Monday 16 September 2019

Chess

Alexander Baburin

The 2019 Irish Chess Championship was a great success, with intrigue remaining until the last move on board 1 in the final round. In the end, luck was on the side of FM Conor Murphy, who defeated FM Conor O'Donnell and won the title, scoring 7.5 points in 9 rounds. IMs Sam Collins and Alex Lopez tied for second place on 6.5 points each. Starting from round 5, Conor Murphy won 5 games in a row. The following game from round 7 was of great importance as then Alex Lopez was leading with 5.5 points, a point clear of the nearest rival:

Conor Murphy - Alex Lopez

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1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5

3.e5 Bf5 4.Nd2 e6

5.Nb3 Nd7 6.Nf3 h6

7.a4 Ne7 8.a5 a6

9.c3 g5 10.Be2 Ng6

11.0-0 f6 (D)

Black is fighting for control of the centre. After 12.exf6 Qxf6 he would have a great position, but White was up to the task, putting Black's idea to the test:

12.Ne1!

White has found the Achilles heel in Black's position - his light-squared bishop.

12...Nf4??

This move saves the bishop, but leaves Black's position in ruins. Black had to go for 12...fxe5 13.g4 Be4 14.f3 Bxf3 15.Bxf3 e4, with good compensation for a piece.

13.Bxf4 gxf4 14.Bd3! Qe7

15.Bxf5 exf5 16.Nd3 fxe5

17.Nxf4 Rg8 18.Qh5+ Qf7

19.dxe5 Nxe5 20.Rae1 Bd6

21.Rxe5+ Bxe5 22.Re1 Qxh5

23.Rxe5+ Kf7 24.Nxh5 b6

25.Rxf5+ Ke7 26.Nd4 c5

27.Re5+ Kf8 28.Nc6 Rg6

29.Rf5+ Ke8 30.Rf6 Rg5

31.axb6 1-0

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