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Posts Tagged ‘British Championship 2010’

The Adams Title-Clincher (21.08.2010.)

This was the game from Round 10 that secured the British Championship for Michael Adams with a game to spare. It is typical of his style in that there is no great fireworks display, but an accumulation of one small advantage after another, like a python coiling itself around its intended victim until the life is squeezed out of it. His opponent here is one of Britain’s leading Grandmasters.

White: Michael Adams (267). Black: Simon Williams (237).

Sicilian Defence – Sokolsky Variation. [B52]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 The check gave White the chance to get in c4 which binds the centre by preventing Black from playing a quick d5. 5.c4 The Sokolsky Variation, named after the Soviet theorist Alexei Sokolsky (1908 – 69). 5…Nf6 6.Nc3 g6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bg7 9.f3 0–0 10.Be3 Rc8 11.b3 e6 12.Rc1 d5 Black does eventually get in d5, but obtains no advantage from it. 13.e5 Ne8 14.cxd5 exd5 15.f4 Nc6 16.0–0 Nc7 17.Nxc6 bxc6 Once one problem is solved, more quickly follow. The d-pawn is no longer isolated, but White now has a series of niggling attacks. 18.Ne4 Ne8 19.Nc5 Qe7 20.Nd3 Qe6 21.Qf3 a5 Black is desperately trying to create space for his rooks to occupy, but in doing so weakens his pawn structure. 22.Nc5 Qe7 23.Bf2 a quiet move that allows the White Queen to sweep left or right as the need demands. 23…Rab8 24.Qh3 f5 25.Qc3 The key to a successful attack is often the ability to switch forces quickly from one wing to another, hence the wisdom of having played 23.Bf2 earlier. White must also have considered 25.exf6 Nxf6 26.f5 gxf5 27.Qxf5 Ne4 28.Nxe4 Qxe4 29.Qd7 Qg6 30.Rce1 Re8 31.Rxe8+ Qxe8 32.Qc7 a4 33.Re1 Qc8 The exchanges have helped Black though White retains some spacial advantage. 25…Ra8 26.Na4 threatening Nb7 forking both rooks, and Black’s a-pawn is also vulnerable – if that falls, White will have a passed pawn. 26…Ra6? 27.Qd3 1-0 Black resigned in view of … 27…Rca8 28.Nb6 Rxb6. (If 28…R8a7 29.Nc8 forking rook and Queen). 29.Bxb6 and Black is crumbling rapidly both positionally and materially.

Adams will next be seen in this area at the Paignton Congress where he will take on 30 of the competitors simultaneously on the evening of Tuesday 7th September. It is possible he may concede one or two draws, but for the most part it will resemble the Massacre of the Innocents.

The solution to last week’s position was 1.Nf2! Here is a second 2-mover by Christopher Reeve.

White to mate in 2 moves.

Adams Wins At A Canter at Canterbury.

The British Championship is over for another year, and trying to follow it from a distance, instead of being there among the blood, sweat and tears, has proved novel and somewhat frustrating, though Steve Connor’s excellent work on the website has reduced this to a minimum.

For the sake of relaying events to a general readership in the Western Morning News, I’ve concentrated on trying to follow the fortunes of the five “local” players – the two native-born Cornishmen, Michael Adams and Andrew Greet, and the three adopted Devonians, Keith Arkell, Jack Rudd and Dominic Mackle. Not a dull process, either, as all five made headlines in one way or another.

Naturally, Adams won it at a canter, and it was difficult to try and generate any suspense by pretending “anything might happen”. It was never going to; Adams is a class act, and it certainly showed at Canterbury. His only failure was to equal Julian Hodgson’s total of 10 points at Plymouth in 1992. With his compatriot present, Greet was never likely to follow his recently-won Scottish title with a British one; in fact, at the end of the 1st week, he was lost in the pack, but a fine week 2, yielding 4/5 points brought him up to 3rd=, a fine performance in the circumstances.

The “Devonians” fared rather less well; after an explosive start beating 2 GMs and Greet – a GM norm-holder- , Jack Rudd then fell back, scoring only another 3 points from 8 further games. Contrast that with last year when he started with a dismal 1/4 points, but finished with his best-ever score in the British of 7 points. That’s Jack for you, unpredictable as ever. Does doing the Bulletin and playing in the cricket team and doing the Sunday Simul (as he did last year at Torquay) help or hinder his performance OTB?  Keith Arkell who finished with 7, must have played more moves than any other player in the history of the championship,  one game alone requiring 160 moves (each!) to reach a draw. Probably the best performance of all in terms of tournament grade over actual grade (194) was that of Dominic Mackle, whose 6.5/11 total was excellent. There are many good stories involved in just these five players’ performances – doubtless more will emerge in the coming weeks.

