(1936 - 2009)

Gerald Boulle (on the right), playing against
John van den Berg at Salt Rock 1985

Gerald Boulle first played in the Championship section in 1956, and made his last appearance there in 2001 at the age of 65. He was not the oldest ever competitor, that honour probably goes to Edgar Hill. Apart from breaks in 1957, 1958 and 1962, Gerald was a regular contestant in the A section, and competed for the Durban title a record 43 times, just once more than myself. We played 25 times in the club championships and, after losing my first 3 games to Gerald, I caught up rapidly and eventually scored 16 wins to his 5 with just 4 draws. We also played a similar number of games in other club events and in open tournaments.

Gerald was at his best in the 1960's and 1970's, winning the Natal Closed title on 7 occasions between 1967 and 1979. He almost secured the Durban title in 1960 but lost a playoff match with John Blackburn. Gerald first became Durban champion in 1963, and he then proceeded to win the title five times in a row, the first player to do so. This made the cover (note the price per issue!!) of our national chess magazine:

Probably the greatest of his 8 title wins came in 1975, when he regained the title with the very fine score of 8 points out of 9. He beat defending champion David Walker in their individual game, and only suffered one loss to Bill Gregory.

Gerald had amazing endgame technique and I learnt a lot from studying his games. One of his weaknesses was that he had a fixed opening repertoire - for example, if I had the Black pieces, then I knew that Gerald would play the Morra gambit against my Sicilian defence. It took me about 10 years to find an antidote! I was much more successful with the Pirc defence against him.


The games selection is larger than usual. I have chosen four of his Morra Gambit games and three games that show off his endgame technique. There is also a defensive masterpiece against Churton:

