Sunday, September 21, 2014

Stephen O'Shea Hot Queens Gambit

We were hot. Burning hot in Hatboro. The air conditioning was not working this day at the tournament site. I was sweating like a pig while trying to play serious chess. How do you handle poor playing conditions? As a young man in 1981, I handled it very foolishly. The temperature reached 95 degrees Fahrenheit on this Sunday in Philadelphia. The front doors to the building were left wide open so that at least we would get some moving air from outside as we crowded around the chess tables inside. The air was still.

Our opening an Orthodox Queens Gambit Declined which leads to longer games. My opponent for the fourth round was Stephen O'Shea. He had to be as uncomfortable as I and everyone else in the room was. I lived in the South 1977-1980, but by the summer of 1981, my body reacclimated itself to Northern weather. Our bodies naturally thicken our blood in cold climates to conserve heat and thin our blood to release heat in hot climates. Now in Florida my body is used to 95 degree temperatures, but not in 1981 Philly.

So what did I do? I decided to play my tournament game as if it was blitz chess. My opponent was rated 300 points below me. All things being equal the odds of me winning were excellent. But my choice to play without much thought was stupid. O'Shea wisely played at a normal pace. For the first dozen moves we played a well-known solid book line. Three months earlier I had won a club game vs John Mack with the move 13.Qb1, a favorite of Najdorf. In later years I preferred 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 15.f4 and tried to outplay my opponents from an equal but unbalanced position.

In the game below I am winning through move 27. Then I throw it all away in the heat of the moment with blunders on moves 28 and 29. Now fired up I stubbornly suffer on until move 65. Stephen O'Shea holds his advantage and earns a well deserved victory. USCF lists shows one Stephen O'Shea who obtained a rating in the 1700s and plays in tournaments down South in the Huntsville, Alabama. I wish him well.

Sawyer (1887) - O'Shea (1583), Hatboro,PA (4), 19.07.1981 begins 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0-0 6.Nf3 Nbd7 7.Rc1 c6 8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Nd5 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.0-0 Nxc3 12.Rxc3 e5 13.Qb1 [This is a rare line meant to support b4 and cover the b1-h7 diagonal. More common are either 13.dxe5 Nxe5 14.Nxe5 Qxe5 15.f4 Qe4=; or 13.Qc2 exd4 14.exd4 Nb6 15.Re1 Qd8 16.Bb3 Nd5 17.Bxd5 Qxd5=] 13...e4 14.Nd2 Nf6 15.Rfc1 [15.b4+/=] 15...Bf5 16.b4 Qd7 17.a4 Rac8 18.Be2 Rfe8 19.b5 Nd5 20.Rc5 Rc7 21.Bc4 Nb6 22.Bb3 Rcc8 23.a5 Nd5 24.Ba4 [24.a6!+-] 24...Re6 25.Bb3 [White is winning after 25.bxc6 bxc6 26.Rxd5 Qxd5 27.Rc5 Qd6 28.Rxf5+-] 25...Ree8 26.bxc6 [White wins material with 26.a6 Ne7 27.Nc4 Bg6 28.Ne5 Qc7 29.axb7 Qxb7 30.bxc6+-] 26...bxc6 27.Ba4 Re6 [27...Ne7 28.Nxe4+/-] 28.f3?! [Again 28.Rxd5! Qxd5 29.Rc5 Qd6 30.Rxf5+-] 28...Nxe3 29.Nxe4? [Throwing everything away in the heat of the moment. Chances are roughly equal after 29.Qb2=] 29...Bxe4 30.fxe4 Qxd4 31.Qa1 Qd2 32.Rg5 Rg6 33.Rcc5 h6 34.Qc3 Qxc3 [Fastest is to threaten checkmate with 34...Rf6! 35.h3 Qf2+ 36.Kh2 hxg5-+ leaves Black up a rook with a mating attack.] 35.Rxc3 Rxg5 36.Rxe3 Rxa5 37.Bb3 Re5 38.Kf2 c5 39.Bd5 Re7 40.Ke2 a5 41.Ra3 Ra7 42.Kd3 Kf8 43.Kc4 Ke7 44.e5 Rb8 45.Kxc5 Rc7+ 46.Kd4 Rb4+ 47.Ke3 Rc5 48.Bf3 Rxe5+ 49.Kd3 Rc5 50.Ke3 Rb6 51.Kd4 Kd6 52.h3 Rb4+ 53.Kd3 Kc7 54.Kd2 Kb6 55.Kd3 a4 56.Kd2 [If 56.Bd1 Kb5 57.Ra1 Rd5+ 58.Ke3 f5-+ Black is still winning easily.] 56...Ka5 57.Rd3 Rcb5 58.Rd6 a3 59.Be2 Rb2+ 60.Ke1 Re5 61.Ra6+ Kb4 62.Rb6+ Kc3 63.Rc6+ Kb3 64.Kf1 Rexe2 65.h4 Rec2 0-1

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Sicilian (1.e4 c5)
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  1. Ray Haines wrote: "Interesting. I like closed games now as I can keep the pieces on the board longer and have a more lasting attack. I am working on the Decline defences for this reason."

    1. Yes, as long as your pieces are active, keeping most of them on the board is a plus.


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