Pretoria News


The Fort Knox Variation of the French Defence has been known as a difficult nut to crack for the player with the white pieces- hence it being named after the military installation which guards the United States gold reserves. The main idea is to quickly develop the problem piece of the French which is the light-squared bishop and maintain a compact and solid position. It invites White to overextend his position and is endorsed by such players as Karpov and Jobava. The following game between two English GMs – Howell, who commentates on the many online events that are the common staple of these times, and the veteran Arkell who seems to be improving with age- reveals an interesting method of combatting this variation.

Howell,D (2705) - Arkell,K (2505) [C10]

PokerStars IoM Masters Douglas ENG 2015

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bd7

(Introducing the Fort Knox) 5.Nf3 Bc6 6.Bd3 Nd7 7.0–0 Ngf6 8.Neg5 Bd6 (8...Bxf3 9.Qxf3 c6 10.Re1 Be7 11.Rxe6! {sacrificing a rook is a spectacular theme here}…fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qa5 13.Qe2 Rg8 14.Bg5 Kf7 15.Bc4 Nb6 16.Bd2 Qf5 17.Ng5+ Kf8 18.Re1 Re8 19.g4+-) 9.Re1 Bxf3 (9...h6 10.Rxe6+!? Kf8 10... fxe6 11.Nxe6 Qc8 12.Nxg7+ Kf7 13.Nf5 Qg8 14.N3h4 Ke8 15.c4 with the initiative) 10.Qxf3 h6 11.Nxe6! fxe6 12.Rxe6+ Kf7 13.Bc4 Kf8 14.Qf5 Nb6 15.Bb3 Be7 16.Bd2 c5 17.dxc5 Qxd2 18.cxb6 Qg5 19.Qf3 axb6 20.Rxe7!

(Embarking on a decisive king-hunt)…Kxe7 21.Qxb7+ Kd6 22.Qxb6+ Ke5 23.Qe6+ Kf4 24.g3+ Kf3 25.Bc4 (This quiet move is the most efficient)…Ne4 26.Be2+ Kxe2 27.Qxe4+ Kd2 28.Qd3# 1–0

Today’s players find it difficult to relate to the situation of the chess world back in the 70′s: there were few Grandmasters in those days. Today there are more than 1000 GMs! The reason is that in those days the GM title was a much more respected and difficult title to achieve. Only the very best players got the GM title! Now any master has chances to get a GM norm! Chess organizers and chess politicians have destroyed the essence of the Grandmaster title…

In 1970, only the World Champion kept his GM title for life; all others had to get regular norms to maintain it. How to get a GM title in those days: first it was impossible in Open tournaments; next, you had to score 55% against all the GMs in your round robin tournament, and 85% against all the IMs. (GM Kevin Spragett)





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