Nathan Ekanem v Daniel Gormally

Nathan Ekanem v Daniel Gormally

Round 4 Northumberland Rapidplay Chess Championships at Forest Hall, February 2022


Report and analysis from Nathan Ekanem

I was really looking forward to playing Grandmaster Daniel Gormally in this tournament and made a resolve within me to strive to win all my games so that I could get to meet him on board 1 (as he is more likely to win all of his games and remain there!). Interestingly, I am currently reading Daniel’s book “Insanity, Passion and Addiction – a year inside the chess world”, a very interesting read and am a big fan of his so having the opportunity to play him was the icing on the cake for me and indeed my prayers were answered when I was paired against him in round 4!

  1. d4 Nf6 2. e3 g6 3. Bd3 Bg7 4. f4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. O-O Nc6 7. c3 e5 8. fe5 de5 9. Bc4 (Nbd2 or Qc2 is also playable here) Qe7 10. b3 Ne4 (…Re8 should have been considered) 11. Ba3 Nd6 12. d5 e4 (…Na5 seems slightly better here as it may allow black to gain a tempo and quick consolidation in the centre with f5 after 13. Be2 f5…but the played move, the immediate e4 is fine) 13. dc6 ef3 14. Qf3 (equality up to here) bc6 15. Qc6 (a bit careless, it was better to stabilise the position with Nd2 or even Rf2) Qe3 16. Kh1 Bb7 17. Qc7 Qg5 18. Rf2 Qh4?! (better was Nxc4 Qxb7 Rad8 where black has a better advantage) 19. Kg1 Ne4 20. g3 (white is slightly better here) Qg5 21. Bf7? (a serious blunder, I was under immense time pressure here with about 1min left on the clock…much better is Bxf8 and that would have hurt!…Daniel confirmed that this was his major fear as the game becomes more difficult for him after 21 Bxf8 Rxf8 22.Rxf7 Qe3+ (the only good move for black to try to hold on to the position and earn a draw, other moves lose outrightly, the simple 21. Qxb7 instead of Bxf7 was also good for white) Kh8 22. Bf8 Rf8 23. Qb7 Qe3 24. Qe4 Qe4 25. Nd2 Qe3 26. Nc4 Qc3 27. Rd1 Bd4

At the end of the game, Daniel was graceful enough to conduct a post-mortem analysis on the game, pointing out some sharp critical lines I had not even considered during the game, he commended my play and he was also kind enough to sign his autograph on the copy of his book which I had brought along with me to the tourney.

Luckily for me, this was the only game I lost in the tourney (and my 1st loss since I arrived in the UK from Nigeria in September 2021), I went on to finish in joint 2nd position together with FM Andrew Burnett and David Mooney. I look forward to participating and improving my performance in future tournaments and also to earning the chess moniker “Beast of Newcastle”!…lol