7th Howard Staunton Memorial (10)
Dulce et decorum est...
FM Steve Giddins - Tuesday 18th August 2009
England draw final round to take the match.
Dulce et decorum est...
|Round 10 (August 17, 2009) UK 2.5 Netherlands 2.5|
|Smeets, Jan||- McShane, Luke J||1-0||34||C67||Ruy Lopez Berlin|
|Werle, Jan||- Howell, David W L||½-½||44||D98||Gruenfeld Smyslov|
|Van Wely, Loek||- Short, Nigel D||0-1||44||E34||Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2|
|L'Ami, Erwin||- Adams, Michael||½-½||19||E04||Catalan|
|Sokolov, Ivan||- Jones, Gawain C B||½-½||21||E70||King's Indian Fianchetto|
There is something about team events, especially national ones, which brings out the hero in people. Players who are sometimes a little lacking in motivation when playing for themselves frequently find that extra bit of incentive when representing their country. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, etc. In yesterday's final round of the 2009 Staunton Memorial tournament, the Dutch players needed a bit of this national pride and team spirit, as they faced a three-point deficit, and England required only three draws from the five games, to secure overall match victory.
At first, however, things did not look great for the Dutch team. L'Ami achieved very little as White with his Catalan, and agreed a draw with Adams at move 19. Shortly afterwards, Sokolov-Jones went the same way, the Englishman having equalized very comfortably with some active play in the King's Indian. Already, England could not lose the match, and another half point would do the trick. However, the situation on the other boards was less clear. Jan Smeets had achieved an imposing position against McShane, whose Berlin Wall proved every bit as fragile as its political namesake:
M Smeets,J 2632 - GM McShane,L 2620
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.0-0 Nxe4 5.d4 Nd6 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.dxe5 Nf5 8.Qxd8+ Kxd8 9.Nc3 h6 10.h3 Ne7 11.Be3 Ng6 12.Rad1+ Ke8 13.a3 Be7 14.Rfe1 Nf8 15.Nd4 c5 16.Nd5 Bd8 17.Ne2 b6 18.Ng3 Ne6 19.Ne4 Kf8 20.f4 c6 21.Ndc3 g6 22.Nd6 Kg7 23.Nce4 h5
24.f5 gxf5 25.Nxf5+ Kg6 26.Rf1 Ng7 27.Nxg7 Kxg7 28.Nd6 f6 29.exf6+ Bxf6 30.Nxc8 Raxc8 31.Rd7+ Kg6 32.Rd6 Rhf8 33.Bd2 Rcd8 34.Rfxf6+ 1-0
So Dutch hopes remained alive. In the two remaining games, van Wely had a nice advantage against Short, whilst Werle had misplayed the opening against Howell and was struggling. English hopes clearly rested on Howell, but this was not to be. Nigel Short has been the player of this year's event, and had one more shot in his locker.
Loek Van Wely
If there is one player in either team who can be relied upon to fight to the death, it is Loek van Wely, and such was the case here. After achieving some advantage in the opening, he had manoeuvered most adroitly in the queenless middlegame, and indeed, after the game, Short was full of praise for his opponent's play. However, Short's defence had been stubborn and had cost van Wely a great deal of time on the clock, and this now played the decisive role. After the game, the players established that 37.Bf1! would have placed Black in an extremely serious position. However, Loek continued:
37.Ke2 Nf6 38.Ke3 Kg8 39.g5 Nh5
and now, on the last move of the time control, he committed the fatal mistake, with the breakthrough.
40.d5?? exd5 41.cxd5 Rxc2 42.Rxc2 Re8+!
The move van Wely had missed. White is lost.
43.Kd4 Bxd3 44.Rc6 Nf5+ 0-1
England had won! One had to feel for van Wely, who was left to recall the Latin tag, immortalized so bitterly by Wilfred Owen:
Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori
Loek did not look as though he felt it was very sweet or fitting, but at least he had tried. From an English point of view, victory was sweet, and it was also fitting that Nigel should score the decisive point. His overall score was a remarkable 8/10, and included victories against all five of the Dutch players.
In the final game, Werle and Howell battled to a draw, with the latter missing at least one clear win with 31...Bd4.
So, the overall result of the Anglo-Dutch contest was a win for England by 26.5 - 23.5. At the Prize-Giving later that evening, Jan Smeets won the prize for the best score by a Dutch player, and Short for the best English result. Best Game prizes went to Smeets, for his win against Adams, and David Howell, for his victory over Ivan Sokolov.
In the all-play-all group, Cherniaev beat Chapman with Black, to give himself a chance of shared first, but it was not enough, as Timman beat Davies to take outright first. And in another truly fitting moment, the last game to finish, in the entire event, involved, who else but Victor Korchnoi. The amazing Victor ground out a long endgame win with Black against Peter Wells, to complete a 3/3 finish and secure third prize. If my calculator does not deceive me, Victor played a total of 549 moves in his nine games, for an average of 60 per game!
And with that, my coverage of the 2009 Staunton Memorial comes to an end. I thank our sponsors, Jan Mol and Terry Chapman, plus all the players and organisers, for what has been another wonderful event. I hope you have enjoyed the reports, and hope to see you all again next year.
FM Steve Giddins
|7th Staunton Memorial Scheveningen London (ENG), 8-17 viii 2009
Final Round 10 Standings
|2||Howell,David W L||2614||||||||5.0/10|
|5||Jones,Gawain C B||2554|||||||||||||||||4.0/10|
|7th Staunton Memorial GM London (ENG), 8-17 viii 2009||cat. IX (2463)|
|1.||Timman, Jan H||g||NED||2569||*||½||0||1||1||1||1||½||1||1||7||2670|
|4.||Davies, Nigel R||g||ENG||2493||0||½||½||*||1||½||½||0||1||1||5||2502|
|7.||Williams, Simon K||g||ENG||2527||0||0||0||½||1||½||*||1||½||1||4½||2455|
|8.||Wells, Peter K||g||ENG||2498||½||½||0||1||½||0||0||*||½||1||4||2415|
|10.||Chapman, Terry P D||ENG||2232||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||*||1||2137|
|Round 9 (August 17, 2009)|
|Timman, Jan H||- Davies, Nigel R||1-0||53||B42||Sicilian Paulsen|
|Wiersma, Eelke||- Hendriks, Willy||½-½||18||A43||Old Benoni|
|Williams, Simon K||- Trent, Lawrence||½-½||7||D09||Albin Counter Gambit|
|Wells, Peter K||- Korchnoi, Viktor||0-1||62||E11||Bogo Indian Defence|
|Chapman, Terry P D||- Cherniaev, Alexander||0-1||46||A24||English Opening|
Report by Steve Giddins. Official site: http://howardstaunton.com/hsmt2009/Home.html