Lee Andersen

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Lee Andersen

Peter N Lee (Image created in Shtterstock)

“I can add colours to the chameleon , Change shapes with Proteus for advantages….” 
William Shakespeare: Henry VI, Part 3 Act III, Scenes i-ii

No, this week’s title does not refer to the volatile, chameleon-like former Labour, former Tory, now Reform MP, Lee Anderson, but to a victory by one of the UK’s most respected, versatile and illustrious of Mind Sports practitioners.

At this year’s Varsity match between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge , the leading social occasion of the annual UK chess scene, hosted by The Royal Automobile Club, I had the pleasure of renewing my acquaintance with my old sparring partner, Peter Lee.

Peter has the extraordinary distinction of having won the British Championships in both chess and bridge. Indeed, so impressive was Peter’s decisive victory in the 1965 British Chess Championship, that I nearly abandoned chess, in awe at his achievement and in the belief that I could never attain the level of brilliance displayed by Peter in that event. Peter represented England in no fewer than three Olympiads, those of 1966, 1968 and 1970. He played with great success on top board for Oxford University and top board for England in the Student Olympiads of 1965 and 1966. He now plays on top board for the Athenaeum.

Here is one of his incisive victories from the 1966 Olympiad (aka world team tournament) in Havana, sponsored by Fidel Castro. His opponent was Borge Andersen, a strong International Master of the day, who won the Danish Championship four times.

Peter N Lee vs. Borge Andersen

Havana Olympiad 1966

Pirc Defence

1.e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. e5 dxe5 8. fxe5 Nd5

The old main-line position of the Austrian Attack. Now 8…Nd5 (as played here by Andersen) was refuted in Fischer-Perez, Havana, 1965, while 8…Ng4 never recovered from the game Gligoric-Quinteros, Vinkovci, 1970, which continued 9 Be4 f6 10 h3 Nh6 11 Bd5+ Kh8 12 O-O Nf5 13 Re1! Nfxd4 14 Nxd4 Nxd4 15 Qxd4 and whichever way Black chooses to regain the piece he remains with a markedly inferior position. In this line the bold piece sacrifice 10…fxe5! 11 hxg4 exd4 certainly deserves attention. The alternative move 8…Nh5! was mentioned, but not analysed, by Fischer in his My 60 Memorable Games. To the best of my knowledge the move was first employed in an international tournament in the game Safvat-Keene, Siegen Olympiad 1970. Our trusty Pancho computer opines that after 9… Nh5 Be3 (Be2 Bg4 10. Be3 transposes) there follows, 9… Bg4 10. Be2 f6 11. exf6 Nxf6, when Black’s defences remain resolutely intact. I have also drawn with 8… Ne8!? [Sax-Keene, Rovinj, 1975].


9.Nxd5 Qxd5 10. c3 f6 

Perez chose 10…Bg4 against Fischer in the same tournament, but lost in short order.

11.Qe2 Kh8 12. Bc4 Qd8 13. exf6

White could significantly improve on the text with 13. e6 Qd6 14. h4 h5 15. O-O Na5 16. Bd3 Bxe6 17. b4 Nc6 18. b5 Nd8 19. Bxg6, with a powerful initiative.

13… exf6 14. O-O Bg4 15. Kh1 Qd6 16. Qe4 Qd7 17. h3 Bf5 18. Qd5 Rae8?

After White’s omission on move 13, Black could now equalise after 18… Qxd5 19. Bxd5 Rad8 20. Bc4 Na5 21. Bb5 a6 22. Be2 Rfe8.

19.Qxd7 Bxd7 20. Bf4 Rc8 21. Rae1 Rfd8

It was more important to contest the e-file with 21… Rfe8 22. Rxe8+ Rxe8 23. Re1 Rc8, after which White’s continuing advantage is contained .


More accurate are both 22. Nd2 and d5.

22… Bf8 23. Nd2 Kg7 24. Bg3?

Correct is 24. Ne4, when after 24… Re8 (24… Be7 25. d5 Ne5 26. Ng5 Bd6 27. Bxe5 fxe5 Rf7+ Kg8 29. Rxh7) 25. Bg5 fxg5 26. Rf7+ Kh6 27. Rxd7 Re7 28. Rxe7 Bxe7 29. a4, White is cruising.

24… Ne7 25. Ne4 Nf5 26. Bh2 Re8 27. Bd5 Bb5 28. Rf2 c6 29. Bb3 h5 30. g4 hxg4 31. hxg4 Nd6??

