Fairhurst v Aitken

From the Glasgow Herald chess column of Monday, 13 November 1937, page 17.

We are glad to be able to announce a return match between W.A. Fairhurst, Glasgow, and J.M. Aitken, Lochgelly, our two outstanding players. Since their previous match each has greatly enhanced his reputation, Fairhurst by becoming British champion, and Aitken by his display at top board for Scotland at Stockholm. Eight games will be played, alternately in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The first game wil be in Glasgow on december 4, and the second in Edinburgh on December 11.

Note: Due to Aitken's indisposition, the first game was actually played on December 11.

Aitken - Fairhurst [C79]
Second Match 1937-38 (1), 11.12.1937 Glasgow

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.d4 Bd7 6.c3 Nf6 7.0-0 Be7 8.d5 Nb8 9.Bc2 c5 10.a4 b5 11.Qe2 bxa4 12.Bxa4 Bxa4 13.Rxa4 0-0 14.Nfd2 Nfd7 15.Nc4 Nb6 16.Nxb6 Qxb6 17.Na3 a5 18.Be3 Nd7 19.Ra1 f5 20.Nc4 Qb5 21.Rxa5 Nb6 22.Rxa8 Rxa8 23.Rxa8+ Nxa8 24.Kf1 fxe4 25.Na3 Qb3 26.c4 Nb6 27.Bc1 Na4 28.Qc2 Qd3+ 29.Ke1 Nb6 30.Qxd3 exd3 31.f3 Kf7 32.b3 Kg6 33.Be3 Kf5 34.Kd2 Nd7 [Not 34...e4 to hold the advanced pawn, because of 35.g4+ f4, Nb5 and Nc3, and White will win two pawns instead of one.] 35.Kxd3 h5 36.h3 h4 37.Nb5 Nf6 38.Nc3 Nh5 39.Ne4 Nf4+ 40.Bxf4 Kxf4 41.Kc3 g5 42.b4 cxb4+ 43.Kxb4 g4 A fine resource. Black gives up two pawns to free his KP. 44.hxg4 h3 45.gxh3 Kxf3 46.Nc3 The Glasgow Herald chess column of 18 December 1937 comments that after the game Fairhurst stated that 46. Nd2+ would have been stronger. 46...e4 47.Nxe4 More or less forced. 47...Kxe4 48.Kb5 Kd4 49.Kc6 Kxc4 50.Kd7 Bg5 51.Kxd6 Kd4 52.Ke6 Ke4 53.d6 Kf4 54.Kf7 Kg3 55.Kg6 Kh4 ½-½

The Scotsman, 24 January 1938.

Fairhurst, in this game, took a somewhat risly line in the Queen's Gambit Declined, and sacrificed considerabel material with an eye to a strong attack on the king's side. Aitken took all the gifts, and found a satisfactory defence to the subsequent attack, scoring a good win.

Fairhurst - Aitken [D64]
Second Match 1937-38 (2), 22.01.1938 Edinburgh

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0-0 6.Nf3 Nbd7 7.Rc1 c6 8.Qc2 Ne4 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Qxe4 Qb4+ 12.Kd1 This variation had been played before this game, including by Alekhine against van den Bosch at Amsterdam 1936. All these earlier games had continued at this point with 12.Nd2 [AMcG] 12...Qxb2 13.Bd3 Nf6 14.Qh4 c5 15.g4 Perhaps too sanguine. 15. Ne5, to prevent ...Bd7 would hold up Black more. 15...Bd7! 16.g5 Ba4+ 17.Rc2 Nh5 Perhaps overlooked by White at his 15th. The temporary sacrifice gains valuable time. 18.Qxh5 g6 19.Qh6 Bxc2+ 20.Bxc2 Qa1+ 21.Ke2 Qxh1 22.Ne5 Rad8! The only move. Black is now able to give back material for safety and a winning balance. 23.Ng4 f5 24.Nf6+ Rxf6 25.gxf6 Rd7 26.Qf4 Qc1 27.Bb3 cxd4 28.Qb8+ Kf7 29.exd4 Qb2+ 30.Kf1 Qxd4 31.Qh8 Qxf6 32.Qxh7+ Qg7 33.Qh4 Rd4 34.Qg3 Re4 35.Qc7+ Kg8 36.Qb8+ Kh7 37.h3 Qa1+ 38.Kg2 Re1 39.Qxb7+ Kh6 40.Kh2 Qe5+ 41.Kg2 f4 42.Qf3 Qg5+ 43.Kh2 Qg1 Mate. 0-1

