Glynis is right!
Who is Glynis?
Glynis Grant is one of the organisers of the SNCL.
Recently on the Scottish notice board she proudly advised us
all of the new venue in North Queensferry and she thinks it's fab.
I had a couple of hours to kill on Saturday so I jumped the
train to North Queensferry. £3.90 day return.
30 minutes later I was in the North Queensferry Lodge Hotel
(that was). It is now called The Corus Hotel.
A pretty female member of the staff showed me where the
SNCL will be held. It's super-duper, the kind of place
where chess should be played.
You can sac pieces, miss-play endings and admire the view.
It's posh, loads of bars, one can sit outside (and smoke).
I think it would be ideal for a weekend tournament. Three games
Saturday, two on Sunday. (The future of Chess events is to drop
the Friday night game it works out cheaper for everybody).
You can stay in the Hotel where the tournament is being held.
I'm sure they would do a deal especially if the tournament
was held outside tourist season.
We could hold the Scottish Championship there.
A proper Scottish Championship. The top 30 players invited.
No side show tournaments like Opens, Seniors, Minors & Majors.
Just the Championship. With such a venue there would be no
problem getting a sponsor.
Here is map of how to get there from the station.
it's only a 10 minute walk. A wee bit longer coming
back because you have to climb up 57 steps.
It knackered me. Next time I do it some of the boys
from Bells will have to carry me to the top.
I'm looking forward to it.
I must contact Glynis and ask her to get in touch with CHESS.
With Scottish Chess Supplies gone perhaps they will be
interested in opening up a book stall. They can drive up
on the Saturday, spend Saturday and Sunday in the hotel and
drive back on the Monday.
Congratulations John Shaw
Scotland's 4th Grandmaster.
This award is long overdue. I can recall in the mid 90's John
had a grade of around 2300-2400. I think, I really should
check, but I'm sure he has been Scottish Champion 3 times.
He has been a strong player for ages.
He has stuck at and eventually his persistence has been rewarded.
Mind you when I first heard the news a wry smile flashed
across my mug. I will have to give a John Shaw game.
You see John's style... and I quote Andrew Martin:
"John Shaw is a methodical, logical, classical player and he
usually goes for a nagging edge with White rather than the quick attack."
...is not my cup of tea.
I found 529 of John's game on my 10 trillion games database.
I syphoned out the wins and put them on auto play, I then watched
and waited for a brilliancy to appear so I can give a game.
After 30 minutes I had to ask myself a question.
Do I do this for another 30 minutes, or do I get the
train to North Queensferry and climb those steps again?
Oh he's good. All he needs is that wee edge and he will
grind it out. If you have a lost position against him
then resign. There will be no cheapo's here.
Careful, calm, correct, risk free and rock solid.
I cannot subject my surfers to this.
They want sacs, blunders and blood.
They won't understand what is happening.
I don't understand what is happening.
If he has the better position then off comes the
Queens and into an ending. He does not do 50-50 attacks.
Look at this typical John Shaw game.
J. Shaw v A. Maxwell, Scottish Ch. 2004.
[Click here to replay the game]
J.Shaw - A.Maxwell
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Bg5 c6 5.e3 Qa5+ 6.Nbd2 Ne4 7.Bf4 Nd7 8.a3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 Nxd2 10.Nxd2 Nf6 11.0-0 Be7 12.b4 Qd8 13.Qb3 0-0 14.Rac1 Bd6 15.Bxd6 Qxd6 16.Be2 Nd5 17.Bf3 f5 18.Nc4 Qe7 19.Ne5 Bd7 20.b5 Rab8 21.bxc6 bxc6 22.Qa4 Be8 23.Rc5 Rb6 24.Rfc1 Qb7 25.Qc4 Rb5 26.Nxc6 Rxc5 27.Qxc5 Nf6 28.Ne7+
Play it over. Now I summerise
White done nothing. He built up a solid position.
He did not know what to do with it so he pushed pawns
on the Queenside till his opponent blundered.
Of course I jest.
I wanted to give a typical John Shaw game and I knew
I could not get away with showing a flashy sac sac attack.
When you play over his games you get the distinct impression
that he is doing nothing but waiting for a blunder.
But this is one of his key strengths,
He does not play one move blunders.
This may sound obvious but eradicating one moves blunders
from one's game is a large step towards becoming a good player.