In spite of my absence from Canterbury, life has been pretty frantic as my book on the history of the Paignton Congress came to a frenetic climax at the same time. The deal is that all players at the 60th Congress in a few weeks’ time, will get a free copy, so there was never any way of pushing back the deadline. Further complicating matters is the fact that I’m going away tomorrow for 2 weeks and return just 2 weeks before the event starts. So it all had to be tied up before today – all printer’s proofs read and corrected, cover design agreed etc. etc. - nothing that might need further decisions when I’m away. After some midnight oil-burning this has just been achieved with about 2 days to spare.

British Championships 2010 (Rds. 1-5.)

After having been the event’s Publicity Officer for most of the last 12 years, it’s a little strange not being in the thick of it and having to try and monitor it through the website, excellent though that is.

In my additional capacity as chess columnist for the Western Morning News, I have tried to concentrate on monitoring the progress of players in the Championship with at least some local connection; Devon residents, Jack Rudd, Keith Arkle and Dominic Mackle, and Cornish ex-pats, Mickey Adams and Andrew Greet. Not a wasted policy, either, as it turned out, as the early headlines seem to have centred around these very folk.

Rudd started off like the runaway train that he always is, knocking over 2 GMs and a GM norm holder (Arkell, Williams and the new Scottish Champion, Andrew Greet), and finding himself in the joint lead with Adams. If Rudd is unpredictable, however, Adams is not, and Adams then forced Rudd’s train into the buffers, and carried on to notch up 5 straight wins without any trouble whatever. How Rudd will finish up is anyone’s guess. Last year he started with 1/4 points, then finished with 6 points from 7 games, to record his best score in this event. Will this be the reverse of that?

Followed Arkell’s game last night (FridayNight Live) as it went on and on and on. I know from experience that by 9 p.m. on most nights the playing hall is practically deserted as almost all games have finished, but this game went on until way past 10 p.m. and the number of moves crept up and up – 100; 110, 120; (the longest in a World Championship match is 124); up to 160 moves, when a draw was finally agreed. Nor was it idle woodpushing; With a rook each and bishops of opposite colours, Arkell was making gradual progress all the time and eventually had the only 2 pawns ensconced on the 6th & 7th ranks. But it proved another classic example of how the advantage of an extra pawn or two can be negated by the best defence where the bishops are on oppposite coloured squares. And so it proved once again.

Adams must be the hottest favourite for many a year and could easily reach 10/11 points (surely not more?). The reason he hasn’t entered in the past 13 years is his understandable concern for his FIDE rating points, and his attempts to keep in the topmost band of world players. Even in winning the British title, he could have actually lost rating points in the process, as many of his opponents’ grades would have been so far below his own. It may be that he has now reached a point in his career where he has less concern for that when he sees £5,000 there for the asking.

British Championship Begins (31.07.2010.)

The British Championships started on Monday at Canterbury and after three rounds was proving a very Devon & Cornwall affair, with Jack Rudd of Bideford and Cornishman Mickey Adams the only two players on maximum points.

In Round 1, Rudd beat Paignton resident Keith Arkell after the latter left his queen en prise. He was then paired against the new Scottish Champion, Andrew Greet of St. Austell for a repeat of their balloon match at Torquay last year, won then by Greet. Rudd would doubtless be looking for some kind of revenge. This is how it went.

White: Jack Rudd (211). Black: Andrew Greet (232).

Petrosian System [A56]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 e5 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Nbd7 6.g3 g6 7.Bg2 Bg7 8.Nf3 0–0 9.0–0 Ne8 Black’s plan of mobilising his kingside pawns involves locking up his queenside pieces for the time being, with fatal consequences. 10.Rb1 f5 11.Ng5 Threatening 12.Ne6 winning the exchange. 11…Nc7 12.exf5 gxf5 The black pawns are drawn forward, away from the defence of their King. 13.f4 e4 14.g4 Nb6 If 14…fxg4 15.Qxg4 and White has a strong attack. 15.gxf5 Bxf5 16.Bxe4 Bxc3 17.bxc3 Qf6 18.Rb2! ready to join the attack immediately with great effect. 18…Rae8 The cavalry finally arrive, but too late to save the day. 19.Rg2 Kh8 20.Nxh7! Bxh7 If 20…Kxh7 21.Qh5+ Qh6 22.Bxf5+ Rxf5 23.Qxf5+ Kh8 24.Rf3 and mate must follow. 21.Bxh7 Kxh7 and Black resigned without waiting for White to play 22.Qh5+ Qh6 23.Qxh6+ Kxh6 24.Rf3 and Black can’t avoid the mate. 0–1

Adams, once the World No. 4 player, is hot favourite to win the £5,000 1st prize, but it is Rudd who has caught the eye early on. Last year he scored a solitary point from his first 4 games, yet recovered to record his best-ever score of 7/11 points. This year he’s approaching half-way to that total already with 8 games still to play.

