Also by Alex Swamp2,
Swamp3, Swamp4, Swamp5,
Enter Swamp 6! Members Guide to France,
Alex's French Chess Dictionary
Alex Bourke demonstrates how a propensity
for chaos can sometimes net a big scalp ...
In Chess for Tigers, Simon Webb explains that when
you are massively outgraded, your best chance is to
complicate. On swampy ground, a heffalump is as
likely to get out of his depth as you are.
White: Alex Bourke, Kings Head (E150)
Black: Nevil Chan, Drunken Knights (180, has
1. e4 Nc6
Much safer than 1
c5. Mr Heffalump knows that in
violent openings, a bunny can sometimes get lucky.
2. d4 e5
Now 3.de, Nxe5 and
Bc5 is risky. Black probably
plays that every week. Let's just go for a lock down
and hope to draw.
3. d5 Ne7
4. Bd3 Ng6
Bc5 and preparing to castle Q-side
6. Nd2 Nf6
Probably the losing move, but would you have seen
Ba5-b6? Now I must take advantage of the exposed
B and nail black's trunk to the deck before he finishes
7. c3 Ba5
A natural tiger move. There's no clear win, but with
O-O-O and d6 possible,
and Bb6 ruining Black's position, we're heading for
Into the swamp! White threatens Nd6+
and Nxa5. Black has to deeply analyse
b5 not knowing whether White
would reply with 10.Qxa5 or the murky
10.Nd6+, Kf8 (10
Ke7 invites the
outrageous queen sac 11.Bc5, bxa4;
11.Qa3, which is hairier than a fight
between Speelman, Mestel and
a wookie with alopecia. Mr Heffalump wants to
K.I.S.S. (kiss it simple stoopid) and later slowly
strangle de wabbit, so chooses the safer looking.
No chance, Jumbo. Now 10
Bb8; 11 Bb6 or Nb6
is awful, so Black must plunge deeper into the gator
11. dxc7 Qe7
Not Qxc7; 12.Qxa5 winning a piece. The drunken
knight was knocking back pints, confident he faced a
sheep in wolf's clothing. To snag a cocky heffalump,
leave a tempting trail of yummy buns all the way to the
So, what is the most tigrine move now,
Qa3 to simplify drawwards, or the
innocent Qb3, apparently to guard c4
and keep a Q for the action? Take a
minute to see if you can find a sting in the
tail for either move.
12. Qb3 bxc4
The wulluf pulls off his mask to reveal
neither wool nor long ears but
stripey tigger!! Here I'm giving up two
passive pieces to a pawn to clear a line
for a major piece to crash onto the back
rank. Remember this theme, it might
14. Qxa8 O-O
15. Qxa7 Nxe4
Jumbo has survived with a safe king and
a dangerous centre. White must
develop, simplify and queen a pawn.
16. O-O-O Nf4
17. Bxf4 exf4
18. Nf3 c5
19. Rhe1 d5
20. Rxd3 Be6
Rc8 to win the pawn. White could
sac the exchange to kill the black attack and hope the
a-pawn wins, but the nuclear option is so much more
fun. White now has a spectacular continuation that is
too complex to analyse properly. Here are some
clues. White's rooks are locked out of the
attack. Suppose the d-file were open. Suppose the
pawn at c7 could queen at c8 or d8, opening the
seventh rank with a discovered attack on black's
queen. Consider the chances for a back rank mate.
Imagination is the key to combinations. See if you can
work out what happens next. Don't eliminate anything,
no matter how crazy. This is your chance for glory
with the entire pub watching.
Position after 20. ... Be6
"What would Tarantino play now?"
PLEASE STOP! Don't scroll if you want to work out
the above question first!!!
Position after 21. Rxe4!
21. Rxe4! dxe4
22. Rd8! exf3
The same theme as 13.Qb8, remember? White sacs
two more passive pieces to
clear a line. 22
Rxd8; 23.c8=Q looked winning in all
lines. Later I found
,Qf8 or Qe8; but then 24.Qxd8,Qxd8; 25.Ng5 is
promising. (a year later,
one of the club''s strongest players found the bust
23..., Qd6! ouch!) The
point is, in a truly swamptastic position, you analyse
what you can then go with your gut feel and work out
the rest if you need it, which in this case I didn't. If it's
winnable, you'll win, if not you would have lost
anyway against a heffalump, but this way you get to
have a lot of fun and you may get lucky. After 22
exf3, Black threatened
Bc8 and was
confidently slurping his trunk in his fourth pint.
Nya, what's up Jumbo? A rootin' tootin' second
queen offer which must also be declined. Yeeha!
24. Qxd8 Rxd8
25. gf Rc8
Nellie is mired up to the tusks and all we have to do is
make the time control.
26. a4 g5
27. Qb7 c4
28. Qe7 h6
29. a5 Ra8
30. Qc7 Kh7
31. Qe5 Kg6
32. Qe4+ resigns
If you haven't read it, may I suggest you head for the
nearest bookshop and get Chess for Tigers, the
greatest chess book for club players ever written. And
if you ever see Simon Webb - he's the one with the
stripey tail and ferocious grin with legions of small
tigers workshipping at his paws - buy him a pint for
Top of page
Position after 20. ... Be6
"What would Tarantino play
Position after 2. ... e5
Position after 6. ... Nf6
Position after 8. Qa4
"A natural tiger move"
Position after 9. ... Bc7
Position after 13. Qb8!!
Position after 15. ... Nxe4
"Jumbo has survived with a
safe king and a dangerous
centre. White must develop,
simplify and queen a pawn."
Position after 22. Rd8!
Position after 23. c8=Q!!
Position after 25. ...Rc8
Position after 30. ... Kg6