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! The following extract is from the U-20 section.
Ethan Samuels CM Andrew Flores Bartoli
AIM Michal Oosthuizen Yaduvir Govender
CM Andreas de Jager CM Banele Mhango
Marthinus Prinsloo Luan de Jager
Migael van Schaik Keegan Agulhas
White is Prinsloo who had the eventual winner Mhango under some pressure… In this position Mhango finds a hidden resource. What is it?
Black played 28 pawn to f3 opening the diagonal for the queen as it protects the black rook that wishes to invade on c1! The pawn then cuts the protection of the queen from the Bishop. What more can one ask from the pawn!! Enjoy the game!
(4) Prinsloo,M (1638) – Mhango,B (1997) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (1.4), 07.12.2019
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e6 4.Nf3 exd5 5.cxd5 d6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Bf4 a6 8.a4 Bg7 9.h3 0–0 10.e3 Qe7
11.Nd2 Nbd7 12.Nc4 Ne8 13.a5 f5 14.Be2 g5 15.Bh2 f4 16.0–0 Ne5 17.Nb6 Rb8 18.exf4 gxf4
19.Ra4 Qg5 20.Ne4 Qg6 21.Bh5 Qh6 22.Re1 Nc7 23.h4 Nb5 24.Ng5 Nd4 25.Nxc8 Rbxc8 26.Rxd4 cxd4 27.Ne6 d3 28.Re4 f3 29.Bf4 Qxh5 30.Nxf8 Rxf8 31.Bxe5 Bxe5 32.Qxd3 Qg6 33.Kh1 Qxg2# 0–1
With the open section no quarter was asked, and none was given. The following game must rank as one of the fastest! What did What play in the following position?
White essayed Qd5 and Black resigned although he could try Bxc3 + and pawn to e6.
(2) Vundla,M (1732) – Prinsloo,M (1638) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (2.2), 08.12.2019
1.e4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.d4 c5 4.Bc4 cxd4 5.c3 Nf6 6.e5 Ng4 7.Bxf7+ Kf8 8.Bb3 dxc3 9.Nxc3 Nxe5
10.Nxe5 Bxe5 11.Qd5 1–0
Luan De Jager was Black against Vundla. How did he obtain a winning advantage in the following position?
The knight is very agile. So, after Ne2+ K moves then Nc3 wins the exchange!
In the following position Samuels uses a little tactic to go into a winning ending against Govender. What did he play?
Yes, you correctly thought queen takes g6 allows White to regain the queen after Rh6+ In the same game the following position was reached and guess what happened?
Rxe6+ exchanges to a winning ending because after Rxe6 then pawn to f5 regains the rook immediately!!
Teammates Andreas De Jager was playing against Ethan Samuels who both play for Steinitz. The action is fierce but De Jager finds something that is not immediately apparent. What did he conceive in the following position? And what did he play?
Black had earlier played his queen to b3 white decided to play 23 Rd4 taking away the c4 square and setting up. ….. Black responded Rb8 to which White played pawn to a4 and after pawn to a6 by Black
white responded Rhd1 closing the escape square on d5. So after a takes Bb5 then Rb4 won the queen! Andreas De Jager was certainly alert!
(1) De Jager,A (1917) – Samuels,E (1821) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (5.1), 09.12.2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Be3 Bg7 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.f3 0–0 8.Bc4 Qb6 9.Qd2 Nxe4 10.fxe4 Bxd4 11.Bxd4 Qxd4 12.Qe2 d6 13.Bd3 Be6 14.0–0–0 Qc5 15.Kb1 Ne5 16.h3 Rac8 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.exd5 Qb4 19.a3 Qa5 20.g4 b5 21.c3 Qa4 22.Bxb5 Qb3 23.Rd4 Rb8 24.a4 a6 25.Rhd1 axb5 26.Rb4 bxa4 27.Rxb3 Rxb3 28.Rd4 a3 29.Rb4 Rb8 30.Rxb8+ Rxb8 31.b4 Rc8 32.Qc2 Nc4 33.Ka2 e6 34.dxe6 fxe6 35.Qe4 Ne5 36.Qd4 Nc4 37.b5 d5 38.Qf6 Re8 39.h4 Nd6 40.b6 Ne4
41.Qe5 Re7 42.c4 Kf7 43.cxd5 Nf6 44.Qf4 e5 45.Qc4 Rd7 46.d6+ Ke8 47.Qe6+ 1–0
In the following position Bartoli has castled and has all his pieces developed. White reckons that he has all the squares and pawns covered. But does he?
Bartoli is alert and finds that the White queen is in fact overloaded!! He played 18. Nxe4 winning the important pawn a White cannot take twice due to the mate on d1. The game ended shortly thereafter. Enjoy the game.
(3) Van Schaik,M (1339) – Flores Bartoli,A (1606) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (5.3), 09.12.2019
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.Bb3 Bg4 7.Nbd2 Qd7 8.h3 Bh5 9.g4 Bg6 10.Bc2 a5 11.Nf1 d5 12.Qe2 0–0–0 13.Ng3 dxe4 14.dxe4 h5 15.g5 h4 16.Nf1 Nxe4 17.Bxe4 Bxe4 18.Bd2 Qf5 19.N1h2 Bd3 20.Qd1 Qe4+ 21.Be3 Bxe3 22.fxe3 Qxe3+ 23.Qe2 Qxe2# 0–1
In the following position Oosthuizen as black is holding on for dear life. De Jager exchanges his material advantage for a different one, what did he play?
De Jager played Rc7 and after Nxc7 he played dc7 creating a monster passed pawn and the game soon ended.
