My Best Game

This game was played in the 1996 Capablanca Memorial played in Cienfuegos Cuba. I played my best chess in between 1996-1998 . I was training hard and had access to some good events .Before I go over the game I want to warn any potential students to avoid a big mistake I made when developing as a player. There was a year where I didn’t lose a game .I was very proud of this . I told G.M. Spraggett about this once and he noted I clearly was not playing strong enough players. Most of us are very resistant to change and there is plenty of evidence that real growth happens when we step outside of our comfort zones and this is no different in chess. I have come to believe it is far better for developing players to play in quality events rather than playing non stop .

This game is against a Cuban I.M. and gave me hope that all the work I had been doing on tactics was not a waste of time. There are numerous books and d.v.d. stating anyone can be great at tactics. I think this is false and even misleading. Some people are naturally gifted in tactics , which is surely the most important skill for a chess player. Realistically if we have average or minimal talent in tactics the best we can hope for is with proper training to be competent. It is possible for anyone to be well prepared and play the endgame well with proper training and study. I have no doubt anyone who is willing to do this work can become an I.M. but I am not sure G.M. will be possible and there are scores of really strong i.m. who just cannot become G.M.’s to prove my theory despite a lifetime of trying. O.K.  enough chess philosophy , lets look at a game !

D.  Ross [Can] vs R.Perez [Cuba]

1 NF3 d6 2 e4 Nf6 3 c3 This move is a little goofy but it does guard the e4 pawn indirectly [3..Ne4??4 Qa4+ winning the knight]. 3…c5 4 Be2 g6 [Nbd7 is another popular line] 5 0-0 Bg7 6 Rel 0-0 Finally the middle pawn needs gaurd. 7 Bf1 Nc6 [Bg4 was possible] 8 h3 . up to here black has played perfectly but here he starts to make some second best moves. We were both likely under the impression 8..e5 would be met with 9 d4 but there is an unlikely problem. 8…e5! 9 d4? exd4 10 cxd4 cxd4 11 Nxd4 Nxd4 12Qxd4 Re8! threatening Nxe4 is surprisingly awkward to deal with.  White probably has to settle for 9 d3 with an equal positional game coming. Instead black played 8..Bd7 which is certainly fine but after 9 d4 cxd4 10 cxd4 Black really does make a very bad decision . It is clear white’s center needs some cutting into and black picked the wrong way. 10…e5 ? 10….d5 ! was the way to go . Neither 11e5 nor exd5 leads to anything .

The game on the other hand becomes difficult for black after 11 d5 Ne7 12 Nc3 White is better here . Blacks position is not well coordinated and the only plan is to play for f5 but white is very well placed to meet this.   12 ..Ne8 13 a4 f5 14 exf5 ?! [Qb3 ] gxf5 ? We were both thinking control of e4 was more important than it really is ! 14.. Nxf5 15 Bd3 is only a little better for white.

15 Qb3 b6 16 Bg5 ! h6 17 Bh4  e4 ? The game turns here . 18… Rf7  and white is only a little better.   Black assumed white would need to put the f3 knight on a poor square but it isn’t true .  18 Rad1 ! bring the last piece into play and giving the knight access to d4. this makes all the difference . Black goes down hill fast after this. Bf6 19 Bxf6 Rxf6 20 Nd4 Ng6?[Nc7 was better] 21 Nc6!Qc8 22 Nb5 [22 g4! was very strong too]  Qb7 23 f3 ! blowing up black’s center and clearing the way for white’s pieces to get at blacks king. Kg7 24 Nbd4 exf3 25 Qxf3 Nc7 black is lost now . I was somewhat short of time and missed some faster ways to win but the evaluation that white is winning never changes.26 b4 [h4!] Raf8 27 b5 Kh7 28 Bd3!pointing at the king Ne8 29 Re2 Ng7 Black is trying to gaurd his king with knights ,cool idea but it doesn’t work.30  Rde1  Bc8 and here we are ! I remember thinking I have got everything on the perfect square , there has to be a tactical solution .  31 Re7 !! Nxe7 32 Rxe7 Bd7 [Qa8 Rxa7]33 Ne6

33 Nf5! was faster but not more attractive. The game finished 33..Rg8 34 Ncd8 Qc8 35 Qxf5!+Rxf5 36 Bxf5+Kh8 37 Nf7++ This combination made it into informant 67 and is probably what I am most proud of in my chess life because I had to work so hard to get to the point something like this could happen.

