Hegarty-Balaji Hegarty has just played 33.Bd5. Your task is to assess what happens if Black plays 33…Rxf2.
GM David Howell (9) ½-½ GM Gawain Jones (7½)
GM Peter Wells (7) ½-½ GM Mark Hebden (7½)
GM Stephen Gordon (7) 1-0 IM Gyula Meszaros (7)
IM Yang-Fan Zhou (7) ½-½ GM Daniel Gormally (7)
GM Bogdan Lalic (7) ½-½ GM Keith Arkell (7)
IM Richard Palliser (6½) ½-½ GM Glenn Flear (7)
Jean-Luc Weller (6) ½-½ GM Simon Williams (6)
Peter Shaw (5) ½-½ FM Robert Eames (5)
John Anderson (5) 0-1 Oskar Hackner (5)
WFM Sarah Hegarty (4½) ½-½ Ananthanarayanan Balaji (4½)
Henry Broadley (4½) 0-1 Jim Burnett (4½)
David Collier (4) Def-1 Akshaya Kalaiyalahan (4)
Amy Hoare (3½) 0-1 Simon McCoullough (3½)
Alex Richardson (3) 1-0 Mitchell Burke (3)
With the main Championships decided, attention turned to the Women’s Championships. However there was a shock turn before the round even started. Akshaya Kalaiyalahan was due to play David Collier, but he had to pull out at short notice due to illness. Since the draw had already been published last night, the organisers awarded the win by default to Akshaya, which put her on 5/11, half a point ahead of Sarah Hegarty who now had to win to give herself sole possession of the British Women Championship title. This also knocked Amy Hoare out of the running.
Fortunately for Sarah at least she was White. However she did not deal with Ananth Balaji’s Schliemann Gambit very well and Black had everything he wanted out of the Schliemann, no material deficit, the two bishops and a solid position. Ananth’s advantage grew as he won a pawn but much to Sarah’s relief, he blundered it back a few moves later. Shortly afterwards they reached the position that is today’s puzzle – so don’t read on if you want to try and solve it first! The position eventually petered out into a drawn rook and pawn ending and they shook hands. This means that Sarah Hegarty and Akshaya Kalaiyalhan share the British Women’s title at the 100th British Championships. It’s a shame that Akshaya’s event had to end as it did, but I’m sure she won’t mind! This wasn’t her only success, see more below!
Back to the main Championships – Final round, nothing to play for, everyone’s just going to agree a draw and hit the bar right? Not on the top boards! All top four boards went beyond the first time control except for Stephen Gordon who had wrapped up a win well before move 40. Gyula Meszaros got his pieces very badly tied up in pins and although he tried all the tactics he could to extricate himself, Stephen saw further and eventually won the piece he was lusting after for so long. Stephen finished on 8/11 with a decent 2574 rating performance, but he will be ruing his loss to Simon Williams in Round 7. The other three games were all eventually drawn, but not after a fair fight took place. Gawain at least got some practice against GM opposition before heading to Norway tomorrow!
Not much to report between boards 5-10. Four quick draws and a couple of decent draws for Jean-Luc Weller and Marcus Harvey against Grandmaster opponents, both shutting up shop with White and not letting their opponents get anything to grab onto. Jean-Luc ended the tournament on 6½/11 with a 2329 rating performance!
Oskar Hackner scored a good win with Black to cap the end to an excellent tournament by him, scoring 6/11 with a 2270 rating performance. Jim Burnett also won to finish on 50% finishing level with Peter Shaw who ended his tournament on the pressing end of a draw. Mitchell Burke sadly lost to end a disappointing tournament by his standards.
9½/11: GM David Howell – BRITISH CHAMPION 8/11: GMs Gawain Jones, Mark Hebden, Stephen Gordon 7/11: IM Richard Palliser 6½/11: Jean-Luc Weller 6/11: Oskar Hackner 5½/11: Peter Shaw, Jim Burnett 3/11: Mitchell Burke
There were three British Senior Championships to be fought for over the course of the two weeks, Open, U150 and U130.
The Open was contested over seven rounds at slightly shorter time controls than the main Championships. Four players can call themselves British Senior Champions after all finishing on 5½/7 – Graham Chester, Roger Emerson, David Friedgood and Paul Timson. Jim Vickery finished on 3½ (not with seven draws – but with two wins and three draws) and Roelof Westra sadly didn’t participate in the event.
The U150 and U130 events took place over 5 rounds. John Gorodi won the U150 by himself on 4/5 ahead of a four way tie for second, while Graham Shepherd scored a perfect 5/5 to take the U130 title. His new ECF grade of 146 suggests that he might not be playing in that tournament again for some time!
The British U14 Championship was won by the clear pre-tournament favourite William Claridge-Hansen who won by himself with 6/7, losing only to Michael Ashworth who finished in 3rd on 5/7 behind Daniel Gallagher on 5½/7.
Akshaya Kalaiyalhan has had an amazing fortnight at this year’s British Championships. As well as being crowned the British Women’s Champion, she can also add the British U12 Championship to her ever-growing list of achievements! She is really a star for the future! Girinath Haridas and Koby Kalavannan finished a point behind her on 5½/7 as joint runners-up.
The British U160 Championship was fittingly shared between two players, William Graham and Andrew MacQueen (you’ll see more of Andrew below!) The only points they dropped were a draw between themselves in Round 2. Bingley’s Kevin Winter finished on 3/5.
The British U120 Championship also concluded today. No arguments about the winner here – Alex Ter Hark won with a perfect 5/5. There was Yorkshire representation here as well, Nigel Redmond matched Kevin Winter in scoring 3/5.
When we last reported on the Major Open, Matthew Dignam was dominating the field with 6½/7. Whilst the final four rounds couldn’t be described as dominating, his four draws were enough to secure him the Major Open title with 8½/11, half a point ahead of the no.1 seed Robert Willmoth. Three other players secured the magic 7½/11 to qualify for next year’s British Championships – Alistair Hill, Jeremy Menadue and Shyamal Patel. Brian Tarhon also secured a qualifying spot as a junior finishing on 7/11. Congratulations to all!
There was some Yorkshire interest in this competition – Damian McCarthy and Mark Whitehead both reached 50% while Dave Patrick finished just behind those two on 5/11. Nicholas Mahoney finsihed on 4/11 while Peter Mulleady withdrew after Round 6 to the 5-day PM Week 2 Open.
There was a three-way tie for the 5-day AM Open title – Clive Hill, Mark Page and Adam Taylor all scoring 4/5. Assuming the qualification rules stay the same, these players will have qualified for next year’s British Championships!
There was a sole winner in the Afternoon tournament – Andrew MacQueen capped off an excellent week as he won by himself with 4½/5. Richard Bryant was one of the runners-up on 4/5, he was also one of the group just behind the leaders in the AM tournament!
Answer: Black can safely grab the pawn 33..Rxf2 but it only leads to a drawn ending after 34.Rxf2 Qg1+ 35.Re1 Qxf2 36.Re8+! Ka7 37.Qxf2 Rxf2 38.Bxc6 bxc6 39.Re7 and the players agreed to a draw a few moves later.
Features editor for the Yorkshire Chess website. I collate and write atricles about all the latest chess activities in Yorkshire and beyond. I've also been known to shove some pieces myself from time to time!