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Beware 50 year old bald accountants and lawyers

March 27, 2013

…they can be dangerous.

Today, I was the guest of LexisNexis UK – Butterworths – Tolley Innovative Business, Legal Solutions at the Candidates Tournament at the IET, Savoy Place In terms of fostering good relations, LexisNexis's Sean Farquharson's invitation to this event couldn't for me be beaten. Another guest was my former fellow England junior Gary Senior, now a very senior lawyer and UK managing partner at Baker & McKenzie.

In chess terms, but not in other athletic terms, Gary and I were wolves in sheep's clothing suits. GM Robert Fontaine, who I understand has a relationship with the event's organisers, came into the LexisNexis suite to mingle with the guests, and after a while someone suggested it would be entertaining for all the guests to see the GM play two of the guests in an informal simul. Clocks weren't available, so when I was pushed forward (with absolutely zero reluctance…I doubt I have a poker face and I suspected everyone could tell I was a willing participant), and Gary also volunteered, it was game on.

Robert asked me what my grading was, and I told him the correct, if slightly misleading, answer, that I don't have one. [True: alas, I haven't played classical time limit chess for a decade]. Maybe, this gave Robert some confidence. He have us both white, and we rattled our some moves. I played my beloved Morra Gambit against his Sicilian, which he declined, and I quickly got to a very comfortable Maroczy type position. I didn't hear him say this, but one of the guests told me that Robert had said around this stage that I clearly knew how to play chess.

I had a bit of a think here, and decided to swap off both pairs of rooks: if black avoided the swap, he would cede me the c-file. I felt by swapping off the rooks I might be able to take advantage of his queen being offside.

Robert sought to make use of his queen being on the king side to launch an attack with h6 and g5: but I forced the exchange of queens, and placed my knight on the f5 hold created by his pawn advance. Meanwhile, Gary's game was heading to a draw.

Here, I felt I was playing for two results, a draw or a win, which is a nice position to be in when playing against a GM with an audience watching. The procedure was fairly simple: in the above position, one of his pawns falls, so I just needed to be careful, returning the N into play (because black took the obviously better choice to let the h6 pawn fall), centralising the king, and swapping off as appropriate.

The game was effectively over after the nice (but not hard) tactic 41 d6, the point being that if 41…e6, then 42 e7! and the pawn promotes.

After this, the game was over quickly.

What better way for me to thank LexisNexis for their invitation? Thank you, LexisNexis, for giving me one more memory for a lifetime.



From → Chess

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