Entertainment

Sunday 4 December 2016

Perhaps the most common question about chess which I encounter regularly is about the best age to learn the game. There is no definitive answer.

Published 23/08/2015 | 02:30

Perhaps the most common question about chess which I encounter regularly is about the best age to learn the game. There is no definitive answer.

  • Go To

Capablanca reportedly learned to play chess by observing his father play at the tender age of four, while Chigorin and Burn didn't play chess until they were 16. It didn't prevent them from becoming great players.

That one can start in chess at any age was was recently confirmed by one of our Cork readers, who wrote to me about his fellow club member Denis O'Connell. Denis started to playing in tournaments 12 years ago -aged 40. Since then he has competed in about 140 tournaments, winning several of them - most recently the Intermediate section of the Irish Chess Championship.

I'd like to show one of his games from the Ennis Open 2015:

D O'Connell - J McDonnell

1.e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4

3.a3 Nc6

The best way of dealing with White's gambit is to play 3...d5!.

4.axb4 Nxb4

5.d4 d5 6.c3 Nc6

7.exd5 Qxd5 8.Na3 e5?

This move only helps White to develop his initiative; Black should have exercised restraint by playing 8...Qa5 9.Bd2 Nf6 10.Nf3 e6.

9.Nb5! Qd8 10.d5 Nb8

11.d6 Na6 (D)

Black's mistake on move 8 has cost him dearly. White started the final assault with a timely sacrifice:

12.Rxa6! bxa6

13.Nc7+ Kd7 14.Qa4+ Kxd6

15.Ne8+! Ke6 16.Bc4+ Kf5

17.g4+ Kg6 18.Nf3 Bxg4

19.Nxe5+ Kf5 20.Bd3+ Kxe5

21.Qe4#

Sunday Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment