Jonathan Penrose (3)

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.

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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