The annual Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival has become increasingly popular in recent years, reflected in the entry total of 429 at this week’s event. The top section alone, the Masters, has 150 participants, among them 26 Grandmasters of whom Michael Adams is the highest rated. Here is his Round 2 win against a fellow GM.
White: M. Adams (2754). Black: Al-Sayed Mohammed (2476).
Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation [B90]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Nbd7 7.Be2 e6 8.g4 White goes for a thematic quick kingside attack, aiming to castle queenside and throw everything available down the kingside. 8…h6 9.f4 g5 10.f5 Ne5 11.h3 b5 Black aims to do likewise but on the opposite wing – it’s a question of who can break through first. 12.a3 Qe7 13.fxe6 fxe6 14.Nf3 Nfd7 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 16.Qd2 Bb7 17.0–0–0 Rd8 18.Kb1 Bg7 19.Rhf1 Grabbing the open file and preventing immediate castling. 19…Nf7 20.Bd4 0–0 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Qd4+ Ne5 23.Rxf8 Qxf8 If 23…Rxf8 White wins a pawn and can take control of the d-file with 24.Qxd6 Qxd6 25.Rxd6. 24.a4 bxa4 25.Nxa4 Kg8 26.Nb6 Qg7 27.Nc4 attacking d6. 27…Nf7 28.Qe3 Bc6 29.e5 d5 If 29…dxe5 30.Rxd8+ Nxd8 31.Nxe5 Bb7 32.Bc4. 30.Qb6 Rc8 An alternative was 30…dxc4 31.Rxd8+ Nxd8 32.Qxd8+ Qf8 33.Qxf8+ Kxf8 but White wins a pawn after 34.Bxc4 Bb7 but not 35.Bxe6 Bg2 36.Bf5 Bxh3 37.e6 h5 38.Kc1 and the king must come over to cover any danger. 31.Qxa6 Rc7 32.Qb6 Nxe5 33.Qb8+! Kh7 34.Nxe5 Qxe5 The rook is now pinned and the queen cannot leave its defence. 35.Rf1 With the threat of winning rook or queen after Rf7+ 1–0.
The event finished on Thursday and with 2 rounds to go the clear leader was the Ukrainian Vassily Ivanchuk with Adams among a whole raft of players in equal 2nd place on 6 points.
This afternoon sees the next round of the Inter-County championship with Devon facing Hampshire at a new venue in Ilchester.
Meanwhile, also today, not content with trying to be Cornwall’s youngest champion for many years, 13 yr. old Theo Slade is taking on up to 12 players at once in Truro’s Lemon Street Market, between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Just turn up to play or watch (£5 to challenge Theo.
In last week’s position, Hebden won with an exchange sacrifice 1.Rxc5 Qxc5 2.Rc1 Qb6 3.Qf4 threatening Qf6. 3…f5 4.exf6 0-0 5.Qd6 Qd4 6.Qxe6 Kh8 7.Qe7 Qa7 8.Rxc6 1-0
In this game from last year, Black, a rook down, might have been considering resigning before discovering a neat resource. How did Black force a win in 3 moves?