This year’s British Championship starts on Saturday and is endowed with an outstanding prize fund supplied by Capital Developments Waterloo Ltd. The first prize alone is £10,000 and this has attracted a field which includes many of the UK’s leading grandmasters. This week, a game and a puzzle by two of the leading contenders. Gawain Jones won the championship in 2012 and this week’s game is taken from that event. The puzzle position is by Luke McShane, a hugely talented player who has been somewhat distracted from his vocation as a chess grandmaster by his day job in finance.
Jones-Turner: British Championship, North Shields 2012; Petroff Defence
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nf3 Nxe4 5 Nc3 Nf6 This is a fashionable line in the Petroff. If Black accepts the invitation to double White’s pawns then 5 … Nxc3 6 dxc3 allows White to play 0-0-0 and storm forward on the kingside. This concept has proved dangerous for Black. 6 h3 Be7 7 d4 0-0 8 Bd3 Nc6 9 a3 By preventing … Nb4, White can keep a small edge. 9 … Re8 10 0-0 h6 11 Ne2 d5 12 b3 In the earlier game Nepomniatchi-Munguntuul, Moscow 2006 the try 12 Ne5 allowed Black to simplify after 12 … Nxe5 13 dxe5 Ne4 14 Be3 Bc5. 12 … Be6 13 Nf4 Bd6 14 c4 Bxf4 15 Bxf4 Rc8 Black is solid but the bishops confer White a long term plus. 16 Re1 Qd7 17 Ne5 This is premature. White should build up with 17 Qd2. 17 … Nxe5 18 dxe5 dxc4 19 bxc4 Red8 20 Re3 From this square the rook not only defends White’s bishop on d3 but also prepares to enter the fray along the third rank against Black’s kingside. 20 … Qd4 Here the clever 20 … Ne4, exploiting the d-file pin, keeps the game level. 21 exf6 Qxf4 22 Rf3 Qh4 (see diagram 1) 23 Qb1 A fine move which in one fell swoop threatens Black’s king’s flank but also exerts pressure against Black’s queenside. 23 … b6 24 fxg7 Kxg7 25 Qb2+ Qd4 26 Qc1 Qh4 A better defensive try is 26 … Rg8. 27 Qe3 Rd6 28 Rf4 This is slightly impatient. White should complete development with 28 Re1 when it will be very hard for Black to defend. 28 … Qg5 29 h4 Qc5 30 Qg3+ Kf8 31 Re1 Qxa3 (see diagram 2) 32 Re3 White should arrange his rooks differently with 32 Rf3 Qc3 33 Re5 when the black queen cannot return to the kingside. 32 … Qa1+ 33 Kh2 Qg7 34 Qf3 Rcd8 35 Qe4 Ke7 36 Rg3 Qh8 37 Rgf3 Rf8 37 … Rd4 is better, simplifying and easing the defence. 38 Qb7 Rd7 39 Qxa7 Qe5 40 Qa3+ c5 41 g3 Rfd8 42 Bf5 Kf8 43 Re3 Black resigns
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator Australia for less – just $1 for 6 weeks