In this position.
Maxwell played 27…Nf6 and resigned after 28 Ne7+ The Queen is lost.
Black had to play 27…Bxc6 28 Qxc6 though he is still losing due to
The minus pawn and the targets on a6 and e6.
So Black lost because White sat on his pawn up position waiting for a lemon.
No. One has to go back and see the Shaw mind at work.
The same game we are at move 17, Black to play.
It's a difficult position for Black he has to tread carefully.
17...f5? (17…Rd8 leave the pawns alone ).
This gives White an outpost on e5 a target on e6
and exposes the King. White is going to plant a Knight on e5
then undermine the Knight on d5 and create yet another weakness on c6.
Play continued 18.Nc4 Qe7 19.Ne5 Bd7 20.b5
Black cannot play 20…cxb5 because of 21 Bxd5 and 22 Rc7.
Play continued 20…Rab8 21 bxc6 bxc6 22 Qa4...
Now he mobs the weakened c6 pawn.
22...Be8 23 Rc5 (he could have played 23 Nxc6 but that
would have given Black an ounce of counter play against
the pinned Knight. Nobody gets a sniff of counter play).
Rb6 24.Rfc1 Qb7 25.Qc4
And now his ready to take the c6 pawn.
25... Rb5 26.Nxc6 Rxc5 27.Qxc5
And we are back to where Black blundered his Queen.
So you see he was not pushing pawns on the Queenside
because he did not know what to do. It was all part of
plan hatched the moment Black played 17...f5.
This was a relatively simple example of John's style.
Though it took some explaining. There are some
other games where you really have roll up your
sleeves and dig in to find out what he is up too.
I was about to pull the plug on the games being played
before me. I had given up hope of finding a messy
sac game... And then it happened!
It was there only briefly but I saw it.
Why did McNab not take the Knight?
C.McNab - J.Shaw Blackpool 2003
In this position John played 18...Nxd5!?WAD
! = good move.
? = it may be a blunder.
W = Who knows?
A = At last something I can get into and understand.
D = Damn. I missed the football on the telly analysing this.
The theme is the uncastled King.
It's pure attacking chess.
Black attacks something that cannot move.
White defends it. Black attacks the defenders.
My analysis runs.
19.exd5 e4 20.Bxe4 Re7 21.Qf3 Bf5 22.Rc4 Rae8 23.Nc3 b5
24.Rd4 b4 25.axb4 axb4 26.0-0 Bg4 27.Qd3 bxc3 28.Bxc3 Be2
29.Qxe2 f3 30.g3 fxe2 and wins.
Oh yes a few if's and but's, however this is I'm sure
the main line both players saw. I say both because
Colin Mcnab refused the Knight offer.
I let Fritz check my line. It thinks White is always
winning. It gives my Black moves as best and then
around about move 26 it discovers White is losing.
Here is the complete game.
[Click here to replay the game]
C.McNab - J.Shaw
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Bb4 3.Nd5 a5 4.a3 Be7 5.d4 d6 6.e3 Nf6 7.Ne2 Nxd5 8.cxd5 0-0 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Nc3 f5 11.Be2 Nd7 12.Qc2 Nb6 13.e4 f4 14.Nb5 Bd6 15.Bd2 Rf7 16.Rc1 Qg5 17.Bf3 Qh4 18.Qd1 Nxd5 19.Nxd6 cxd6 20.Bxa5 Ne3 21.Qxd6 Nxg2+ 22.Bxg2 f3 23.Qd8+ Qxd8 24.Bxd8 fxg2 25.Rg1 Bg4 26.Bb6 Bf3 27.Rc7 Rxc7 28.Bxc7 Rc8
A good game that one.
I don't think it is a win or lose attack.
John does not do these crazy things.
It's a win or no 'real damage done' attack.
I actually enjoyed watching John Shaw wins on replay.
Well those I could understand. He makes it look so simple.
The sign of a very good player.
So the West of Scotland has finally produced a Grandmaster.
There are half a dozen or so players in the West who I think
have the makings of a GM. McKay, Pritchett, Bryson, Morrison,
Mannion, just to name a handful.
Finally here is a picture Steve Mannion and his car.
My thanks to J.B. Henderson for the pictures
of Steve Mannion and John Shaw.