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Posts Tagged ‘British Championships 2011’

Adams Retains the British Champiobship (13.08.2011.)

The British Championship title has remained in the Westcountry after Michael Adams beat Nigel Short in a dramatic 2 game play-off last Saturday, after tying on 8½ points at the end of the scheduled eleven rounds. The prizemoney was shared £6,000 each but the title could only go to one player, so a rapidplay tie-break was necessary. Adams had black in the first game which was drawn and this was the deciding game.

White: M. Adams (262). Black: N. D. Short (267).

Caro-Kann Defence. [B16]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Unusual. Nc3 is much more common, but Adams will want to put his opponent on the back foot as early as possible. 3…dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nf6 5.Nxf6+ gxf6 Ruining Black’s kingside pawn structure. 6.Nf3 Bg4 7.Be2 e6 8.0–0 Nd7 9.c4 Having castled quickly White wastes no time in attacking White’s queenside where Black will presumably need to castle into later. 9…Qc7 10.Nh4 The knight will be safe here for a while, both defending g2 should the need arise and blocking the advance of Black’s h-pawn. 10…h5 11.h3 Bxe2 12.Qxe2 0–0–0 13.Rd1 Bd6 14.d5 White seeks to break open the centre. 14…Rde8 15.Be3 Bc5 allowing White a vital tempo in his queenside attack. 16.Bxc5 Nxc5 17.b4 Nd7 18.dxc6 Qxc6 19.c5 When time is short it is generally better to attack and be asking the questions. 19…f5 20.Rd4 Qc7 21.Rc1 Kb8 22.Nf3 Rd8 23.c6 Nf6 If 23…bxc6? 24.Rdc4 and the doubled rooks would spell serious trouble. 24.b5 Rxd4 25.Nxd4 b6 26.Qb2 Rh6 27.Nf3 Rg6 28.Ne5 Rg8 29.Rd1 Nd5 30.Nd7+ Ka8 The knight is beautifully placed on d7 but there is a greater need to eliminate Black’s knight. 31.Nf6 Nxf6 32.Qxf6 White now commands the d-file. 32…a6 33.Rd7 Qf4 34.Rd8+! 1-0. The fact that it’s check makes all the difference – not allowing Black a last hurrah. For example, 34.Qxf7? would allow Black counterplay e.g. 34…Qc1+ 35.Kh2 Qf4+ 36.g3?? would give Black a mate in 4. Anything else would probably force a draw by repetition.

So congratulations are due to Michael Adams, Cornish-born Taunton resident who thus retained the title he won at Canterbury last year.

Last week’s position by Lane was solved by 1. Rxf4! threatening 2.Rd4 mate. Black has three tries but White can deal with each one.

This position shows the end of a game from the West of England Championship in 1968 between the former champion H. V. Trevenen (Penzance) and B. A. Heath. The Cornishman was past his best by this stage in his career but was still capable of some sharp finishes. Can you spot White’s 3 move knockout combination?

Trevenen (W) to mate in 3.

British Championship Warms Up (06.08.2011.)

The British Championship finished in Sheffield last night and the prizegiving is being held this morning, days after going to go to press. However, after six of the scheduled eleven rounds the cream was definitely rising to the top, with Michael Adams, Nigel Short and Gawain Jones in the joint lead on 5/6 points, all three overtaking David Howell who had been the sole leader after the previous round. Surely, the winner must come from this quartet.

Here is an example of Adams’ play, taken from Round 4, where he faced an opponent with a chasm of strength and experience between them. There is no great firework display – just a quick, efficient snuffing out of any resistance.

White: C. Atako (2110). Black: M. Adams (2715).

Sicilian Defence – Closed System [B25].

