Round 3 action …

— from Mark Jordan

Aleksander Mista
GM Mista

GM Aleksander Mista 2567 takes sole lead of the Hastings Masters on 3/3, going in to Round 4, having defeated GM Tamas Fodor in Round 3. 6 players are hot on his heals on 2.5/3 including the English GMs Daniel Gormally 2506 and Keith Arkell 2490. Tournament favourite GM Ferenc Berkes 2650 is also in the chasing group after beating the promising but lowly rated South African teenager FM Paul Gluckman 1742 who had done amazingly well to score 2/2 against challenging opposition to secure himself a pairing against the formidable GM. May I wish him luck for the rest or the tournament! Fifth seed, GM Jahongir Vakhidov must have had hopes of going in to round 4 on 3/3 but conceded a draw to FM Karthik 2310 who is also on 2.5/3. Completing the chasing group is IM Justin Sarkar 2407 who defeated second seed GM Igor Khenkin 2605. Khenkin will no doubt be very unhappy with his present 50% score and will look to remedy this situation with some determination.

English GM, Simon Williams 2439, would have had hopes of joining the chasing group but was playing Black against the famous veteran GM, Oleg Romanishin 2462. Unfortunately for Simon he blundered on move 15 in a Classical Dutch and lost quickly. This game and two others from the Masters, annotated by IM Jack Rudd, are included below.

(7) Romanishin,Oleg M (2462) – Williams,Simon K (2439) [A81]
Tradewise Hastings Masters 15-16 Hastings, England (3.9), 30.12.2015
[Rudd, Jack]

1.d4 e6 2.Nf3 f5 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.c3 d6 Williams is well known for his support for the Classical Dutch, and will happily play it against fellow grandmasters. 7.Qb3 Nc6 8.a4 Qe8 9.a5 a6 10.Ng5 Bd8 11.Nd2 Kh8

12.e4 f4 [12…h6 13.Nxe6 Qxe6 14.Qxe6 Bxe6 15.d5 leads to a better endgame for white.] 13.d5 exd5 14.exd5 fxg3 15.dxc6

15…Ng4?? [15…gxh2+ 16.Kh1 (16.Kxh2? Ng4+ 17.Kg1 Bxg5) 16…bxc6 leaves black with, at least at the moment, three pawns for his piece and good play against the white king.] 16.cxb7 Bxg5 [16…Bxb7 17.Qxb7 Bxg5 18.Qxa8 is just miserable for black, so Williams goes for broke.] 17.bxa8Q gxf2+ 18.Kh1 Nxh2 [18…Qe5 19.Nf3 Rxf3 unfortunately runs into 20.Qxc8+ , mating.] 19.c4 Rf6

20.Qh3! Exploiting the pin on the bishop to completely nullify the black attack. 20…Nxf1 21.Qaxc8 Ng3+ 22.Kh2 1-0

(8) Oyama,Akito (2005) – Rudd,Jack (2255) [C44]
Tradewise Hastings Masters 15-16 Hastings, England (3.20), 30.12.2015
[Rudd, Jack]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 It’s a long time since I’ve faced a Ponziani. My next few moves were very slow by my standards, as I tried to figure it all out. 3…d5 4.Qa4 f6 5.Bb5 Nge7 6.exd5 Qxd5 7.d4 Bd7 [7…e4 8.Nfd2 Bd7 is my computer’s recommendation; it looks good.] 8.Be3 [8.dxe5 0-0-0!? was my idea, sacrificing a pawn for open lines (particularly the g-file). Fritz seems to think it’s about equal, and it would certainly be fun to play in practice.] 8…a6 9.c4 Qd6 10.d5 Qb4+ 11.Qxb4 Nxb4 12.Bxd7+ Kxd7 13.Kd2 a5 [I toyed briefly with the idea of 13…b5 14.a3 bxc4 15.axb4 Nxd5 , but I don’t think it’s actually any good. My queenside pawns are far too shattered for it to work.] 14.a3 Na6 15.b4 Nf5 16.c5??

16…Be7! Oops. Now white is losing at least a pawn on the queenside. 17.Nc3 [17.Kc3 axb4+ 18.axb4 Nxb4 19.Rxa8 Nxd5+ 20.Kc4 Ndxe3+] 17…axb4 18.axb4 Nxe3 19.c6+ bxc6 20.dxc6+ Ke6 21.b5 [21.fxe3 Nxb4 should just be easily winning for black.]21…Nc4+ 22.Kd3 Na3 23.bxa6 Rhd8+ 24.Ke2 Rxa6 25.Nb5

