One of the aspects that I enjoy about chess is the mystery associated with ideas, tactical brilliancies and of course concepts that players are prepared to play and try out in the heat of battle. One of my favourite books that I enjoy going over is Secrets of Spectacular Chess (Everyman Chess, 2008, Second Edition) by Jonathan Levitt and David Friedgood. They spent quite some in the Introduction talking about chess aesthetics which they describe as the value of developing an eye for the beauty of the game. They argue that the beauty of chess can be considered under hedonism (pleasure seeking), cultural/ artistic value, educational and practical value. After discussing the above items, they then introduce their own concept to appreciate chess aesthetics which consists of the following elements
- Paradox – the authors describe this under the description Surprise, outrageousness
- Depth- subtlety, complexity where the idea is not immediately obvious
- Geometry- patterns, repetitions, echoes
- Flow: – describes the smoothness of movement
I have taken a look at the top sections of the SA Closed in 2019 and based purely on my subjective choice. I have selected the following positions and extracts from games for your enjoyment of chess aesthetics!
- Michael James versus Ben Hercules in round two had an interesting battle. Hercules had played Kh7 getting out of the pin. James now embarked on an interesting idea. He played 20. ed leaving the bishop to its fate after 20..gh5. 21. James continued to press the attack and the game soon ended after
(6) James,M (1929) – Hercules,B (2209) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (2.6), 08.12.2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2 a6 8.0–0–0 h6 9.Nxc6 bxc6
10.Bf4 d5 11.Qe3 Be7 12.Be2 Nd7 13.Qg3 Kf8 14.Bc7 Qe8 15.Rhe1 Bb7 16.Kb1 Bf6 17.f4 g6
18.f5 Kg7 19.Bh5 Kh7 20.exd5 gxh5 21.dxe6 Nc5 22.Qe3 Rc8 23.Ba5 Nxe6 24.fxe6 fxe6 25.Ne4 Be7 26.Nd6 Bxd6 27.Rxd6 Qf7 28.Qd3+ Kg8 29.Rd7 1–0
The idea with ed may fall under paradox and depth!!
- In round three Mohammed Bhawoodien against Michael James was faced with an interesting choice at a critical juncture. Let’s look at that critical juncture.
FM Mohammed Bhawoodien
White cannot castle as he had moved his king already when capturing piece on d2. It is not an
easy position for white. White decided to …….. can you guess before you look?
(2) Bhawoodien,M (2129) – James,M (1929) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (3.2), 09.12.2019 ]
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 0–0 5.Nge2 d5 6.a3 Be7 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Bd2 c5 9.Nxd5 Qxd5 10.Nc3 Qd7 11.dxc5 Rd8= 12.b4 a5 13.Na4 Qc7 14.Nb6 Ra7 15.Qc1 Rxd2 16.Kxd2 Bf6 17.Rb1 axb4 18.axb4 Nd7 19.Nxc8 Qxc8 20.Bb5 Ra2+ 21.Ke1 Ne5 22.Bc4 Qd7 23.Bxa2 Nd3+ 24.Ke2 Nxc1+ 25.Rbxc1 h5 26.b5 Be5 27.f4 Bc7 28.c6 bxc6 29.Rxc6 g5 30.Rd1 Qe7 31.b6 Bxb6 32.Rxb6 gxf4 33.exf4 Qh4 34.Rb8+ Kg7 35.Rd2 Qxh2 36.Kf3 ½–½
White decided to play BxRa2 thus allowing him to lose his queen!! Who has the advantage after this? I leave that up to the reader. The game certainly had its fair share of paradox!
- Two youngsters who have a bright chess future Keith Khumalo and Roland
Bezuidenhout played each other in the same round. Let’s join the action just after Khumalo plays Qe3
Khumalo vs Bezuidenhout. What did Bezuidenhout now play to end the game!
Queen to f1+ ends the game dramatically! Khumalo played Rxf1 but after Rxf1+, White tried Qg1 but Bezuidenhout captured Rxc1 forcing resignation!
