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Chess News: Your Daily Update - Brilliance from Berry

IM Malcolm Pein IM Malcolm Pein
November 27, 2023


A NEW season of the 4NCL got under way on Saturday, November 11, at Kent’s Hill Park, Milton Keynes.
Defending champions Manx Liberty edged past Blackthorne 5-3, with potential title challengers Cheddleton, Chessable White Rose and The Sharks all enjoying good wins.
Despite their name, Celtic Tigers hail from Hammersmith Chess Club at London’s MindSports Centre. They narrowly lost the ‘Celtic’ derby, going down 4.5-3.5 to Scottish side Alba, who had 13-year-old Scottish FM Freddy Gordon on top board.
Experience told in the Wood Green derby, as Wood Green defeated Wood Green Youth 6-2 thanks to wins for veteran GMs Jon Speelman and Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, as well as the strong IMs Conor Murphy and Matthew Wadsworth.
It’s never easy for White to keep control against the Gruenfeld Defence, but Scottish FM Neil Berry did it well as he gave something of a master-class in the Russian System with 5.Qb3:

N Berry – F Zulfic

Alba vs Celtic Tigers


1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0-0 7.e4 Nc6 (7...a6 is a sharp alternative, planning queenside expansion. 8.Qb3 b5 9.e5 Nfd7 10.e6 was Bronstein-Pein, Wrexham 1995)
8.Be2 Bg4 9.d5! (Seizing space, and now Black, equally thematically, aims for activity and counterplay against d5)
9...Na5 10.Qb4 Bxf3 11.Bxf3 c6 12.0-0 Qb6 13.Qa4! (13.Qxe7 Nc4 gives Black sufficient counterplay against b2)
13...Nd7 14.Rd1 Nc5 15.Qc2

15...Qb4?! (Overly ambitious, although, even after 15...Nc4 16.Rb1 White’s two bishops give him an edge)
16.Bg5 Rfe8?! (16...Nc4! was playable after 17.Rab1 Rfe8 or 17.Bxe7 Nxb2 18.Bxc5 Qxc5 19.Qxb2 Bxc3)
17.Rac1 Rac8?! (Slow, although, even 17...Nc4 18.Nb1! leaves Black in trouble)
18.b3! (Berry has fully neutralised Black’s play and threatens Bd2)
18...Nd7 19.dxc6? (19.Nb1! and 19.Bg4 cxd5 20.Bxd7 Rxc3 21.Bd2! were both very strong)
19...Rxc6? (19...Nxc6! 20.Rxd7 Ne5 keeps Black on the board)
20.e5! Rc7 21.e6!? (Strong, the computer prefers 21.Qe2!, then e6 or if 21...Rxc3 22.Bd2)
21...fxe6? 22.Qe2 Ne5

How did White now win material?


23.Nd5! exd5 24.Rxc7 e6? 25.Rxg7+! 1-0


©Telegraph Media Group Limited 2023

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