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Posts Tagged ‘Luke’

MMmmm…. 1,000 down and counting

In the final round of the recent British Championship in Hull, 3-times champion David Howell (2009; 2013 & ’14) was drawn against Luke McShane, and one of them had to win if either was going to try to catch Michael Adams and force a play-off.

White: D. Howell (2687). Black: L. McShane (2669).

Ruy Lopez – Steinitz Defence Deferred. [C72]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 This was not the moment to be experimenting with unusual openings in the hope of catching one’s opponent unawares, as it’s always liable to rebound on one’s head, so familiar, well-trodden ground should be safer, in this case the centuries-old Ruy Lopez. 3…a6 4.Ba4 d6 Key move in the Steinitz Defence Deferred, but McShane knows most variations in this opening well and is well-versed in this one. 5.0–0 Bd7 6.d4 exd4 7.Nxd4 Nxd4 8.Bxd7+ Qxd7 9.Qxd4 Nf6 10.Nc3 Be7 11.Bf4 0–0 12.Rad1 Qc6 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Qxc2 15.Rc1 Qf5 16.Rxc7 Attack and… 16…Bf6 counter-attack. 17.Qd2 Rfc8 18.Rfc1 Rxc7 19.Rxc7 Re8 Theatening …20.Qb1+ 21.Qc1 QxQ+ 22.BxQ Re1#.  20.h3 Playing a “safe” opening is all very well, but someone has to get aggressive at some point, and Black takes up the challenge. 20…h5 21.b3 g5 22.Be3 Re5 winning the d-pawn 23.Rxb7 Rxd5 24.Qc1 Be5 Black is now throwing almost everything he’s got at the White king’s position. 25.Rb4 Qd3 Mate alert! 26.f4 Qe2 threatening Rd1 winning the queen, after …Rd1+. 27.Kh2 gxf4 28.Bxf4 Rd2 29.Qc6 Kg7 30.a3 h4 31.Rc4 Qe3! Utilising the pin on White’s bishop. 32.Qe4 Qg3+! 0-1 resigned in view of 33.Bxg3 Bxg3+ 34.Kg1 Rd1+ mate.

In the subsequent play-off, McShane and Adams played 2 games at RapidPlay speed, resulting in 1-all, necessitating another two games at Blitz speed, both of which Adams won. So the £10,000 1st prize went to him, while McShane had to be content with £5,000. But it wasn’t just about the money. However, McShane could be proud of his play under that maximum pressure.

The 68th Paignton Congress starts a week on Sunday, 2nd September, at the Livermead House Hotel, and entry forms can be downloaded, and entries even paid for, at the event website

The solution to the starter problem for the next British Solving Championship has been announced. The best responses were, not unnaturally, from the big national dailies, while those from the Western Morning News were the only ones from any provincial newspaper.

The answer to last week’s problem was 1.f4! and depending on what Black tries, White will have 3 mates available viz. 2.Qb4; Nxb7 or b8=Q.

As this is my 1,000th column I have chosen a 2-mover in the shape of the letter M, the Roman numeral for a thousand, which was composed by Mrs. W. J. Baird née Edith Elina Winter-Wood (1859 – 1924) whose ancestral home was at Hareston in Brixton, near Plymouth.