(3) Khumalo,K (2148) – Bezuidenhout,R (2200) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (3.3), 09.12.2019
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.0–0 Nf6 6.c4 cxd4 7.Nxd4 Bc5 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Qc2 Be7
10.Rd1 0–0 11.e4 Bb7 12.Nc3 Qc7 13.Qb3 dxe4 14.Bf4 e5 15.Bg5 Bc8 16.Bxf6 Bxf6 17.Nxe4 Be7
18.c5 Be6 19.Qa3 f5 20.Nc3 Rad8 21.b4 e4 22.Rac1 Bg5 23.Rb1 Qe5 24.Ne2 Bc4 25.Bf1 Bd3
26.Ra1 f4 27.Qb3+ Kh8 28.gxf4 Bxf4 29.Ng3 Bxg3 30.fxg3 Qf6 31.Bg2 e3 32.Rac1 e2 33.Re1 Rd4
34.Kh1 Be4 35.Qe3 Qf1+ 36.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 37.Qg1 Rxc1 0–1
- In round 4 Paul Gluckman playing his first senior Closed played against the experienced Kobese. Lets’ join the action. I assumed that despite the opposite colour Bishop endgames that Kobese as Black will pull it through. Paul Gluckman, however, had other ideas. Do you as the reader have an inkling what White wishes to do?
The young Gluckman decided to build a fortress! Look at how he achieved this. He first played Bf6 covering the queening square and then built a blockade on the dark squares!after playing through the game I thought it had aspects of all the elements Levitt and Friedgood spoke about!
(1) Gluckman,P (1943) – Kobese,W (2342) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (4.1), 10.12.2019
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c3 g6 7.0–0 Bg7 8.h3 0–0 9.Re1 b5 10.Bb3 Na5
11.Bc2 c5 12.d4 cxd4 13.cxd4 exd4 14.Nxd4 Bb7 15.a3 Rc8 16.Nc3 Nc4 17.Nf3 Re8 18.Nd2 Nb6
19.Bb3 Rc7 20.f3 d5 21.exd5 Rxe1+ 22.Qxe1 Nfxd5 23.Nde4 Nxc3 24.Nxc3 Nc4 25.Bxc4 bxc4
26.Kh1 Re7 27.Qg1 Rd7 28.Be3 Rd3 29.Rc1 Qh4 30.Qe1 Qd8 31.Qf2 Be5 32.Re1 Qd7 33.Qh4 h5
34.Kg1 Qc7 35.Bf2 Kg7 36.Nd1 Bf6 37.Qg3 Qd8 38.Ne3 Qc8 39.Rc1 c3 40.bxc3 Rxc3 41.Rb1 Rc1+ 42.Rxc1 Qxc1+ 43.Kh2 Qxa3 44.Nf5+ Kh7 45.Nd6 Bd5 46.Ne8 Qe7 47.Nxf6+ Qxf6 48.Qh4 Qxh4 49.Bxh4 a5 50.Bf6 Kg8 51.Kg3 Kf8 52.Kf4 Ke8 53.Ke5 Bb7 54.Kd6 a4 55.h4 a3 56.g4 Bxf3 57.g5 a2 58.Kc7 Be4 59.Kd6 Bf3 60.Kc7 a1Q 61.Bxa1 Ke7 62.Bc3 Ke6 63.Kd8 Bc6 64.Kc7 Ba4
65.Kd8 Bb5 66.Kc7 Kd5 67.Kd8 Kd6 68.Bb4+ Ke5 69.Ke7 Bc4 70.Ba5 Kf5 71.Bc3 Bb3 72.Bd2 Ke5 ½–½
I thought the fortress idea was a good one and he was even prepared to sacrifice the f pawn to achieve this. The activation of the white king was achieved with a nice walk with tempo!
It is always so important to understand these drawing concepts. There is a famous saying that before you can beat the masters you must learn to draw against them.
- The next game that I want to showcase may be an oversight from the White player Khumalo or maybe he played too fast!! Black has just captured a pawn on g3, and White captured back automatically with Bxg3. How did Hercules as Black respond?
By playing Ref8!!! Black threatens mate and now White was forced to play Bf4 which loses immediately!
- Michael James as White in the same round, faced GM Kenny Solomon. They reached the following position in which GM Solomon offered the exchange of Bishops. But James responded differently? Can you guess what it was?
