Spirit of Atticus


Liverpool European Capital of Culture 2008

Dedicated to the 'Spirit of Atticus'

Games replay



Fighting spirit and raw determination

Simon Webb's practical suggestions in 'Chess for Tigers' are a great source of inspiration to the club player. He describes the principle ways to combat difficult situations at the board, - 'Suppose you're sitting there defending. Get your pieces out into active positions, and then you'll be in a position to take advantage of any mistake your opponent might make. If you sit there defending, your position will get worse and worse, and your opponent won't have much chance of going wrong, but if you seize the first opportunity to come out fighting, he's only got to make one slip and you've got him!


Keep calm, remember that the worst you can do is lose, and look for a way of helping your opponent to go wrong. If he doesn't make any mistakes you're going to lose whatever you do, so don't worry if you can't see a good continuation. You know in your heart that there isn't one; so don't waste all your time looking for one. Instead, assume that your opponent is going to make a mistake, and play to give him the maximum chance of doing so.'


Here Robbo gives a masterclass on how to play actively and keep calm under pressure to produce a vital match winning performance.


David Robertson (C167) - Paul Isherwood (E159)


ML/Div1/Widnes 2 v Atticus 2/Bd2/08.10.2008


1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 e6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. O-O Nbd7 6. c4 dxc4 7. Qc2 (The Open Catalan favoured by GM Jonathan Speelman) 7... a6 8. Qxc4 c5 (diagram) 9. a4 b5 10. Qc2 Bb7 11. axb5 axb5 12. Rxa8 Qxa8 13. dxc5!? Be4 14. Qb3 Bxb1? 15. Be3 (15. Nd2! Qa2 16. Qxb5 O-O 17. c6 Nc5 18. Nxb1 Qxb1 19. Be3 Qf5 20. b4! and White is much better) 15... Be4 16. Qxb5 O-O 17. b4 Rb8 18. Qc4 Qb7? (18... Qa4 19. Bd2 Bxc5 and Black regains the initiative) 19. Bd2 Bd5 20. Qc1 e5 21. Bh3 Qb5 22. Re1 Rd8 23. Ng5! (White's flexible piece deployment, and with two extra pawns, offers excellent practical chances) 23... e4 24. Bg2 Ne5 25. Bc3 Nc6 26. Qb2 Ra8 27. Qd2 Ra2 28. Qf4 Rxe2 29. Rd1 Rc2? (Black finally cracks) 30. Bxf6 Bxf6 31. Rxd5 Nxb4?? (Allows mate in 3 but White is in no hurry) 32. Rd1 (32. Rd8+! Bxd8 33. Qxf7+ Kh8 34. Qf8#) 32... Nd3 33. Qxe4 Nxf2?? 34. Qa8+ 1-0 A great win, testament to White's tenacity and strength of character.









Alekhines Defence

The Four Pawns Attack is an ambitious try, and the variation 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 d6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.a4!? perhaps illustrates the basic idea of the defence best: Black allows White to make several tempo-gaining attacks on the knight and to erect an apparently imposing pawn centre in the belief that it can later be destroyed. The position becomes very sharp since White must either secure his advantage in space or make use of it before Black succeeds in making a successful strike at it. Black must also play vigorously because passive play will be crushed.


In this game the more obscure 7. a4 played in place of 7. Be3, h3 or Bd3 (amongst others) presents Black with some early defensive duties but White’s middlegame, a pawn down, is not strong enough and after missing 20.Nf6+! Black is much better and has no lasting problems.

Download 114 Alekhine's Defence games with 7.a4



Landing on the Hudson - chess-style by David Robertson


'Take a look at this effort of mine recently - if 'effort' is the right word to describe my play at various points in the game Rolling Eyes One issue of note is the colossal grade disparity between myself and my Serbian opponent. The second issue is my laughably bad play.


Everything was going fine until I completely missed 13...Bh6. Thereafter nothing goes right. Every piece I own seems to be misplaced; I lose the thread completely. Were Black a stronger player, I'm dead. And I'm the walking dead anyway. Even my long-planned extrication trick, 35 Re7, is busted instantly. 38 Ra7 is objectively wrong but I needed to retain something to carry on playing with, though if Black had found 39...Ne1, he turns out my lights for good. My final moves are a scramble for the best I can hope for, a draw. But there is one final twist...


Enjoy - at my expense, please, not my opponent's. Justice in chess? You're having a laugh Embarassed  


ps. I should add, in case it's not self-evident from the information below, that the game was played under CC conditions, not OTB or blitz. That makes some of the moves harder to explain.' Rolling Eyes


