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Edmund Spencer vs Vera Menchik
Kent County Premier (1930), Canterbury ENG, rd 5, Apr-24
French Defense: Bird Invitation (C00)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

1.e4 e6 2.Bb5

click for larger view

Gerald Abrahams in 'Not Only Chess' relates he asked Edmund Spencer why 2...Bb5.

Spencer replied no matter what Black does v the Bishop on b5 it will be driven to a better square than the one it is on now.

I built a whole article around this move and the explanation for it. I'm claiming Black is in 'Positional Zugzwang.' as Black cannot help but improve the placing of the b5 Bishop.


Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: That is funny <Sally> and sometimes reflections like these,can be rather fruitful. There was a swede who took it to even higher spheres,Can not remeber his name for the moment.

In the above diagram,isn´t 2.-a6 followed by 3.-c5,just a Rossolimo,with white a tempo down ?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Moronovich,

Yes it can go that way. I say in my article (CHESS oct.2020) maybe 2...c5 first and then 3...a6 and if 3.Ba4 b5 and you Noah's Ark'd the Bishop.

Another move I suggest is...

click for larger view

2...Qg5 hitting the Bishop and g2. So 3.Bg1 and the Queen is a target for a tempo gaining d4 so 3...Qd8.

click for larger view

White to play their 4th move!


Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Hi again <Sally> !

Yes,perhaps 2-c5 first.
In your line 3.-b6(instead of b5) may lead to an Owens were black is better than usual.

And now I remember the swede:Rolf Martens was his name.He is certainly worth a shot.(Dont know if he can be googled).

If I recall correctly,J.K.Rowling frequented the same place as you during a longer period )!? And did you speak to her and/or did she pay any notice to your analysis of chess ? That would really be something if you play a part in the chessgame that occured in The Potter movie !

Movies that both my wife and I enjoyed immensely.

All the best ,-moro-.

Oct-01-20  sudoplatov: Several other openings are similar.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bb4
1.d4 f5 2.Bg5
1.d4 d5 2.Bg5
1.c4 e5 2.g3 Bb4
It seems most useful against the Dutch.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Yes J.K.R. was a Bells punter though the pub does not cash in on her like all the other places in Edinburgh where she perhaps spent one day shopping. Too many other famous people have frequented Bells to single just one out.

I've shared pints and cracked jokes with everyone from Billy Connolly (early 80's) to Debbie Harry (just a few years back) and loads of IM's and GM's. (the bar rule has always been, don't hassle them, no autographs and of late no selfies.)

Recall one night some of the cast of Eastenders were there and one of the characters seem so non-plussed that no one recognised him or bothered him he wandered about asking people if they knew who he was.

Dylan was meant to have been there one night, but I was away when that happened.

I was having a pint with Sylvester McCoy who played Doctor Who, when the bell rang for last orders I had a moment of inspiration and said;

'You are a time Lord, take us back a couple of hours so we can carry on drinking."

He replied.

"Do you really want to know how many times I have heard that one."

Where was I?....Oh Yes. J.K.R.

'J.K.Rowling was here' signs are all over Edinburgh, as is the pirate Harry Potter goods on sale in the perpetually raided gift shops....within days the pirate stuff is back on display.

I played chess in Sandy Bells practically everyday in the 80's and 90's (my wee toy shop I where I sold chess computers was right next door to Sandy Bells) I started up the chess club that still plays in the Edinburgh Chess League in the mid 90's.

JKR would have seen me in my Lennon glasses (a link there, see below) playing against a Bells regular, a huge guy with long black scruffy hair and an unkempt beard.

So no doubt this is where Harry Potter,
Rubeus Hagrid and Chess came from....posssibly!


Forgot to add, the loose 'instructive point' I made in the article was here.

click for larger view

When White, correctly in my mind, simply refused to play 16.Nb1 and instead played 16.Rc1.

White won so they (the posh writers) can claim it as a positional sacrifice. I called my article 'Positional Hope Chess.'

Edmund Spencer was born on the 18th June which is the same day as the battle of Waterloo. A matter of interest I managed to wangle into my piece on this game to prove I do my historical research before hitting the keyboard.

(Paul McCartney was also born on June 18th, there is a Liverpool connection between the two, Edmund died in Liverpool in 1936 but decided to leave that bit out. I'll save it up for a rainy day if I ever come back to it.)


Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Thanks for sharing those memories <Sally Hagried Simpson> !

<Dylan was meant to have been there one night, but I was away when that happened.>

And perhaps it was you the Cohen Brothers had in mind,when the made " The man who wasn´t there" !?

I imagine that Billy must have been a very funny and gentle man...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Dylan was in Edinburgh doing a show at the time, loads of 'stars' pop in when they are in town, the pub seems to have a world wide notoriety. It's just opened again but due to the restricted numbers I have not been able to get in :(

I saw Billy long before he became famous singing in a pub called the Waverly where I too use to play Loudon Wainwright III songs, I change the words a wee bit and passed them off as my own! (Wainwright III is brilliant - his kids are not a patch on the old man.)

Billy was funny and good to listen too, back then he drank quite a bit, great guy, a bit saucy and very very down to earth. Took no prisoners.

I was not in his crowd but sneaked in with a joke or two. Did not buy him a drink (I am legend in Bells for not getting a round in.)

Having said that, I won £800 on the horses in the 90's, it was my 3rd of 4th really big win in a few weeks. I put £200 behind the bar so the drinks were on me till closing time. Back then it was approx £1.00 or £1.50 a pint. That lot started buying nips off the top of the shelf whisky, the stuff they could not normally afford and getting change for the cigarette machine - I did not mind. I was as drunk as a skunk....again!

Cannot wait to face the French Defence again, I'll try Bb5 - Ba4 - c3 and Bc2.


Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: Ladies and Gentlemen...

How about a round of applause (and a pint) for the one and only Sally Simpson !!

Please do keep us posted on your 2.Bb5!? endeavors against the French Defense. (I fear it will be short-lived, but variety is the spice of life.)

Here's "Hootie" singin' a ditty "When was the last time you did something for the first time..."

Premium Chessgames Member


Quite right!

I read many <Sally Simpson> posts and I can also recommend them.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Fred & Jessie

(Hope you don't mind me calling you Jessie, you can call me Sal.)

Played 2.Bb5 in a skittles game. Went like an Alekhine's with the Bishop instead of a Knight sucking the pawns forward.

1. e4 e6 2. Bb5 c6 3. Ba4 b5 4. Bb3 a5 5. c3 d5 6. e5 a4 7. Bc2

click for larger view

Black played 7...Qg5 I off course played 8.Nf3 Black took on g2. Rg1 and game on. (later sacced Knight on f7 had a genuine easy win, balls it up going for the clever stuff. Lost but it was not the opening it was me being rather silly).


Premium Chessgames Member
  harry4hargreaves: I read the CHESS article and will add 2Bb5 to my anti-French armoury. What a very interesting series of posts. Thank you for the entertainment.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Harry.

(When Harry met Sally)

As soon as I read Spencer's reasoning behind 2.Bb5

click for larger view

The article wrote itself.

Putting your pieces on 'wrong' squares so your opponent chases them to better squares is an untapped positional resource that needs further study.

You have made a bad move but the only way for your opponent to take advantage of it is to improve your position. (and undo your bad move). We are rewriting 220 years of chess theory.


Nov-11-20  Retireborn: Geoff, as A French player I like 2.Bb5 Qg5 3.Bf1 d5, and now it's White who is going to have to improve the position of the black queen.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

Hi Retireborn,

Correct! The art of the game is to give your opponent the perfect position. So good in fact that any move they make will only make their position worse.

Meanwhile your aim is to make your position so bad that ANY move you make can only improve it.

New Rule of Thumb.

If your opponent makes a bad move, sit on your hands and look for an even worse reply!

It took me 60+ years but I think I have finally solved chess.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: ***

And another thing.

After 1.e4 opening explorer tells us the move 1...e6 appears 51,483 times.

Opening Explorer

But after 1...e6 2.Bb5 Qg5 3.Bf1 Qd8

click for larger view

We are being told here there are 53,476 games from this position.

Opening Explorer

And yet when you add up the games from the second screen you get 55,339 games from the this position.

click for larger view

Three different numbers for the same position.

A wee error here and there I can allow but this slipshod slapdash messing about with how many times a position has been reached has severely undermined my confidence in C.G.

(Yes I'm bored with nothing better to do than add up game numbers. I am at work, I'm the only one here, there is just me, an empty vending machine, the office cat, 'Sooty' and downstairs a sleeping security guard.)


Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Tournament crosstable and photo of competitors:

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