Scotland v USSR

12 December 1981

Second World Telechess Olympiad

The following article by Alan Borwell appeared in Scottish Chess number 67, February 1982.

The Scottish team arrived at the Scotland-USSR Friendship Society in Glasgow early on 12th December in conditions which were similar to those more normally expected in Moscow i.e. sub-zero temperatures and snow. The second round of the 2nd World Telechess Olympiad had drawn together the holders and favourites, the USSR, against Scotland, who had defeated Norway 5-3 in the first round. The event, organised jointly by FIDE and ICCF, is to encourage co-operation between national OTB and Postal chess associations.

Although the game against Norway had been played by telephone, it was decided that Telex would be more practical for the USSR match. The Scottish telecommunications Board were most helpful and installed two telex machines and sponsored one of the lines to the Central Chess Club in Moscow for the full duration of the 9 hour match. Transmission was in English, using international numeric chess notation, and there were few communications problems. The only crisis arose when the paper jammed in both of our machines, and several moves went astray, losing a considerable amount of playing time in two games. However, this did not jeopardise the smooth running of the match and a great deal of credit must go to Steve Mannion [Senior - AMcG] and his two volunteer telex operators for their considerable efforts. A host of helpers throughout the day also deserve thanks for their endurance and willingness.

On the playing side, the Scottish team was captained by Gerald Bonner, with Ken Stewart acting as Arbiter. Scotland included two postal players nominated by the SCCA, whereas after some persuasion, the USSR included one postal player, the ex-World Correspondence Chess Champion, Vladimir Zagorovsky. It is a pity that some countries are not including any postal players in such an event which is intended to bring together OTB and Postal bodies, e.g. England played only OTB nominees in their matches against Israel and Iceland. There is no doubt that telephone and telex matches favour OTB players, and perhaps DIDE/ICCF should consider some modifications to the regulations.

CW Pritchett
L. Polugaevsky
RM McKay
E. Vasiukov
CA McNab
A. Kochiev
TJ Upton
I. Zaitsev
DM Bryson
K. Lerner
CJ Morrison
V. Zagorovsky
ML Condie
I. Naumkin
Miss H. Scott
Miss N. Ioselani

In the openings it soon became clear that Scotland's best chances for glory were in the games with the white pieces. Some of the players with black seemed somewhat overawed by their opponents and selected rather passive variations. It was interesting to take a snapshot of the position after 15 moves. None of the Russians had weaknesses in their pawn structures, whereas a number of the Scottish players had either been forced into, or had strayed into, untidy-looking formations.

However, the Scottish players with the white pieces made real efforts to gain the initiative and all of them, namely Pritchett, McNab, Bryson and Condie came close to succeeding. The finest performance was that of Craig Pritchett, who really must have given Lev Polugaevsky quite a fright on top board by taking on the Russian GM in a line of the Sicilian Defence, Scheveningen Variation, in which he is a renowned expert. (Craig's not exactly a rookie at this variation either - Ed). This game, which has already appeared in several newspapers, is in the games section with annotations by Craig.

On board 3, Colin McNab seemd to have very good chances against Alexander Kochiev, but, unfortunately, seemd to go astray in a complicated tactical middle game. On the Junior board, where Scotland seemed to have its best chance of a victory on the basis of gradings, Mark Condie maintained a useful advantage well into the middle game, but was unable to capitalise on his opponent's isolated QP. He agreed a draw after 27 moves, no dount keen to see a score on the board for Scotland.

Douglas Bryson, as expected, adopted his usual attacking style of play and his opponent, IM Konstantin Lerner, must have had some very uncomfortable moments when faced with the Göring Gambit of the Scotch Game. His choice of defensive formation was original, if not very attractive to the beholder, guarding f7 by moving his queen to c8, and retreating the QN to d8. The Russian gradually untangled hilself by returning his extra material, and in the end Douglas had to play with considerable care and imagination to secure the draw, which was agreed at the end of the 9 hour session.

Neither Roddy McKay on board 2, nor Helen Scott on board 8, obtained equality with the black pieces and were outplayed by their top class opponents. Tim Upton and Chris Morrison both defended against the Ruy Lopez, but pawn weaknesses left them with difficult positions. Although both fought hard into the endgames with some tactical chances, their Russian opponents' technique was too good to allow them to escape.

Pritchett - Polugaevsky
Scotland v USSR, Telechess Olympiad, Round 2, 12.12.1981

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 d6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Be3 Be7 9.f4 0-0 10.Qe1 Qc7 11.Qg3 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 13.a3 Bb7 14.Kh1 Bc6 15.Rae1 Qb7 16.Bd3 b4 17.axb4 Qxb4 18.Ne2 Qb7 19.e5 Nh5 20.Qh3 g6 21.Ng3 dxe5 22.Bxe5 f6!

Whoever wishes to research these early moves I refer to my Batsford book on the Sicilian Scheveningen, and one or two key master games published in subsequent Informators. The text-move, the result of some 45 minutes thought out of the total 2 hours allotted for 50 moves in this event, is (as far as I am aware) a new move. I think it is probably the best move. If 22...Nxg3+ 23.hxg3! and White can attack with g4 and f5 (in some instances perhaps also g5). Alternatively, if 22...Ng7?! 23.Bxg7! (This was my new move, discovered as I was considering my 21st move. 23. Ne4 f6! is not better for White.) 23...Kxg7 24.f5! exf5 25.Nxf5+! gxf5 26.Rxf5 and White has a raging attack (whose effect is not diminished after 26...Bxg2+ etc. Contrary to Leonard Barden in the 'Guardian', I have a feeling Polugaevsky also discovered this at the board and so chose the lively text-move. which offers a pawn for the bishop pair and an active development.]

