Raymond Keene

Game of the year

Game of the year
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Probably the most spectacular game played in the past year was the brilliant win by Gawain Jones in the Olympiad. Gawain, a devotee of the King’s Indian Defence, succeeded in fashioning a masterpiece very much in the style of those King’s Indian heroes David Bronstein, Mikhail Tal and Leonid Stein.

Nguyen (Vietnam)-Jones (England): Baku Chess Olympiad 2016; King’s Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 0-0 5 Nf3 d6 6 h3 e5 7 d5 Na6 8 Be3 Nc5 9 Nd2 Nh5 This is highly unusual. In previous play, Black almost invariably secured the position of his queen’s knight with 9 ... a5. 10 b4 Na6 11 a3 Qe8 12 c5 Black’s loss of time in the opening has allowed White to build up a clear advantage on the queenside while his own kingside counterplay has not really got going. 12 ... f5 13 cxd6 cxd6 13 ... f4 can be met by the remarkable response 14 Bxa7 Rxa7 15 Nb5 Ra8 16 dxc7. 14 Nb5 f4 Jones decides to jettison material in return for a speculative attack. 15 Nxd6

(See diagram 1)

15 ... fxe3 16 Nxe8 exf2+ 17 Ke2 Ng3+ 18 Kd3 Rxe8 19 Kc2 White stands very well, but it is difficult to find the correct defensive moves in such a situation. 19 ... Bd7 20 Bc4 20 Kb2 Nxh1 21 Bxa6 bxa6 22 Qxh1 Bh6 is very good for Black. His pieces are working together well and White still has to deal with the passed f-pawn and his open king position. 20 ... Ba4+ 21 Bb3 Bb5

(See diagram 2)

Suddenly the f-pawn, which was securely blockaded a couple of moves ago, begins to look very threatening. 22 Kb2 White overlooks 22 Nc4 Rec8 23 Qd3 setting up a blockade. 22 ... Be2 Driving the white pieces on to awkward squares. 23 Qb1 A much better try is 23 d6+ Kh8 24 Qc2 Rac8 25 Bc4 when the threat of 26 d7 buys some time. Now White goes swiftly downhill. 23 ... Bh6 24 Nf3 Kh8 25 Ka2 Rac8

(See diagram 3)

The black forces are coordinating effectively while White’s have been driven back in disarray. 26 Qb2 Nxe4 27 Raf1 Bxf1 28 Rxf1 Nc3+ 29 Ka1 e4 30 Qxf2 exf3 31 Qxf3 Bg7 32 d6 Re2 White resigns