By Mike Basman, February 2021
In late 2020, three Telex (long distance) tournaments took place between Wey Valley players, which is the Surrey Primary School Chess Association. The top group, the ‘Dominators’ was won by Aarav Gupta with 13/15 points. Scroll to the end for the full results table.
This is the decisive game in the Telex Dominators Championship. Prior to the game, Aarav had 3 wins out of 3, and Sebastian Mohkber-Garcia and Praneeta Karjodkar each had three wins, a loss and a draw out of four games. So one of them would have to beat Aarav to win the tournament.
White: Aarav Gupta Black: Sebastian Mokhber-Garcia
- e4, e5
- Nf3, Nc6
- Nc3, Nf6
- d3, Bc5
The standard package for junior games. They put a couple of pawns in the centre, bring out their knights and bishops, and castle, but then don’t have a clue what to do with their rooks.
Black’s last move, 4… Bc5, allows white a temporary piece sacrifice to help him gain more central control.
5. Nxe5! Nxe5
6. d4, Bd6
7. dxe5, Bxe5
8. Bd3, d5!
Black reacts aggressively against white’s central control.
9. Bg5, Bxc3+
10. bxc3, dxc4
White is feeling the pressure here. His best chance might be 11. Bxe4! since after 11… Qxd1+ 12. Rxd1, Nxe4?? he can play 13. Rd8++
If instead black plays 12… Bg4, 13. Bxb7, Rb8 14. Bc6+, Ke7 15. Rc1 just about keeps in the shop on the road.
This leads to the loss of a pawn and a dire position.
12. Bxe4, Qxc3+
13. Kf1, 0-0
A pawn down and without castling rights, white’s prospects are bleak.
14. Rb1, c6
Even better was 14… Be6, to complete the rout of the white king.
15. Rb3! Qe5
White puts one rook in a powerful position, while the other languishes at home.
17. h4, f5
18. Bf3, f4
19. Rd3, Bf5
20. Rc3, Qb6
21. Be2, Rad8
22. Qc1, a6
23. Rb3, Qa5
24. Qa1, b5
25. Qc3, Qxc3
26. Rxc3, Be4
27. f3, Bd5
28. a3, Rfe8
29. Kf2, Re6
White has made some progress. He has managed to free his rook on the kingside, and he has exchanged the queens, which makes the white king feel safer; but he still has the problem of being a pawn down in an ending.
This could be the decisive mistake as it lands the bishop in an unbreakable pin after black’s next move. 30. Bd3 should have been played.
Now the rook at e1 cannot move because of the loss of the bishop, and the bishop cannot move because it loses a rook. White can try 31. Rd3, Bc4 32. Rd2, but then black just swaps all the pieces off for a won king and pawn ending.
31. Kf1, Ba4??
A small slip on the smooth road to victory. Black should have prefaced this move with 31… Kf8!
We shall soon see why.
Now black cannot take the rook at e1 because his own rook is pinned! On such slight differences are contests won and lost. Black is hoisted with his own petard (or pinnard).
33. Rxe6, Rxe6
Now white has the advantage, as black’s pawns are the weaker, and white’s rook is dominant.
White would have done better to use the king more aggressively with 35. Ke2!
And this needlessly splits the white pawns.
38. Rd4, Rd6
39. Re4+, Re6
40. Kf4, Kd6
41. Rxe6+, Kxe6
The king and pawn ending is finely balanced. Can white break through?
42. Ke4, c5
43. h5 was a better winning chance.
44. a4, a5
45. f4, h5
46. Ke3, Kf5
47. Kf3, Kf6
And here the players agreed a draw.
Aarav then drew his game with Praneeta Karjodkar, which secured him the winner’s trophy. These three players, Aarav, Sebastian and Praneeta, now head the junior leader board in the February Invisible Army ranking list.
|1. Aarav Gupta||x||2||2||3||3||3||13|
|2. Praneeta Karjodkar||2||x||1||3||3||3||12|
|3. Sebastian Mokhber-Garcia||2||3||x||1||3||3||12|
|4. Nathaniel Butcher||1||1||3||x||1||3||9|
|5. Brahman Kurunathan||1||1||1||3||x||1||7|
|6. Melanie Norris||1||1||1||1||3||x||7|