Chess Man

By Keene, Raymond | The Spectator, August 6, 2005 | Go to article overview

Chess Man


Keene, Raymond, The Spectator


The Smith & Williamson British Chess Championship is under way on the Isle of Man. The favourite this year is undoubtedly the defending champion, Scottish grandmaster Jonathan Rowson, who will be seeking to repeat his success of last year, walking away with a £10,000 first prize. This week's game and puzzle celebrate his achievements.

Rowson-Kelly: Varsity Match 1998; Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 do 6 Be3 a6 7 Qd2 An old and somewhat neglected variation. In recent years White has tended to prefer 7 Be2 followed by 0-0 and f4. White intends here to castle on the other wing and, as the further course of the game shows, this line is possibly due for a revival. 7 ... Nf6 8 0-0-0 Be7 9 f4 0-0 10 Be2 Bd7 11 g4 Nxd4 12 Qxd4 Bc6 13 g5 Nd7 14 Rhgl e5 15 fxe5 Also good is 15 Qd2 exf4 16 Bxf4 Ne5 17 h4 b5 18 h5 Rc8 19 Kb1 Qc7 20 g6 as in Ghinda-Schmidt, Warsaw 1979, also won by White. 15 ...Nxe5 If 15 ... dxe5, preserving the integrity of his pawn structure, then 16 Qc4 followed, if necessary, by a combination of Bg4 and Nd5 will keep White on top. 16 Rg3 Rc8 17 Bc4 Normally White likes to preserve his light-squared bishop in such positions but here he realises that Black will have to swap off his own best-placed piece, the knight on e5, to prevent White dominating the light squares by means of Bd5. 17 ... Nxc4 18 Qxc4 b5 19 Qb3 Qd7 Allowing White an immediate breakthrough, but if 19 ...Kh8 then 20 h4 followed by Bd4 keeps up the pressure. 20 g6 Qe6 If 20 . …

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