Chess: Norwood heeds advice and so makes short work of Loeffler

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The Independent Culture
AS I was saying at the end of last week, my very good acquaintance, David Norwood, drew my attention to a computer program, Mephisto Genius 2, which performed satisfactorily when I tested it with a few moves.

I then stepped aside, sensing that Norwood himself, impulsive youth that he is, wanted to play against it. Aided by a few tips from myself concerning the vulnerable points of machine play, he coasted to an easy victory.

The effect of my good advice was indeed so long-lasting that he promptly flew off to play in the German league and scored two wins for his club side, Solingen.

One of these successes was a remarkably smooth victory over Alexei Shirov, who is currently in fifth place on the world rankings. The other, however, was even more fun.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: S Loeffler Black: D Norwood ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 d4 g6 14 f4 fxe4 2 c4 Bg7 15 Bxf6 exf6 3 Nc3 c5 16 Nxe4 0-0-0 4 d5 f5 17 Nxf6 Ba4 5 h4 Bxc3+ 18 Qa3 Rgf8 6 bxc3 Nf6 19 Ng4 Rde8+ 7 h5 Rg8 20 Kd2 Rxf4 8 hxg6 hxg6 21 Ne3 Rf2+ 9 Nf3 Qa5 22 Ke1 Rc2 10 Qb3 d6 23 Rh8 Rxc3 11 Bg5 Nbd7 24 Rxe8+ Kd7 12 Nd2 Nb6 White resigns 13 e4 Bd7 -----------------------------------------------------------------

Norwood has a delightfully simple approach to opening theory: as White he plays 1. g3 and 2. Bg2, as Black 1 . . . g6 and 2 . . . Bg7, and in either case he starts to think around move three.

In this game, he came up with an original idea which caused his opponent to self- destruct with astonishing rapidity. Black's 4 . . . f5]? is a strange idea, apparently heading for a type of Dutch Defence.

Loeffler saw it as an invitation to attack, but on playing 5. h4 he probably did not even consider the possibility of Black's bishop giving itself up for a knight. With 7. h5, White must have thought he was doing well, since 7 . . . Nxh5 8. Rxh5] gxh5 9. e4 gives White a very promising attack.

Instead, Norwood played to hold his K- side together and castle on the opposite wing. When White played 14. f4, it gave the impression that he still thought he had the initiative, but after 16 . . . 0-0-0] it suddenly became clear how bad his game really was.

His king is exposed in the centre, just as weak on either wing, and 17. Nxd6+ Kc7 18. Nb5+ Bxb5 19. cxb5 Rxd5 leaves his game falling apart.

The end of the game is very neat. White's inspired defence with 23. Rh8] (inviting 23 . . . Rxh8 24. Nxc2) is killed by 23 . . . Rxc3]] when 24. Rxe8+ Kd7 25. Qb2 gives Black the choice between winning various pieces or mating with 25 . . . Rc2+.

It was a bad day for Loeffler, who never seemed to quite get in touch with what was actually happening on the board in front of him.

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