Saturday, 21 April 2018

Is Chess a Young Persons' Sport?

Since the infamous first Karpov – Kasparov match during which Kasparov, the younger challenger, drove his older challenger to the point of collapse following a series of draws the game of chess at grandmaster level has been dominated by youth. The young Carlsen being the latest example of youth dominating the sport. But what happens during a one off game? The recent resurgence of Kasparov indicates this may not be true over shorter matches. So, do you choose the enthusiasm and vigour of youthful attack or the wisdom and experience of the elder chess statesman? The following match played when Newport B travelled to play Malpas C in a Division 2 top 2 meeting gives one example of where experience when facing a youthful player deploying an aggressive opening can turn the tide.

White: O STUBBS (1902) - teenager
Black: G Cadden (1761) - senior citizen!

Kings Indian Defence – comments by Gordon Cadden

1 d4 Nf6
2 Bf4 Usually knights are developed first but the Bishop is on its optimum square.
2 g6
3 Nc3 Bg7
4 e4 d6
5 Qd2 Alarm bells were ringing. My opponent was lining up 0-0-0, h4 & h5 opening up the file for the rook, together with the exchange of the black squared bishops.  Counterplay in the centre and queenside was desperately needed.
5 0-0
6 0-0-0 Re8
7 f3? Not necessary at this stage.
7 b6 Very risky but desperate for counterplay
8 Bh6 Bh8
9 h4 c5
10 dc bc
11 e5! Nh5
12 Qd5! Qb6!
13 ed Bb7
14 d7 Rd8
15 Qg5 Bf6
16 Qg4 Bc6
17 Bg5 Nbd7
18 Bf6 Nhf6
19 Qg5 Rab8
20 b3 Qb4
21 Kb2 Kg7
22 h5 h6
23 Qe3 g5
24 Nh3 c4
25 f4 cb
26 cb g4
27 Nf2 Nc5
28 Rd8 Rd8
29 Nd3 Nd3
30 Bd3 Qd4
31 Qd4 Rd4
32 Bc2 Bg2
33 Re1 e6
34 Nb4 Rd7
35 Rd1 Bd5
36 Rg1 Bf3
37 f5 Nh5
38 fe fe
39 Re1 Kf6
40 Kc3 e5
41 Re3 Nf4
42 Na3 Resigns The knight fork on his rook wins outright

Gordon Commented “A very lively game from my 13 year old Downend and Fishponds Junior Champion, Oliver Stubbs who played a very aggressive opening aiming to win quickly. With a 64 years age gap between players this was understandable. I had to keep up the pressure on my opponent to stop him demolishing my Kingside”. The younger player in this instance is destined for a very successful career in chess but for many of us older statesmen in the Gwent league can take some hope that “old dogs will have their day”.