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Archive for July 31st, 2010

British Championships 2010 (Rds. 1-5.)

After having been the event’s Publicity Officer for most of the last 12 years, it’s a little strange not being in the thick of it and having to try and monitor it through the website, excellent though that is.

In my additional capacity as chess columnist for the Western Morning News, I have tried to concentrate on monitoring the progress of players in the Championship with at least some local connection; Devon residents, Jack Rudd, Keith Arkle and Dominic Mackle, and Cornish ex-pats, Mickey Adams and Andrew Greet. Not a wasted policy, either, as it turned out, as the early headlines seem to have centred around these very folk.

Rudd started off like the runaway train that he always is, knocking over 2 GMs and a GM norm holder (Arkell, Williams and the new Scottish Champion, Andrew Greet), and finding himself in the joint lead with Adams. If Rudd is unpredictable, however, Adams is not, and Adams then forced Rudd’s train into the buffers, and carried on to notch up 5 straight wins without any trouble whatever. How Rudd will finish up is anyone’s guess. Last year he started with 1/4 points, then finished with 6 points from 7 games, to record his best score in this event. Will this be the reverse of that?

Followed Arkell’s game last night (FridayNight Live) as it went on and on and on. I know from experience that by 9 p.m. on most nights the playing hall is practically deserted as almost all games have finished, but this game went on until way past 10 p.m. and the number of moves crept up and up – 100; 110, 120; (the longest in a World Championship match is 124); up to 160 moves, when a draw was finally agreed. Nor was it idle woodpushing; With a rook each and bishops of opposite colours, Arkell was making gradual progress all the time and eventually had the only 2 pawns ensconced on the 6th & 7th ranks. But it proved another classic example of how the advantage of an extra pawn or two can be negated by the best defence where the bishops are on oppposite coloured squares. And so it proved once again.

Adams must be the hottest favourite for many a year and could easily reach 10/11 points (surely not more?). The reason he hasn’t entered in the past 13 years is his understandable concern for his FIDE rating points, and his attempts to keep in the topmost band of world players. Even in winning the British title, he could have actually lost rating points in the process, as many of his opponents’ grades would have been so far below his own. It may be that he has now reached a point in his career where he has less concern for that when he sees £5,000 there for the asking.

British Championship Begins (31.07.2010.)

The British Championships started on Monday at Canterbury and after three rounds was proving a very Devon & Cornwall affair, with Jack Rudd of Bideford and Cornishman Mickey Adams the only two players on maximum points.

In Round 1, Rudd beat Paignton resident Keith Arkell after the latter left his queen en prise. He was then paired against the new Scottish Champion, Andrew Greet of St. Austell for a repeat of their balloon match at Torquay last year, won then by Greet. Rudd would doubtless be looking for some kind of revenge. This is how it went.

White: Jack Rudd (211). Black: Andrew Greet (232).

Petrosian System [A56]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Nbd7 6.g3 g6 7.Bg2 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Ne8 Black’s plan of mobilising his kingside pawns involves locking up his queenside pieces for the time being, with fatal consequences. 10.Rb1 f5 11.Ng5 Threatening 12.Ne6 winning the exchange. 11…Nc7 12.exf5 gxf5 The black pawns are drawn forward, away from the defence of their King. 13.f4 e4 14.g4 Nb6 If 14…fxg4 15.Qxg4 and White has a strong attack. 15.gxf5 Bxf5 16.Bxe4 Bxc3 17.bxc3 Qf6 18.Rb2! ready to join the attack immediately with great effect. 18…Rae8 The cavalry finally arrive, but too late to save the day. 19.Rg2 Kh8 20.Nxh7! Bxh7 If 20…Kxh7 21.Qh5+ Qh6 22.Bxf5+ Rxf5 23.Qxf5+ Kh8 24.Rf3 and mate must follow. 21.Bxh7 Kxh7 and Black resigned without waiting for White to play 22.Qh5+ Qh6 23.Qxh6+ Kxh6 24.Rf3 and Black can’t avoid the mate. 0–1

Adams, once the World No. 4 player, is hot favourite to win the £5,000 1st prize, but it is Rudd who has caught the eye early on. Last year he scored a solitary point from his first 4 games, yet recovered to record his best-ever score of 7/11 points. This year he’s approaching half-way to that total already with 8 games still to play.

This miniature was the Game of the Day from Round 1.

White: R. Eames (207). Black: M. Adams (267).

Bishop’s Gambit – Bledow Variation [C36]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.Bxd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nxd5 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.Nc3 Qf5 8.0–0 Nc6 9.d4 Be6 10.Ne2 g5 11.b3 0–0–0 12.Bb2 Bg7 13.c4 g4 14.Ne1 f3 15.gxf3 Rhg8 16.f4 g3 17.Nf3 gxh2+ 18.Kh1 Bf6 19.Qd2 Qg4 20.Rf2 Bf5 21.Qe3 Nb4 0-1 The knight will invade on c2 or d3 causing havoc.

The solution to last week’s problem by Heathcote was 1. Rc8! With the threat of 2.Nc6 mate, and 1…Rxa4 allows 2.Rc5 mate instead.

Here is another of his from the 1911 book More White Rooks.

White to mate in 2 moves.