Good coaching

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Bobby Ang

Chess Piece

The Philippine Olympiad team has had a lot of bad coaches over the years. There was one, for example, who spent the whole day in the casino and only showed up the next morning to announce the line-up for the games in the afternoon. There was another very horrible person who even stole the ball pens furnished by the organizers for the players.

Then there were some very good ones, and I would like to mention in particular GM Jayson Gonzales who handled the women’s Olympiad team for the 2018 Batumi Olympiad.

When I went through the games of our women players I noticed that they were always prepared in the openings and knew how to transition to endgames with minimal complications, always observing the DAUT rule. This is the mark of a good coach.

Bernadette Galas
WIM Bernadette Galas

What is the DAUT rule? Many years ago the English GM John Nunn wrote a book on the “Secrets of Practical Chess” and invented that term, which is an acronym for “Don’t Analyze Unnecessary Tactics.” According to him, “tactical analysis is an error-prone activity. Overlooking one important finesse can completely change the result of the analysis. If it is possible to decide on your move on purely positional considerations then you should do so; it is quicker and more reliable. There are, of course, many positions in which concrete analysis is essential, but even in these cases you should not analyze specific variations more than necessary.” And that advice is coming from a great tactician, 3-time world problem-solving champion, and in his time among the Top 10 players in the world.

I have always been impressed with WIM Bernadette Galas. She is the leader of the UAAP Chess Champion Dela Salle University Lady Archers, leading them to the gold medal with an unbeaten 12/13 score in the last season and also being adjudged Most Valuable Player for the entire league.

Bernadette played a huge role in the Philippines’ 3-1 upset of 15th seed Spain. Here is her wonderful win over WGM Monica Calzetta Ruiz who had started the Olympiad strongly with 3.5/4.

Galas, Bernadette (2080) — Calzetta Ruiz, Monica (2080) [A45]
43rd World Chess Olympiad (6), 16.10.2018
[WIM Bernadette Galas]

This was my first game using 1.d4 and I never thought that this game will turn out just fine.

1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 Ne4 3.Bf4 c5 4.f3 Nf6

The Trompowsky. Coach GM Jayson Gonzales noticed that my opponent, WGM Monica Ruiz Calzetta, has a poor score with Black against the Torre/Trompowsky lines and convinced me to go into this.

5.dxc5 Qa5+ 6.Qd2 Qxc5 7.e4 g6

My opponent almost always plays the Sicilian against 1.e4 and I assume that was what she was trying to do here, to transpose to a Sicilian-like formation. When we were going through the various lines our coach GM Jayson pointed out to me that 7…g6 is a blunder because White can win a pawn, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when my opponent actually played it! It is not so easy to see how the pawn can be won, just watch!

8.Nc3 Bg7

So now the trap begins.

9.Be3 Qa5 10.Nb5 Qxd2+

No choice. 10…Qd8? 11.e5 Ng8 12.f4 a6? (12…Nc6 will not lose immediately but Black’s position is unenviable) 13.Qf2! (threatening Bb6) 13…Qa5+ 14.b4 Qxb4+ 15.c3 Black has to give up her queen or else lose a whole rook in the corner.


White’s double threat of Nc7+ and Nxa7 cannot both be parried — Black has to give up the pawn on a7.

11…Na6 12.Nxa7 0 — 0

After winning the pawn I was thinking that my kingside pieces have not yet been properly developed so to limit the possibility of my opponent taking advantage of this I decided to immediately exchange pieces and go into the endgame.

13.Bxa6 bxa6 14.Nxc8 Rfxc8 15.Ne2 Rab8 16.Rab1 d5 17.e5 Nd7 18.f4 Nc5 19.c3 Ne4+

And now after this move, I am completely has the advantage, according to engines.


After this move, I was thinking, what if I played Kd3 instead? but then I realized that she can play again Nc5+ and I dont want to exchange my bishop to her Knight too early.

20…e6 21.Bd4 h5 22.b4 Rc4 23.Kd3 Bh6

All I ever think during this game was to restrict all of my opponent’s pieces so that she will not have the chance to recover and to counter.

24.Rhf1 Rbc8 25.Rb3 Bf8 26.Ng3 Nxg3 27.hxg3 Be7 <D>


Now comes my favorite move of the game.


Preparing to push my queenside pawns. I have studied this position for several hours after the game and do not see a defense for Black against this plan. Afterwards coach GM Gonzales told me that this was “Karpovian Technique” in reference to the 12th world champion. I was really very happy to hear that! There are hardly any tactics to calculate for the rest of the game — just a plan and to stick to it.

28…R4c6 29.a4 Rb8 30.b5 Rc4 31.b6 Bc5 32.Bxc5 Rxc5 33.a5

In order to win I have to bring my king to the queenside to support the pawns there. It looks like Ra1 — a4 followed by c3 — c4 is the only way to do that.

