Thursday, 27 June 2019

The Shortest Game

AT last weekend's Steve Boniface Memorial in Bristol I played - and lost - my longest ever recorded game, which took a draining 141 moves.
It got me thinking about my shortest decisive games, ie competitive games which resulted in a win or a loss.
I have 12 such games that finished in 10 moves or fewer, with Black winning eight of them. I seem to do rather well at this sort of thing as 10 of the 12 games were won by me.
Here is the shortest:
John Nicholson* (1910) - Spanton (1982)
Isle of Man 2007, Round 6
Spanish Closed Berlin
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.d3 Ne7!?
This is known as Mortimer's Trap, named after a James Mortimer who, if ChessBase's Mega database is taken as the sole authority, played it with a particular lack of success in the late 1800s. My notes to the game include a Kenilworth Chess Club online quote from Michael Goeller: "If White does not fall for the trap and does play aggressively, he can get a strong attack in at least three ways: with an early h4 thrust to harass the wandering knight on g6, a d4 break to blow open the centre, or a direct attack on f7 by Bc4 and Ng5."
And yet 4...Ne7!? comes to be the analysis engine Stockfish10's top choice!
5.Nxe5?
Can you see the trap White has fallen into?
*****
*****
*****
*****
*****
5...c6 0-1
White resigned because he is losing a piece. Stockfish10 gives White's best as 6.Nxf7 Kxf7 7.Bc4+, giving Black the upper hand - but not a winning advantage - after 7...d5.
Note that 6.Nc4? threatens mate but is easily met by 6...Ng6 or 6...d6. I was planning 6...d5?, but as John Saunders pointed out with the help of Fritz (I cannot recall which version), Black stays in the game with 7.e5.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is my quickest checkmate:
Jim Ship (119) - Spanton (160)
Southern Counties Chess Union Championship 2011-12, Herts @ Sussex
Albin Countergambit
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 d4 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bg5!?
This logical-looking but uncommon continuation has been tried by strong players, including grandmaster Keith Arkell.
5...Be7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7?!
More popular, and almost certainly better, is 6...Ngxe7.
7.Nbd2?
This defends against 7...Qb4+, but that was not the threat it appears to be at first glance, eg 7.Nxd4! (I see from my notes that I was expecting 7.Qd2, which is solid but not as strong) Qb4+? 8.Nc3 Qxb2? 9.Ndb5, when White wins material. Better in this line is 7...Nxe5, but Black does not seem to have sufficient compensation for his pawn-minus.
7...Nxe5
*****
*****
*****
*****
*****
8.Nxd4?? Nd3#
*This is the Irish John Nicholson; not to be confused with England's John G Nicholson.



No comments:

Post a comment