23.Nxh5 23...fxe5 24.Rxe5

So that if 24...gxh5?? 25. Bxh7+! and White is winning. Interesting is 24.Qxe6+ Rf7 25.Bc4 Bxg2+ 26.Kg1 Bc5+ 27.Rf2 Raf8 (a position which could also have been reached after 23.Qxe6+ Rf7 24.Bc4 Bxg2+ 25.Kg1 Bc5+ 26.Rf2 Raf8 27.Nxh5 fxe5). I did not analyse much further than this and thought Black must have at least enough play to hold the game. However, in post-mortem analysis with Danny Kopec, Roddy McKay and Alan Norris, it was discovered that White could still apparently maintain a slight pull after 28.Qxe5 Bxf2+ 29.Kxf2 gxh5 30.Qg5+ Kh8 31.Bxf7 Qxf7 32.Qe5+ Kg8 33.Kxg2 Qxf4 34.Qxf4 Rxf4 although Black should probably be able to draw this endgame without too much difficulty because of the activity of his rook. My approach seemd positionally clearer. Black's e-pawn is a long-term weakling. I did not mind giving back my extra pawn if I could recentralise my pieces and keep Black tied down to defence in the centre.

24...Rf7 25.Ng3 Raf8 26.Ne4

After this move and Black's careful reply, the game is probably drawn. The last serious chance of achieving more is 26.Bc4, then after Kh8!? 27.f5! (a Kopec idea) 27...gxf5 28.Bxe6 Rg7 29.Rexf5 Rxf5 30.Bxf5 White probably is consolidating his material advantage.However, 26...Bd5 is probably better. If 27.Bxd5 exd5 28.Qe6 Qxb2 29.Qxd5 Kh8 30.Qe4 Bd6 31.Re8 Rxe8 32.Qxe8+ Kg7 33.Qe4 (33.Qc6 Bxf4 34.Qc4 Qe5 35.Ne2 g5 36.g3 Qc7!) 33...Bxf4! 34.Rxf4?? Qc1+ and mates. The positions are extraordinarily complex.

26...Bd7 27.Qe3 Qxb2 28.Ng5

This looks very strong. If 28...Bxg5? 29. Rxg5, Black is positionally lost, and if Black's rook moves 29. Nxe6 wins. I had seen Black's reply, but I must say (with only 3 or 4 minutes on my clock! - Polugaevsky had 3 or 4 more) that I had missed Black's saving 34th move retreat.

28...Rxf4!! 29.Rxf4 Qa1+ 30.Bf1 Qxf1+ 31.Rxf1 Rxf1+ 32.Qg1 Rxg1+ 33.Kxg1 Bf6 34.Ra5 Bd8! Draw agreed. Repetition is forced: 35. Re5 Bf6 etc. Line

Bryson - Lerner [C44]
Scotland v USSR, 2nd Telechess Olympiad, 1981

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. c3 dxc3 5. Bc4 d6 6. Nxc3 Be6 7. Bxe6 fxe6 8. Qb3 Qc8 9. Ng5 Nd8 10. f4 Be7 11. f5 e5 12. 0-0 Nf6 13. Bd2 c6 14. Rac1 h6 15. Ne6 Nxe6 16. fxe6 0-0 17. Nd5 Nxd5 18. Rxf8+ Qxf8 19. exd5 cxd5 20. Qxd5 Re8 21. Qxb7 Bf6 22. Qd5 Qe7 23. Rc6 Qxe6 24. Rxd6 Qxd5 25. Rxd5 e4 26. Be3 Bxb2 27. Ra5 Rd8 28. Rxa7 Bd4 29. Bxd4 Rxd4 30. Re7 Ra4 31. g4 Kf8 32. Re5 Kf7 33. h4 e3 34. g5 h5 35. Rxe3 Rxh4 36. Rg3 Kg6 37. Rg2 Ra4 38. Kh2 Ra3 39. Kg1 h4 40. Kh2 Rc3 41. Rg4 Kh5 42. Rg1 Ra3 43. Rg2 g6 44. Kh1 h3 45. Rb2 ½-½

Zagorovsky - CJ Morrison [C78]
Scotland v USSR, 2nd Telechess Olympiad, 1981

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 b5 6. Bb3 Bb7 7. Re1 Bc5 8. c3 d6 9. d4 Bb6 10. a4 0-0 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bh4 Re8 13. axb5 axb5 14. Rxa8 Bxa8 15. d5 g5 16. dxc6 gxh4 17. Nxh4 Bxc6 18. Qf3 Bd7 19. Nf5 Bxf5 20. Qxf5 Kg7 21. Na3 c6 22. Rd1 Qc8 23. Rxd6 Qxf5 24. exf5 Bxf2+ 25. Kf1 Rc8 26. Rxf6 Kxf6 27. Kxf2 Rb8 28. Nc2 Kxf5 29. Bxf7 Rf8 30. Bb3 Kg5+ 31. Ke2 c5 32. Bd5 Rb8 33. g3 h5 34. h4+ Kf6 35. Ne3 b4 36. cxb4 Rxb4 37. b3 Rd4 38. Kf3 Rd3 39. Bc4 Rd4 40. Nd5+ Kf5 41. Nc3 Rd2 42. Ne4 Rc2 43. Bd3 Rc1 44. Nxc5+ Kf6 45. b4 Ke7 46. Ke3 Re1+ 47. Kd2 Rg1 48. b5 Kf6 49. b6 1-0

Compiled by
Alan McGowan