1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. f4 d6 4. Nf3 b6 5. Bd3 Bb7 6. O-O Nf6 7. c3 O-O 8. Qe2 Nc6 9. Kh1 e6 (diagram) 10. Be3  a6 11. Nbd2 b5 12. Rad1 Ng4 13. Bg1 Bh6 14. h3 Nf6 15. Nh2 Nh5 16. Qe3 e5 17. g3 exf4 18. gxf4 f5 19. Rf3 Ne7 20. Bf2 c5 21. Bh4 Nd5 22. Qf2 Ne7 23. Kg1 c4 24. Bc2 Qe8 25. Bg5 Bg7 26. Re3 Qd7 27. Qh4 Rae8 28. Rde1 fxe4 29. Nxe4 Nf5 30. Qg4 Bc6 31. R3e2 Qf7 32. Nf1 Bd7 33. Qg2 h6 34. Nxd6 Nxd6 35. Re7 Nxf4 36. Rxf7 Nxg2 37. Rxe8 Bxe8 38. Ra7 hxg5 39. Rxa6 Nf4 40. Rxd6 Nxh3+ 41. Kh2 Nf4 42. Ng3 Nd3 43. Kg1 Nxb2 44. Bxg6 Bxg6 45. Rxg6 Na4 46. Rxg5 Nxc3 47. Nf5 Ne4 48. Rxg7+ Kh8 49. Re7 Nc3 50. Re5 Rb8 51. d5 Nxa2 52. d6 c3 53. Re2 Nb4 54. d7 Rg8+ 55. Kf1 c2 56. Rh2# 1-0


Source: Atticus Chess Forum



Winning a 'won' position.

The late IM Simon Webb in Chapter 8 ‘How to win won positions’ of his famous book ‘Chess for Tigers’ spoke of the difficulties we all face, including grandmasters, in winning ‘won’ positions. The phrase ‘the rest is just technique’ is so often heard but far harder to apply successfully in practice. He makes four main suggestions to reduce the number of games that might slip away. 1) Keep the initiative, 2) Give your opponent as little chance as possible, 3) Check complications carefully, but don’t be afraid of them and 4) Don’t assume the game will win itself.  


Here, Richie Noonan puts into practice those suggestions perfectly and wins a nice game with a very clever zugswang at the end to win a ‘won’ game.


Another Atticus win at the 4NCL - played 5th May 2007

Atticus player and FIDE Master Charlie Kennaugh beat former England Olympiad team member and GM Danny Gormally at the 4NCL weekend in May. Playing for North West Eagles 1 Charlie kept his cool under considerable pressure and turned the tables after some fine defensive play.

See more Charlie Kennaugh games here.



Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation, ECO code: C68-C69

The Ruy Lopez, Exchange Variation is still a very popular opening. It begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6. Black can take the bishop with either pawn but, 4...dxc6 is almost always played on master level. Black has the bishop pair but a worse pawn structure, due to his doubled pawns on c6 and c7. In the Exchange Variation, white aims to reach an ending since he has the better pawn structure and pawn structure is arguably one of the most important factors in that phase of  the game. Here, Richard Noonan patiently exploits Black's passive response with excellent piece play culminating in the advantage being gained in classical style on the Kingside. To play through the variations, click the small white triangle.

For more information about the Exchange Lopez click here.



Blast from the past

John Saunders, British Chess Magazine editor and regular contributor to our forum provided the score of this gem. Played nearly 40 years ago by Atticus stalwart Tom Bimpson and Raymond 'The Penguin' Keene. The match took place during the British Universities Team Tournament held in Liverpool and was organised by Atticus captain and fellow undergraduate John Carleton.


Bimpson, Tom - Keene, Raymond  [C41]
British Universities Chess Assoc Team Tournament, March 1969
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 d6 4 h3 Be7 5 Be3 Nf6 6 Nc3 0-0 7 Bc4 exd4 8 Nxd4 Re8 9 0-0 Bf8 10 Bg5 h6 11 Bh4 Ne5 12 Bb3 Ng6 13 Bg3 a6 14 a4 c5 15 Nf3 Nxe4 16 Nxe4 Rxe4 17 Qd3 Bf5 18 Bd5 Nf4 19 Bxf4 Rxf4 20 Qd2 Rb4 21 c3 Rb6 22 Rfe1 a5 23 Re2 Be7 24 Qf4 Bg6 25 Rae1 Bf6 26 Nh2 Kh7 27 Ng4 Bg5 28 Qc4 Qd7 29 h4 Bd8 30 Re8 h5 31 Rf8 Qxg4 32 Ree8 Kh6 33 Rh8+ Bh7 34 Be4 f5 35 Qe6+ Bf6 36 Bxf5 Qxh4 37 Qe3+ 1-0


The most well known Universities Team event is the annual Oxford v Cambridge Varsity match. Originally suggested by Howard Staunton in 1853,  these matches have been played almost without interruption since 1871. The current match score is Cambridge 54-49 Oxford, with 18 drawn. More match details, history and photos on the Olimpbase website.






Another fine Carleton win - game played 13th Jan 2007

Atticus captain John Carleton playing for North West Eagles 1 in Division 1 of the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL) beat IM Malcolm Pein in fine style with a courageous kingside attack. Malcolm, an experienced International Master playing for Wood Green, is founder and proprietor of The London Chess Centre


John Carleton (2306) - Malcolm Pein (2401), 4NCL Div1 Coventry (5.5), NWE1-WGR1.

