This weekend Scottish chess fans will have their eyes on Prestwick Airport. The Prestwick weekend congress started yesterday, continues today, and ends tomorrow at the Aviator Suite. The field includes three former Scottish champions – Burns-Mannion, Tate and Jamieson – as well as local Ayrshire star Ali Roy, who is British Girls Under-16 Champion.
The Scottish players face a formidable challenge as the top seed is the world-class Lithuanian grandmaster Sarunas Sulskis. Sulskis has a wealth of playing and coaching experience and was originally trained at the legendary chess school created by ex-World Champions Botvinnik and Kasparov.
Tonight Sulskis is also giving a talk and a simultaneous display at the Parkstone Hotel in Prestwick.
Sulskis is renowned as a creative attacking player who rarely draws. In the following recent game he proved too strong for an experienced IM from Finland.
White: S Sulskis; Black: K Kiik. Opening: Old Indian Defence.
1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 f3 e5 4 Ne2 Be7 5 Be3 0–0 6 c4 c6 7 Nbc3 Nbd7 8 d5 cxd5 9 cxd5 Nh5 10 Qd2 a6 11 Ng3 Sulskis is determined to open the h-file even at the expense of a pawn. 11...Bh4 12 0–0–0 Bxg3 13 hxg3 Nxg3 14 Rh3! A far-sighted decision. Many players would have put the rook on h2, safe from the influence of the c8-bishop, but Sulskis has anticipated that he must triple his major pieces on the h-file. 14...Nxf1 15 Rxf1 Re8 Instead 15...Nb6 apparently creates a double threat of ...Bxh3 and ...Nc4 but only one of the threats is real: 16 g4! Nc4 17 Qh2 and Black is lost as 17...Nxe3 18 Rxh7 forces mate or 17...h6 18 Bxh6 also crashes through on the h-file. 16 g4 Nf8 17 Rfh1 f6? This is Black’s only clear mistake in the game. His queen needed the f6-square to later cover the g7-pawn. 17...Bd7 was a sturdier defence when 18 Qh2 Qf6 is still unclear. If White sacrifices on h7 then the black king can run to f8 and then potentially e7. 18 Qh2! Now White wins by force. 18...Kf7 19 Rxh7 Giving up the exchange to keep the initiative flowing. 19...Nxh7 20 Qxh7 Rg8 21 g5 Kf8 Or 21...fxg5 fails to 22 Rh6 Kf8 23 Rg6. 22 f4 Blasting open the kingside ends the game. 22...exf4 23 Bxf4 Bg4 24 Rf1 f5 In trying to keep the f-file closed, Black uncovers a fresh weakness. 25 Qg6 Black resigned, as he has no good answer to Bxd6+.