Raymond Keene

Royal shame

Royal shame
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Nine-year-old Shreyas Royal, widely regarded as the UK’s best hope to become a future world chess champion, is being deported from the country next month because his father, although in regular employment, does not have earnings that reach the necessary threshold of £120,000 per annum. The chess world is in uproar about this, not least because Shreyas has already been invited to make the ceremonial first move in the Carlsen-Caruana World Championship match to be held in London at the College, Holborn, in November.

The case has attracted acid comment from John Cleese on social media and the former chess champion Rachel Reeves MP has written an eloquent plea to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid requesting clemency. My prediction, which I fervently hope is totally wrong, will be that officialdom refuses to listen and that this supremely talented boy will be expelled from this country. An example of Shreyas’s great talent arose in the following position from the Major Open section of this year’s British Championship where he crashed through with the Rf6 sacrificial theme which formed the topic of this column last week.

Royal-Jayawarna: ECF Major Open, Hull 2018

(see diagram 1)

White has already sacrificed a piece and with the following decisive thrust he brings up further attackers. 22 Rf6 Qb6+ After 22 ... Bxf6 23 Nxf6+ Kh8 24 Qh6+ wins. 23 Kh1 Re7 24 Rdf1 Qc7 White now finishes off very efficiently. 25 Rh6+ Bxh6 26 Nf6+ Kh8 27 Qxh6+ Rh7 28 Nxh7 Qxh7 29 Qf6+ Black resigns

The British Championship itself went to grandmaster Michael Adams, his sixth title, after a titanic play-off against grandmaster Luke McShane who had tied for first place with him in the main tournament.

Adams-McShane: British Championship Play-off, Hull 2018

(see diagram 2)

34 h4+ This sacrifice allows White to co-ordinate his rooks very effectively and drive the black king into an uncomfortable position. 34 ... Kxh4 35 Rxh6+ Kg5 36 Rh5+ Kf6 37 Rc6+ Ke7 38 Rh7 Rb8 39 Re6+ Kf8 40 Rh8+ Kg7 41 Rxb8 fxe6 42 fxe6 Kf6 43 Ra8 Kxe6 44 a7 Kf7 45 Rh8 Black resigns White wins with the well-known rook and pawn endgame ‘skewer trick’. After 45 ... Rxa7 46 Rh7+ picks up the rook.