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Hastings Chess Congress 2010-11 (6)

Hastings Round 6 Report

Steve Giddins reports on a bad day for the local players in Round 6 at Hastings.

Brits Blown Away

The sixth round of the 2010/11 Hastings Masters was not a great day for the Brits. The top four boards saw four British players facing four foreign players, but despite having White in three of the games, the net British takings were just half a point. Even that came in rather controversial and disappointing fashion, as Gormally-Istratescu ended in a repetition after just eight (!) moves. On top board, David Howell's impressive run of wins came to an end, as he lost rather a feeble game against rating top seed Edouard. Howell departed from his usual 1.e4 in favour of the d-pawn, but seemed unfamiliar with the resulting Benoni position. A queenside pawn push only resulted in weaknesses and the loss of the initiative, and in time-trouble, the Black passed c-pawn was suddenly queening.

Howell,David (2616) - Edouard,Romain (2620) [A62]

Hastings Masters (6.1), 02.01.2011

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3 c5 4 d5 exd5 5 cxd5 d6 6 Nc3 g6 7 Bg2 Bg7 8 Nf3 0-0 9 0-0 Nbd7 10 a4 b6 11 h3 Qe7 12 Re1 Ne4 13 Nxe4 Qxe4 14 Bf4 Qe7 15 e4 Ne5 16 Nxe5 Bxe5 17 Qd2 Re8 18 Ra3 Bd7

19 b4?! This leads to a weakening of the kingside structure. 19...Bxf4 20 gxf4 Qf6 21 Rb1 cxb4 22 Rxb4 Rac8 Black already has a firm initiative, and with time-trouble approaching, David collapses rather quickly. 23 a5 b5 24 a6 Rc4 25 Rxc4 bxc4 26 Kh2 Bb5 27 Ra5? c3 28 Qe3 c2

29 Rxb5? Qa1 0-1 Not a good day at the office for Howell.

Mark Hebden was another who had a day to forget.

Hebden,Mark (2556) - Shyam,Sundar M (2414) [D00]

Hastings Masters (6.3), 02.01.2011

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Bf4 Bg7 5 Qd2 Ne4 6 Nxe4 dxe4 7 Ne5 0-0 8 0-0-0 Qd5 9 b3 Nc6 10 Nxc6 Qxc6 11 e3 Bg4 12 Be2 Bxe2 13 Qxe2 b5 14 f3 f5 15 Bg5 a5 16 Bxe7 Rfe8 17 Bc5 exf3 18 gxf3 Bh6 19 Rd3

Mark's favourite "Barry System" has not yielded a very impressive position, and now the Indian IM struck with the combination 19...Rxe3! 20 Rxe3 Re8 and White is already pretty much busted. Hebden tried 21 Re1 Rxe3 22 Qxe3 Bxe3+ 23 Rxe3 but could not hold the ending. 23...g5 24 Kb2 h5 25 h3 f4 26 Re5 Qxf3 27 Rxg5+ Kf7 28 h4 b4 29 Rf5+ Kg6 30 Rg5+ Kf6 31 Ba7 Qc3+ 32 Kb1 Qe1+ 33 Kb2 Qxh4 34 Rxa5 f3 35 Ra6+ Kf7 36 Bc5 f2 37 Ra8 Qh3 0-1

To complete the British disaster, Richard Bates lost the exchange against the young Indian player Prasanna and was ground down. This leaves the 16-year old Indian talent in joint first on 5/6. Kotronias won his third straight game to move within half a point of the leaders, whilst on board 6, young Ryan Rhys Griffiths held Neverov to a solid draw. Thomas Rendle provided soem British cheer, by ending the fine run of the Indonesian lady, Chkartina.

There were few publishable games at the top, and overall, yesterday's round was more characterised by blunders than brilliancies. There were certainly one or two corking examples of the former, so I will cheer you up with a bit of Monday morning schadenfreude. I will spare the players' blushes by withholding names, although my nasty streak compels to point out that you can always identifying the culprits, by searching for the positions amongst the complete round 6 PGN file, which is available on the official website!


11...g6?? 12.Qxf6 1-0

9...b5?? 10 Bd5 Nxd5 11 Qxd5 1-0

18 Bh3?? Bxf2+! 19 Kxf2 Nb6 0-1

17...Raf5?? 18 g4 d5 19 Qxf5 1-0

After two-thirds of the tournament, four players share the lead on 5/6: Edouard, Prasanna, Shyam and Howell. Thy are followed at half a point's distance by Istratescu, Rendle, Kotronias and Gormally. Amongst the 4-point group, mention should be made of Adam Ashton, Jovica Radovanovic and, especially, Gunnar Berg Hanssen of Norway, who is rated just 2218.

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