The European Team Championship was held recently in Porto Carras, Greece. After a dramatic final round, Germany, 10th seeds, came 1st, ahead of Azerbaijan (2nd) and Hungary (3rd). England were 8th seeds but came a disappointing 22nd. The only bright spot was the performance of Taunton resident Michael Adams, whose score of 6½/9 was the best of all the Board 1 players and gave him a tournament rating of 2841.
His best game was his win against former World No. 2 Vassily Ivanchuk of the Ukraine.
White: M. Adams (2734). Black: V. Ivanchuk (2775).
Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation. [B85]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e6 7.0–0 Be7 8.Be3 0–0 9.f4 characteristic of the thematic early King-side attack against the Sicilian Defence. 9…Nc6 10.Kh1 Bd7 11.a4 Rc8 12.Qe1 d5 13.e5 Ne4 14.Nxe4 dxe4 15.c3 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 Bc5 17.Bxc5 Rxc5 18.b4 In spite of his earlier 9.f4 White mobilises his Q-side pawns. 18…Rc8 19.Rd1 Qc7 20.b5 axb5 21.axb5 Rfd8 22.c4 Be8 23.Qf2 f6 24.exf6 gxf6 25.Rxd8 Rxd8 26.c5 f5 27.Bc4 Bf7 28.h3 Rc8 29.c6 bxc6 30.b6 Qe7 31.Qb2 Adams was also tempted by 31.Qg3+ Kh8 32.Qc3+. 31…Rb8 32.Ra1 Qc5 After 32…Qd8 33.Qe5 Rxb6 34.Bxe6 and Black’s defences are collapsing. 33.b7 Adams had planned this sacrifice, perhaps thinking it would be more decisive than it is. 33…Qxc4 34.Qe5 Rxb7 35.Ra8+ Be8 36.Rxe8+ Kf7 37.Rh8 Qb5 38.Qd6 threatening Qf8+. Not so good is 38.Rxh7+? Kg6 39.Rxb7 Qxb7 40.Qxe6+ Kg7 41.Qxf5 Qe7 42.Qg5+ Qxg5 43.fxg5 c5 44.Kg1 c4 45.Kf1 c3 46.Ke1 e3 47.Kd1 Kg6 48.h4 Kf5 49.g3 Ke4 etc. 38…Qb4 Better might have been 38…Qb2. 39.Qd8 Qb2 40.Rf8+ Kg7 41.Rg8+ 1-0. Black cannot avoid mate, for if 41…Kf7 42.Qf8# and if 41…Kh6 42.Qg5#.
Meanwhile, Devon’s Grandmaster, Keith Arkell, has won his 5th tournament of the Autumn, following 1sts at the Paignton (6/7) and Torbay Congresses (4/5), Coulsdon (8/9) and the 4NCL Rapidplay (6/7) with clear 1st on 4½/5 at the latest e2e4 event at Brighton on Sunday.
Today the 3rd London Chess Classic starts at Olympia, with the top section featuring Englishmen Adams, Short, Howell and McShane due to face five of the world’s best; Anand, Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik and Nakamura.
In last week’s position White finished quickly after 1.Qxf5! Black cannot retake because of 2.Re8 mate and faces 2.Qf7+ if she doesn’t.
In this game from this year’s British Championship, White is poised to strike, but what is his quickest winning continuation?