Glasgow Herald, Monday 7 February 1938, page 6.

Aitken - Fairhurst [B83]
Second Match 1937-38 (3), 05.02.1938 Edinburgh

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be2 Nbd7 The idea of this move is to threaten ...Nc5 exerting pressure on White's centre which prevents him from assuming too forward an attacking formation. The idea is original to Mr Fairhurst. White's next move is to counter the idea. 7.Nb3 a6 8.a4 b6 9.f4 Necessary before castling if White is to secure an attacking formation after Black's next move. 9...Bb7 10.Bf3 Qc7 11.Qe2 Rd8 12.0-0 Be7 13.f5 Ne5 14.fxe6 Nxf3+ 15.Qxf3 fxe6 16.Nd4 Qd7 17.Qh3 Bc8 18.Be3 0-0 19.Rad1 Rde8 20.Bg5 Qc7 21.Qd3 [Not 21.Nxe6 because of 21...Qc4 White is now in retreat.] 21...Qc5 22.Be3 Ng4 23.Nf5 Nxe3 24.b4 Qxb4 25.Nxe7+ Rxe7 26.Qxe3 Rxf1+ 27.Rxf1 Qc5 28.Qxc5 bxc5 29.Rd1 Rd7 30.a5 Bb7 31.Na4 Bc6 32.Nb6 Rd8 33.Nc4 Bxe4 34.Rxd6 Rxd6 35.Nxd6 Bxc2 This was tempting enough, but ...Bd5, followed by the entry of the King, was much better. 36.Kf2 Bd3 Another mistake. After ...Ba4 there were still good winning chances. White's play with his Knight from move 30 to the end is very fine. 37.Nb7 Kf8 38.Nxc5 Bc4 39.Ke3 Ke7 40.Kd4 Bf1 41.Ke5 Bc4 42.h4 Kf7 43.g4 h6 44.Kd4 Be2 45.Ke5 Bc4 46.Ne4 ½-½

The Scotsman, Monday 21 February 1938.

Fairhurst, with the move, played a Queen's Gambit, which developed into an intricate middle game, in which he had an advantage with a strong attack. Aitken defended with great skill, and forced exchanges, which led to a draw in fifty moves, keeping his lead in the match with one win and three draws.

Fairhurst - Aitken[D53]
Second Match 1937-38 (4), 19 02.1938 Glasgow

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0-0 6.Qc2 c5 7.dxc5 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Qa5 9.Nf3 Qxc5 10.Bd3 h6 11.Bh4 Nc6 12.a3 b6 13.b4 Qh5 14.Be2 e5 15.Ne4 Bb7 16.Nxf6+ Bxf6 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.b5 Na5 19.0-0 Rac8 20.Qa4 Qg6 21.Rac1 Kh8 22.Nh4 Qe4 23.Qxe4 Bxe4 24.Bg4 Rc5 25.Rxc5 bxc5 26.Rc1 c4 27.Kf1 Nb3 28.Rc3 Bd3+ 29.Ke1 Rb8 30.Be2 Nc5 31.Bxd3 Nxd3+ 32.Ke2 Nb2 33.a4 Rc8 34.Nf5 Nxa4 35.Rc2 Nb6 36.Nd6 Rc7 37.e4 Kh7 38.Ne8 Rc5 39.Nxf6+ Kg6 40.Nd5 Nxd5 41.exd5 f5 42.d6 Rxb5 43.Rxc4 Rd5 44.Rc6 Kf7 45.Ra6 Ke6 46.d7+ Ke7 47.Rxh6 a5 48.f3 Kxd7 49.g4 fxg4 50.fxg4 ½-½

Glasgow Herald, Monday 21 March 1938.