GM Kenny Solomon
James responded with the move 39. Re3 offering the exchange of rooks. Black has no choice but to acquiesce. He played 39. Re4 and resigned soon after.
(3) James,M (1929) – Solomon,K (2373)
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Durbanville, South Africa (6.4), 12.12.2019
1.e4 4 1…e5 10 2.Nf3 8 2…Nc6 5 3.d4 108 3…exd4 7 4.Nxd4 3 4…Nf6 6 5.Nxc6 18 5…bxc6 5 6.Bd3 121 6…d5 124 7.Qe2 436 7…dxe4 420 8.Bxe4 16 8…Nxe4 5 9.Qxe4+ 6 9…Qe7 3 10.Qxe7+ 76 10…Bxe7 2 11.0–0 104 11…Bf5 92 12.Be3 188 12…Bxc2 2460 13.Rc1 170 13…Bxb1 4 14.Raxb1 12 14…Kd7 8 15.Rc2 7 15…a5 62 16.Rd1+ 1237 16…Bd6 14 17.Rd4 7 17…Rhe8 660 18.Rcc4 6 18…Rab8 248 19.b3 13 19…Rb5 529 20.g3 580 20…Rd5 102 21.Kg2 94 21…Ree5 384 22.Rxd5 Rxd5 23.Re4 0 23…h5 76 24.h4 254 24…g6 25.Rc4 183 25…f5 17 26.Kf3 294 26…Bb4 196 27.Kf4 349 27…Be7 72 28.Kf3 14 28…Bd6 12 29.Ke2 32 29…Bb4 1 30.Kf3 60 30…Rd1 180 31.Kf4 129 31…Rd6 179 32.Ke5 41 32…Re6+ 35 33.Kf4 18 33…Rd6 784 34.Kg5 9 34…Re6 151 35.Bc5 37 35…Bd2+ 0 36.f4 5 36…Be1 42 37.Rd4+ 234 37…Kc8 32 38.Rd3 23 38…Bb4 228 39.Re3 49 39…Re4 29 40.Rxe4 20 40…fxe4 2 41.Be3 258 41…Be1 134 42.Kxg6 58 42…Bxg3 2 43.Kxh5 Kd7 44.Kg5 Ke6 45.h5 1–0
- Keithonsky Khumalo as White reached the following position against Paul Gluckman. He came up with a very interesting move and concept. What did he play? Have a look at the position.
He played 26. Bb8 shutting the rook out of the game for a little while! He went on to win the game!
(1) Khumalo,K (2148) – Gluckman,P (1943)
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Durbanville, South Africa (7.1), 13.12.2019
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Ne4 5.Bf4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.e3 0–0 8.Nf3 c5 9.cxd5 Qxd5 10.Be2 Nc6 11.0–0 cxd4 12.cxd4 Bf5 13.Qa4 Qa5 14.Qb3 Qb4 15.Rfc1 Qxb3 16.axb3 Rfc8 17.Bb5 Bd7 18.h3 a6 19.Bc4 Nb4 20.Ng5 Be8 21.Ne4 Bc6 22.Nc5 Bd5 23.Nd7 Rc6 24.Bxd5 Rxc1+ 25.Rxc1 Nxd5 26.Bb8 f5 27.Rc8+ Kf7 28.Kf1 a5 29.Rc5 e6 30.Rb5 b6 31.Bh2 Ra7 32.Nxb6 Nc3
33.Rc5 Ne4 34.Rc2 Rb7 35.Nc4 Rxb3 36.Nxa5 Rb1+ 37.Ke2 g5 38.f3 Nf6 39.Rc7+ Kg6 40.Nc4 Nd5 41.Rc6 Kf7 42.Bd6 Ra1 43.g3 Ra2+ 44.Kd3 Rf2 45.Nd2 Bh6 46.g4 fxg4 47.hxg4 Bg7 48.Ne4 Rb2 49.Nxg5+ Ke8 50.e4 Rb3+ 51.Kc4 Rc3+ 52.Kb5 Rb3+ 53.Ka4 Rd3 54.Nxe6 Nc3+ 55.Kb4 Na2+ 56.Kc4 Rc3+ 57.Kd5 Bf6 58.Bc5 Rxf3 59.Rc8+ Kd7 60.Rc7+ Ke8 61.e5 Nc3+ 62.Kc6 Ne4 63.exf6 Rxf6 64.Re7# 1–0
- Matt Pon was playing his first SA Closed and his he is clearly a player for the future. He played strong chess and was not afraid to do the necessary. Let us have a look at the finish against James in the following position where Pon is White. Both players are attacking the respective Kings, but White gets in first. What did he play?