A bit about me

Round about the time I was six we started visiting my grandparents every Sunday and as fate would have it my grandfather was a very strong chess expert and he decided to teach me how to play. This turned out to be an incredible gift on many levels. Thank you SAM !! I lost every game we played for at least 3 years. No doubt this approach would discourage many but I think it taught me a type of persistence that has helped me achieve the vast majority of the goals I have set for my self for almost 50 years. I still remember the sense of accomplishment I felt the first time we had a draw and the combination I used the first time I won 40 years ago !

I won’t spend too long talking about my accomplishments as a player because I am a MUCH better coach and teacher. I will just hit the major highlights.

I became an FM in the late eighties tying for first in the 84 Canadian open. Equal first with became G.M. Y. Seirawan in the 83 or 84 Memorial day classic at 5.5-.5 ahead of many gm’s and I.M.s I later went on to win the Alberta championship and the 86 and 87 British Columbia Championship.

I was lucky enough to be invited to two Capablanca memorial events in Cuba during the mid 90’s and there had the great pleasure of looking at chess with the late super G.M. Tony Miles.We had some incredible adventures in Cuba and these memories are priceless to me.

Back in Canada in the late eighties we were fortunate to have three very strong players in G.M. Kevin Spraggett and the late G.M. I. Ivanov and I.M. Jean Hebert. We all lived in Montreal and I got to play many blitz events with all of them. I actually won some of these events and am certain I was gm strength at 5-0 chess.

Kevin had made it to the last 8 players playing for the world championship that year and he asked me if I was interested in helping him prepare for a match with G.M.Yusupov. I was one of Kevin’s seconds and this was a dream job.

This was the first time in my life I got to analyse with a g.m. on a regular basis and Kevin was a great teacher. Kevin lost in the tiebreaks and we didn’t get to go to London to face legend Anatoly Karpov. I sometimes wonder how much stronger we would have all become had it gone the other way…..

During this time I started teaching for Canada’s national Scholastic Chess Association ,Chess and Math. This involved going into schools and teaching grade 1-6 during lunch time and after school. I absolutely loved doing this and did it for next 20 years ! I will describe my teaching experience in greater detail a little later.

The 1998 Canadian Closed presented a very good chance for me to become an I.M. I needed to make 6-9 against a field that included both G.M. Spragett and G.M. A. Lesiege both around 2600 fide at the time. There were many very strong I.M.s in the field and I finished with 6 draws and 3 wins and became an I.M.

The really amazing thing about this is I was violently ill from the 4th round on and knew without a doubt if I had gone to a doctor he would have ordered me to withdraw. I went two days after the event finished and found out I had a very bad case of Bronchitis.

I got married and became a father in 2004 and didn’t play any chess for the next 10 years – which brings us to the present.

I played my first two Fide events in St. Louis during the last 4 months and managed a plus 1 and even score. It is a very different game now. It is faster and everyone is much better prepared. I plan to play often during the next ten years and we will see if it is possible to improve in one’s fifties.

One thing is for sure, there will be many great adventures trying!

Welcome to DR Chess!

Hello!  and welcome to my site.

We all have a gift, and mine is helping children and adults play stronger chess!

A student hard at work
A student hard at work

I’ve been an International Master since 1998 and a professional chess coach for over 30 years.

My students have competed at the World Youth Championships numerous times.

I’ve coached many national, state and provincial champions.

To arrange chess lessons or chess coaching, contact
Dave at 601-862-3660, or by email: dave (at) drchess (dot) net

Thanks for stopping by!

Dave Ross