Aitken won after 63 moves had been played in six hours without a break, and the score of the match now stands at two games to nil in favour of Aitken, with three draws.
Fairhurst gained an advantage from the opening manoeuvres, as he usually does, even against famous masters; but he made a positional blunder on his 38th move which allowed Aitken completely to turn the tables, and the young Lochgelly expert soon had a Rook ending to win.

Aitken - Fairhurst [C55]
Second Match 1937-38 (5), 19.03.1938 Edinburgh

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.c3 0-0 6.Nbd2 d6 7.b4 a6 8.a4 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Ne4 Bf5 11.Bd2 Nb6 12.Qe2 Nxc4 13.dxc4 f6 14.0-0 Qd7 15.Rad1 Nd8 16.b5 axb5 17.axb5 Ra2 18.Qe3 Ne6 19.Nh4 Bxe4 20.Bc1 Bd6 21.Qxe4 Nc5 22.Qd5+ Qf7 23.Be3 Qxd5 24.Rxd5 Ne4 25.b6 c6 26.Rd3 Bc5 27.Nf5 Bxe3 28.Rxe3 Nc5 29.f4 e4 30.Rb1 g6 31.Nd4 f5 32.Re2 Rxe2 33.Nxe2 Ra8 34.Kf2 Ra4 35.Ke3 Rxc4 Black is ow a pawn to the good, with an advantageous position which should have given him a win. 36.Rd1 Kf7 37.Rd8 Ra4 38.Rh8 Ra6 A blunder that destroys at one stroke the advantage gained. With the ridiculously simple ...h5 the Black advantage would have remained. 39.Rxh7+ Kf6 40.h4 Rxb6 41.h5 White proves himself worthy of the "gifts." By this advance he completely turns the tables. If 41...gxh5 42.Nd4, followed by Rxh5. 41...Ra6 42.Rh6 Ne6 43.Rxg6+ Kf7 44.g4 fxg4 45.Rxg4 Ng7 46.Ng3 c5 47.c4 Re6 48.Rg5 b6 49.Re5 Rh6 50.Kxe4 Ne8 51.Kf3 Nd6 52.Nf5 Nxf5 53.Rxf5+ Kg7 54.Ke4 Rd6 55.Rd5 Rf6 56.Rg5+ Kh7 57.f5 Rd6 58.Ke5 Rd1 59.f6 Re1+ 60.Kd6 Rd1+ 61.Ke6 Re1+ 62.Re5 Rf1 63.Ke7 1-0 [Glasgow Herald, Monday 21 March 1938.]

Glasgow Herald, Monday 11 April 1938.

There was no evidence on Saturday that Aitken was playing for the draw that would have suited his score, for he invited complications all the time. In the opening he was prevented from playing the Cambridge Springs counter-attack, whereupon he ventured on a counter-gambit of his own.
The result was a troublesome game for Fairhurst, but in the end Aitken's sacrifices were proved unsound, and he resigned on move 38 after all his threats had been destroyed.

Fairhurst - Aitken [D51]
Second Match 1937-38 (6), 09.04.1938 Glasgow

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.e3 c6 6.a3 Be7 7.Nf3 0-0 8.Qc2 a6 9.Rd1 b5 10.c5 e5 11.dxe5 Ng4 12.Bf4 g5 13.Bg3 Nxc5 14.h4 f5 15.hxg5 Ne4 16.Nxe4 fxe4 17.Qxc6 exf3 18.Qxa8 Qa5+ 19.Rd2 Bf5 20.Qxd5+ Kh8 21.g6 Bxg6 22.e6 Rd8 23.Be5+ Nxe5 24.Qxe5+ Kg8 25.Qc3 b4 26.Rxd8+ Qxd8 27.Qd2 Qb8 28.a4 b3 29.Kd1 Bc2+ 30.Kc1 Be4 31.gxf3 Qc7+ 32.Qc3 Qxc3+ 33.bxc3 Ba3+ 34.Kd2 Bxf3 35.Bg2 Bxg2 36.Rg1 Kf8 37.Rxg2 h5 38.Rh2 1-0

Glasgow Herald, Monday 2 May 1938.

