The Amateur Eye – My Best Move: Neil McKelvie

Neil McKelvie was born in England in 1930. His grandfather David was one of the best world draught players in Scotland and his son taught Neil when he was 4 years old to play chess.  In 1940 he was sent to America as were other children because of what was to be called World War II. He was raised by his aunt and uncle in America and at age 13 one of his chums showed him a copy of Chess Review and he learned notation from a family friend. He moved back to England after the war and won a scholarship to Cambridge and continued to excel in chess competitions. He returned to America to earn a doctorate in  Chemistry at Columbia University. He reactivated his chess interest winning or scoring high against some of the best players in America winning the 1974 Manhattan Club Championship and co-champ in 1979.

The game Neil McKelvie versus Ariel Mengarinj  was played in the 1967 NY Masters Tournament.

The game went 30 moves with some very exciting play. 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Bb4 (This is a rare line.) 5. c3 Ba5 6. O-O Nge7 7. d4 e:d4 8. c:d4 d5 9. e:d5 Q:d5 (9…N:d5 loses a piece 10. B:c6+ and 11. Qa4. 10. Bb3 Qh5 11. d5 Na7 12. Bd2! B:d2 13. Q:d2 O-O 14. Re1 Ng6 15. Nc3 Bg4 16. Nd4 Rae8 17. Ne4! Nc8 18. f3 Bd7 19. Rac1 Qe5 20. Ne6!! A shocking move. 20…f:e6 21. d:e6 Bc6 22. e7+! Kh8 23. e:f8/Q+ R:f8 24. Ng5 Qf5 25. Nf7+ R:f7 26. B:f7 Q:f7 27. Q:d8+ Qf8 28. Q:f8+ N:f8 29. R:c6+! b:c6 30. Re8 Black resigns.

An interesting note: Given chess instruction and early practicing, could I have become a Grandmaster? Probably yes, but at what cost? Similarly, for my piano playing; in both chess and music, so many people I have known have given their lives for so little reward. If nothing else, teaching around 18,000 chemistry students over 45 years has been my real contribution.

Creating and doing for years this blog column and developing my square count theory were pretty good goals and achievement in my chess life after a 30= life in accounting and happily finding my wife through chess is also worth a bit of applause for a game’s passionate result!

Finally, I have a strong faith and belief through our Lord’s promise and Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost as it is referred to in biblical and church teachings. I am not perfect and my shortcomings are too often witnessed but that is my goal–to adhere to my biblical Christian beliefs and training as a mentored being.  We go around this world having beliefs or none at all. You can’t have it both ways.  I have been asked why chess?  I do like a lot of things like music and used to try my hand at drawing and painting to coincide my joy for reading historic novels and mysteries. That covered a lot of decades of my life and I never called myself anything but a a”woodpusher” so far as chess goes. While I have amassed a number of tournament achievements both as a player and organizer, I always like to think it has been all worth while. I have respect for those whom I have met through the years including family and friends but live to see tomorrows with mostly fond memories.



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