I’m competing as an unrated player in the Hiroshima Open Chess Tournament, a round-robin consisting of seven games, brought to us by the Osaka Abeno Chess Club.
They hold an open competition in a different Japanese city every year, and this year, 2019, they decided to hold it in Hiroshima, which is very convenient as that is where I happen to live!
The event took place over the long weekend of September 21st-23rd 2019 at Aster Plaza, about ten minutes’ walk south from Peace Park.
As an unrated player I was not sure what to expect, or how many people would be competing, but my goal was to avoid bottom place at all costs!
I was the first person to arrive, and apart from a notice on a TV monitor confirming that the event was taking place, there was no sign that a chess competition was about to take place. Then, about ten minutes before the doors officially opened, a small group of chess players began to straggle in. It turned out that there were just fourteen of us, including two players from the Hiroshima Chess Circle. There were eleven players from Osaka, ten of whom were Japanese men and the eleventh a Filipina woman called Melody.
If there’s ONE Easy Chess Tip I’d like to impress upon you it is this: When you are playing as Black against a d4 opening, do NOT go for the Marshall Defence!
Just a quick recap… The Marshall Defence occurs when Black moves his Knight to f6 on the second move in this sequence:
It is an inferior defence that poses no problems for White. Indeed, against an experienced player it practically guarantees that Black will never gain parity, will fail to gain control of the centre and will most likely go on to lose the game.
Yet, the Marshall Defence is a relatively common response to the Queen’s Gambit in casual chess games, probably because it seems to make sense to develop a Knight early on, and a Knight on f6 is at least defending the d5 pawn.
The #PubChessBluffer was in full-on pub chess mode last night at a bar called Southern Cross , which is in the middle of Hiroshima, Japan.
The Bird Invitation
In one of the games I played with the black pieces, the opening moves were: 1.e4 e6 2. Bb5, which prevents the French Defence player’s ideal move of 2. …d5 as the d pawn is pinned to the King by the Bishop of b5.
This is known as the Bird Invitation after it was used as an innovation by Henry Edward Bird in a game against Maximilian Fleissig, which Bird won, in 1873.