Malcolm Pein on…Blackburn’s Victory


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Malcolm Pein on…Blackburn’s Victory

After the pandemic prevented the Welsh Championships from being played over the Easter weekend both last year and this, the event emigrated online. The Welsh Online Chess Championship took place on the Lichess platform over the second May Bank Holiday weekend.

Regular Welsh Olympiad team member Jonathan Blackburn triumphed with 5.5/7, despite being defeated by fellow FM Gregorz Toczek. In turn Toczek lost to Tim Kett and James Thomas, with four-time Welsh Champion Kett claiming second place on 5/7.

Kett made good use of a surprise weapon against the Pirc Defence. After 5.e5!?, I have always favoured 5…Nfd7 when 6.f4 can be met by 6…0-0 7.Nf3 Nb6 followed by …f6, as played by Ivanchuk.

T. Kett – I. Jones
Welsh Online Championship 2021
Pirc Defence Byrne Variation

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bg5 Bg7 5.e5 dxe5 6.dxe5 Qxd1+ 7.Rxd1 Ng4?? (Falling into the trap. 7…Nfd7! 8.Nd5! Bxe5 9.Nf3 e6 10.Nxe5 exd5 11.Rxd5 is slightly better for White, but Black is very much still on the board after 11…0–0) 8.h3! h6 (Black’s problem is that 8…Nxe5 9.Nd5 leaves him without a good way to cover c7; and 8…Nh6 9.Nd5 is also fatal) 9.Bf4 Nxe5 10.Nd5 Kd8 11.Nb6+ Nbd7 12.Nxa8 c6 13.a4 (13.Be3! was even stronger, and if 13…b6 14.f4 , when White will be a rook ahead) 13…b6 14.a5 b5 15.Be3 Bb7 16.f4 Nc4 17.Bxc4 bxc4 18.Bxa7 Bxa8 19.Bd4 (White’s extra exchange really ought to count and Kett made no mistake from here) 19…f6? (19…Bxd4 20.Rxd4 c5 21.Rxc4 Bxg2 22.Rh2 Bd5 was the only try) 20.Nf3 Kc7 21.0-0 c5 22.Bc3 Re8 23.Rfe1 Bf8 24.Nh4 g5 25.fxg5 hxg5 26.Ng6 e5 27.Nxf8 Nxf8 28.Rf1 Re6 29.Rf2 Ng6 30.g3 Ne7

Test Your Strength

How did White now force immediate resignation?

Test Your Strength

T. Kett – J. Blackburn

White has just blundered with 20.Bf1-b5??, overlooking what?

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answers.

Answer One: 31.Rxf6! 1–0 After 31…Rxf6 32.Bxe5+ regains the rook while bagging two pawns.

Answer Two: 20…e3! 21.Bxe3 (21.Rd1 exd2+ 22. Rxd2 e4 would be hopeless for White) 21…Bxb1 22.0-0 Be4 23.Bxc6 bxc6 24.fxe5 Rb1 25.Rxb1 Bxb1 26.exf6 gxf6 and Black converted his extra exchange.

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