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Friday, February 9, 2024

Eugene E. Colman

The name Eugene E. Colman (October 11, 1878 – July 20, 1964) is probably unfamiliar to most readers, but he was a Master level British amateur. 
    He graduated from Cambridge University with a law degree and entered service in the Malay States. When he retired, he stayed on in Malaysia and set up youth clubs throughout the country. 
    He tied for 9th-10th (out of 15) in Hamburg 1910, in the 17th DSB Congress, Hauptturnier A event. The tournament was won by Gersz Rotlewi. Carl Carls was second. Carl Ahues and Karel Hromadka tied for third. Edward Lasker was fifth.
    Colman’s name is attached to the Colman Variation of the Two Knights Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Qf3 Rb8). 
    During World War II Colman was interned in Changi CivilianInternees Camp in Singapore from 1942 until 1945. It was during his interment that he analyzed the variation. He did so despite the hardships endured during the Japanese occupation; about 850 POWs died in the camp. 
    After the war Colman returned to England and lived in Wimbledon where he was an active member of the Wimbledon Chess Club. He passed away in Roehampton in 1964 and was buried in Gap Road Cemetery not far from Henry Bird.
   In the following game from Tunbridge Wells 1911, he defeats Herbert Jacobs (1863-1950) who at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century was among the strongest players of England. A natural player, his lack of book knowledge prevented him from reaching the highest levels. He was a barrister ny profession. 

A game that I liked (Fritz 17)

[Event "Tunbridge Wells"] [Site ""] [Date "1911.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Eugene E. Colman"] [Black "Herbert L. Jacobs"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D02"] [Annotator "Stockfish 16"] [PlyCount "55"] [EventDate "1911.??.??"] {D06: Queen's Gambit: Symmetrical Defense} 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c5 { This uncommon variation has not stood the test of time.} 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nf6 6. d5 (6. dxc5 {equalizes at best.} Qxd1+ 7. Kxd1 Nxe4 8. Be3 Nc6 9. Bb5 Bd7 10. Nbd2 Nf6 11. Ke2 g6 12. Nc4 Bg7 13. Rhd1 O-O) (6. Nc3 cxd4 7. Qxd4 Qxd4 8. Nxd4 {is favorable fr white. For example...} e5 9. Ndb5 Na6 10. f3 Bb4 11. Be3 {and white is better.}) 6... e6 7. Bb5+ (7. Nc3 exd5 8. exd5 Bd6 9. Bb5+ Bd7 10. O-O {Reiss,T (2347)-Mufic,G (2382) Budapest 2002 is equal.}) 7... Bd7 8. dxe6 {This can hardly be considered bad, but white does not get anything more than adequate compensation for the B.} (8. Bxd7+ {is a good alternative. Todorov,O (2339)-Stankovic,S (2047) St Chely d'Aubrac 2003 continued} Qxd7 9. Nc3 exd5 10. exd5 Bd6 11. O-O {with about equal chances.}) 8... Bxb5 9. exf7+ Ke7 10. Qxd8+ {After this black gains the advantage. Keeping the Qs on with 10. Qb3 would have kept things even.} Kxd8 11. Nc3 Bc6 (11... Bc4 {regaining the P was also possible. but black reasons that it is not going anywhere.} 12. Bf4 Bxf7 13. O-O-O+ Kc8 14. e5 Nh5 15. Bg5) 12. Bg5 (12. e5 {works out poorly.} Nd5 13. Bg5+ Kd7 14. O-O-O Ke6 15. Ne4 {Oddly, black's K is safe and well placed on e6 and white is at a loss for an active continuation.}) 12... h6 13. O-O-O+ (13. Bh4 {was called for. It invites} g5 14. Bg3 Ke7 15. Ne5 Rh7 (15... Bg7 { This costs the exchange, but is technically the best; black still has the upper hand after} 16. Ng6+ Kxf7 17. Nxh8+ Bxh8 {White has a R+P vs B+N. Not too many players would find this position one they would want to play regardless of the engine evaluation.}) 16. O-O-O Nbd7 17. Nxc6+ bxc6 18. Rd6 Rc8 19. e5 {Black is better, but white has active play.}) 13... Kc8 {It's understandable that black avoids a pin that he is in after 13...Nbd7. Nevertheless, 13...Nbd7 was exactly what he should have played.} (13... Nbd7 14. Be3 Ke7 15. e5 Ne4 16. Nxe4 Bxe4 17. Rhe1 Ke6 {With careful play black's advantage should prove decisive.}) 14. Bh4 g5 (14... Bxe4 15. Nxe4 Be7 16. Ne5 {The threat is to play e5 and there is no good way to meet it.}) (14... a6 { a pass to demonstrate the threat.} 15. e5 Nh7 16. Rd8+ Kc7 17. e6 g5 18. e7 { and it's clear that white is winning.}) 15. e5 {But now that black is attacking the B and white has not yet advanced his Ps as in the previous note this move is faulty. Correct was 15.Bg3} (15. Bg3 {keeps the balance.} Nh5 16. Rhe1 Rh7 17. Ne5 Nxg3 18. hxg3) 15... gxh4 16. exf6 {What a mesy situation! Shootouts from this position resulted in black scoring 3 wins and two games were drawn, so practically speaking white is not without some chances of salvaging the game.} Bxf3 {[%mdl 8192] This gives white quadrupled Ps, so haw could it possibly be a losing move, but that's exactly what it is! Either 16... Nd7 or 16...Rh7 keep a small advantage.} 17. gxf3 {Unfortunately for black now there is no way to meet the looming threat of Re8} Rh7 18. Rhe1 Rxf7 19. Re8+ { The remainder of the game is butchery.} Kc7 20. Rdd8 Rd7 21. Rc8+ Kd6 22. Ne4+ Kd5 23. Rxf8 b6 24. f7 Ke6 25. Rce8+ Re7 26. f4 Kd7 27. Nf6+ Ke6 28. Ng8 { Black resigned.} 1-0

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