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Posts Tagged ‘British Championships 2017’

Jones Regains Title (12.08.2017.) 946

At the start of the final round of the British Championship on Sunday, there were no less than 7 players with a chance of reaching the 7 points that could involve them in the almost inevitable play-off. In the event 4 players managed it, namely Gawain Jones, Luke McShane, John Emms & Craig Hanley, which made the play-off easier to organise. In the semi-final Jones beat Howell and MacShane beat Hanley. In the subsequent final, played using the controversial Armageddon tie-break rules, it was Jones that kept his nerve and wits to wear down McShane and take the title for the first time since 2012.

Jovanka Houska became British Ladies Champion for the 6th time. Other prizewinners were as follows: U-21 1st= Ravia Haria (Wood Green) & Andrew Horton (3Cs). 50+: 1st John Emms (Wood Green).

Some of the winners from the other sections were as follows: Seniors 50+: 1st John Nunn. 65+: 1st= Stephen Berry (Wimbledon) & Roger Emerson (Guildford). U-180: 1st O. Chinguun. U-160: 1st= G. Brown & O. Chinguun. U-140: R. Clegg (Huddersfield). U-120: 1st C. Fraser W. Bridgford). U-100: 1st Y. Kumar (Bath. U-16: 1st= K. Kalavannan (Surbiton). U-14: 1st V. Stoyanov (Sandhurst). U-12: 1st C. Tombolis (Richmond). U-11: Y. Han. U-10: A. Chung. U-9: 1st= J. Birks & G. Clarkson. U-8: 1st= S. Verma & S. Lohia.

Here is the new champion’s game from Rd. 3.

White: IM Richard Palliser (2408). Black: GM Gawain Jones (2660).

Ruy Lopez -  Steinitz Defence [C75]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 One of the more conventional openings from the 450+ played in the Championship. Players of this strength should know it well. 3…a6 4.Ba4 d6 The Steinitz Defence Deferred, the theme of which is for Black to wait to see how White deploys his pieces before deciding on his own plan.  5.c3 5…Bd7 6.0–0 g6 7.d4 Bg7 8.Bg5 f6 9.Be3 Nh6 10.dxe5 dxe5 The opened d-file becomes a big factor later in the game. 11.Qd5 Qe7 12.Na3 0–0–0 13.Qd2 Ng4 Bringing the knight into play, attacking a bishop that doesn’t have a move on the board. 14.Qe2 Nxe3 15.Qxe3 f5 16.exf5 gxf5 Generally, pawns should take towards the centre, and this has the additional advantage of opening lines to White’s king. 17.Rad1 Kb8 18.Rd5 e4 19.Bxc6 Bxc6 20.Rxf5 Rd3 21.Qg5 Qd7 22.Nd4 Bxd4 23.cxd4 Rxd4 24.Rc5? Surely it was time to bring the knight in from the cold with 24.Nc2. 24…e3 Offering a pawn in order to open up further lines to White’s king. 25.Qxe3 Rg8 grabbing more space on the k-side. 26.g3 Rd1 27.f3 Re8 28.Re5 Rxf1+ 29.Kxf1 Qd1+ 30.Kg2 Rxe5! setting up a neat combination. 31.Qxe5 Qxf3+ 32.Kh3 Bd7+ 33.Kh4 Qg4# 0–1

In last week’s position, it was White’s bishops that do the damage. 1.QxP+! forces 1…PXQ then 2.Bg6 mate.

Here is a championship-level 2-mover by Comins Mansfield that first appeared in this paper 80 years ago.

White to play & mate in 2

British Championship 2017 – Final Round Prospects.

The absence of 2 factors has probably helped to create this year’s blanket finish, going in to the final round this afternoon.

British Championship – Final Rd.
1 McShane Jones
2 Howell 6 Emms
3 Yang-Fan 6 6 Hanley
4 Gormally 6 Ghasi

Either Adams or Short would surely have this all sewn up by now, but they’re not here, and are surely missed by the spectators, if not the players.

The foreshortened 9 round format has many good points, but the possibility of a multiple play-off after the prizegiving is not one of them. An extra 2 rounds would have thinned down the contenders somewhat. As it is, the possibilities are almost endless.

