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British Championships Getting Close (13.07.2013.)

The British Championships in Torquay are now but a fortnight away. Although there is still time enough for late entries to creep into the lists, the top seeds for the Championship itself, are Gawain Jones and David Howell who are effectively level in grading, while the other 7 grandmasters are some way behind them.

From last year’s Championship here is a last round game that Black had to win in order to force a play-off.

White: D. Ledger. Black: G. C. Jones.

Sicilian Defence – Yugoslav Attack. [B78]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 0–0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0–0–0 The key move of the Yugoslav system against the Sicilian, in which White aims for a kingside blitz before Black’s thematic queenside counter can get going. 10…Rb8 This move, known as the Chinese Dragon, signifies Black’s intention not to delay his own attack.  11.Bb3 Na5 12.h4 This is already looking a little overdue. 12…b5 13.h5 Nc4 14.Bxc4 bxc4 15.hxg6 fxg6 16.Bh6 Qb6 17.b3 cxb3 18.axb3 Bxh6 19.Qxh6 Rf7 Black must consign another defender to h7. 20.Qg5 Rc8 21.Nd5 Nxd5 22.exd5 Qa5 23.Kb2 e5 White would love to play 24.dxe6 but obviously can’t as his queen is hanging. 24.Ne2?? Much better was 24.Nc6 Bxc6 allowing him 25.Rxh7!! Rxh7 26.Qxg6+ Rg7 27.Qe6+ Rf7 28.Qxc8+ Rf8 29.Qg4+ Kf7 30.Qe6+ Kg7 31.dxc6 Qc7 32.Rh1 Rf6 33.Qh3 and, with best play, White will mate, or at worst win the queen e.g. 33…Kf8 34.Qh8+ Ke7 35.Rh7+ Rf7 36.Rxf7+ Kxf7 37.Qh7+. 24…Bf5 Black is now much better. 25.Rd2 Rb7 26.Ra1 Qc5 27.Rc1 Kg7 28.g4 h6! 29.Qh4 Black now finishes things off vigorously. 29…Bxc2 30.Rcxc2 Rxb3+! 31.Kc1 Not 31.Kxb3?? Rb8+ 32.Ka4 Qb4#  31…Qa3+ 32.Kd1 Rb1+ 33.Nc1 Qxf3+ 34.Re2 Qd3+ 0–1. 35.Red2 allows the forced continuation 35…Qf1+ 36.Qe1 Rxc1 37.Rxc1 Rxc1 38.Kxc1 Qxe1+.   Or 35.Rcd2 Rbxc1#; Or 35.Ke1 Rxc1+ 36.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 37.Kf2 Qd4+ 38.Kf3 Qf4+ 39.Kg2 Qf1+ 40.Kg3 Rc3+ 41.Kh2 Qxe2+

In last week’s position, White could avoid stalemate by under-promoting to a rook, allowing Kxg7 and then 1.Bh6 is mate.

This position is from a game in the Barnstaple Club’s Summer Tournament, played last week between Jack Rudd and Rob Oughton. Black has just played Qe7-c5 and after Rudd’s next move Black resigned. What move was it, and did Black necessarily have to resign so soon?

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