This miniature was the Game of the Day from Round 1.

White: R. Eames (207). Black: M. Adams (267).

Bishop’s Gambit – Bledow Variation [C36]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.Bxd5 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nxd5 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.Nc3 Qf5 8.0–0 Nc6 9.d4 Be6 10.Ne2 g5 11.b3 0–0–0 12.Bb2 Bg7 13.c4 g4 14.Ne1 f3 15.gxf3 Rhg8 16.f4 g3 17.Nf3 gxh2+ 18.Kh1 Bf6 19.Qd2 Qg4 20.Rf2 Bf5 21.Qe3 Nb4 0-1 The knight will invade on c2 or d3 causing havoc.

The solution to last week’s problem by Heathcote was 1. Rc8! With the threat of 2.Nc6 mate, and 1…Rxa4 allows 2.Rc5 mate instead.

Here is another of his from the 1911 book More White Rooks.

White to mate in 2 moves.

Howard’s Bright Win For Devon. (03.07.2010.)

Of Devon’s five wins in their recent match against Warwickshire, this one was probably the most entertaining, in which White plays a sharp opening with brio, winning material before returning it to leave him with a simple win.

White: C. V. Howard (154). Black: G. Hope (161)

King’s Gambit – Kolisch Defence [C39]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 The King’s Gambit, from the 19th century handbook of swashbuckling gambits. 2…exf4 3.Nf3 Essential to prevent an immediate 3…Qh4+ 4. g3 fxg etc. Only the very brave would play 4.Ke2 with expectations of winning, as did Cornishman Dr. Jago vs A. R. B. Thomas in a correspondence game from 1954. 3…g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 d6 Kolisch’s favoured move which adopted his name. 6.Nxg4 Nf6 7.Nxf6+ Qxf6 8.d4 Rg8 9.Nc3 c6 10.Qf3 Bh6 11.e5 dxe5 12.Ne4 Qe7 13.Bc4 exd4 14.0–0 Bg4 15.Qb3 Be6 White must keep developing pieces rather than exchange. 16.Bxf4 Bxf4 17.Rxf4 Nd7 White develops his knight at the cost of 2 pawns. Another way was 17…Bxc4 18.Qxc4 Nd7 19.Qxd4 0–0–0 20.Nd6+ Kb8 21.Nxf7 Rde8 22.Qd6+ Qxd6 23.Nxd6 Re2 24.Rf2 and Black would be just a pawn down rather that the exchange. 18.Qxb7 Rb8 19.Qxc6 Bxc4 rather than simply retaking, White can win a rook with… 20.Nf6+ Kd8 21.Nxg8 Qe3+ 22.Rf2 White had had to calculate at move 20 that he had this defence available. 22…Rc8 23.Qd6 Be6 24.Rd1 Rxc2 Being the exchange ahead, White can afford to try to make equal exchanges. 25.Qxd4 Qxf2+ 26.Qxf2 Rxf2 27.Kxf2 f5 28.Nf6 Ke7 White’s pawn structure allows him to continue his policy of swapping off all pieces, in this case leaving a simple win. 29.Nxd7 Bxd7 30.Rxd7+ Kxd7 31.Kf3 Ke6 32.Kf4 Kf6 33.b4 Ke6 34.a4 1–0.

The Black King must move over to deal with the extra pawn, leaving the White King free to clear up on the opposite wing and queen a pawn or two – a hopeless prospect.

The British Championships start at Canterbury three weeks tomorrow, where Michael Adams, the Cornish former World No. 4, returning to the event after a long absence, must be hot favourite to win. Shortly after that he will be coming down to the 60th Paignton Congress, possibly as the new British Champion, to put on a simultaneous display against 30 opponents. Follow his progress on his own website michaeladamschess.co.uk.

In last week’s position, 1.Qa5! leaves Black helpless.

This composition by Thomas and Frideswide Rowland (née Beechey) in 1882 was judged the Best 2-Mover by J. Paul Taylor of Exeter in an annual competition in the Weekly Irish Times.

White to mate in 2 moves