Chess - The Scotsman 30/06/2012
The 1st Scottish Blitz Chess Championship ended earlier this month in triumph for Italian GM Sabino Brunello. His winning score of 10/11 was extraordinary in such a strong field. My own result was a respectable 7/11 with all four losses to grandmasters, including a final-round defeat by the winner. The title of Scottish blitz champion was won on 8/11 by Edinburgh FM Neil Berry.
Next Saturday the chess will be at a more sedate pace as the Scottish Championship starts at the Trades Hall in Glasgow. Berry will be in the field trying to continue his winning streak. As at the blitz event, the Scottish Championship is open to all nationalities with the title going to the highest-scoring Scot. Thus the top seeds and favourites for the prize money are grandmasters from India, Hungary and Bulgaria. Some feel that the Scottish title should be decided in a Scots-only event, but I much prefer the multinational approach. The healthy level of entries suggests that many Scots prefer the exotic challenge of a foreign GM to facing a local rival for the 80th time.
The following game is one of my blitz losses. The winner is English GM Keith Arkell, who later this year will be the non-playing captain of the Scottish Olympiad team that will compete in Istanbul.
White K Arkell; Black: J Shaw. Opening: Slav Defence.
1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 dxc4 5 a4 Bf5 6 Nh4 e6 7 Nxf5 exf5 8 Bg5 Nbd7 9 e3 Qa5 10 Bxf6 Nxf6 11 Bxc4 Bb4 12 Qb3 0–0 13 0–0 Rab8 14 Rfd1 g6 15 Rac1 Kg7 16 h3 Ne4 17 Nxe4 fxe4 18 d5 Rbd8 I knew this lost a pawn but I had spotted that I had a trick at the end of the line. 19 dxc6 bxc6 20 Rxd8 Rxd8 21 Bxf7 Be1! The threats against f2 mean that Black is at least level. 22 Be6 22 Rd1 was a safer defence. 22...Qd2? I had a brainwave that this was stronger than my original plan of 22...Bxf2+! when 23 Kxf2? would lose the rook to 23...Qd2+. So instead, White would have to move his king away, when Black has levelled the material and seized the initiative. 23 Qc3+ Now I triumphantly played 23...Qxf2+ and was reaching out to press the clock when Keith pointed out I was already in check. In blitz chess, illegal moves lose the game if you have pressed the clock. So I was able to continue: 23...Qxc3 24 bxc3 Bd2 25 Rd1 White has good winning chances and did indeed win when I later left my king in check for a second time... White won.
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