I conclude the year by concluding my tribute to Jonathan Penrose, one of England’s finest ever players.
Penrose scored quite a lot of miniature victories in his career. Let’s have a look at a few of them.
This game was one which first brought Penrose to public attention. The Catalan is usually considered a safe and solid option, but here, White, an endgame study expert and sometime member of Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club, was worse by move 6 and lost by move 7.
In the final position, 10. Qa4+ Bd7 traps the white queen.
Here, a very strong opponent (he was awarded the IM title that year) won’t want to be reminded how he fell for a well known trap.
This is a common tactical idea which happens in various guises: there’s a line in the Morra Gambit, a totally different opening, where Black can also bring it off. It’s an idea everyone needs to know. If you haven’t seen it before, learn it now!
In this game Black chose a sharp line against Penrose’s Ruy Lopez in which he won the exchange but was left with only his king developed. Not a good idea.
Black could have survived with 9.. Nd4 or 9.. Bf5, but both moves are difficult for humans to find.
Finally, this game, where Penrose employed one of his favourite openings, features one of his best known finishes, with a beautiful 19th move giving Black four ways to capture the sacrificed knight, all of which are immediately fatal. 19.. cxd5 is met by 20. Bb5
Black’s 5th move here was just bad: Nd5 should have been preferred.