The punctuation is harsh (?? signifies a blunder) but White now controls the remaining moves and, in the process, completely wears down his opponent. Black needed to find 31… Bd3 32. Bc2 Bxe4+ 33. Bxe4 before playing 33… Nd6, when after, 34. Bxd6 Bxd6, Black can still claim equality.

32.Bxd6 Bxd6 33. Rxf6 Bd3 34. Rxd6 Rxe4 35. Rxe4 Bxe4+ 36. Kg1 Rc7 37. g5 b6 38. Be6 Kf8 39. Rd7 Rxd7 40. Bxd7 Ke7 41. Bg4

Black resigns 1-0

Since the start of this century the MCC team have boarded up their bats and won the Hamilton Russell Chess Trophy outright seven times and tied in first place with the Athenaeum twice.

The Royal Automobile Club on the other hand has also enjoyed seven outright victories and tied in first place with Oxford and Cambridge and also Athenaeum twice. Both the Oxford and Cambridge and Athenaeum clubs have managed to achieve isolated victories, rather than successive wins since 2000, with the only remaining unfortunate name on the trophy being Coronavirus in 2021.

The match between the two great rival clubs of MCC and the Royal Automobile Club was played on Wednesday 27 March at Lords. The Royal Automobile Club were attempting to win the trophy for the third successive season.

The table shows the standings before the final shoot-out, with only MCC and RAC in contention for the top two slots. As it was, the final match ended as a thrilling 4-4 draw with Colm O’Shea and Wayne Clark for the RAC securing ½ points, whilst Lee Green, Alex Burgansky and Henry McWatters all managed wins.

MCC were formidable on the top three boards, tying the match and becoming worthy joint winners. Board three was won by MCC’s Gary Senior in a time scramble with just one second on his own clock.

Congratulations to all RAC Hamilton Russell players for defending their title so successfully and remaining undefeated all season. My thanks to Henry McWatters, President of the RAC Chess Circle, for providing the above information.

And our parting game is a tour de force by Peter Lee.

Peter N Lee vs. David Parr

British Championship (Hastings), rd. 5, 1965

Sicilian Defence

1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Be3 Ng4 7. Bb5 Nxe3 8. fxe3 Bd7 9. O-O e6 10. Bxc6 bxc6 11. e5 d5?!

Pancho marginally prefers, 11… Be7! with: 12. Qh5 O-O 13. exd6 Bxd6. Now White dynamically exploits his scattered and shattered pawns as battering rams. When I first saw this game I was utterly bowled over by White’s attack. Only later was I to learn that a considerable portion was known theory.

12.Qf3 Qe7 13. b4 g6?

Lee had already trod this path. In a game at the 1965 World Student Team Championship in Sinaia, his opponent, S. Pedersen, had instead ventured 13… Rc8, and held the draw.

 14. b5 c5

15.e4 Bg7 16. exd5 O-O 17. Nc6 Bxc6 18. dxc6 Bxe5 19. Rae1 Bd4+

After  19… f6 20. a4! threatens to lay an irresistible siege to the queenside

20.Kh1 Qg5

Astonishingly everything up to this point was known theory, but not known to me! Prior to the game, 20… Rad8 had been tried in Karaklajic-Averbakh, Belgrade, 1956, and Black held on for a draw.

21.Ne4 Qh4 22. g3 Qe7 23. Nf6+ Bxf6 24. Qxf6 Qc7 25. Rd1 Qa5 

Although, prosaically, 25… Rfd8 is stiffer, the game is spent.

26.c4 Qxa2 27. c7 Qxc4 28. Rd8 

This natural-looking move almost succeeds in the incongruity of plucking the proverbial setback from the jaws of victory. It is near-obligatory to first play, 28. Kg1, to double protect the rook on f1.

28… e5??

Comeback chances are fleeting and must be seized! 28… Qxf1+ 29. Qxf1 Rfxd8 30. cxd8=Q+ Rxd8, might just cling on, in spite of the huge disparity in material.

29.Rfd1 Qe4+ 30. Kg1 Qe3+ 31. Qf2 Qg5 32. Qd2 Black resigns 1-0


Ray’s 206th book, “  Chess in the Year of the King  ”, written in collaboration with Adam Black, and his 207th, “  Napoleon and Goethe: The Touchstone of Genius  ” (which discusses their relationship with chess) are available from Amazon and Blackwells. 


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Member ratings
  • Well argued: 99%
  • Interesting points: 100%
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34 ratings - view all

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