Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Chess Action

That might seem a funny thing to say for someone who is in mid winter, but up in the Northern Hemisphere, it is summer holiday time and there is an absolute abundance of chess across Europe. Australian GM David Smerdon is currently on 3.5/4 in the Politiken Cup in Denmark, half a point off the 9 leaders, in this 10 round swiss. Things didn't look too clever for David yesterday, but he came up with a great save.
As white Smerdon had lost a pawn, then sacrificed a piece to gain nowhere near enough compensation in the form of activity. Here, he played 25.Rxf6!? Bxf6 26.Bxf6 Rf8, and white should probably take on h8 and try to grovel through a really bad ending a pawn down. Smerdon tried a different tack!
27.Ng4, and got away with it! Black should really now take the bishop on f6, but possibly thought of more. 27..h5?
Ok, so it's white to play and draw! Answer tomorrow :)
(It's tomorrow!!) David played 28.Re7! [threatening 29.Rg7# so black has to move a rook. He can't move the f-rook as there would follow (eg) 28..Ra8 29.Rg7+ Kf8 30.Ne5 and black will have to give up a lot of material to avoid mate. So he has to play] 28..Rh7 29.Nh6!+ Rxh6 30.Rg7+ Kh8 31.Rf7+ Kg8 32.Rg7+ with a perpetual draw, and an excellent save!
Smerdon is on the same points as legends Jan Timman and Lajos Portisch, and I'm currently watch Portisch holding his own as black in a Scotch game against Parimarjan Negi. Meanwhile across the Channel, the British Championships opened yesterday with no acceleration. The 11 round Championship will truly come around in week 2 when the placings are sorted out, but it's still quite interesting to see seeds fall, and some classy GM moves against amateur opposition. My favourite move of the first round (of the games I've seen so far) was GM Tony Kosten's winning move.
Kosten playing white has an amazing position, and just needs to find a coup de grace! There might be a number of winning moves here, but none are as stylish as 27.Rc6! 1-0

Grandmaster Glenn Flear had to concede a draw, but perhaps the biggest upset was William Foo beating IM Richard Bates. I know nothing about William Foo other than he is 16 years old (if you believe chessbase) but his play was mightily impressive against Bates. Bates took one risk too many, and Foo was able to win a pawn, which he converted remarkably easily.

I have to say that the website is excellent (especially so after the disappointment of the World Youth Olympiad website) with lots of info. Apparently, Keith Arkell won the Bullet challenge against Gary Lane on Sunday. You can see pictures and read about it on the Championship blog.

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