The Best Game prize at the recent Paignton Congress was awarded to this encounter from the Challengers Section.
White: A. Hibbitt (154). Black: W. Ingham (164).
Bird’s Opening [A03]
1.f4 H. E. Bird’s distinctive opening move 1…d5 2.Nf3 Bg4 3.e3 Nd7 4.Be2 Ngf6 5.0–0 Bxf3 6.Bxf3 e5 7.fxe5 Nxe5 8.d3 Bd6 9.Nc3 c6 10.Bd2 Qc7 11.h3 g5 Now that he is free to castle long at any point, Black is determined to attack the White King without further delay. White’s best response is to open the centre as diversionary tactics. 12.e4 Bc5+ 13.Kh1 g4 14.hxg4 h5 15.g5 White could have tried 15.gxh5 Nxh5 16.Bxh5 though the White King looks very vulnerable. 15…Neg4 16.e5 Now White wants to open up a file in line with the opposing King, even at the cost of a pawn. 16…Qxe5 17.Qe1 Be3 18.g3 h4 19.Bxe3 hxg3+ 20.Kg1 Nxe3 21.gxf6 g2 22.Bxg2 the threat was Rh1+ 22…Qh2+ Can White possibly survive this onslaught? 23.Kf2 Qxg2+ 24.Kxe3 0–0–0 freeing the last black piece to join the king-hunt. 25.Qf2 d4+ 26.Ke2 Qg4+ If 26…Rde8+ 27.Ne4 enabling the knight, now the extra piece, to join the defence from a strong square. 27.Kd2 Qg5+ 28.Qf4 dxc3+ 29.Kxc3 Qc5+ 30.Kd2 Rdg8 31.Qf5+ Qxf5 32.Rxf5 Rg2+ 33.Kc3 Rhh2 34.Re1 Rxc2+ 35.Kd4 Rh4+ 36.Ke5 Rc5+? Missing Black’s winning reply. At least a draw, if not a win, was still available after… 36…Kc7 37.Re4 Rxe4+ 38.dxe4 Rxb2 39.a3 Rb3 40.a4 Ra3 leaving Black with 3 passed pawns. 37.Kd6! Threatening both mate and the rook. 37…b6 Of course, not 37…Rxf5?? 38.Re8#. 38.Rxc5 Rd4+ 39.Kxc6 bxc5 40.Re8+ Rd8 41.Rxd8+ Kxd8 42.a4 1-0 After all that attacking, Black suddenly does not have a move on the board. Very disappointing for him, but the prize was shared £25 each for the effort they both put in.
In the Olympiad, currently being held in Siberia, Michael Adams won a cracking game against World No. 1, Magnus Carlsen, when England met Norway in Round 6 on Monday. This helped to off-set an earlier disappointing loss to Sokolov. More details on this tournament next week.
The solution to last week’s position by another Cornishman, Chris Reeves, was solved by 1.dxe4 and although Black can queen two pawns or take two pieces, he cannot prevent a queen mate along the 3rd rank or 2.Nd3 mate.
This week’s 2-mover is by the late Devonian, Comins Mansfield, first published in the Brisbane Courier in 1933 and then in Alain White’s tribute to Mansfield in which he describes this as a “lovely little lightweight with a dainty key”.