[Event "Championship"] [Site "Durban"] [Date "1970.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "Boulle, Gerald G"] [Black "Churton, Eric K"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "?"] [BlackElo "?"] 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 d6 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.Nf3 Nf6 $2 7.e5 Ng4 (7...dxe5 {is no better - see next game}) 8.e6 $1 fxe6 9.Ng5 d5 10.Qxg4 dxc4 11.Qxc4 {White has plenty of play for the pawn, the extra pawn on e6 blocks in the Bc8 and Black cannot castle} 11...Qd4 12.Qe2 Qe5 13.Be3 Nd4 $2 {trying to force a Queen swap doesn't help} (13...g6) 14.Qd3 Nf5 15.Qb5+ $1 Qxb5 16.Nxb5 Nxe3 17.fxe3 {Black is lost} 17...Kd7 18.Nf7 a6 19.Ne5+ 1-0 [Event "Pickup match"] [Site "Durban"] [Date "1978.01.05"] [Round "1"] [White "Boulle, Gerald G"] [Black "Rust, Keith"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [WhiteElo "2050"] [BlackElo "1960"] 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 Nf6 $2 {falling into the Moscow trap} 7.e5 dxe5 8.Qxd8+ Nxd8 9.Nb5 Rb8 10.Nxe5 e6 {the critical position, Gerald told me afterwards that he had forgotten his home analysis and was unable to find the win} 11.Nc7+ Ke7 12.Be3 Kd6 $2 {should lose} (12...b6) (12... Nc6) 13.Bf4 Kxc7 14.Nxf7+ Kb6 15.Nxd8 $2 (15.Nxh8 Ra8 16.Rd1 $18) 15... Bb4+ 16.Kf1 Ra8 17.Nxe6 Bxe6 18.Bxe6 Rhe8 19.Be3+ Ka6 20.Bc4+ b5 21.Be2 Nd5 22.Bf3 Nxe3+ 23.fxe3 Rac8 24.a3 Bc5 25.e4 Bd4 {I offered the draw} 1/2-1/2 [Event "Rapid game"] [Site "Salt Rock"] [Date "1985.09.08"] [Round "7"] [White "Boulle, Gerald G"] [Black "Rust, Keith"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "1955"] [BlackElo "2120"] 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 d3 4.Bxd3 d6 5.c4 Nf6 6.Nc3 e6 7.Nf3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qe2 Nbd7 10.Rd1 a6 11.e5 dxe5 12.Nxe5 Qa5 13.Nxd7 Bxd7 14.Bd2 Qc7 15.Rac1 Bc6 16.Bg5 h6 17.Bh4 Rfd8 18.b4 $6 Bxb4 19.Bxf6 gxf6 20.Qg4+ Kf8 21.Qh4 Ke7 $2 {going astray, I had to remove an attacker here} (21...Bxc3 $1 22.Rxc3 Qe5 $1 23.Qxh6+ Ke7 {was fine}) 22.Nd5+ $3 exd5 $2 (22...Bxd5 23.cxd5 Bc5 {was the best practical chance} (23...Qa5 $2 24.dxe6 fxe6 25.Qxh6 $18) 24.dxe6 Rxd3 $1 25.Rxd3 Bxf2+ 26.Kxf2 $1 Qxc1 27.Rd7+ $2 (27.Qb4+ $1 $18) Kxe6 28.Qd4 Qc6 {and Black lives on}) 23.Re1+ $3 {first he sacrifices a Knight, then a Rook, but it all works as my Queen is soon skewered} Bxe1 24.Rxe1+ Kd6 25.Qf4+ Kc5 (25...Kd7 $4 26.Bf5#) 26.Qxc7 dxc4 27.Qa5+ b5 28.Qa3+ b4 29.Qa5+ Bb5 30.Qc7+ Bc6 31.Be4 Rac8 32.Qa7+ Kb5 33.a4+ $1 Kxa4 34.Qxa6+ Kb3 35.Rb1+ Kc3 36.Qa1+ Kd2 37.Qb2# 1-0 [Event "Second Swiss"] [Site "Durban"] [Date "1974.11.21"] [Round "6"] [White "Churton, Eric K"] [Black "Boulle, Gerald G"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "?"] [BlackElo "?"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Be3 Bg7 6.Nc3 Nf6 7.Be2 0-0 8.Nb3 d6 9.0-0 Be6 10.f4 Qc8 11.Kh1 a5 12.Nd4 Nxd4 13.Bxd4 Bc4 14.Rf3 a4 15.a3 Re8 16.e5 dxe5 17.fxe5 Nd5 {Diagram [#]} 18.Rxf7 $5 {a typical Churton sacrifice} (18.Bd3) 18...Bxe2 $1 {Boulle wisely refuses the offer} (18...Kxf7 19.Qf1+ $1 Kg8 20.Bxc4 {with plenty of compensation}) (18...Nxc3 {is playable} 19.Rxg7+ Kxg7 20.e6+ Kg8 21.Bxc3 {but only if you saw that } Rd8 $1 {is the only move} (21...Bxe2 $2 22.Qd4 $18) (21...Bxe6 $2 22.Qd4 $18)) (18...Bxe5 $2 19.Bxe5 Kxf7 20.Qf1+ Kg8 21.Bxc4 $18) 19.Rxg7+ Kxg7 20.Qxe2 (20.e6+ Nf6 21.Qxe2 Ra6 $1 22.Re1 Rd8 23.Qe3 Rdd6 {favours Black}) 20...Qe6 $1 21.Ne4 Nf4 22.Qe3 Qg4 23.g3 $2 (23.e6+ Kg8 24.Ng3 $1 Nd5 25.Qe5 Nf6 {was still messy}) 23...Ne6 $1 $17 24.Bc3 Rf8 25.Kg2 Nf4+ 26.Kh1 Nd5 27.e6+ Kg8 $1 ({better than} 27...Nxc3 28.Qd4+ $1 Kh6 $1 (28...Kg8 $4 29.Nf6+)) 28.Qd4 Qf3+ 29.Kg1 Nxc3 30.bxc3 Rad8 31.Nd2 Qe2 {comments based on notes by David Walker for DCC Bulletin} 0-1 [Event "SA Open"] [Site "Durban"] [Date "1978.07.15"] [Round "3"] [White "Boulle, Gerald G"] [Black "Swart, Chris"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2050"] [BlackElo "1885"] 1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.f4 Nc6 5.Be3 e5? 