Vote Basman

3 June 2017

9:00 AM

3 June 2017

9:00 AM

To the best of my knowledge, Michael Basman is the first officially titled chess master to ever stand in a UK parliamentary election. Marmaduke Wyvill, MP for Richmond Yorkshire, was an accomplished player who took second prize in the great London tournament of 1851, but he could not have been described as a chess professional.

Basman will be standing as an independent in Kingston-upon-Thames, and his manifesto is a curious blend of selective support for Jeremy Corbyn-style intervention combined with extreme libertarianism. (The manifesto can be found at This week’s game and puzzle are an excursion into Basmanland.

Keene-Basman: Bognor 1967; King’s Indian Attack

1 e4 e6 2 d3 b5 3 Nf3 Bb7 4 g3 Nf6 5 Bg2 Bc5 This is hard to justify, since the king’s bishop is normally needed on the kingside for defensive purposes. 6 0-0 0-0 7 Nbd2 d6 8 Qe2 Bb6 9 Kh1 c5 10 Nh4 Nc6 11 c3 d5 12 e5 Nd7 13 f4 b4 14 Ndf3 White’s kingside attack proceeds unopposed, largely due to the absence of the useful defensive king’s bishop. 14 … Qc7 15 f5 exf5 16 Bf4 Rae8 17 Rae1 bxc3 18 bxc3 d4 19 c4 19 e6, winning material, is objectively better. 19 … Re6 A mistake. Black should reorganise with 19 … Qc8 20 Nxf5 Bc7 with complex play. 20 Nxf5 f6 (see diagram 1) Threatening to destroy White’s strong point at e5, but the scheme is over-optimistic and allows the energy in White’s position to burst forth by means of a positional queen sacrifice. 21 Nxg7 This is good but White has another, remarkable sacrificial line, e.g. 21 Bh6 gxh6 22 N3xd4 Nxd4 23 Qg4+ Kf7 24 Qg7+ Ke8 25 Nd6+ Kd8 26 Nxb7+ Ke8 27 Nd6+ Kd8 28 Bd5 with a very strong attack. 21 … Kxg7 22 exf6+ Rfxf6 23 Qxe6 Rxe6 24 Rxe6 White avoids 24 Bxc7? with only rook for two minor pieces. White has now given up queen and knight for two rooks, but Black’s famous king’s bishop is locked out of play, while his other pieces cannot participate in the defence of his king. 24 … Qc8 25 Bh6+ Kg8 26 Ng5 Nce5 27 Bxb7 Qxb7+ Although Black gains a temporary respite with this check his queen must immediately return to the back rank to prevent Re8+. 28 Kg1 Qb8 29 Re7 Ba5 30 Rg7+ Kh8 (see diagram 2) 31 Nf7+ Good enough but 31 Rff7 was completely overwhelming, e.g. 31 … Nf8 32 Rxf8+ Qxf8 33 Rxh7+ Kg8 34 Bxf8. 31 … Nxf7 32 Rgxf7 Bd2 33 Bxd2 Qd6 34 Rxd7 Black resigns

After 34 … Qxd7 35 Bh6 and Rf8+ is crushing.


Next week a homage to Marmaduke Wyvill MP, certainly the strongest chess player ever to sit in Parliament.

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