Nigel Short Plays Real Chess

The Royal Game comes to Middlesex University Real Tennis Club

Two talented juniors from Hendon Chess Club were the heroes of the evening as chess Grandmaster and World Championship candidate Nigel Short took on 47 players at the Middlesex University Real Tennis Club on 15th February.  The play took place on the court itself, with spectators watching from the galleries!

The unusual (probably unique) venue for a chess event drew favourable comments from all the participants and spectators.  Thanks to the British Chess Educational Trust for a grant which enabled us to be in such a prestigious location.

Juniors Joseph Levene (b. December 1996) and Isaac Sanders (b. May 1998) both scored highly creditable draws, with Nigel beating all the other contenders. Petr Vachtfeidl from London's Metropolitan Chess Club was the first person to enter the event and the last to finish, and Nigel couldn't beat him in an opposite coloured bishop endgame.  The player who travelled the furthest to play Nigel was certainly Newcastle's Zheming Zhang (Jesmond Junior Chess Club) the reigning British Under 8 and 9 Champion.

There were two simultaneous displays, one for juniors (20 players) at 4.30pm and a mixed simul (20 players) at 8pm. Between displays Nigel gave a talk, and while he took a well-earned break International Master Lorin d'Costa went through the games for the audience. 

The evening was organised by International Organiser and English Chess Federation Director Adam Raoof (, who also works at Middlesex University, as part of Nigel's 2011 UK tour.  It was covered live on the internet by Tryfon Gavriel ('kingscrusher') on his ChessBase blog.


Is the direct link to this photo, is the whole gallery of photos from the junior simul by Robert Konieczny ( – please feel free to use any, with credit.


Thanks to Ged Eden and Matty from MURTC ( for the superb venue, and for looking after us all evening.


Nigel's Score final score was won 44, drew three, and two of those games were against juniors from Hendon Chess Club (




[Event "Nigel Short simultaneous display"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2011.02.15"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Short, Nigel"]
[Black "Levene, Joseph"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C49"]
[WhiteElo "262"]
[BlackElo "157"]
[PlyCount "58"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bb5 Bb4 5. O-O d6 6. d4 exd4 7. Nxd4 Bd7 8.
Bxc6 bxc6 9. Qf3 O-O 10. Bg5 Bxc3 11. bxc3 h6 12. Bxf6 Qxf6 13. Qxf6 gxf6 14.
f3 Rab8 15. Rab1 Rb6 16. Rb3 Rfb8 17. c4 Kf8 18. g4 Ke7 19. Kf2 c5 20. Nf5+
Bxf5 21. gxf5 Rg8 22. Ra1 Kd7 23. Rab1 Kc6 24. Rb5 Rxb5 25. Rxb5 h5 26. h4 Ra8
27. a4 a6 28. Rb3 Rg8 29. a5 Kd7 1/2-1/2


Nigel Short - Petr Vachtfeidl

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 Nf6 5.Qe2 d6 6.0-0 Be7 7.c3 e5 8.Na3 0-0 9.Nc2 Bg4 10.Ne3 Bh5 11.d3 Re8 12.h3 d5 13.g4 dxe4 14.dxe4 Bg6 15.Nf5 Bxf5 16.exf5 e4 17.Nd2 Bd6 18.Nxe4 Nxe4 19.Bxe4 Qe7 20. Re1 Qh4 21.Qf1 Ne5 22.Bf4 Nf3+ 23.Bxf3 Bxf4 24.Bxb7 Rab8 25.Rxe8 Rxe8 26.Re1 Rd8 27.Bg2 h5 28.Qc4 Bb8 29.Qe2 Qg5 30.Rd1 Rxd1+ 31.Qxd1 hxg4 32. hxg4 Qf4 33.Qd8+ Kh7 34.Qh4+ Qh6 35.Qxh6+ Kxh6 36. Bd5 Kg5 37.f3 f6 38. b4 cxb4 39.cxb4 Bd6 40. b5 Ba3 41. Kf2 Kf4 42. Ke2 Ke5 43. Bc6 Kd4 44. Kd2 Bc5 45.Be4 Kc4 46. Bd3+ Kd4 47. Kc2 Bb4 48.Kb3 Be1 49.Be4 Ba5 50. a4 Be1 51. Bc6 Ba5 52. Kc2 Bb4 53.Kd1 Ke3 54.Bb7 Ba5    draw.


[Event "Short Simul"]

[Site "?"]

[Date "2011.02.15"]

[Round "?"]

[White "Short, Nigel"]

[Black "Sanders, Isaac"]

[Result "1/2-1/2"]

[ECO "A00"]

[WhiteElo "2680"]

[BlackElo "1978"]

[Annotator "Sanders,Isaac"]

[PlyCount "53"]

[SourceDate "2010.02.13"]


1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be2 e5 7. Nb3 Be7 8. O-O

O-O 9. Be3 Be6 10. Qd2 Nbd7 11. a4 Nb6 (11... Rc8 {is more common} 12. a5 Qc7 {

I don't like playing Nc5 ever.} 13. Rfd1 Rfd8 14. Qe1) 12. a5 Nc4 13. Bxc4 Bxc4

14. Rfd1 Rc8 15. f3 (15. Nc1 {this has more games.} Qc7 16. Bb6 Qc6 17. f3 Nd7

{Yemelin Vasily 2570-Inarkiev Ernesto 2664 0-1} (17... h6 {Karpov couldn't

make a win against Ostermeyer here.})) (15. Bb6 {was played by Adams} Qe8 16.

