23 AUGUST 1997, Page 52






Raymond Keene

THE BRITISH Chess Championship in Hove has resulted in a shared title, the vic- tors being Michael Adams and Matthew Sadler. The tournament proper produced a deadlock between Adams, Sadler, Miles and Emms. The British Chess Federation then instituted a play-off, but Adams and Sadler scored equally well and it was decid- ed to share the championship title between them. Although Adams could not exceed Sadler's score in the play-off, he did have the satisfaction of winning their individual game.

Adams—Sadler: Smith & Williamson British Championship Play-off 1997; Sicilian Defence.

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 g3 a6 7 Bg2 Nf6 8 0-0 Be7 The modern main line. In former times Black used to play 8 ... Nxd4 9 Qxd4 Bc5 but then 10 Bf4 gives White an edge. 9 Rel d6 10 Nxc6 bxc6 11 e5 dxe5 12 RxeS 0-0 Of course, 12 , Qxe5 permits 13 Bxc6+ dis- rupting Black's camp and winning material. 13 Bf4 Qb7 14 b3 (Diagram) A move quite in Position after 14 b3

Adams's style, securing his queen's flank and preparing play against Black's shattered pawns on a6 and c6. Established theory though recog- nises the sharp alternative 14 Re2 as in the game

Georgiev– Ribli, Wijk aan Zee 1989. 14 ...Nd5 Black's best prospect is to straighten out his cen- tral pawn structure in this fashion. 15 Nxd5 exd5 16 Rel Bb4 17 Bd2 Bg4 18 Qxg4 Bxd2 19 Re2 Bc3 20 Rdl Rfe8 21 Rd3 Bf6 22 Rde3 Rxe3 23 Rxe3 a5 In spite of exchanges and some highly ingenious tactical play by Black, Adams retains a distinct set of strategic advantages, including control of the e-file and sounder pawns. 24 h4 Qc8 Black's idea is to trade queens but it might have been better to continue with the consistent 24 ... a4 to eradicate one of his weaknesses. 25 Qf4 Qb8 26 Qa4 (Diagram) 26 ...Qb5 A blunder Position after 26 Qa4 losing a pawn. After 26 ... Qd6 Black can still defend. 27 Qxb5 cxb5 28 Bxd5 Rd8 29 c4 Kf8 30 Kfl h6 31 h5 Be7 32 Rf3 Bf6 33 Re3 Be7 34 Keg Bc5 35 Rf3 Rd7 36 Rf5 Although only a pawn down and with the presence of opposite bishops, a notorious drawing factor, in his favour, Black still has numerous weak points in his position to defend, including the pawns on 1'7, b5 and a5. 36

bxc4 37 Bxc4 Bb4 38 Ke3 Re7+ 39 Kd4 Rd7+ 40 Bd5 Rc7 41 g4 Ke8 42 Bc4 Rd7+ 43 Ke4 Rc7 44 Rb5 Bel 45 f4 Bd2 46 g5 a4 47 gxh6 gxh6 48

Rb6 axb3 49 axb3 Re7+ 50 Kf5 Rc7 In practice such positions are hopeless to defend. White can afford to miss the most accurate path, but if Black makes one defensive mistake, he is doomed. 51 Rxh6 Kf8 52 Ra6 RcS+ 53 Kg4 Bc3 54 Raj Kg7 55 BxI7 Kh6 56 Bg8 (Diagram) Position after 56 Bg8 Black resigns White threatens Rh7 mate and if Black parries this with 56 Bg7 then 57 Ra6+ wins material. An excellent example of the kind of patient tournament technique which garners points.

Crosstable for British Championship Play-off

1 2 3 4

1. Sadler

0 1 1 2 2. Adams 1 * -,2


2 3. Miles 0


* 1


4. Emms 0


0 *

1/2 The Mind Sports Olympiad is currently in progress at London's Royal Festival Hall and continues until Sunday, 24 August. Spectators are welcome to attend free of charge to see the 1,400+ contestants in action. The most popular games proved to be the Times crossword championship with 392, chess with 162, Countdown with 100, 10x10 draughts with 94 and bridge with 87.