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 e6 3. e4 c5 4. e5 h6 5. Bc1 Nh7 6. f4 cxd4 7. Nf3 Bb4+ 8. Nbd2 Nc6 9. Bd3 O-O 10. a3 Be7 11. Ne4 d5 12. Nf2 f5 13. Qe2 Bd7 14. Bd2 Qb6 15. O-O Na5 16. b3 a6 17. Kh1 Rac8 18. a4 Nc6 19. g4 Nb4 20. Bxb4 Bxb4 21. gxf5 exf5 (diagram) 22. Rg1 Qd8 23. Rg3 Rc7 24. Rag1 Bc8 25. Nd1 Kh8 26. Qg2 g5 27. fxg5 f4 28. Rh3 Bxh3 29. Qxh3 Be7 30. g6 Rg8 31. Qxh6 Bf8 32. Qxf4 Bg7 33. Ng5 Bh6 34. Nf7+ Rxf7 35. Qxf7 Rg7 36. Qf5 Ng5 37. Qf6 1-0


After 6 rounds (of 11) North West Eagles have 7pts and in 6th place only 1 point behind Barbican 4NCL 1 and Slough Sharks 1. Rounds 7 & 8 take place on 3rd/4th March 2007 at Initial Style Conferences, Wokefield Park, Surrey.


Further information, fixtures and game downloads available from the 4NCL website.







Carleton keeps his cool by IM Malcolm Pein, Daily Telegraph, 21st Nov 2006.


Round four of the Four Nations Chess League saw a match between Northwest Eagles and Barbican 4NCL two of the main challengers to the hegemony of Guildford ADC. Despite being out-rated by an average of nearly 80 points per board Northwest Eagles drew 4-4 to stay second in the table with 7/8 match points.


Barbican won on top and bottom board thanks to GM Jonathan Parker and Ingrid Lauterbach while Northwest Eagles kept the match level with wins on boards five and six where Stefan Macak and John Carleton overcame higher-rated opposition. John Carleton is one of the founder members of Atticus Chess Club in Liverpool and achieved great success in Correspondence Chess. In the following game he outplays an International Master and Irish International.


John Carleton (2306) - Sam Collins (2396), 4NCL Div1 Coventry (4.5), NWE1-Barb1
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 cxd5 5.Bf4 Nc6 6.e3 a6 7.Bd3 (Just because White plays the Exchange Slav creating a symmetrical pawn structure does not mean he wants a draw. This prevents Bf5 and is more accurate that Nf3) 7...Bg4 8.f3 Bh5 9.Nge2 Bg6 10.e4! e6 (10...dxe4 11.fxe4 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 Qxd4 13.Bb5+) 11.e5 Nd7 (Although White has an advantage in space Black's position is fine, he has the 'bad bishop' out of the pawn chain on g6 while the Bf4 is misplaced and the c file should give him counterplay) 12.Be3 Be7 13.f4 Bxd3 (13...Nb4 14.Bxg6 hxg6 15.a3 Nc6 16.0-0 Rc8) 14.Qxd3 f5 (Otherwise f4-f5 could be awkward) 15.exf6 Nxf6 (diagram) 16.0-0 g6 (16...0-0 17.f5 exf5 18.Qxf5 and d5 is weak but there is also 17...Nb4 18.Qd2 Ng4!?) 17.Nd1 0-0 (17...Ne4=) 18.Nf2 Rc8 19.a3 Qb6 (19...Na5 20.b3 Qb6 was also reasonable) 20.b4 a5?! (This leads to the Nc6 being misplaced) 21.b5 Na7 22.a4 Rc4 23.g4! (The manoeuvre Nd1-f2 prepared this possibility a long way back) 23...Ne8 (23...Nc8 24.f5 gxf5 25.gxf5 Kh8 26.Kh1) 24.f5! (Carleton times this break well, the Na7 and Qb6 are needed on the kingside) 24...gxf5 25.gxf5 Ng7 (If 25...exf5 26.Nf4 Qd6 27.Kh1 with good play or 25...Rxf5 26.Ng4! Rxf1+ 27.Rxf1 and Black is defenceless) 26.Ng4! exf5 (26...Nxf5 27.Nh6+ Nxh6 28.Bxh6 Rxf1+ 29.Rxf1 wins) 27.Ne5 Rcc8 28.Kh1 Rcd8 29.Rf3! (This is one of those rare positions where an attack can be conducted with all the pieces) 29...Nc8 30.Rg1 Bf6 31.Nf4 (Now the possibility of an attack on h7 with Rh3 and Qd1-h5 overwhelms Black's defences) 31...Kh8 32.Rh3 Bxe5 33.Ng6+ Kg8 34.Nxe5 Rde8 (34...Nd6 35.Rxg7+ Kxg7 36.Bh6+ Kh8 37.Qg3 Ne8 38.Bxf8) 35.Bh6 Re7 36.Bxg7 Rxg7 37.Rxg7+ Kxg7 38.Qg3+ Kh8 39.Ng6+ Kg7 40.Nxf8+ Kxf8 41.Qe5 1-0 [Malcolm Pein]. More 4NCL games, downloads and information here.


Two more games, also from Division 1, thanks to Dave Robertson.



 © SC 2015


Copyright © 2015 Spirit of Atticus

back to top ^^