Nc1 Rc6 {ended in a draw. Adams-Nepomniatchi}) 15... Qc7 {his next move is bad

it shows why white moves his N to c1 on move 15, more often.} (15... Rc6 16.

Bb6 (16. Kh1 {Jakobenko-Carlson 0-1}) 16... Qc8 (16... Rxb6 $6 17. axb6 Bxb3

18. cxb3 Qxb6+ 19. Kh1 Qxb3 20. Rac1 Rd8 21. Nd5 Nxd5 22. Qxd5 Qxd5 23. Rxd5

Rd7 24. g3 Kf8 25. f4 f6 26. Kg2 Bd8 27. Kf3 Ke7 28. b4 Rc7 29. Rxc7+ Bxc7 30.

Rd1 Bb6 31. Ke2 Bd4 32. Kd3 Kd7 33. f5 Bb6 34. Rc1 Bd4 35. Rc2 Bb6 36. g4 h6

37. h4 Bd8 38. Kc4 Kc6 {Leko-Shirov 1-0 2008} 39. b5+) 17. Qe1 Bd8 18. Bf2 b5

19. Na2 Be6 20. Nb4 Rc4 21. Nc1 Be7 22. b3 Rc7 23. Ne2 Qb7 24. Bb6 Rd7 25. Nc3

Rc8 26. Rd3 d5 27. Nbxd5 Bxd5 28. Nxd5 Nxd5 29. exd5 Rxd5 30. Qe4 Rd7 31. Qxb7

Rxb7 32. Rad1 f5 33. Rd7 Rxd7 34. Rxd7 Bg5 35. Bc7 e4 36. Kf2 Kf8 37. fxe4 fxe4

38. c4 bxc4 39. bxc4 Be7 40. Bd6 Bxd6 41. Rxd6 Rxc4 42. Rxa6 Ra4 {

Motlyev-Nepomniatchi 1/2 1/2}) 16. Nc1 $6 (16. Kh1 {couple of games with this,

and other such moves, however black has a small edge here after...} Qc6 {

planning Rd8 by getting out of the pin} 17. Rac1 (17. Bb6 $6 Nd7) (17. Bg5 Rfd8

18. Nc1 (18. Bxf6 $6 Bxf6 19. Nc1) (18. Qe1 h6) 18... h6 19. Bxf6 (19. Be3 d5)

19... Bxf6 20. Nd3 $15) 17... h6 {no need to hurry with Rd8} (17... Rfd8 18.

Qe1 Be6 19. Qg3 {now h6 for me is not possible.}) 18. Na1 (18. Ne2 d5) 18...

Nd7) 16... d5 $1 {he probably missed that after Bb6, I can play Bc5+} 17. exd5

(17. Bb6 {was more accurate.} Bc5+ 18. Kh1 Bxb6 19. axb6 Qxb6 20. b3 dxe4 21.

bxc4 exf3 22. Rb1 (22. gxf3 Rxc4 23. Nd5 Nxd5 24. Qxd5 Qe3 25. Ra2 {is the

only ok move for white. It defends the 2nd rank.} e4 {found by moi, missed by

rybka} (25... g6) 26. Rf1 {only move} Rd4 27. Qb3 {only move} (27. Qc5 exf3 28.

c3 Rd1 (28... Re4 {is just as good}) 29. Qxe3 Rxf1+ 30. Qg1 Rxg1+ 31. Kxg1 Rc8)

)) 17... Rfd8 $6 (17... Nxd5 $3 {this move is good. The resulting positions

after the tactics are not as good as in the variation I played, however me and

Short both missed a variation for him that would refute my tactics.} 18. Nxd5

Bxd5 19. Qf2 (19. Qxd5 $4 Rfd8) 19... Be6 20. c3 Rfd8 21. Nd3 Rd5) 18. Qf2 $2 (

18. Ra4 Rd6 (18... Nxd5 $2 19. Rxc4 Qxc4 20. Nxd5) 19. Bb6 {and he can

probably claim equality}) 18... Nxd5 {I have a strong advantage} 19. Nxd5 Rxd5

20. Rxd5 Bxd5 21. c3 e4 $6 {I wanted to get his King opened for my Bishops.

However my Pawn on e5 was preventing his Night going to d4.} 22. f4 $6 (22.

fxe4 Bxe4 23. Ne2) 22... Bc4 23. Ne2 Bxe2 $6 (23... Qd7 {is better.} 24. Nd4 h6

25. Qc2 (25. Ne2 Qg4 26. Ng3) 25... Qd5 {the a-pawn is a problem for white})

24. Qxe2 Bc5 $1 {although it seems I'm swapping a good B for a bad B, I was

correctly afraid of him ever playing Bd4,Qg4 or f5,Qg4,Bh6. Also his B is

stopping my passed pawn} 25. Ra4 $6 (25. b4 Bxe3+ 26. Qxe3 f5 (26... Qxc3 27.

Qxc3 Rxc3 28. Rd1 f6 29. Rd7)) 25... Rd8 $6 {Instant draw.} (25... Qc6 {

according to rybka here, I'm 3 quarters of a pawn up}) 26. Rxe4 Qxa5 {Although

I have outsiders on the Q-side, it doesn't make much difference as he is

threatning to go down the e-file} 27. h3 1/2-1/2


Best wishes

Adam Raoof

ECF Director of Home Chess
FIDE International Organiser & Arbiter
328 Watford Way
Hendon, London NW4 4UY

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Mobile: 07855 036 537

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