Raymond Keene

Mr Hundred Per Cent

Mr Hundred Per Cent
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Nigel Short has distinguished himself by scoring 100 per cent, winning all six games, in the Bunratty tournament which finished towards the end of last month in Ireland. Anyone who has competed in a chess tournament of almost any strength will realise how hard it is to win all the games.

In Short’s case he played consistently solid yet aggressive classical chess and in the process defeated two grandmasters, Peter Wells and Alexander Baburin, the victim of this week’s game.

Next year sees Bunratty’s silver jubilee and they are hoping to attract as many previous winners as possible. Nigel will surely be high on the list.

Short-Baburin: Bunratty Masters 2017, Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Qc2 dxc4 5 Qxc4 Bg4 6 Nc3 Bxf3 7 gxf3 g6 Via a circuitous route a position from a main line Grünfeld Defence has appeared on the board. However, by committing himself to an early ... c6, Black has arrived at a seriously passive sub-variation of an otherwise active defence. 8 e4 Bg7 9 Be3 0-0 10 Be2 Nbd7 11 Qb3 This appears to be an improvement on 11 f4 b5 12 Qb3 as played in the game Feldtman-Keller, Wunsiedel 2013. 11 ... Qb6 12 Qc2 Short avoids the exchange of queens which would alleviate the mild disconnect in the co-ordination of Black’s forces. 12 ... Qa5 13 f4 Now this is very strong. Short’s intention is to block Black’s king’s bishop out of play with e5, cementing the central zone. 13 ... c5 14 0-0-0 cxd4 15 Rxd4 e5 16 fxe5 Nxe5 17 h3 (see diagram 1) 17 ... a6 Often a useful precaution, this is perhaps too slow. Stronger is 17 ... Nc6 18 Ra4 Qc7. 18 f4 Nc6 19 Ra4 Qd8 20 e5 Nd5 21 Nxd5 Qxd5 22 Rd1 White’s strategy has been a complete success. He controls the d-file and simultaneously excludes black’s bishop from any active operations. The following sortie by the black queen looks dangerous but is easily controlled. 22 ... Qg2 23 Bg4 Qxc2+ 24 Kxc2 g5 Now things are becoming desperate. Black has to do something violent in order to gain any activity. In particular, White’s control of c8 leaves Black bereft of counterplay (see diagram 2). 25 fxg5 A sharp alternative is 25 e6 but the text leaves White with a clear advantage based on the extreme vulnerability of Black’s queenside pawns, very much at the mercy of White’s bishop pair. 25 ... Nxe5 26 Bf5 Rfe8 27 Re4 Nc4 28 Bc1 Rxe4 29 Bxe4 Re8 30 Bxb7 Nxb2 31 Rd7 a5 32 Ba6 Na4 33 Rd5 Ra8 34 Rxa5 Nc3 35 Bd2 Ne4 36 Be3 Bf8 37 h4 h6 38 g6 Kg7 39 gxf7 Bc5 40 Bc1 This wins easily enough but 40 Rxc5 is immediately terminal. 40 ... Ra7 41 Bxh6+ Kxf7 42 Bc4+ Kg6 43 Rxa7 Bxa7 44 Bf8 Kh5 45 Be7 Black resigns