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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.

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