"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer

Monday, 23 April 2012

When The Royal Game Turns Into A Guerrilla War ....

During last weekend I took part in Nottingham Chess Congress. And I played terribly and finally I had to withdraw from tournament because of some unforeseeable reasons. Actually it was a redemption for me...
In the first round I was paired with Michael Surtees and I had no knowledge of what kind of player he is, just his grading 193 looked ominous. The game was complicated and no matter how bad was the result for me, I really did enjoy the battle.

Playing for win on time was possible, but I do not think that this should be spirit of the royal game, but spirit of the guerrilla war....
But when you have a look at this game, don’t you have some feeling that Black fought like guerrilla? But this is not the end of the story.  

After the game I sent an e-mail to friend of mine, GM Igor Rausis, asking him for some opinion. I felt humiliated and I needed to shake off the bad feeling that I lost when my opponent played in such “unconventional” style and I was not able to exploit such a weird strategy.
Much to my surprise, Igor knew this player very well, because he had played against him in Blackpoole Open 2008. And on the top of that he send me lovely description of the “situation” written by Steve Giddins so please enjoy that:
Steve Giddins
“Meanwhile, Igor Rausis was paired with local player Mike Surtees. Those of us familiar with Mike's highly personal approach to the opening were not at all surprised when the game opened 1.d4 c6 2.c4 f6, but Rausis' face was a picture. Notwithstanding his shock, however, he set to work, and nailed his opponent to the floor. After the game, I told Igor about Mike's theories, which he calls Revolutionary Opening Theory, or ROT for short. Igor was highly relieved to have won, fearing that had the result been otherwise, he would have been immortalised by appearing on the ROT website - "I would have been shamed forever!".”

And my post would not be complete if I did not publish the above mentioned game, this time without any annotations.

Well, this is the way how the professionals do... 
It is impressive to see how player 2500+ immediately spotted the weakness on g6 (caused by ...f6, which also prevents Black to develop his Knight on f6 and to protect h5 square) and no matter how underdeveloped he was, he launched an attack marching with his h-pawn forward.
Mike has experimented with different kids of setup, however, it seems to me that it doesn't work that well against strong player. Have a look at following game aganst Lawrence Trent.


  1. Andrew Hards23/04/2012, 17:45

    Hi Ivan

    Mike has a reputation for this kind of 'interesting' move - he sometimes plays similar lines with White and has been known to develop knights to c2/f7 as I understand it. So not intended as an insult at all - and perhaps a way to get his opponent immediately out of their book and into territory that Mike specialises in. I try to do similar things, just not in such an extreme way ;-)



    P.S. Looking forward to your annotations on the game against Daniel (a clubmate of mine at Sheffield Nomads)

    1. Hi Andrew. I do not prepare a book for publication with sexy title "My 60 glorious defeats" :) so I did not want to publish my game with Daniel. "If anything can go wrong it will!" Since Saturday 15th till Sunday 22nd April I had played 6 games, I had lost four and three in the row and I had blundered twice. Whatever I say it may sound like a lame excuse... But the game with Mike was interesting game and every result was possible till the dead end. He is fighter and I learned something.
      As for my defeats, golfers have saying: "Take two weeks off and then quit the game completely...". And this is exactly what I contemplate to do :).