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Qxd8+ Nxd8 8.Nd5? (8.Nb5! Ne6 9.f5 a6 10.fxe6 axb5 11.Bxb5+) 8...Ne6 9.f5 gxf5 10.exf5 c6 11.fxe6 cxd5 12.Bb5+ Ke7 13.exf7 Kxf7 14.0-0-0 Nf6 15.Nf3 Ng4 16.Bg1 Rd8 17.h3 Nh6 18.Bh2 Kg8? 19.Nxe5 Bf5 20.Bd3 Rac8 21.Rhf1 Be6 22.Rf2 Rf8 23.Rdf1 Rxf2 24.Rxf2 Rf8 25.Rxf8+ Bxf8 26.Bg1 a6 27.Nf3 Nf5 28.Nd4 Nxd4 29.Bxd4 {Boulle has won a pawn and slowly but surely converts his advantage} Bh6+ 30.Kd1 Bf4 31.Ke2 h5 32.Kf3 Bg5 33.g4 hxg4+ 34.hxg4 Kf7 35.Bf5 b5 36.b3 Ke7 37.Be5 Kf7 38.Ke2 Bxf5 39.gxf5 Bf6 40.Bf4 Bc3 41.Kd3 b4 42.Bg5 Bb2 43.Be3 Ke8 44.Bd4 Ba3 45.Be5 (45.Bc5 $1 Kf7 46.Kd4 Kf6 47.Kxd5 Kxf5 48.c4 $18) 45...Kd7 46.f6 Ke6 47.Ba1 Bc1 48.Kd4 Kd6 49.Kd3 Bh6 50.Bd4 Bg5 51.Ke2 Ke6 52.Bc5 Bxf6 53.Bxb4 d4 54.Kd3 Kd5 55.a4 Be5 56.Be1 Bc7 57.Bf2 Be5 58.Bh4 Bg7 59.Bd8 Be5 60.Bb6 Bf6 61.Ba7 Be5 62.b4 Bd6 63.b5 axb5 64.axb5 Be5 65.Bb6 Bf6 66.Bc7! Kc5 67.b6 Kc6 68.Kc4 Bg7 69.Kb4 Bf8+ 70.Ka5 Kb7 71.Kb5 Bh6 72.Bd6 Be3 73.Bc5 Bf2 74.Kc4 d3 75.cxd3 Bg3 76.Kb5 Be5 77.d4 Bf6 78.Kc4 Kc6 79.d5+ Kb7 80.Kd3 Be5 81.Ke4 Bg3 82.Kf5 Bh4 83.Ke6 Bg5 84.Kd7 Kb8 85.Ke8 Kb7 86.d6 Kc6 87.d7 Kb7 88.d8Q Bxd8 89.Kxd8 Ka8 90.Kd7 Kb7 91.Be3 Ka8 92.Kc6 Kb8 93.Bf4+ 1-0 [Event "SA Open"] [Site "Durban"] [Date "1978.07.23"] [Round "11"] [White "Boulle, Gerald G"] [Black "Blasl, Vincent"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2050"] [BlackElo "1980"] 1.e4 c5 2.d4 cxd4 3.c3 dxc3 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 d6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Qe2 Be7 9.Rd1 e5 10.h3 h6 11.b4 a6 12.b5 axb5 13.Nxb5 0-0 14.Ba3 Ne8 15.Rd3 Ra4 16.Bb3 Ra5 17.Rd2 Qb6 18.Nxd6 Nxd6 19.Bxd6 Nd4 20.Rxd4 Bxd6 21.Rd3 Bc7 22.Rad1 Be6 23.Bxe6 Qxe6 24.a3 Qa6 25.Qb2 Rc5 26.Rb3 b6 27.Rd7 Qc4 28.Rb4 Qe6 29.Rd1 Rc8 30.Rb5 f6 31.Rxc5 bxc5 32.Qb7 Rd8 33.Rd5 Qb6 34.Rxd8+ Bxd8 35.Qxb6 Bxb6 {we have reached a very instructive minor piece ending, where the Knight is clearly superior to Black's bad Bishop} 36.Nd2 Kf7 37.Nc4 Bc7 38.a4 Ke7 39.g4 g6 40.f3 Kd7 41.Kf2 Kc6 42.Ke2 Bd8 43.Kd3 Bc7 44.Kc3 Bd8 45.Kd3 Bc7 46.Nd2 Bb6 47.Kc4 Ba5 48.Nb3 Bb6 49.Nc1 Ba5 50.Nd3 Bb6 51.f4 exf4 52.Nxf4 g5 53.Nd3 Kd6 54.Kb5 Ba7 55.a5 Ke6 56.Nb2 Ke5 57.Ka6 c4 58.Nxc4+ Kxe4 59.Kxa7 f5 60.gxf5 Kxf5 61.Kb8 h5 62.a6 g4 63.hxg4+ hxg4 64.Ne3+ 1-0 [Event "Natal Open A"] [Site "Durban"] [Date "1985.07.18"] [Round "2"] [White "Kett, Timothy"] [Black "Boulle, Gerald G"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2155"] [BlackElo "1955"] 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Be2 0-0 8.0-0 d5 $1 9.exd5 Nb4 10.Qd2 Nbxd5 11.Nxd5 Nxd5 12.Bh6 e5 13.Bxg7 Kxg7 14.Nf3 Nf4 $1 15.Rfd1 Qxd2 16.Rxd2 Nxe2+ 17.Rxe2 f6 18.Rd1 Bg4 19.Red2 Rf7 20.h3 Bxf3 21.gxf3 Rc8 22.c3 Re7 23.Kg2 Kf7 24.Kg3 Rc6 25.Rd8 Ke6 26.f4 exf4+ 27.Kxf4 Kf7 28.R1d7 Rce6 29.Rxe7+ Rxe7 30.a4 Ke6 31.c4 Rd7 32.Rxd7 {Kett misjudged the pawn ending} (32.Rb8 {was equal}) 32...Kxd7 33.b4 $2 (33.a5 {then 34.b4 was correct}) 33...a5 $3 {this temporary pawn sac ensures White cannot get a passed pawn} 34.bxa5 Kc6 35.Kg4 $2 (35.Ke3 Kc5 36.Kd3 {should draw}) 35... Kc5 $19 36.Kf4 Kxc4 37.Ke4 Kb4 38.Kd5 Kxa4 0-1

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