Sunday 26 March 2017

133 players took part in the Cork Chess Congress took place last weekend. As always, it was a well-organised and enjoyable event. Desmond Beatty won the Minor section, while Luke Scott and Patrick O'Sullivan tied for first place in the Major section. GM Alex Baburin (myself!) won the Master tournament with 5.5 points out of 6. Swedish player Michael De Verdier, who has been working in Cork for the past two years, came clear second with 5 points. Here's my last round game from this tournament:

133 players took part in the Cork Chess Congress took place last weekend. As always, it was a well-organised and enjoyable event. Desmond Beatty won the Minor section, while Luke Scott and Patrick O'Sullivan tied for first place in the Major section. GM Alex Baburin (myself!) won the Master tournament with 5.5 points out of 6. Swedish player Michael De Verdier, who has been working in Cork for the past two years, came clear second with 5 points. Here's my last round game from this tournament:

Moran - Baburin 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6

3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5

5.Bg5 c6 6.Qc2 Nbd7

7.e3 Be7 8.Bd3 Nh5

9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Nf3 g6

11.0-0 0-0 12.Rab1 a5

13.a3 Ng7 14.b4 axb4

15.axb4 Nb6 16.Ne2?!

This passive move yields the initiative to Black. Instead White should have played 16.b5 c5 17.dxc5 Qxc5 18.e4.

16...Bf5 17.Bxf5 Nxf5

18.Nd2 Nd6 19.Qc5 Ra2

20.Qxb6 Rxd2 21.Ng3?

White wanted to cover the e4-square, but 21.Nc3 or 21.Nf4 would have offered him more chances for a successful defence.

21...Ra8! 22.Ra1 Rxa1

23.Rxa1 (D)

It appears that White is doing OK, but the enemy rook on the second rank is a bad omen. Black proved his advantage with a small combination:

23...Rxf2! 24.Ra8+

White could not play 24.Kxf2 in view of 24...Nc4 25.Qc5 Qxe3+ 26.Kf1 Nd2#.

24...Kg7

25.Qd8 Qxd8 26.Rxd8 Rf6!

All black pieces are now safe and I converted an extra pawn 24 moves later.

Sunday Independent

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