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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

A Snappy Finish by George Atwood

     George Atwood, an English mathematician, was a Fellowship of the Royal Society, an award granted by the judges of the Royal Society of London to individuals who have made a "substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science, and medical science." 
     Atwood was born in 1745 according to some or in 1746 according to historian H.J.R. Murray. He graduated from Trinity College in Cambridge in 1769 after which he stayed and taught mathematics there. In 1776 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. 
     In 1784, he left Cambridge and soon afterwards William Pitt (the Younger), who had been one of Atwood's students, appointed him a job as a patent searcher of the customs, which required little of his time and enabled him to devote a considerable portion of his time to mathematics and physics. 
     The same year he left Cambridge Atwood authored a book on on Newtonian mechanics (A Treatise on the Rectilinear Motion) in which he introduced his Atwood machine for illustrating the effects of Newton's laws of motion concerning the uniformly accelerated motion of a free-falling body due to gravity. He also did work of the theories of ship stability as well as the engineering of arches and bridges. 
     Additionally, he was awarded the Copley Medal of the Royal Society. The Medal is the most prestigious award give by the Royal Society of London. Other recipients included Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein and Max Planc. 
     As a chessplayer Atwood was a decent amateur who played many games against Philidor and fortunately for the chess world he preserved some of them which was an unusual practice at that time. The custom of recording and saving games really began in 1836 when William G. Walker published the Labourdonnais-McDonnell match which he helped record in 1834. 
Location of the Atwood crater

     Historian Murray wrote "I do not know in what year he joined the (London) chess club, but already, in 1787, he was recording games in his notebooks." 
    When Atwood passed away he left his chess notebook to English player Joseph (some sources give his name as Jonathan) Wilson. When Wilson passed away in 1833, Atwood’s notebook was bought by the English player George Walker.
    Walker published The Celebrated Analysis of A.D. Philidor, the Art of Chess-Play: A New Treatise on the Game of Chess, A Selection of Games at Chess played by Philidor, Chess Made Easy and Chess Studies. Atwood died in Westminster at the age of 61 and was buried there at St. Margaret's Church. 
     Over a century later, a small lunar impact crater was named Atwood in his honor.

George Atwood - Jonathan Wilson

Result: 1-0

Site: Casual Game, London

Date: 1798

Philidor Defense

[...] 1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 d6 In Ideas Behind the Chess Openings, Reuben Fine observed that there are two types of defenses black may adopt in an attempt to achieve equality: 1) counterattack where he relinquishes his e-Pawn, but compels white to also give up his or to weaken his position in some other way. 2) the strong point method where black attempts to maintain his P at e5 come what may. Philidor's Defense is a strong point defense reduced to its essentials. On the plus side it is solid, on the minus side it lacks mobility, plus black must be on guard to avoid a number of traps. 3.d4 f5 While this move is good if white does not challenge the center with 3.d4, if white does play 3.d4 then this move has been shown to be premature.
3...exd4 Most often seen is 3...exd4 which abandons the center and according to Fine is counter to the principles of the Philidor. 4.♘xd4 ♘f6 5.♘c3 ♗e7 and white has a number of ways of obtaining ideal development.
3...♗g4 looks natural, but it loses a P after 4.dxe5 dxe5 5.♕xd8+ ♔xd8 6.♘xe5
3...♘d7 Not often seen, but according to Fine this move avoids all traps and gives black a tenable, but passive, position. 4.♗c4 c6 5.O-O ♗e7
4.♗c4 is also worth considering. 4...exd4 5.♘g5 ♘h6 6.O-O ♘c6 7.exf5 ♗xf5 8.♖e1+ ♔d7 9.c3 with a promising position. Adorjan,A (2530)-Mestel,A (2420)/Moscow 1977/EU-chT
4...fxe4 5.♘g5 d5 6.e6 ♘h6 7.♘c3
7.g3 is an interesting alternative in which white gives up a couple of Ps, but in return has a very strong attack: for example 7...c6 8.♗h3 ♕f6 9.e7
9.c4 appears safer. 9...♗b4+ 10.♘c3 ♘f5 11.cxd5 e3 12.♘ge4 exf2+ 13.♔xf2 and white should win.
9...♗xh3 10.exf8=♕+ ♖xf8 11.♘xh3 ♘d7 12.♗g5 ♕xb2 13.♘d2 ♘f7 14.O-O ♘xg5 15.♘xg5 ♕e5 16.f4
7...c6 8.♘gxe4
8.g3 was even stronger. After 8...g6 To prevent Qh5+ 9.♕d4 with a very strong position.
8...dxe4 9.♕h5+ g6 10.♕e5 ♖g8 11.♗xh6
11.♗g5 ♗g7 12.e7 ♕d5 13.♕xd5 ♗xc3+ 14.bxc3 cxd5 15.♗xh6 ♔xe7 16.O-O-O white is slightly better. Wells,P (2545)-Henris,L (2310)/ Antwerp Open 1995
11.♗c4 is also very strong. 11...♗g7 12.♕xe4 ♗xc3+ 13.bxc3 ♘f5 14.♗f4 and white is better.
11...♗xh6 12.♖d1 There's no hurry to take the e-Pawn; white completes his development. 12...♕e7 13.♗c4 b5 Better was 13...Bg7. The text is tactically unsound. 14.♗b3 (14.♘xe4 and if 14...bxc4 15.♘d6+ ♔f8 16.♘xc8 and wins.) (14.♘xe4 ♔f8 15.♗b3 ♗g7 16.♕f4+ ♔e8 17.♘d6+ mates in 5) 14...a5 White doesn't miss Nxe4 a second time. Better was 14... Bg7
14...♗g7 15.♕xe4 ♗xc3+ 16.bxc3 a5 17.a3 ♖f8 White has a modest advantage.
15.♘xe4 a4 This allows a nice finish, but black is lost anyway.
15...♗g7 comes too late. After 16.♕f4 ♗d7 (16...♗xe6 17.♘d6+ ♔d8 18.♘f5+) 17.exd7+ ♘xd7 18.♗f7+ ♔d8 19.♗xg8
16.♘f6+ ♔f8 17.♘xg8 ♔xg8 White has only one move that wins and it's a mate in 7 18.♖d8+
18.♖d7 only yields a draw fter 18...♗xd7 19.exd7+ ♔f8 20.d8=♕+ ♕xd8 21.♕h8+ ♔e7 22.♕e5+ ♔d7 23.♗e6+ ♔e7 and white has a perpetual check.
18...♕xd8 19.e7+ ♕d5 20.e8=♕+ ♗f8 21.♕h8+ ♔xh8 22.♕xf8+ Black resigned.
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