Alan Tate and Graham Morrison are both closing in on the International Master title and next year looks promising in general, as the 2012 Scottish Championship will be an attractive event held in Glasgow in July. On the other hand, our top players did not play much chess in 2011, as all five grandmasters are working full time in more reliable careers.
Chess Scotland’s slow and steady year looks inspired compared to the problems south of the Border. In 2011 the English Chess Federation found itself in a lengthy and unpleasant dispute with one of its most loyal and effective volunteers – the manager of the British Championship. Now the year is ending with the news that the ECF is involved in a lawsuit against the World Chess Federation regarding the number of vice-presidents the WCF is allowed to have. The ECF’s legal expenses will apparently be paid by an anonymous individual. ECF members were surprised to learn of this lawsuit on an independent internet forum rather than at their recent AGM.
Returning to on-board activities, Edinburgh’s Neil Berry was the co-creator of one of the year’s most entertaining draws at a recent event in London.
White: J Guiot; Black: N Berry. Opening: King’s Gambit.
1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 g5 4 h4 g4 5 Ne5 Nf6 6 Nxg4 Nxe4 7 d3 Ng3 8 Bxf4! Qe7+ Instead 8...Nxh1 wins a rook but loses the queen: 9 Qe2+ Qe7 (and not 9...Be7?? 10 Nf6+ Kf8 11 Bh6 mate) 10 Nf6+ Kd8 11 Bxc7+ Kxc7 12 Nd5+ Even so, Black would have enough material to compensate for the queen. 9 Be2 Nxe2 9...Nxh1? is hit hard by 10 Bg5 probably followed by Nf6+. 10 Qxe2 Qxe2+ 11 Kxe2 The queens are gone, but there are plenty of tricks left in the position. 11...Bg7 12 Nc3 d5 13 Ne5 c6 14 Kd2 Be6 15 Rae1 Nd7 16 g4 0–0–0 17 Nxd7 Kxd7 18 Rhg1 h6 19 Be5 Bxe5 20 Rxe5 Rdg8 21 g5 f6 22 Rxe6 Kxe6 23 g6 h5 24 Ne2 Rh6 25 Nd4+ Ke5? Berry has played excellently, but now falls into the final trap. 25...Kd7! would eventually have won. 26 Re1+! Kf4! After 26...Kxd4 27 b4! the king is caged and 28 c3 will be mate. 27 Rf1+ Kg4 28 Rg1+ Kf4 Black has no sensible way to avoid the repetition. 29 Rf1+ Kg4 30 Rg1+ Kf4 31 Rf1+ Draw Agreed.