take place after the games have finished each round.
Each round of the tournament, one of these players (Jordan, West or Wong) will also be on hand to discuss and analyse the games after they have finished. So this tournament is a fantastic opportunity for the average club player to learn a fair bit about these openings and chess in general.
About the openings: (quoting Guy)
Here are the fixed openings for this year's tournament. Like last year I have tried to make the starting positions entertaining, whilst not prejudicing the result. Both sides should have chances to win with good play.
There is a bias towards positions rich in tactics, partly because these positions tend to be more fun, and partly because unrated games allow the opportunity to move outside our comfort zones and try 'crazy' ideas we wouldn't normally risk.
At the same time I have chosen theoretically important variations of popular openings so as to afford Croydon players the chance to 'taste test' lines they could realistically choose to adopt into their long term repertoire if they appealed.
The chosen openings:
24 May: Round 1: Saemisch King's Indian
Wow! Black gives up a whole queen for just two pieces? Wait a second, don't forget the two pawns Black also gets to keep. This head on attempt by David Bronstein to challenge the feared Saemisch variation against the King's Indian has never been definitively refuted, and if anything it has been White who has blinked and sought new approaches.
This is a genuine long term positional queen sacrifice that should suit positional players who are good at finding the best squares for their pieces. As White you will need to be good at finding ways to snatch the initiative, lest you be slowly overwhelmed by Black's swarming minions.
Round 1 played followed by N.Y. Wong's talk on following week's, Rd 2, position.
31 May: Round 2. Two Knights Defence
This is the main line of the Two Knights Defence in the so called 'Italian Game' or Giuoco Piano opening. Although most strong Grandmasters these days prefer to eschew the provocative 4Ng5 sortie, it has a venerable history going back to the earliest days of recorded games, and has given rise to some very exciting battles. Black sacrifices a pawn for rapid development in an attempt to punish White for the seemingly unprincipled moving of the knight twice in the opening. Is White's attack premature? The jury is still out on this question, but certainly modern theory holds that Black has good compensation for the sacrificed pawn.
Rd 2 played followed by Bill Jordan's talk on following week's, Rd 3, position.
7 June: Round 3: Taimanov variation Modern Benoni
White's 7th and 8th moves usher in the ultra sharp Taimanov variation of the Modern Benoni, which has traditionally been considered the line most likely to kill it by force. Other credible attempted busts of the Modern Benoni mostly involve positional ideas aimed at critically restricting Black's counterplay. One of the drawbacks of specialising in this variation as White is that Black players will often try to reach the Benoni by transposition to avoid it, but is it really to be feared to such an extent? Many strong players have attempted to show that Black has little to fear.
Round 3 played and Guy to do talk on Rd 4 position.
14 June: Round 4: Ivanchuk sacrifice Najdorf Sicilian
No. It is not a clerical error!
I wanted to give Croydon players a glimpse of the fabulous richness of tactics to be found in the most critical of Sicilian lines, the Najdorf variation. So how could I resist discussing this unbelievable 14th move, discovered by the brilliant Vassily Ivanchuk, who unleashed it in a 15 minute game of all places. (He won!)
Consensus is that the sacrifice of Queen for two pawns is sound, but the test is to try and calculate your way through the insane complications. The better tactician should probably win with either colour! After the positional Queen sac of round 4, this position is as tactical as it gets in chess. Good luck!
Round 4 played and Bill to do talk on Rd 5 position.
21 June: Round 5. Kieseritzky variation King's Gambit
What fixed opening tournament would be complete without a debate of this most fundamental line of the King's gambit accepted, the Kieseritsky variation? In the opinion of many strong players it is imperative that this line be okay for White, or else, as Fischer once famously proclaimed, 'The King's Gambit is busted.' White prevents Black from establishing solid support of the extra pawn on f4, but at the cost of giving back some of the time gained by Black's pawn snatching. After a couple of centuries of theoretical argument, this line is still being championed by strong players of both colours.
CLUB MEMBERSHIP & ENTRY FEE: Our annual club membership is $60 for seniors and $40 for juniors, pro rata. The Fixed Openings Tournament has a $10 entry fee.
If you have any questions or want to put down your name for this tournament, just email:
Tournament Arbiter Ian Birchall: firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Jean Watson: email@example.com
We look forward to seeing you at our club!