Raymond Keene

Royal road

Royal road
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The mathematician Euclid once boldly informed King Ptolemy Soter I of Egypt that there was no royal road to geometry. However, a royal road to a UK visa does exist and it has just been granted to the family of nine-year-old prodigy Shreyas Royal, by means of the intervention of the Home Secretary himself.

A vigorous campaign has been in train for most of this year to prevent the Royal family from being deported in September. This included a charitable programme of chess tuition implemented by the experienced junior coach Julian Simpole, whose former pupils included Luke McShane and David Howell. Shreyas has been invited to make the ceremonial first move in the forthcoming World Championship match set for London in November, and all who have campaigned for this happy result may now celebrate and hope that his initial promise will blossom into a successful career on the chessboard.

This week’s game was given in extract form in my column of 11 August. Here is the full story.

Royal-Jayawarna: ECF Major Open, Hull 2018

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nge2 I played a modest role in Julian’s lessons by recommending some games for the prodigy to study. This line against the King’s Indian is, in fact, one of my personal favourites. 5 ... 0-0 6 Ng3 e5 7 d5 c6 8 Be2 In the game Keene-Lauri, Malta 1985, I tried 8 h4. 8 ... a6 9 dxc6 An interesting decision. I would prefer 9 h4 or possibly 9 Be3. 9 ... bxc6 A decent alternative is 9 ... Nxc6 since the presence of the white knight on g3 makes d4 ripe for a black invasion. 10 Bg5 h6 11 Be3 Qc7 12 Qd2 h5 13 0-0 (see diagram 1) 13 ... Be6 Missing the point of his own play. Black should play 13 ... h4, driving White’s knight to the unpalatable square h1. 14 Rad1 Rd8 15 f4 Ng4 After this misstep, White is winning. The only way to create counterplay is by 15 ... exf4 16 Bxf4 Nbd7 17 Bxd6 Qa7+ 18 Kh1 Ne5. 16 f5 Nxe3 17 Qxe3 Bc8 18 fxg6 fxg6 19 Qg5 Kh7 (see diagram 2) 20 Bxh5 A neat sacrifice to demolish the shelter around the black king. 20 ... gxh5 21 Nxh5 Ra7 22 Rf6 The nine-year-old has seen a remarkable finish but the simple 22 Nxg7 also wins easily. 22 ... Qb6+ 23 Kh1 Re7 24 Rdf1 White also wins with 24 Rg6 and 24 Rh6+. 24 ... Qc7 25 Rh6+ Bxh6 26 Nf6+ Kh8 27 Qxh6+ Rh7 28 Nxh7 Qxh7 29 Qf6+ Black resigns

The rapid and blitz sections of the St Louis leg of the Chess Grand Tour resulted in victory for the American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, ahead of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov and Fabiano Caruana. The puzzle shows a needle game between the winner and one of his main rivals.