25…Rb6?! [25…Nxb5 26.Rxa6 Nc3+ 27.Kf1 e4 28.Ne1 Rd2 is probably best. I couldn’t see my way to the end of the line at the time, but in the cold light of day, it’s clearly winning. 29.g3 Bc5 30.Kg2 Bxf2 31.Kh3 Rd1] 26.Nxc7+ Kf7 27.Rhd1 [27.Rhc1 Rb2+ (27…e4 28.Ne1 Rb2+ 29.Kf1 Rdd2 looks winning, but it’s not: 30.Nd5! Bd6 31.Rxa3 Bxh2 32.Ra7+) 28.Kf1 Nc2 29.Ra4 Nb4 30.Na6 Nd3 31.Rd1 Rxf2+ 32.Kg1 Rc2 33.c7 Rd6 is eventually probably going to resolve in black’s favour, but it’s going to be difficult to prove.]27…Rxd1 28.Rxd1 Rxc6 29.Rd7 Rd6 30.Rxd6 Bxd6

We have arrived at a minor-piece ending, which I probably made more difficult than it needs to be.31.Nd5 Ke6 32.Ne3 Nb5 33.Kd3 Be7 34.Nc4 Bc5 35.Ne3 Nd6 I’ve put my minor pieces on the best squares I can find for now, but how best to advance my pawns?36.Ke2 h6 37.g4 e4 38.Nh4 Nb5 39.Nhf5 g6 40.Nh4 Nd4+ 41.Kf1 Kf7 42.Kg2 Bd6 43.Nd5 f5 44.gxf5

44…gxf5 It was only now that it dawned on me that white could be angling for bishop and wrong-coloured rook’s pawn. It’s not all that trivial to prevent the game ending up there. 45.f3 Ke6 46.fxe4 fxe4 47.Nc3 Ke5 48.Kg3 Bb4 49.Ng6+ Kf6 50.Nd5+ Kxg6 51.Nxb4

Knight and two pawns v knight and one pawn. Is this winning? I didn’t know at the time; I thought it was, but there is enough doubt in there to make this a nervous part of the game.51…Kf5 52.Nd5 Ke5 53.Nc3 e3 54.Kg4 Nb5 [54…e2?? 55.Nxe2 Nxe2 56.Kh5 would be unfortunate.] 55.Ne2 Ke4 56.Ng3+ Kd3 57.Kf5 Nd4+ 58.Kg6 Ne2 59.Nh5 Ke4 60.Kxh6

60…Kf5!! The only winning move. The idea is to put white in zugzwang. 61.Kg7 Kg5 62.Nf6 Nc3 [62…Ng3! is apparently four moves faster, but it’s not a very human move.] 63.Nd7 The only move to keep my pawn promotion at bay. 63…e2 64.Ne5 Kf4 65.Nd3+ Ke3 66.Ne1 Nd5 67.h4

67…Nf4! After a think of four minutes, I find the only winning move again. This move both gets the knight nearer to the action around e1 and stops the advance of his h-pawn. 68.Kf6 Kf2 69.Nc2 Ng2 70.h5 Ne3 71.h6 His last hope is to engage in a pawn race. [71.Nb4 Nd5+ 72.Nxd5 e1Q will also win for black.] 71…Nxc2 72.h7 e1Q 73.Kg7 [73.h8Q Qc3+] 73…Qe7+ 74.Kg8 Qe8+! The last step of the process, allowing the knight to come in with decisive effect. 75.Kg7 Nd4 76.h8Q Nf5+ 0-1

(9) Kearsley,Raymond J (1723) – Norton,Craig (2146) [B39]
Tradewise Hastings Masters 15-16 Hastings, England (3.38), 30.12.2015
[Rudd, Jack]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4 8.Qxg4 Nxd4

9.0-0-0!? An unusual move in this position, to which black reacts badly. 9…Ne6?! Normal enough in the main lines, but here it causes problems with the defence of e7. [9…Nc6 is approximately equal.] 10.Nd5 Qa5? [10…d6 is playable, and only gives white a small advantage.] 11.Kb1 d6 12.Qh4 f6 13.f4 Kf8 14.e5 Nc7

15.Nxe7 dxe5 [15…Kxe7 16.exd6+] 16.Nxc8 Rxc8 17.fxe5 Qxe5 18.Bd4 The active white bishops and open central files mean white is winning, even with material equality. 18…Qa5 19.Bd3 [19.Bxf6 was presumably rejected because of 19…Qf5+ , but this is not sufficient to save black: 20.Bd3 Qxf6 21.Rhf1] 19…f5 20.Bxg7+ Kxg7 21.Rhe1 Rhe8 22.Re7+ Rxe7 23.Qxe7+ Kh6

[23…Kg8 24.c5 Qa4 25.Bc2 Re8 26.Rd8] 24.Bc2! An elegant little quiet move to round it off. Black has no way to prevent Qh4+ followed by Rd7+. 1-0