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Hawkins Is British Champion (15.08.2015.)

So the possibility of a multiple tie in the British Championship with the necessity of a play-off, never came about, as all but one of the top players seemed to lose their nerve and drew their games, this being the exception.

White: Jonathan Hawkins (256). Black: Keith Arkell (241).

Sicilian Defence.

1.e4 c5 Both players had to play an attacking game if they were to win the prize, especially Arkell who was a half point behind – it was win or nothing for him. So he adopted Black’s most immediately attacking opening weapon against 1.e4. 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 White was also determined to play an open game. 3…cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.f4 White continued with his aggressive approach. An early f4 used to be called the Grand Prix Attack as it was used by GMs on the weekend congress circuit to generate a quick kingside attack and pick up “easy” points against lesser players. 6…a6 7.Nxc6 Qxc6 8.Bd3 b5 9.Qe2 Bb7 10.Bd2 White now had the option of castling on either side, though on the queenside this could prove tricky, given Black’s forward pawns and 11th move. 10…Be7 11.a3 Rb8 Further deterring White from castling long and attacking the kingside. 12.0–0 Nf6 13.e5 Nd5 14.f5 White presses on, also preventing Black playing …f5. 14…Nxc3 15.Bxc3 Black is doing a good job of frustrating White’s intentions at this stage, but having constantly to find double-edged moves is using up Black’s time considerably. 15…g6 16.fxe6 dxe6 17.Bb4 Bxb4 18.axb4 0–0 19.Rf4 Rbd8 20.Qf2 Qc7 21.Re1 Rd5 22.Qe3 Qe7 23.Rg4 Black now only has c. 30 seconds per move left to reach move 40 and goes for 23…h5? which weakens his kingside pawns. Better might have been 23…Rfd8. 24.Rf4 Rfd8 25.Ref1 Qg5 26.Qf2 Black now played 26…Rd4 but resigned soon after in view of 27.Rxd4 winning immediately. However, if instead White had played 27.Rxf7 with a mating attack down the f-file, Black had the resource 27…Bxg2 28.Rf8+ Kg7 29.Qg3 Rg4 30.R1f7+ Kh6 31.Rxd8 Qxd8 32.Qe3+ Qg5 33.Kf2 Bd5 but this would have been difficult to work out in the little time available. 1–0

The full point gave Hawkins the clear lead on 8½/11 points, and with it the title of British Champion. 2nd= were David Howell, Danny Gormally and Nick Pert all on 8 points. 5th= on 7½ were Mark Hebden, Simon Williams Chris Ward, Aaron Summerscale and Richard Pert. Keith Arkell had to make do with a 5-way share of 11th place. Chess can be a cruel game at times.

Jack Rudd (6½) came 15th=; Jeremy Menadue (5) 39th=; Theo Slade (4) 60th= and Matthew Wilson (1½) 74th= .

In last week’s position from Rd. 3 of the British Championship, Allan Pleasants finished with the remarkable 1.Qg6+! fxg6 2.Bg8+ Kh8 3.Bf7+ Kh7 and White now has the luxury of choosing either 4.Bxg6 or fxg6 both mate.

In this position from a recent game, World Champion Magnus Carlsen (W) has a winning move.

White to play and win.

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