For example, McShane and Jones can hardly afford to have a quick draw to ensure a play-off place, when Emms, who is clearly on-form, is capable of beating Howell, who is clearly not, thus taking the trophy outright. If Howell-Emms and Bd. 1 is drawn there would be 3-way tie. Or, if Howell, Yang-Fan and Gormally (all White) all win, while McShane – Jones is drawn, there’s a 5-way tie – and that could take the rest of the day tomorrow to resolve. And let’s not forget Hanley.

Two things are certain: there are many permutations, and the players will keeping a close eye on the other games as well as their own.

So who’s it going to be?

British Championship Surpises. (05.08.2017.) 945

Of the 103 competitors in the British Championships, which reaches its climax tomorrow in the final round, 13 are Grandmasters. These tend to sail through the early rounds as they are drawn against players from the lower reaches, but their games get progressively tougher as their opponents will have the same score. Approaching the half-way mark at Llandudno, most of the GMs had avoided mishaps, with one or two exceptions.

In this game the veteran and 7th seed Mark Hebden (60 next year) took on a strong player (41st seed) who is not quite a household name in chess circles, and the outcome was probably the biggest upset of the opening 4 rounds.

White: John Merriman (210). Black: GM Mark Hebden (242).

King’s Indian Defence – Sämisch Variation [E81]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Bg5 a6 7.Qd2 c6 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.Nge2 e5 10.d5 cxd5 11.cxd5 White’s pawns will take some shifting, and prove to be the key to the game. 11…b5 12.0–0 Nc5 13.Bc2 a5 14.a3 a4 15.Nc1 Bd7 16.Nd3 Qb6 17.Be3 Nh5 18.Ne2 Rac8 19.Rac1 f5 20.Nxc5 dxc5 Freeing up Black’s backward pawn, but also White’s advanced d-pawn. 21.Bd3 Qd6 22.g3 f4 23.gxf4 exf4 24.Bf2 c4 25.Bb1 25…Bh3 Attacking White’s rook, which normally one would expect to be moved, but White makes the decision to ignore that threat and pursue his own agenda – i.e. exploiting his 2 central pawns. 26.Nd4 Bxf1 27.Kxf1 Qd7 28.Ne6 Rfe8 29.Nxg7 Qh3+ 30.Kg1 The best place to attack a pawn chain is at its base, but Black must deal with the knight first. 30…Kxg7 31.Qc3+ defending his f-pawn – White can’t afford to be too generous with his defensive pieces. 31…Kg8 32.e5 Best to push the central pawns quickly, while knight + queen are stuck on the rim. 32…Rcd8 33.d6 Ng3 34.Re1 Nf5 35.Be4 Ng7 36.Bc6 Ne6 Now it’s Black’s turn to ignore an attack on a rook. 37.Bxb5 White doesn’t wish to simplify the position by exchanging pieces as he’s still the exchange down – better to maintain his grip on the position. 37…Ng5 38.Bc6 holding the vital f-pawn. 38…Kg7 39.Bb6 Kh6 40.Bxd8 Rxd8 41.Kh1 Rb8 42.d7 Rb3 43.Qd2 Rd3 44.Qxf4 1-0. With the knight pinned and the bishop still holding the f-pawn, the e-pawn is free to storm ahead. Play might have continued…. 44…Qf5 45.Qxf5 gxf5 46.e6 Nxe6 47.Rxe6+ Kg5 48.Re8 etc.

In last week’s position, White could simply take the rook because when its protective bishop retakes, White’s rook mates on the back rank.

Going in to the 6th of 9 rounds, the joint leaders are former child prodigies Luke McShane and David Howell on 4½/5, with no less than 11 players just a half point behind. When it finished tomorrow, it’s likely that a series of tie-break games will be needed.

This position arose in a game played at Walsall 20 years ago. Black is attacking both queen and c-pawn, so what is White’s best response?

White to play and win by force.

British Championships Start Today (29.07.2017.) 944

The British Championships start this afternoon at 2.30 at the new venue of Llandudno. All games can be followed as they are played by going to the event website britishchesschampionships.co.uk/live-games-2017.

David Howell is top seed, but will have to meet some strong opposition in the shape of former champions Gawain Jones and Jonathan Hawkins, and the too-rarely seen Luke McShane.  A safer bet for a 1st prize would be Grandmaster John Nunn who is streets ahead of his 29 co-entrants in the 50+ Seniors section, both in experience and current strength.

Here is a recent game of his from the 50+ section of the World Senior Teams Championship in May.

White: M. Adams. Black: J. D. M. Nunn.

