Writer John Healy is the first subject of this new programme on Radio 4, the first BBC radio series dedicated to chess since 1964. The other interviewees are former heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis, Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Women’s World Champion Hou Yifan, and former Soviet dissident and Israeli politician Natan Sharansky.
In a recent Kingpin interview Healy describes his chess style as ‘sacrificial’ but in this game a materialistic approach serves him well and deserves more than a draw.
John Healy v Dominic Lawson
‘Across the Board’ BBC Radio 4, 2013
1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bf4
Introducing the ‘London System’, so called because it was played several times at the London tournament of 1922.
3…g6 4 e3 Bg7 5 Be2 Nbd7 6 Bg3
White usually plays 6 h3 intending to withdraw the bishop to h2, but one grandmaster game went 6 0–0 Nh5 7 Bg5 h6 8 Bh4 g5 9 Nfd2 gxh4 10 Bxh5 Nf6 11 Nc3 h3 12 g3 Nxh5 13 Qxh5 Qd7 14 Nd5 c6 15 Nf4 e5 16 dxe5 dxe5 17 Nd3 0–0 18 e4 Qe6 19 Rfe1 Re8 20 f3 b6 Dreev-Short, Wijk aan Zee 1995, with a draw on move 36.
6…0–0 7 h3 Qe8
Black can force….e5 without this preparatory move: 7…Ne4! 8 Bh2 e5.
8 0–0 e5 9 dxe5 dxe5 10 Nc3 h6?
10…Qe7 was better, intending 11 Nb5 Ne8 and …c6.
11 Nb5! wins a pawn: 11…Qd8 12 Nxe5.
11…c6 12 Qd2
Another possibility is 12 Qd6 Nh5 13 Bh2 f5 14 Rfd1 with an edge for White.
12…b5? 13 a3
13 Qd6! wins a pawn after 13…Bb7 (or 13…e4 14 Nd4 Nb8 15 Be5 and White dominates) 14 Nxe5 Nxe5 15 Bxe5 Rd8 16 Qc5 Nd7 17 Qxa7 Nxe5 18 Qxb7.
Better 13…Qe7 to prevent Qd6.
Faced with the loss of a pawn, Black muddies the waters by doubling White’s pawns and aiming to take control of the dark squares.
15 Qxc6 Ra6 16 Qxb5
Netting a second pawn.
16…Nxg3 17 fxg3 e4 18 Nd4 Kh7 19 Nd5
With White two pawns up and a winning advantage, Black makes a timely draw offer. Although Black has inflicted some weaknesses on White’s kingside, it’s unclear how he capitalises on them e.g. 19…Be5 20 Nf4. ½–½