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Hastings Chess Congress 2009-10 (9)

Final Round 9 Report

Steven Giddins reports on the final round of the Hastings Chess Congress 2009-10

Nunc est bibendum

The 2009-10 Hastings Masters ended in a fourway tie for first place, between Mark Hebden of England, British Champion David Howell, Andrei Istratescu of Roumania,  and Romain Edouard of France.

To nobody's great surprise, the two leaders, Hebden and Istratescu, halved out in 11 moves. This left them safely ensconced in the clubhouse on 7 points, from which they could observe the attempts of the various 6-pointers to catch them up. Gormally-Drozdovskij never looked like ending in anything other than a draw, but Romain Edouard defeated Simon Ansell with Black, to join the leaders. Finally, in the last few minutes up to the first time-control, they were joined by David Howell, whose opponent lost the thread in the time-scramble:

Hracek,Zbynek (2624) - Howell,David W L (2597) [C84]

Hastings Masters

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d3 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a4 b4 9.Nbd2 d6 10.a5 Be6 11.Nc4 Qc8 12.h3 h6 13.Be3 Rb8 14.Nfd2 Nh7 15.Ba4 Nd8 16.f4 exf4 17.Bxf4 f5 18.exf5 Bxf5 19.Qe2 Ne6 20.Be3 Kh8 21.Nb3 Bg6 22.Rxf8+ Nhxf8 23.Nd4 Nxd4 24.Bxd4 Ne6 25.Ba7 Ra8 26.Be3 Bf6 27.Bc6 Nd4 28.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 29.Kh1 Rb8 30.Rf1 Bf6 31.Qe3 Qd8 32.Qa7 b3 33.cxb3 Rxb3 34.Re1 d5 35.Ne5

35...Bxe5 36.Rxe5 Rxd3 37.Qc5 Qf6 38.Rxd5 Qf1+ 39.Qg1 Rxh3+ 40.gxh3 Qxh3+ 41.Qh2 Qf1+ 42.Qg1 Be4+ 43.Kh2 Qe2+ 44.Kh3 Bxd5 45.Bxd5 Qh5+ 46.Kg3 Qxd5 47.Qa7 Qb3+ 48.Kg4 Qc4+ 49.Kg3 Kh7 50.b4 h5 51.b5 Qxb5 52.Qxc7 Qg5+ 53.Kh2 h4 54.Qc4 Qg3+ 55.Kh1 Qf3+ 56.Kh2 h3 57.Qc2+ Kh6 58.Qc1+ Kh5 59.Qc5+ g5 60.Qc2 Qg2+ 0-1

Jonathan Hawkins won his last-round game, to secure his third IM norm and the title, on which we offer our heartiest congratulations. Sadly, Bob Eames missed out, after losing a must-win game against Natalia Zdebskaja, whose 3.5/4 finish lifted her to a share of 5-8th places. Martin Mitchell also missed a norm, when he lost to Andrew Martin, as did Elias Demac of Norway, who went down to Andrew Greet. Lower down, young Peter Williams, who has been one of the stars of this past week, capped an excellent performance, by beating the highly experienced Petr Marusenko, after a dramatic struggle.

The £100 Horntye Park best game prize goes to Simon Williams, who produced a stunningly imaginative queen sacrifice, to beat Andrew Green in the final round. In all honesty, I (the judge of the prize) have had no time in which to establish whether it is fully sound, but my  reasoning is that if it is, it certainly deserves the prize, and arguably it does so, even if not!

Williams,Simon K (2550) - Green,Andrew D (2151) [A00]

Hastings Masters (9.24), 05.01.2010

1.f4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.c4 d6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nc3 0-0 6.e4 c5 7.d5 e6 8.e5 dxe5 9.fxe5 Ng4 10.Bg5 Qa5 11.Be2 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.0-0 f6 14.Bh6 Rf7 15.Ne4 Bd4+

16.Qxd4 cxd4 17.Nxf6+ Kh8 18.Ne8 Rf5 19.g4 exd5 20.gxf5 Bxf5 21.Bf3 dxc4 22.Bxb7 Qb5 23.Nd6 Qb6 24.Rae1 d3+ 25.Kh1 Nd7 26.Bxa8 Nf6 27.Nxf5 gxf5 28.Rxf5 1-0

Thus, another Hastings comes to an end, in many ways one of the most enjoyable I ever remember. Many thanks to everyone involved in sponsoring and running the event, and to all the players, for making it such a great 9 days of chess.

And now, as monk-copyists used to write at the end of manuscripts, Nunc scripto totum pro Christo ta mihi potum - now that I have written so much for Christ, give me a drink! In my case, it is Caissa rather than Christ, but the sentiment remains the same! Ultimum vale.

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