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Westcountry Juniors in Albania (28.04.2018.) 983

The Cornish junior, Adam Hussein of the Truro Club, is currently playing in the U-13 section of FIDE’s World School Championship in Durres, on Albania’s beautiful Adriatic coast. Also in the English team of 8 players is Georgia Headlong of the Brown Jack Club near Swindon who recently became the West of England Ladies Champion in Exmouth. Their progress may be followed on the chess-results.com or event websites.

The Sicilian Defence leads to very active play for both sides, with lines of play more numerous and harder to evaluate than any other opening. Whole libraries could be assembled on this opening alone. Almost every game has something to teach us, like this one from a match last weekend. A seemingly innocuous move by White enables Black to take complete control of the kingside almost immediately.

White: Yuyang Wang (155). Black: John Stephens (196).

Sicilian Defence – Opocensky Variation.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 This move is named after the Czech expert analyst, Karel Opocensky (1892–1975). 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Be3 Be7 Interestingly, every square on the e-file is occupied with a piece, four of them bishops. 9.Nd5 Nxd5 10.exd5 Bf5 11.c4 Nd7 12.0–0 0–0 13.Bg4? This manoeuvre allows Black to obtain a grip on the kingside, which he keeps for the rest of the game. 13…Bxg4 14.Qxg4 f5 forcing White back. 15.Qe2 f4 16.Bc1 Qe8 17.Nd2 Qg6 18.f3 Qh5 19.Ne4 Nf6 20.Qf2 Rac8 21.b3 b5 22.Nxf6+ Rxf6 Completing Black’s kingside mastery. 23.Qb6 White is forced to seek counterplay on the other wing. 23…Rh6 24.h3 Qg5 25.Qxa6 Rf8 26.Kh1 Qg3 27.Qb6 Black is still a pawn down, but his positional superiority gives him the freedom to hammer at the castle walls. 27…Rxh3+ 28.Kg1 Certainly not 28.gxh3?? Qxh3+ 29.Kg1 Qg3+ 30.Kh1 Rf5 and mate follows. 28…Qh2+ 29.Kf2 Bd8 30.Qa7 Bh4+ 31.Ke2 Qxg2+ 32.Rf2 Bxf2 33.Qxf2 Qxf2+ 34.Kxf2 This skirmish leaves Black with 2 lively rooks, while White’s 2 pieces are on their original squares, though he does have a 3–1 queenside pawn majority, which perhaps needs dealing with before it becomes a possible threat. 34…bxc4 35.Kg2 Rg3+ 36.Kf2 cxb3 37.axb3 Rb8 38.Rb1 Rb5 39.b4 h5 40.Bd2 h4 41.Rh1 Rxd5 42.Be1 g5 43.Ke2 Rg2+ 44.Bf2 Kf7 It’s now safe for the king to join the party. 45.Kf1 And finally an exchange sacrifice to finish things off. 45…Rxf2+ 46.Kxf2 Rd2+ 47.Ke1 Rb2 48.Rh3 Rxb4 49.Ke2 Kf6 50.Rh1 Kf5 51.Rd1 Rb2+ 52.Ke1 h3 and the h-pawn must queen. 0–1

In last week’s position, White should play 1.Rh2! and either rook will be able to mate next move, depending on what Black does with his pieces.

From the same book that last week’s 2-mover was taken is this one, on the same theme of White Rook’s Only. Alain White introduced it as…”one of the most famous 2 movers of antiquity”, first seen in 1350, “but the theme is fresh and full of life even today”.

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