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 White goes for a closed approach to the Sicilian, perhaps fearing his opponent’s attacking skills, but Adams is adept in all types of opening. 3…g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 d6 6.Nf3 e5 Establishing an outpost on d4 which was Botvinnik’s recommendation. 7.0–0 Nge7 8.Nd2 A move that hints at f4 to follow, so Black gets his response in first. 8…h5 9.Nc4 Nd4 10.Ne2 Bg4 11.f3 Be6 12.Nxd4 cxd4 13.f4 Rc8 14.f5 White gambits a pawn in order to break open Black’s yet-uncastled corner. 14…gxf5 15.exf5 Nxf5 16.Be4 Ne7 17.Bxb7 the pawn is retrieved, but it is Black’s advanced pawns that look the more ominous. 17…Rc7 18.Bf3 d5 19.Na3 The knight is sidelined. 19.Nd2 would have kept the knight central but blocked in queenside pieces. 19…h4 20.g4 h3 21.Bd2 Qd7 22.Be1 0–0 23.Bb4 Rb8 24.Bxe7 Qxe7 25.Rb1 Rb6 26.Qc1 Qh4 Threatening to win the pawn and mate to follow. 27.g5 e4 0–1 White resigned, for if 28.Bd1 or 28.dxe4 dxe4 29.Bd1  …e3 will shut the queen out of the game, and mate via g5 and g2 must inevitably follow. Black’s advanced pawns were the deciding factor.

After overall entries eventually rose to about 950, and the prize money attracting most of Britain’s top active players, the event must be deemed a great success.

In last week’s game position the knight does not move but its role is key to the mate, thus, 1.Rd5+ Kh4 2.Rc4+ Kh3 3.Rh5 mate.

Recently, I was approached by a descendent of the problemist H. F. W. Lane, who had been researching his life in general but knew nothing about his chess activities. In fact, there is little to know beyond his dates (08.10.1878–08.1958) and that he was well-regarded as a composer in his day without being prolific or exceptional. This 2-mover is an example of his work.

White to Mate in 2

British Championship Rd. 1 (30.07.2011.)

Dorset’s Match Captain, Alf Bullock of Poole, died last month at the age of 85 after a long illness. He was a regular character on the westcountry congress circuit and was his county’s non-playing captain, though often having to sit in at short notice for missing players.

Alf Bullock at the Exmouth Seniors Congress


The British Championships started in Sheffield on Monday after a late surge had pushed the overall entry to a healthy 875+. The Championship section features 12 Grandmasters and 20 other titled players among the 86 entrants. One interesting, probably unique feature is the mother and son combination of Susan Lalic and her 16 year old son Peter. Over the years, several father and son pairs have played in the same championship, but I can’t recall a mother and child pair having played before – this may be a first.

In Round 1, Peter won fairly quickly and his mother must have felt duty bound to assert her own bragging rights and went on to create one of the surprises of the first week by beating Simon Williams, the self-styled Ginger GM, in the following game.

White: S. K. Lalic (2277). Black: Simon Williams (2528)

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 c5? 7.Bxe7 Kxe7 If 7…Qxe7 the knight will be able to invade Black’s position, but now the black king may get stuck in the centre. 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.Qd2 cxd4 10.Nxd4 Qb6 The race is now on to attack each king a.s.a.p. 11.Nxc6+ bxc6 12.0–0–0 h6 If 12…Nxe5 13.Qg5+ f6 14.Qxg7+ further weakening the black king. 13.f4 Rb8 14.b3 Nc5 15.Rh3 Rd8 16.Qd4 blockading the d-pawn. 16…Qa5 17.h5 Rb4 18.Qf2 d4 Black’s steamroller picks up speed. 19.Qh4+ Ke8 20.Nb1 Qxa2 21.Rg3 Rd5 22.Bc4 d3 threatening mate on c2 23.Rdxd3 Nxd3+ 24.Bxd3 Rxb3 Sacrificing material to break open the king’s position, but did Black overlook 24…Rxe5? when White cannot  capture the rook without losing her queen. 25.cxb3 Qf2 26.Qg4 a5 27.Qxg7 Qxf4+ 28.Kb2 Rxe5 29.Qg8+ Kd7 30.Rf3 Qd4+ 31.Nc3 f5 32.Rg3 Kc7 33.Bc2 White succeeds in tucking her king away before going on the attack herself.  33…Qf4 34.Rg7+ Bd7 35.Qa8 Qd4 36.Rg8 Rb5 37.Qd8+ Kd6 38.Qf8+ Kc7 39.Qg7 Re5 40.Qf6 Rd5 41.Qd8+ Kd6 42.Qf8+ Ke5 43.Qxh6 1–0. White is a piece up and now has an advanced passed pawn. Black’s slip as early as move 6 eventually proved his undoing.

The solution to David Howard’s problem last week was 1. Qd8! threatening 2. Qxa5.

This position arose in a game between past and present residents of Paignton at the local congress. How did Keith Arkell (Black against Gary Lane) finish the game in 3 moves?

Black to play and mate in 3