|IM Malcolm Pein
November 21, 2023
ENGLAND scored one of their finest ever results in the sixth round of the European Team Championship in Budva, Montenegro, as they defeated Netherlands 3.5-0.5.
The match could not have started better, as new recruit Nikita Vitiugov crushed fellow 2700+ player Jorden van Foreest with black.
David Howell ground out a win, and Luke McShane outplayed his opponent in a double-knight endgame.
It reminded me of our worst ever performance at the Chess Olympiad in Baku, 2016. Benjamin Bok quickly defeated Gawain Jones and the pressure was on the other three members of the team to fight back. We ended up losing by the same score. England moved to 10/12 match points, sharing the lead with Germany, who had a superior tie-break.
White’s 4.Qc2 proves to be a waste of time.
J Van Foreest – N Vitiugov
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Qc2 g6 5.g3 Bg7 6.Bg2 0–0 7.d3 d6 8.0–0 Bg4 (Threatening to take on f3 and play Nd4)
9.e3 Qd7 10.a3 Bh3 11.b4 Nh5 12.Bb2 (12.b5 Nd8 13.d4 was best)
12...Bxg2 13.Kxg2 f5 14.Rae1 Nd8! 15.d4 e4 16.Nd2 Nf7 17.b5 Rae8 18.a4 Ng5 19.Rg1 (19.h4 Nf3 20.Nxf3 exf3+ 21.Kxf3 f4! 22.exf4 Nxf4! and Qd7-h3 wins)
19...f4! 20.exf4 (If 20.Ncxe4 Qh3+ 21.Kh1 Rxe4 22.Nxe4 Nf3 23.Rg2 Qxg2+ 24.Kxg2 Nxe1+ 25.Kf1 Nxc2 wins the house)
20...Nxf4+ 21.gxf4 Rxf4 22.Re3 Bxd4
23.Kh1 (23.Nd5 Bxe3 24.Nxe3 Qh3+ 25.Kh1 Rxf2 26.Rg2 (or 26.Ng2 Nf3)
26...Ref8 27.Qc3 is today’s puzzle)
23...Bxe3 24.Nd1 (24.fxe3 Rf2 25.Rf1 Ref8)
24...Rh4 25.Nf1 (25.Nxe3 Rxh2+ 26.Kxh2 Qh3#)
25...Bf4 26.Nde3 Qh3 0–1 If 27.Rg2 Nf3 28.Qc3 Be5
Black to play and mate in three:
27...Qxg2+ 28.Nxg2 Rf1+ 29.Nxf1 Rxf1#
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