At Last the 1988 Show

I’m currently writing a history of Richmond Junior Chess Club from 1975 to 2006: you can read the second part here.

The next part will cover the period where our members included future GMs Luke McShane and Jonathan Rowson, along with future IMs Richard Bates and Tom Hinks-Edwards. Last Sunday two of these players happened to meet in the 4NCL.

Here’s the game, with Stockfish’s thoughts. A pretty classy encounter, as you’d expect.

Looking back on my RJCC database, I found they played twice in early 1988, almost 35 years ago. The result in both cases was the same. Sometimes nothing changes.

The first game was played in a Richmond Junior Club Quad Tournament, and resulted in an interesting pawn ending which was very well played by the future GM.

White’s 28th move, f4, was a very human and understandable mistake. Black’s excellent reply, 28.. c5, was the only winning move, giving his king access to d4.

I’ve always been more impressed when young players handle technical endings well than when they play brilliant combinations.

The following month they met again when a team from Richmond Junior Club, headed by Jonathan, took on a team from Sheen Mount, Richard’s primary school. This game was more entertaining but less accurately played.

I suppose this game demonstrates how less experienced players can end up getting terribly confused in tactical situations. Yes, you need to be good at tactics as well as winning technical endings! Richard won a rook early on but allowed some dangerous counterplay, eventually blundering into a mate. One lesson from this game, I think, is that, even in the absence of queens it’s possible to drum up a strong attack. Another is that, even if you’re winning easily, you can’t afford to be careless and don’t need to be greedy. The coordination of White’s army in the final position is quite remarkable.

Richard James

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Richard James

Author: Richard James

Richard James is a professional chess teacher and writer living in Twickenham, and working mostly with younger children and beginners. He was the co-founder of Richmond Junior Chess Club in 1975 and its director until 2005. He is the webmaster of chessKIDS academy ( or and, most recently, the author of Chess for Kids and The Right Way to Teach Chess to Kids, both published by Right Way Books. Richard has been a member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club since 1966. Richard is a published author and his books can be found at Amazon. Richard is currently promoting minichess (games and puzzles using subsets of chess) for younger children through his website, and writing coaching materials for children (and adults) who want to start playing serious competitive chess, through View all posts by Richard James

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