The 2013 British Championship was held in the south of England, in the seaside town of Torquay, or what was called in the cult British TV show Fawlty Towers (which was set there) the “British Riviera.” The clear winner this year was the young David Howell with a very impressive 9.5/11 score. The following game was played in the seventh round when Howell’s victory was far from certain. Both Stephen Gordon and Simon Williams had viable aspirations at this point for the title. In fact, after this impressive win, Williams went on to play Howell in the next round. In a very exciting game, Williams, as White, built up a winning position only to fall apart in what must have been terrible time trouble and lost. Obviously disheartened by this tough defeat, Williams was a non-factor for the rest of the tournament. In this game, however, Williams shows his very enterprising style, which seems rather dubious at times but certainly provides for entertaining chess!
2013 British Championship
Stephen Gordon, (2521) - Simon Williams, (2481)
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 0-0 6.h3 Introducing the offbeat Makogonov system. First suggest by Reti and played in 1907. The line was heavily analyzed by the old Russian/Soviet honorary GM V. Makogonov. The idea is to protect White’s bishop on e3 from an annoying Ng4 and to prepare g4 to answer to or to discourage Black’s f5. 6...a6!? A rare choice by Williams but one that seems suitable to his style. The last time we saw Williams he was sacrificing almost everything he had against Bekker-Jensen in the 2013 Reykjavik Open. The “Ginger GM” as he calls himself, seems to have little regard for material and a lot for the initiative. That is why his games can be very entertaining! 7.Be3 Nbd7 8.c5!? We are now completely out of theory. I can find no other game where White chooses this move. More usual is either 8.Be2 or 8.Bd3. This novelty does not turn out to give White much. 8...b59.Qc2Bb7 10.a3 Qe8 Hoping to eventually capture on e5 with the queen to keep pressure on White’s e-pawn. 11.Be2 e5 12.dxe5 Nxe513.0-0 Nxf3+ A quieter and perhaps better approach was 13…Nc4, “winning’’ the two bishops with a small advantage but this is certainly not in William's style. 14.Bxf3 Nd7 15.cxd6 cxd6 Black hopes that his activity compensates him for is dreadfully weak d-pawn. 16.Rad1 f5!? Here we go! Rather dubious in that it sacs a pawn and weakens Black’s kingside but certainly very energetic! Before this, the computer was “thinking’’ it was more or less equal but now, the computer is taking White. 17.Rxd6 One less worry for Black! 17...Ne5 18.Qb3+ The tables begin to turn after this ill-considered check. Better was 18.Be2 and Black has to work to justify his sacrifice. 18...Kh8 19.Be2f4 20.Bd4 f3 21.Bxf3? Losing as it allows Black’s next. Only move to stay in the game is 21.gxf. 21…Rxf3!(Diagram) For some reason, the computer didn’t see this obvious move coming nor, or so it seems, did Gordon. 22.Re6 Looked strong at first and then I realized that after 22…Qf7, the rook is pinned to the queen, which becomes a real problem real soon. Now, White is a piece down for good. 22...Qf7 23.Bxe5Bxe5 24.gxf3 Bc825.Qd5 Qxe6 26.Qxa8 Now White lets Black mate him, which I find very strange. Maybe time pressure but he should really just resign. 26...Qxh3 27.Rd1 Bh2+ 28.Kh1 Bg3+ 29.Kg1 Qh2+ 30.Kf1 Qxf2#; 0-1