Sicilian Defence – Najdorf Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 a6 6.h3 e5 7.Nde2 h5 8.Bg5 Be6 It should be noted that John’s opponent here is not former World Championship finalist Michael Adams, but Mark Adams of Wales – a different proposition,  and playing someone of Nunn’s calibre, White will be keen to get as much material off the board as soon as possible, in the hope this will simplify matters. However, it rarely does in cases like this, as the GMs are experts in “keeping it simple”. 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Nd5 Qd8 11.Nec3 g6 12.a4 Nc6 13.Bd3 Bh6 14.0–0 0–0 15.Qe1 Rc8 16.f4? Probably not the best plan as it’s Black that eventually benefits from this opening up of the kingside. exf4 17.Nxf4 Ne5 18.Nxe6 fxe6 19.Rxf8+ Qxf8 20.Qe2 White is hoping to bring his rook to f1 to complete his piece development and attack the queen, but Nunn is a move ahead of this plan. 20…Qf4 21.Qf2 Qg5 22.Kh1 Rf8 It’s Black that grabs the f-file. Now all Black’s pieces are focussed on the kingside, while most of White’s are on the queenside.  23.Qd4 Ng4 24.Nd1 If 24.hxg4 Qh4+ 25.Kg1 Bf4 with several mating lines. You could work them out. 24…Qd2 25.Qc3 Qf4 threatening mate on h2, so forces… 26.hxg4 From now on, Nunn uses the open lines for his pieces to maximum effect. 26…Bg7 27.Qe1 Be5 Again threatening mate on h2. 28.g3 Qxg4 29.Kg2 Qf3+ 30.Kh3 Qg4+ 31.Kg2 Rf3 0-1 The final straw, as Black has everything focussed of the isolated g-pawn. White may be a piece up, but they are powerless. White’s least worst option would have been 32.Qf2 Rxf2+ 33.Kxf2 Qxg3+ 34.Ke2 and Black would presumably push his 2 passed pawns.

No sooner has “the British” finished than the Paignton Congress will be not be far away, taking place during the week starting Sunday 3rd September. Entries can be done online at dccapaigntonchess.com or postally via the entry form.

In last week’s position, White could win by force after 1.Qg8+! KxQ (if 1.RxQ Nf7 mate). 2.Ne7+ Kf8 (if 2…Kh8 3.Nf7 mate) 3.N7g6+ PxN. 4.NxP mate.

This week, White’s queen is under attack, so to where should he move it for best results?

Queen attacked - what to do?

Dave Rumens 1939-2017 (22.07.2017.) 943

The British Championships at Llandudno start next Saturday, with a total entry in the 21 different sections standing at 923. Most interest will naturally fall on the top section, the overall British Championship, with an entry of 100. There’s no sign of the current Champion, Michael Adams, or Nigel Short entering the lists, but with 3 other members of England’s Olympiad team, David Howell, Gawain Jones and Luke McShane as top seeds, there should be plenty to maintain the chess public’s interest throughout the 9 rounds.

The death of Dave Rumens at the age of 77 was announced earlier this month.

He was selected to represent England in the Glorney Cup U-18 international tournament in Glasgow 1957, in company with Michael Mcdonald-Ross and John Lawrence. Consequently, when, in the wake of the Fischer-Spassky match of 1972, a tidal wave of new weekend congresses swept the country as every town and city in the UK wanted to harness the enthusiasm this generated, and Rumens, being in his prime, was ideally placed to benefit as he won 1st prizes time after time throughout the ‘70s.

As White. he loved playing f4 in the opening, as in the Bird’s Opening, and he was particularly ruthless against the Sicilian Defence, when he ventured an early f4, which gained him many wins and became known as the Grand Prix Attack.

In later years he could be seen at British Championships, hanging about waiting for one or more of his child protégés to finish, before he helped them with post-game analysis.

Here is a typical game of his from Hastings in 1975.

White: David E. Rumens. Black:  Glenn Lambert.