FM Matt Pon
You guessed it! 24. Ra8+ Bxa8 25. Rxa8 Kb7 26. Qd5+ Kc6 27. Rb8+ winning!
(5) Pon,M (2189) – James,M (1929)
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Durbanville, South Africa (7.4), 13.12.2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d3 d5 4.Nbd2 Nf6 5.g3 b6 6.Bg2 Bb7 7.0–0 Be7 8.Re1 h6 9.Qe2 Qc7 10.h4 Nc6
11.Nf1 dxe4 12.dxe4 0–0–0 13.c3 Rdg8 14.Bf4 e5 15.Bd2 Nd8 16.Qc4 Ne6 17.a4 g5 18.hxg5 hxg5
19.a5 Bd8 20.axb6 axb6 21.Ra7 Nf4 22.Bxf4 gxf4 23.Rea1 Nh5 24.Ra8+ Bxa8 25.Rxa8+ Kb7
26.Qd5+ Qc6 27.Rb8+ Kxb8 28.Qxc6 Bc7 29.Nxe5 Bxe5 30.Qxb6+ Kc8 31.Bh3+ 1–0
- In the next game James was white against Kobese. James had gotten his rook to the queenside and Kobese noticed something was amiss! Let’s join the action. What did Black play?
Yes, you guessed it! Bd7 attacks the rook on a4 and offers the exchange of rooks on the e file which exposes the back rank to possible mate!
10. Hercules as White had just played 22 Bf3. Black needed to decide on further action. What should he play? The queenside reminds one of a Benko position while the Kingside is also attractive with the open g and h files. After some contemplation Matt Pon as Black played 22. Ke7 feeling that his king was safe in the centre! A marvellous concept! Enjoy the final moves!
(4) Hercules,B (2209) – Pon,M (2189) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (8.4), 14.12.2019
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Be7 6.g3 Nbd7 7.Bg2 a6 8.Nge2 h5 9.h4 Nf8 10.0–0 b5 11.cxb5 axb5 12.Nxb5 Ba6 13.Nbc3 N6d7 14.Be3 g5 15.hxg5 Bxg5 16.f4 Bh6 17.Qd2 h4 18.f5 hxg3 19.Rf3 Bxe3+ 20.Qxe3 Nf6 21.Rxg3 N8d7 22.Bf3 Ke7 23.Kg2 Qa5 24.Rh1 Rxh1 25.Kxh1 Qb4 26.b3 c4 27.Nc1 cxb3 28.axb3 Rc8 29.Bd1 Qd4 30.N1a2 Rh8+ 31.Kg2 Rh4 32.Qxd4 exd4 33.Be2 Bxe2 34.Nxe2 Rxe4 35.Nac1 Ne5 36.Kf2 Nxd5 37.Rg5 d3 38.f6+ Kd7 39.Nxd3 Nxd3+ 0–1
11. In the following position James as Black had a study like finish against De Abreu. Let’s have a look and appreciate the finish.
FM Roberto de Abreu
Black played b2+ forcing Kxb2 which will allow Nd1+ forcing the knight to abandon the h1 square.
12. In the following game between Gluckman vs Bezuidenhout. Gluckman found an interesting move which effectively ended the game! What was it?
Gluckman found 30. Ne8 threatening mate or the win of the exchange! One must always check for the back rank!
