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Chess

Hit for six

18 April 2015

9:00 AM

18 April 2015

9:00 AM

The Hamilton Russell trophy for London clubs has been dominated in the past by the RAC. This year, though, they were knocked for six in the final decisive match by the MCC. The full scores (out of a possible 14) were as follows: 1st Marylebone Cricket Club, 14; Joint 2nd Oxford & Cambridge Club and Royal Automobile Club, 11; 4th Athenaeum Club, 7; Joint 5th Hurlingham Club and Oriental & East India Clubs, 4; 7th Chelsea Arts Club, 3; 8th Reform Club, 2. The crucial game which helped the MCC to take the cup was the following clash between an international master and a former Spectator editor. Dominic Lawson has supplied the following notes himself.
 
Povah-Lawson: Hamilton Russell Cup, London 2015; Trompovsky Attack
 
1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 e6 3 e4 h6 4 Bxf6 Qxf6 5 c3 d6 6 Bd3 Qg5 I prepared this, knowing I might be playing Nigel and that he favours this c3 line in the Trompovsky. 7 Nf3 Qxg2 8 Rg1 Qh3 9 Nbd2 e5 I had no idea at the time, but Nigel told me afterwards that he had met 6 … Qg5 before. His opponent had played 9 … g5, but was wiped out in 22 moves. 10 dxe5 dxe5 11 Qb3 This appears to be a new move, but there is not much theory in this variation. 11 … Nd7 12 0-0-0 Played surprisingly quickly. Somehow Nigel had not realised my next move was possible. 12 … Nc5 13 Qc2 Nxd3+ 14 Qxd3 Bd7 15 Nc4 (see diagram 1) 15 … 0-0-0 I think 15 … f6 was better but I was scared by 16 Rg3 Qe6 17 Rg6 and as the time control was rather fast, I was happy to head for what I felt to be a nice position without risk. 16 Ncxe5 Qe6 17 Qd5 I had expected 17 Qe3. 17 … Qxd5 18 exd5 Be8 19 h4 g6 20 c4 Bd6 21 Kc2 Rg8 22 a3 g5 23 Ng4 gxh4 24 Nxh6 24 Nxh4 was safer. 24 … Rh8 25 Nf5 Bc5 26 Rd2h3 27 b4 Bf8 28 N3d4 Bd7 29 Rd3 h2 30 Rh1 Re8 31 Re3 Rxe3 32 fxe3 a5 33 bxa5 Bxa3 34 Kd3 Rh3 35 Ke4 Bb4 36 Kf4 Bxa5 37 Ng3 Bb4 38 Ndf5 Bc5 39 e4 Bg1 40 Kg4 (see diagram 2) 40 … Rh8 Black misses the logical conclusion of his manoeuvres: 40 … Rxg3+! 41 Kxg3 Bxf5 42 exf5 Kd7 and if, for example, 43 c5 to keep out the black king then 43 … b6 — or even 43 … f6 — wins. 41 Ne2 Bc5 42 Kf4 b5 I had the fixed idea of busting open the position for my bishops, but giving up the possibility of a potential outside passed pawn is a serious concession. 43 cxb5 Bxb5 44 Neg3 44 Ned4 was correct, but both players were short of time. 44 … Bg1 45 Kf3 Bd7 46 Ne3 Rg8 47 Nef1 Rh8 48 Kg2 c6 The last error. Black has better options, but the reply 49 Nxh2 still draws, although White subsequently has to find several ‘only’ moves. 49 Nxh2 Rxh2+ 50 Rxh2 Bxh2 51 dxc6 Of course, in the time scramble, I had missed this obvious zwischenzug. 51 … Bxc6 52 Kxh2 Draw agreed
 
The Athenaeum has Peter Lee, a former British champion in both chess and bridge, as one of its representatives. This week, a puzzle from his illustrious career over the board.


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