Sandy Bells Club Championshipn 2005
(I've been asked to resurrect this piece as the key move
3..Nb4 may have been invented by another player.)
The Sandy Bells Club Championship was meant to held
as a weekend tournament starting on the first Friday in
March at the Thistle Inn Hotel.
Everything was well organised and there were
28 - 30 players guaranteed to appear.
Three days before the tournament started I turned up
at the Thistle Inn to make sure everything was alright for the night.
Everything was not alright.
The Thistle Inn was changing hands and going through a
refurbishment that would last two weeks.
The playing room was being redecorated and the bar was CLOSED.
Quickly Mike Wallace contacted everybody to postpone the event.
I made arrangements with the new management and booked
Friday the 29th of March.
Only 3 days before the 29th did I realise that it was Easter Weekend.
Undaunted I went ahead. I put up an advert for the tournament
on the Bells notice board...written on the back of a betting slip.
I got a call from Mike Wallace on Friday saying he could
not make Friday night can he have a half point. No problem.
And so at 6:45 I set off for the Thistle Inn and find that
only one player had arrived... Brian Duncan.
Brian was joined at 7:25 by Joe Middleton.
That was it.
Two players had turned up for a 5 round weekend tournament.
(it's a good job these two turned up else Mike Wallace would
have won it with his half point bye).
The tournament photograph. Joe (player), Me (controller), Brian (player),
Lyndsay McGregor (controller's helper).
B Duncan - J Middleton Bells Club Championship.
I now introduce the planet to the Joe Middleton Trap.
If White snaffles the e-pawn with 4 Nxe5 then Black plays 4...Qg5
and we get a position that looks more like a dogs
dinner than the opening 4 moves of the Ruy Lopez.
I ran this position through my 1.5 million game database. Nothing.
Nobody has played 3...Nb4 in the Ruy Lopez.
This caused quite a stir in Edinburgh and everywhere
I went people were analysing this position.
The sweet old ladies in the 'Save the Children' shop.
Two tourists in Burger King
Even the guy who developed these pictures got in on the act
The game progressed and this position was reached.
Black to play.
Black can go for the fantasy variation (not quite sound).
18...Be6 19.Qxh8+ Kd7 20.Qxa8 Qc5+ 21.Kh1 Nf2+ 22.Kg1 Nh3+
23.Kh1 Qg1+ 24.Rxg1 Nf2 mate.
Here is the full with fantasy variation within the notes.
[Click here to replay the game]
B.Duncan - J.Middleton
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nb4 4.0-0 a6 5.Ba4 b5 6.Bb3 Nc6 7.c3 Nf6 8.Re1 Bc5 9.Nxe5 Nxe5 10.d4 Bd6 11.dxe5 Bxe5 12.f4 Qe7 13.fxe5 Qxe5 14.Bc2 d6 15.Nd2 Ng4 16.Nf3 Qc5+ 17.Qd4 Qh5 18.Qxg7 Qc5+ [18...Be6 19.Qxh8+ Kd7 20.Qxa8 Qc5+ 21.Kh1 Nf2+ 22.Kg1 Nh3+ 23.Kh1 Qg1+ 24.Rxg1 Nf2#] 19.Qd4 Rg8 20.Qxc5 dxc5 21.Bf4 Ra7 22.Rad1 Nf6 23.c4 Bg4 24.Kf2 Nh5 25.Be3 bxc4 26.Ba4+ Ke7 27.e5 Rb7 28.Bg5+ Ke6 29.Bd7
That just left the prize giving.
I found a guy in the bar who looked a wee bit like Raymond Keene.
(Dave Brown). He presented the prize.
So well done Brian Duncan. The first ever Sandy Bells Club Champion.
If truth be told Brian would have had a good chance of winning
it if all the players had turned up.