Chess - The Scotsman 29/06/13

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THE Scottish Blitz Championship ended in triumph for German Number 1 Arkadij Naiditsch. The title of Scottish Blitz Champion, awarded to the top Scot, went to Edinburgh’s Keti Arakhamia-Grant, who overcame a slow start (two losses in the first three rounds to low-rated players) by beating the top two seeds, Naiditsch and Adams, in the final two rounds.

Throughout the event there were of course some chaotic game results, but the strongest players ended up in the top places. From a field of over a hundred, the top ten places were taken by Grandmasters or International Masters.

I finished in an almost respectable sixth equal. It might have been higher had I not lost from a winning position against Naiditsch. I believe the horrors of that game were captured on video, so one day I may be able to figure out what went wrong. The following moves from another game of mine from the Championship were recreated from my fallible memory. I managed to sacrifice two pieces unsoundly and still end up with a lucky win against one of Scotland’s most promising players.

White: J Shaw; Black: C Sreeves. Opening: King’s Gambit.

1 e4 e5 2 f4 Bc5 3 Nf3 d6 4 Nc3 Nf6 5 Bc4 Nc6 6 d3 Na5 7 Bxf7+? This is nowhere close to working, but I wanted to attack at all costs. 7 Bb3 was more sensible. 7...Kxf7 8 fxe5 dxe5 9 Nxe5+ Kg8 10 Nf3 I have two pawns for a piece, which is not enough. My pipedream was to push my central pawns all the way to the other side of the board. 10...Nc6 11 Bg5 Bg4 12 Qd2 Bxf3 13 gxf3 Qd4 14 0–0–0 h6 Instead 14...Qf2 15 Ne2 Nd4 would have practically forced an exchange of queens and ended all my hopes. 15 Bxf6 Qxf6 16 Nd5 Qxf3 17 Rhf1 Qh5 18 Nxc7 Rc8 19 Ne6 Nd4 20 Nxc5 Rxc5 21 c3 Rc8 22 Kb1 Nc6 23 d4 Kh7 24 e5 Rhf8 25 Rg1 Qf5+ 26 Ka1 Qe4 27 Rde1 Qd5 28 Qc2+ Kh8 29 Rg3 Rf4 Now I thought I saw a winning rook sacrifice, but I missed that the black king could run in more than one direction. 30 Rxg7?? Instead after 30 Qg6 I am in trouble but still fighting. 30...Kxg7 31 Rg1+ Kh8?? Black shared my hallucination. After either 31...Kf8 or 31...Kf7 Black would win, as there are no real threats to make up for the rook and knight deficit. 32 Qg6 Qf7 A tougher defence was 32...Rc7 but after 33 Qxh6+ Rh7 34 Qxf4 I would have won eventually. 33 Qxh6+ Qh7 34 Qxf4 Rg8 35 Qf6+ Rg7 36 d5 Now my pawns are unstoppable. 36...Nd8 37 Qxd8+ Black resigned.