The seventh of the eight games being played between Scotland's leading chess experts...was still unfinished after six hours' play in Edinburgh on Saturday.
Play will be resumed in Glasgow on May 14, prior to the start of the eighth and final game. Another hour's play will probably suffice to reach a decision.

Aitken - Fairhurst [C73]
Second Match 1937-38 (7), 30.04.1938 Edinburgh

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.Bxc6+ bxc6 6.d4 exd4 7.Nxd4 c5 8.Ne2 Bb7 9.Nbc3 g6 10.Be3 Bg7 11.Qd2 Nf6 12.f3 Nd7 13.Bg5 Bf6 14.Bxf6 Qxf6 15.0-0 0-0 16.Rad1 Nb6 17.b3 a5 18.Nb5 Rfc8 19.a4 c4 20.Qc3 Qe7 21.Rd2 d5 22.e5 c5 23.f4 d4 24.Qg3 Kh8 25.Nd6 c3 26.Nxc3 dxc3 27.Qxc3 Nd5 28.Qf3 Rd8 29.Rxd5 Bxd5 30.Qxd5 Rf8 31.f5 Ra7 32.f6 Qd7 33.Rf3 Rc7 34.Qe4 Rc6 35.Qf4 g5 36.Qxg5 Rg8 37.Qf5 Rxd6 38.exd6 Qxd6 39.Rd3 Qc6 40.Rg3 Rg6 41.Rxg6 hxg6 42.Qf4 Kg8 43.h4 Qd5 44.Kh2 Kh7 45.c4 Qb7 46.Qe3 Qc7+ 47.g3 Qc8 48.Qe7 Kg8 49.Kg1 Qb8 50.Kf2 Qc8 51.Qe5 Qd8 52.Ke3 Qc8 53.h5 Kh7 54.Qe7 Qg8 55.Qe4 Qb8 56.hxg6+ fxg6 57.Qe7+ Kh6 58.Kf3 Kh5 59.Qh7+ Kg5 60.Qh4+ Kf5 61.Qf4+ Qxf4+ 62.gxf4 Ke6 63.Ke4 Kxf6 64.Kd5 1-0

Glasgow Herald, Monday 16 May 1938.

Game seven, continued from a previous sitting, went on for 16 further moves before Aitken demonstrated that Fairhurst's attempts to escape with a draw was a vain one.
Game eight followed, and proved an anti-climax to the long, keen games that preseded it in the match, for it was as good as finished after 12 moves.
IN an awkward position, following a Budapest Defence played by Aitken, a piece was lost by Fairhurst on that move, and on move 21 Fairhurst resigned following the loss of another piece. In each case the loss was caused by blunders.

Fairhurst - Aitken [A52]
Second Match 1937-38 (8), 14.05.1938 Glasgow

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.dxe5 Ng4 4.e4 Nxe5 5.f4 Nec6 6.Be3 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Qh4+ 8.g3 Qe7 9.Bd3 Bxc3+ 10.bxc3 d6 11.Qf3 Qf6 12.Ne2 Ne5 13.Qf1 Nxd3+ 14.Kd2 Nc5 15.Bxc5 dxc5 16.e5 Qa6 17.Nc1 Be6 18.Nb3 Nd7 19.f5 Bxc4 20.Qf4 0-0-0 21.Kc1 Bxb3 0-1

Final score: Aitken 5½ - Fairhurst 2½

Compiled by
Alan McGowan