There was a very good turn-out to the RJ Shield on Sunday – 36 players in the over 10s and 31 in the under 10s, plus heaps of parents watching.

Chris Fu scored 6/7 to win the over 10s event whilst Dion Fernando and Kevin Bao also scored 6/7 in the under 10s with Dion winning on count-back.  A few of my students were participating but it was very frustrating as a coach to see the players just blitz out moves as though it was a 5 minute game, not a 15 minute game.  There was only one player, little Shawn Zillmann, who I was very pleased with as he took his time over each move and did not just play the first move that came to mind.  There were 3 or 4 occasions when I was watching his game and thinking “I hope he plays this move – but I doubt that he will see it” and to my surprise he did actually play the move that I was hoping for.   Contrast that with another player I was watching who had K+R+B v K+P but only had about 40 seconds to finish the game.  Instead of stopping to think for about 10 seconds, and seeing the forced mate in 3 moves that I had seen, he just blitzed out about 30 very quick moves and only managed to get a draw!  How on earth can I persuade young players to think rather than just move?

There was however one ray of hope as I showed the players the position for the “find the grandmaster move challenge”.  Each RJ Shield I select a position from a grandmaster game and we have a competition to see if the players can pick the move made by the grandmaster.  On this occasion  I chose a very famous game, but did not tell the players anything about the game other than it was a very famous move made by a very famous chess player.  After about an hour where the kids had been studying the position between their games, one boy came up to me and said “I think I know this position …. is it Byrne v Fischer 1956?”  Of course I was amazed that a young kid would have remembered the position and the details of the game and duly awarded him the prize for being the first to solve the “grandmaster move challenge.”  His name is Robin Neupane – perhaps we should remember that name?

Robin Neupane solves the "grandmaster move".

Robin Neupane solves the “grandmaster move”.


For today’s puzzle I want to show you an interesting position from one of my student’s games last week.  He was Black and ended up losing badly as he neglected to try to get counter-play with his passed “h” pawn.  We decided to play on for a few moves with me playing Black and trying to advance the “h” pawn as I had suggested.  After a few moves however White had successfully stopped my passed pawn and I was struggling for an idea (see diagram).

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