Mhango as white has been probing the Black position of Vundla. How did he continue his attack in the position above?
White played 40. pawn to d5 sacrificing a pawn and after cd5 he played the other 41. pawn to c6 opening lines! Enjoy the final moves and game! After the sacrifice the Black Bishop decisively entered the game after Bxf5.
(5) Mhango,B (1997) – Vundla,M (1732) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (5.5), 09.12.2019
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 e6 5.g3 Be7 6.Bg2 Nbd7 7.0–0 0–0 8.Rd1 b6 9.Nbd2 Bb7 10.e4 dxe4 11.Nxe4 Nxe4 12.Qxe4 Nf6 13.Qe2 Qc7 14.Bf4 Bd6 15.Ne5 Rfd8 16.c5 Bxe5 17.Bxe5 Qe7 18.Bd6 Qd7 19.Rac1 Ne8 20.Be5 b5 21.Be4 f6 22.Bf4 a5 23.h4 b4 24.Bd3 Ra7 25.Bc4 Bc8 26.Re1 Kf7 27.Qe4 g6 28.h5 Ng7 29.hxg6+ hxg6 30.Rcd1 g5 31.Bd6 f5 32.Qe3 Kg6 33.Be5 Ne8 34.Qf3 Ba6 35.Bb3 g4 36.Qf4 a4 37.Bc2 Nf6 38.Bxf6 Kxf6 39.Qh6+ Kf7 40.d5 cxd5 41.c6 Qxc6 42.Bxf5 Rd6 43.Qh7+ Kf8 44.Qxa7 exf5 45.Re7 Re6 46.Rf7+ Ke8 47.Rh7 Bc8 48.Rh8# 1–0
In the next position all seems fine but White has spotted something. Can you see it?
Govender found Bxf5 and Black cannot take twice because the Ra8 would then be lost to Qd5+ well spotted by white.
In the following quiet position Bartoli as Black opened up his game with g5 and Mhango made short work of the Black position.
White played Rac1 to which Black responded with Qb8. And after Qd7 Black was in trouble. Enjoy the game.
(4) Mhango,B (1997) – Flores Bartoli,A (1606) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (7.4), 11.12.2019
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 b6 5.Bg2 Bb7 6.0–0 Be7 7.Ne5 Nbd7 8.Qa4 0–0 9.Nc3 Nxe5 10.dxe5 Ne4 11.cxd5 Nxc3 12.bxc3 exd5 13.c4 c6 14.Rd1 Qc7 15.cxd5 cxd5 16.Bf4 g5 17.Rac1 Qb8 18.Qd7 gxf4 19.Qxe7 fxg3 20.Qg5+ Kh8 21.Qf6+ Kg8 22.Rd4 gxf2+ 23.Kxf2 Bc8 24.Rg1 1–0
Vundla as White played the Morra Gambit against Agulhas. They reached an exciting middlegame. The Morra Gambit triumphed at the end. I enjoyed the game. Do play through as an example of fearless attacking chess.
(4) Vundla,M (1732) – Agulhas,K (2020) [A00]
2019 South African Closed Chess Champion Curro Durbanville, Durbanville (9.4), 12.12.2019
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.c3 dxc3 5.Nxc3 Nc6 6.a3 d6 7.Bc4 Nf6 8.0–0 Be7 9.Qe2 e5 10.h3 0–0
11.Rd1 Be6 12.Nd5 Rc8 13.b4 Bxd5 14.exd5 Nb8 15.Be3 a6 16.a4 Ne4 17.Rac1 f5 18.Nxe5 Bf6
19.Nf3 Nc3 20.Rxc3 Bxc3 21.Ng5 Qf6 22.Ne6 Rfe8 23.b5 a5 24.Qd3 h6 25.b6 Nd7 26.f4 Re7
27.Rc1 Bb4 28.Bd4 Qg6 29.Kh2 Nf8 30.Rg1 Kh8 31.g4 fxg4 32.f5 Qh5 33.f6 Nxe6 34.dxe6 d5
35.Rxg4 dxc4 36.Qe4 Bd6+ 37.Kg2 Rce8 38.fxe7 Rxe7 39.Qf3 Qe8 40.Qf5 c3 41.Rg6 Kg8 42.Qf6 Qf8 43.Qxf8+ Kxf8 44.Bxc3 Bb4 45.Bd4 Kg8 46.h4 h5 47.Kf3 Kh7 48.Rg5 g6 49.Re5 Kg8 50.Ke4 Be1 51.Bc5 Re8 52.Kd5 Bxh4 53.Re4 Bg3 54.Bd6 Bf2 55.e7 g5 56.Re5 Kf7 57.Rf5+ Kg7 58.Rxf2 1–0
When I prepare players for events, I often talk about the Petrosian principle. Petrosian always had his pieces protected because tactics happen when there are undefended pieces. What did Bartoli play here?
Bartoli Flores spotted the tactic Rxbf1 because after Kxrf1 then Qd1 picks up the rook with check and he gets to save the Bd7 as well! Well spotted. One of the English writers used to say Loose Pieces Drop off.
White has just played pawn to a4 in the position. How did Agulhas illustrate the power of the Bishop?
3+P+-+L+-# 2-wqP+QzPPzP” 1+NtR-tR-mK-! xabcdefghy
After 24 Bg5 the white Rc1 must move and once the rook moves to d1 then Rxc2 is decisive. White played Rxd1 and after B xd8 the Bishop reappeared on the a7 to g1 diagonal. You can’t say Bishops don’t know how to move!
So many interesting games with players not afraid to try different openings. Well done to winner Banele Mhango and the section was a good illustration of fighting chess.