33…Kf8 34.Ra4 Ke8 35.Kd4 Rcc8 36.c4 dxc4 37.Rxc4 Rd8+ 38.Kc3

OK, my king is in the queenside. Now I have to find a way to bring it up the board.

38…Rd5 39.Kb4 Rbd8 40.Ka4

So that I can play Rc4 — c7 and be able to interpose with the rook on b4 should Black play …Rd5 — d4+.

40…Rb8 41.Rc7 Rd4+ 42.Rb4 Rd2 43.Rbc4 Ra2+ 44.Kb4 Rb2+ 45.Ka3

I did not play 45.Kc5 because of 45…Rb5+ followed by Black taking the a5 — pawn, but in reality 46.Kc6 Rxa5 47.b7 is still won for White. But anyway even if I had seen this I wouldn’t have played it as the text move wins just as easily with no complications.

45…Rb5 46.R7c5 Rxc5 47.Rxc5 Rb7 48.Rc6

[48.Rc8+ wins as well]

48…Kd7 49.Rd6+ Ke7 50.Kb4 f6 51.Kc5 fxe5 52.fxe5 Rb8 53.Kc6 Rc8+ 54.Kb7 Rc5 55.Kxa6 Rxe5 56.Rd3 1 — 0

WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego is Bernadette’s teammate both in the Philippine Olympiad team and in La Salle. Here we get to see her excellent preparation.

San Diego, Marie Antoinette (2102) — Gvetadze, Sofio (2325) [E90]
43rd Olympiad Batumi 2018 Women Batumi (7.3), 01.10.2018
[WIM Marie Antoinette San Diego]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 g6

I expected this setup from IM Gvetadze, I looked through her recent games and I noticed that this is the setup she usually goes for.

4.Nc3 Bg7 5.e4 0 — 0 6.Nf3 d6 7.h3 e6 8.Bd3 exd5 9.exd5 Re8+ 10.Be3 Nbd7

My coach and I analyzed 10…Bh6 If my opponent went with this move, I think I would already have the advantage. 11.0 — 0 Bxe3 12.fxe3 Nbd7 (12…Rxe3? 13.Qd2 Re8 14.Qh6 Nbd7 15.Ng5 Re7 (15…Qe7 16.Nce4 with a winning attack. Sambuev,B (2562)-Khruschiov,A (2440) Tula 2004 1 — 0 23) 16.Nb5 White has a clear, if not winning, advantage) 13.Qd2 Nh5 14.e4 Ne5 15.Nxe5 Rxe5 16.Rf3 Bd7 17.Raf1 likewise, the first player has the advantage. Alonso Rosell,A (2524)-Latorre,M (2298) Linares 2016 1 — 0 30

11.0 — 0 a6 12.Qd2

Just doing the last thing in the opening principles, to connect the rooks plus the possible threat to exchange dark-squared bishops.


An over-refinement. Black could have played 12…b5 right away.

13.a4 Nh5N

I spent a lot of time thinking about this move. My idea is to prevent her move f5 and to threaten her Knight to go back to his square. Even though it weakens my King’s position, I think it is worth it because I was gaining space. Little did I know she won’t mind the threat…

14.g4 Ne5 15.Nxe5 Rxe5 16.Rfe1

[16.gxh5 was possible: 16…Bxh3 17.Bf4 Bxf1 18.Bxe5 Bxe5 19.Bxf1 Qh4 20.Bg2 with White a piece up but still under attack]

16…Qh4 17.Bf1 Bxg4 18.hxg4 Qxg4+ 19.Bg2 f5

If she had captured on c4 19…Qxc4 then my plan was to play 20.a5 followed by Ra4 to cover the 4th rank with the rook.

20.Qe2 Qh4 21.Qd3 Rbe8 22.Bd2 Nf6?

Better was 22…Nf4 23.Qg3 Nxg2 24.Kxg2 Qxc4 and Black’s attack is still going strong and in the meantime she already has three pawns for the sacrificed piece.

23.Rxe5 Rxe5 24.f4?

Now is my time to falter. I moved this with the idea of exchanging queens after Qh3 but I missed Black’s next move. Better was 24.Rf1. The f4 square must be kept open for Bf4 in case Black attacks with …Ng4.

24…Ng4 25.fxe5

After this move Black forces perpetual check.

25…Qf2+ 26.Kh1 Qh4+ 27.Kg1 Qf2+ 28.Kh1 Qh4+ 29.Kg1 Qf2+ 30.Kh1 Qh4+ 31.Kg1

½ — ½


Bobby Ang is a founding member of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and its first Executive Director. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA), he taught accounting in the University of Santo Tomas for 25 years and is currently Chief Audit Executive of the Equicom Group of Companies.