Bird’s Opening [A02]

1.f4 Named after Henry Bird, (1830 – 1908) a lover of eccentric openings. 1…g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.e3 c5 4.Be2 Nc6 5.0–0 Nf6 6.Qe1 The usual way to get the queen active. 6…0–0 7.d3 d5 8.Nbd2 Qc7 9.Qh4 b6 10.e4 Early pressure in the centre is the key. 10…dxe4 11.dxe4 Bb7 12.e5 Nd5 13.Ne4 Nd4 14.Bd1 Ba6 15.Re1 Rad8 16.c3 Nxf3+ 17.Bxf3 Bd3 18.e6! f5 If 18…fxe6 19.Ng5 Threatening to mate and fork 4 major pieces. 19.Ng5 is played anyway. 19…Nf6 20.Be3 Ba6 21.Nf7 Rb8 22.Bf2 Bd3 23.Re3 Be4 24.Rd1 Qc6 25.Bxe4 fxe4 26.Qh3 Qa4 Black’s queen finds some counterplay, but all his other pieces are still at home. 27.Ra1 Qc2 28.Rf1 Qxb2 29.f5 Qxa2 30.fxg6 Rxf7 31.exf7+ Kf8 32.Bg3 Rd8 33.Bc7 Black’s rook must stay on the back rank and there is only one available square. 33…Ra8 and finally a sacrificial coup de grace 34.Rxf6 Bxf6 35.Qxh7 Black has a bravado check but mate on g8 is unavoidable. 1–0

In last week’s position, White could ignore the mating threat as he had 1.RXB+ KxR 2.Qd8+ forcing Kf7 and 3.Bd4 is mate.

In this position from a game in 1972, how did White benefit from his superior development?

White to move

British Championships @ Llandudno (15.07.2017.)

No sooner have the club and inter-county competitions ended for the season, than the British Championships loom on the horizon. This year’s event starts a fortnight today at Venue Cymru, a spectacular development on the Llandudno seafront, which is proving popular with players, if the current list of entries is anything to go by. With more coming in every day, total entries have already reached 859, of which 92 are in the main event, the British Championship. The top seeds are David Howell, Gawain Jones and Luke McShane, while Devon-based players include Keith Arkell, Jack Rudd and Brian Hewson. John Nunn has entered the 50+ Seniors section.

The healthy entry may be something to do with the fact that the schedule has been shortened from 11 rounds to 9. The previous formula consisted of 2 full weeks with a rest day in between, totalling at least 2½ weeks away from home, which is a big commitment in time and money, while the new arrangement means it will last just over one week.

Anyone can keep up to date with developments throughout on the event website britishchesschampionships.co.uk where games may be followed as they are being played.

Here is another of Devon’s four wins in their recent U-180 Championship Final against MIddlesex.

White: Bill Ingham (165). Black: D. Jagdeep (161)

Queen’s Pawn Opening – Mason Variation.

1.d4 d5 2.Bf4 Mason’s Variation, named after the Irishman, James Mason (1845 – 1905) who played it regularly. 2…Nf6 3.e3 Bf5 4.Nf3 e6 5.c4 c6 6.Qb3 Qb6 7.c5 Qxb3 8.axb3 Nbd7 9.Nc3 Nh5 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bh4 g5 12.Bg3 Nxg3 13.hxg3 Bg7 14.b4 White’s freedom to expand on the queenside and the greater flexibility of his rooks along the board edges are keys to his win. 14…0–0 15.b5 White sensibly seeks to eliminate his weaker doubled pawn. 15…Rfb8 16.Kd2 e5 17.b4 exd4 18.Nxd4 Bxd4 19.exd4 Kg7 20.Bd3 Bxd3 21.Kxd3 Nf6 eyeing up g4. 22.Rhe1 Kf8 23.Ra2 Re8 24.Rea1 Black is unable to double his rooks on the e-file without losing pawns, so White can afford to leave his king to guard that. 24…Ne4 25.Nxe4 dxe4+ 26.Ke3 securely blocking the e-file. Now White’s rooks can get to work. 26…cxb5 27.Rxa7 Rab8 28.R1a5 b6 29.R5a6 Kg7 30.Rxb6 Rxb6 31.cxb6 Rb8 32.b7 f5 33.d5 Kf6 Allowing White’s rook to get where it needs to be … behind his pawn, but there seems nothing much better. 34.Kd4 h5 35.Ra6+ Ke7 36.Rb6 Resigns, as White will shortly have 3 passed pawns supported by rook & king, while Black’s 4 pawns will not be able to break through on the other wing. 1–0

The solution to last week’s problem was 1.Bb4! and any move by the e-pawn next move will be mate or if 1…d3 2.Qa1#.

In this ending from a game played last year, Black is all set to checkmate, if it was his move – but it’s not. What, if anything, can White do about it?

It's White's Move