Game 1 (1976)

The following game was played between David Johnson-Davies and Charles Matthews of the Clare College Lasca Association, Cambridge, 1976.[1]

 White: David Johnson-DaviesBlack: Charles Matthews
1. c3-d4 e5xc3
  Centre opening so:
2. b2xd4  
  recapturing to the centre – the usual idea.
2. .... f6-e5
3. d4xf6 g7xe5
4. c3-d4  

This move of White’s is an unusual approach. If instead he plays: 4 e3-d4, c5-d4-e3; 5 f2-e3-d4 and Black is now cramped; if he plays the standard combination: 5 . . . b6-c5 we have: 6 d4-c5-b6, a7-b6-c5; and Black has no waiting moves; White has just to play: 7 g1-f2 and Black must lose substantially on his next move:


4. .... e5xc3
5. d2xb4 c5-d4

Trying to set up a long combination:


After White has captured twice to g7, a column of three black men is contained under the white officer and Black’s hope is to liberate these eventually, gaining a strong piece. However in this game it does not work out so well.

6. c3xe5xg7*  
  since if White chooses the other capture, Black’s double capture is unpleasant.
6. .... a5xc3
7. g7xe5  
  The other capture brings no advantage and so can be postponed.
7. .... d6xf4xd2
8. c1xe3  
  and White seems well ahead.
8. .... b6-c5
  since White’s capture here would not be advantageous.
9. e3-d4  

a tricky move:


White’s object (as in Black’s 5 above) is to set up a column of men to liberate eventually. Of course if there were no black prisoner under the white soldier on D4, this would be a direct manoeuvre.

9. .... c5xe3xc1*
10. a3xc5 c1xe3

Black cannot now afford to lose his column on e3; moreover he lacks good moves elsewhere.

11. g3-f4  

This occupies an important point enabling White to play e5-f6 in safety; otherwise Black plays g5-f6 etc.

11. .... c7-b6

The only reasonable move. Black’s e3-d2 is refuted by White a1-b2.

12. e5-f6 c3-b2

Black b6-a5 would have been calmer, and would give Black a chance to repair his position slowly:


13. a1xc3xe5 b6xd4

Black accepts a small loss and has the more mobile position. However White now initiates a large-scale exchange:

14. b2-c3 d4xb2
15. f2xd4xb6 a7xc5
16. e1-f2  

White f6-g7 would have made the game safe.

16 .... c5-d4
  Black's last try.
17. e3xc5xa7* g5xe3
18. a7xc5 e7xg5
19. e5xg7* e3-d2

Black f6-e5 would save a piece, but the position is hopeless:


In the endgame both sides have three mobile pieces but White’s strong column is dominant; Black cannot afford any sacrifices and so is tactically helpless.

20. g7xe5 d2-e1*
21. e5xg7 e1xg3
22. d4-e5 b2-c1*
23. e3-d4 g5-f4
24. d4-c3 f4-e3
25. c3-d2 e3-f2
26. g1xe3 g3xe1xc3
27. d2xb4  

Black resigns.

  1. ^ David Johnson-Davies: Lasca - a Modern Classic. Games and Puzzles magazine, No. 59, April 1977, p. 8-9.