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89th Hastings Congress (11.01.14.)

The 89th Hastings Congress finished on Sunday when 7 players tied on 6½/9 with Mikheil Mchedlishvili (Georgia) taking first place on tie-break from Khenkin (Germany), Qun Ma (China), Mark Hebden (England), Vakhidov (Uzbekistan), Sarkar (USA) and Radovanovic (Serbia). A further 11 players from all round the world came just a half point behind. Here is Hebden’s last round win.

White: M. Hebden (2560). Black: Jens Kipper (Germany – 2378).

Queen’s Gambit [D30].

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 d5 4.Bg5 Bb4+ 5.Nc3 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.Qb3 c5 8.cxd5 exd5 9.e3 0–0 10.dxc5 Bxc3+ 11.Qxc3 Qxc3+ 12.bxc3 Grandmasters often like to make early exchanges against lower-graded players, aiming to keep things simple in the expectation that their superior endgame technique will carry them through. However, in this case, White has landed himself with doubled pawns, usually deemed a weakenss. 12…Be6 13.Nd4 Rc8 14.Rb1 Nd7 15.c4 Nxc5 16.Nxe6 fxe6 17.cxd5 exd5 The doubled pawns have been eliminated and it is Black that has a weak isolated pawn in the centre. 18.Be2 Ne4 19.Bf3 Rc2 20.0–0 Rxa2 21.Rxb7 Rc8 22.Rd7 Rc5 White has a 4-2 pawn majority on the kingside, and he must activate this advantage before the a-pawn becomes a threat. 23.h4 Nf6 24.Rb7 Rcc2 25.h5 Kf8 26.g3 Kg8 27.Kg2 a5 28.Ra7 Rd2 29.g4 a4 30.Kg3 Ne4+ 31.Bxe4 dxe4 32.Re7 a3 33.Rxe4 Rab2 34.Ra4 a2 35.f3 Kf7 36.Kf4 Rdc2 37.Rd1 Ke7 38.Ra7+ Ke6 39.Rd4 1-0 White will eventually play Rda4 which will cover the queening threat, leaving him able to mobilise his own pawns.

Dave Howard’s latest problem was solved by 1.Kd7! and Black’s tries are answered thus:- 1…Ke5 2.Nd3#; 1… dxe3 2.Bh2# or 1…c1=Q 2.Qh2#.

There has been quite a lot of chess coverage on Radio 4 over the holiday period, including a drama based on the early lives of the Hungarian Polgár sisters who were taught at home by their idealistic father, Lázló, mainly to excel at chess. To this end, from his personal library of over 5,000 chess books, he collected thousands of problems that were suitable for his young daughters to solve, as the positions were relatively simple yet elegant. These were eventually published in a massive book entitled Chess Training in 5333+1 Positions, (Könemann 1994  1104pp) a resource I have drawn on several times for this column. Here is another 2-mover from his archive, one of a number composed by his fellow Hungarian, Ernö Szentgyörgyi.

White to mate in 2

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