(2) Gluckman,P (1943) – Bezuidenhout,R (2200)
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Durbanville, South Africa (10.1)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 Be7 8.Qd2 0–0 9.dxc5 Qa5 10.0–0–0 b6 11.Bb5 Bb7 12.Kb1 Rfc8 13.Nd4 Nxc5 14.Bxc6 Bxc6 15.Rhf1 Nd7 16.Qe2 Bb7 17.Nb3 Qa6 18.Qg4 Rc4 19.Bd4 Bc5 20.Rf3 Rc8 21.Rh3 Nf8 22.Rg3 g6 23.Qg5 Rc7 24.Qh6 Rb4 25.Rgd3 Bxd4 26.Rxd4 Rxd4 27.Nxd4 Qc4 28.Ncb5 Rd7 29.Nd6 Qc5 30.Ne8 f5 31.Nf6+ Kh8 32.Nxd7 Nxd7 33.Nxe6 Qe7 34.Nd4 a6 35.h4 1–0
The next few games will require more than one diagram as the players played some pretty interesting positions!! I think the computer generation has certainly influenced our play!!
13. The first game that I wish to highlight is Khumalo vs Pon from round 10.
XABCDEFGHY 8rsnlwqrvlk+( 7+p+p+p+p’ 6-+p+-zPp+&
So, after 18 moves all the black pieces except for the lonely knight on e5 have been developed and then undeveloped again!! You can’t say it’s not interesting!
I think this must be an example of geometry!! 6 pieces on the d file!!!
14. The next game features Mohammed Bhawoodien. One can never accuse him of not playing interesting chess. His chess has matured greatly over the last few years. He first played in the SA Closed for the first time in 2013 when he played in the A section with his father. (a first for SA Chess). He then played every year when it was held since then. This year he just missed the cut to make the Olympiad team but I am sure we will see more of him in the future. The next game is between Pon ( White) and Bhawoodien (Black) .
In the position Black had attacked white and had a bind on the kingside. He just needs to play Rh6 and the game would be decided by a queen sac on h2. Black had just played Rf6 attacking the white queen and threatening Rh6 to finish the game. White decided to play. Can you guess?
26. Bxf5 Rxf6 27. Rxd6 and let’s examine the position now afresh.
White threatens to win black queen with Bxg4 and that would spell the end for black. So, 27. Pawn to h5 is forced. White now continued with 28.Re3 again threatening to take the knight on f3 as the black pawn on g4 is pinned. This forced black to play 28 e4. White then placed his rooks on the seventh and we look again….
White now proceeded to play Rxg7+ followed by Rh7+ which after the knight capture white then played Rxh4 thus winning the queen. White then started to push the h pawn and black started to play. Who will win the following position?
After many adventures the players agreed to a draw in the final position.
Enjoy playing through the game!
(5) Pon,M (2189) – Bhawoodien,M (2129)
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Durbanville, South Africa (9.3), 15.12.2019
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.0–0 d6 5.c3 Nf6 6.d3 a6 7.a4 Ba7 8.Nbd2 0–0 9.Re1 Ng4 10.Re2 Kh8 11.h3 f5 12.hxg4 fxg4 13.Nh2 Qh4 14.d4 exd4 15.g3 Qh3 16.Ndf1 dxc3 17.Be3 Ne5 18.Bxa7 Nf3+ 19.Kh1 Rxa7 20.e5 dxe5 21.bxc3 Ra8 22.Qd5 Bf5 23.Rd1 c6 24.Qd6 Rae8 25.Bd3 Rf6 26.Bxf5 Rxd6 27.Rxd6 h5 28.Re3 e4 29.Rxe4 Rf8 30.Bg6 Kg8 31.Re7 h4 32.Rdd7 Ng5 33.Rxg7+ Kh8 34.Rh7+ Nxh7 35.Rxh7+ Kg8 36.Rxh4 Qxh4 37.gxh4 Rxf2 38.Ng3 Ra2 39.Nxg4 Rxa4 40.Bf5 Rf4 41.Nh5 Rf3 42.Kg2 Rxc3 43.Nhf6+ Kh8 44.h5 Rc5 45.Be4 a5 46.h6 a4 47.h7 a3 48.Nh6 Rg5+ 49.Kf3 Rg7 50.Bb1 b5 51.Ba2 c5 52.Ke3 c4 53.Kd4 Rc7 54.Ke3 Rc8 55.Kd2 Kg7 56.Nhg4 b4
Thank you for taking the time to read and play through these games from the SA Closed. The next edition will feature the games from the women section. I submit that Gm Levitt and David Friedgood will be pleased with the examples of paradox, Depth geometry, flow in the above examples from the SA Closed Open section 2019!
Dr Lyndon Bouah