Move Over Miss Harmon!
By Mike Basman, January 2021
Anya Taylor-Joy (aka Beth Harmon) is not the only chess celebrity to grace the silver screen. From Parkside School in Surrey comes 9 year old Sammy Leakey, recent victor in the Wey Valley Telex Tournament and co-star in the film, Gretel and Hansel, a reworking of the classic fairy tale which was so successful it reached third spot in the US film charts last year.
In the tournament Sammy set a scorching pace winning his first 4 games, so a loss in the 5th game did not endanger his victory; added to that, most of his opponents were 4-5 years older than him. Scroll to the bottom for full results.
Here is an example of his energetic style:-
White: Sammy Leakey Black: Anon
Chess.com grade: 1162 Chess.com grade: 1149
- e4, e6
- Nf3, d5
- Nc3, Bb4
- dxc3, exd5
The queen check is not the best attacking choice by Sammy, as black can now offer an exchange of queens.
7. Ne5, f6
8. Nd3, Be6
9. Bf4, Kd7?
The king move is a rather extravagant way to connect the rooks. 9 … Kf7 was much safer.
Sammy spots a tactical chance, which his opponent misses.
Automatic development is always dangerous against a tactician.
11. Nc5+! This wins a piece outright.
12. Nxe6, Nh6
Another punch drunk move by black. The magic solution was still 12 … Kf7!
13 Nxc7+! White is rampant; a rook falls to the knight fork.
14. Nxa8, Rxa8
Sammy does not forget the need to complete development, rather than simply continuing the onslaught.
The recently mobilised rook comes crashing in!
The tactics keep coming. White has a pin up his sleeve by 18 b5 or even a deadly check mate after the variation 17… Qe1+ 18. Kb2, Qxf2 19. Qxc6+!! bxc6 20. Ba6 ++!
So black actually played
18. Bg3, f5
This pawn surge gives black some respite – but not for long.
19. h3, f4
20. Bh2, Kb8
Black is hoping to float his king to safety. Now the bishop is shut out on h2. But the bishop will not stay buried for ever.
21. g3! Qe1+,
22. Kb2, Rc8
23. gxf4, Na5
This spectacular discovered attack on the white queen is the key to black’s counter play.
But Sammy simply walks through the opposition with a discovered check of his own!
24 fxg5+! Rc7
25. Qxc7+, Ka8
26. Rd8 ++
Game ends with white two rooks, 4 pawns, and one king ahead!
|1. Sammy Leakey||x||3||1||3||3||3||13|
|2. Advika Konala||1||x||1||3||3||3||11|
|3. Rohan Bhalla||3||3||x||1||1||3||11|
|4. Advait Bendale||1||1||3||x||1||3||9|
|5. Pratyush Joshi||1||1||3||3||x||1||9|
|6. Nathaniel Schofield||1||1||1||1||3||x||7|