This has been a hard couple of weeks for me.  Today is my father’s birthday but he passed away 9 days ago just shy of his 93rd birthday … so it has been a little hard thinking about chess.

Another blow came when I went to the chess centre in Mt.Waverley last night and Carl advised me that Australia’s first grandmaster, Walter Shawn Browne had passed away in Las Vegas aged only 65 years.  Browne had briefly played for Australia in the early 1970’s and I was his replacement on board one in our Olympiad team when he changed to the USA in 1974.  He had been a bit of a hero to players of my generation and went on to become one of the world’s top grandmasters, second only to Fischer in the USA in the 1970s.

I first met Browne at the Karl’s Lidums International in Adelaide in 1970-71 and witnessed first hand what a dynamic and competitive person he was.  After the tournament game each day he would take on all-comers at lightning for $1 per game in front of a huge crowd.  He gave a simul in Glen Waverley following the tournament along with West German GM Lothar Schmid.  I chose to play Schmid, reasoning that I would have many future opportunities to play Browne.  Alas they never came.  I should have spent a dollar in Adelaide and played him at blitz!

Despite these two losses life goes on and I’ll be using next week to prepare for the chess camp in Albury which starts on 7th July.  The theme is attacking so there should be plenty of material available for we coaches.   It must be said that I don’t particularly like attacking, and most players think that is the only available plan, but I guess that I can play along for the four days of the camp and pretend to be an attacker.

Speaking of attacking, it is important when attacking to try to prevent your opponent from getting any counter-play.  If you can keep him bottled-up and on the defensive the win should come easily, but sometimes even good players like Australian Champion Max Illingworth let their opponents escape.  The diagram below shows the end of a big game in the recent NSW Open where Max was crushing Anton Smirnov but let him escape.  Soon it was all down-hill for Max and Anton just had to find the best road to victory.  Sure enough Anton found a line which induced Max to resign in two more moves but he missed a very pretty mate in four moves!  Can you do better?

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