Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

The Internet tells us that the most common surnames in this country are, in order, Smith, Johnson, Williams, and Jones. In Britain, they are Smith and Jones.  Today we have a game Jones vs. Smith, and while it might look like an ordinary game, it isn’t. It was played in the first round of the Gibraltar tournament. Jones is Gawain Jones, British champion. Smith is Andrew P. Smith, a columnist for the British Chess Magazine. Jones is a bit of a wild man who likes to sacrifice his queen. He did just that against Magnus Carlsen at the London Chess Classic and won pressure but was defeated. In this game, he tries again and this time succeeds


11th Gibraltar Masters

Gawain Jones (2632) vs. Andrew Philip Smith (2175)



1. e4 b6 The Owen Defense, named after the English Rev. John Owen (1827-1901) — who even played this unusual opening against the great American Paul Morphy! In fact, Owen even beat Morphy in an off-hand game, which led to them playing a match where Owen got pawn, and move but lost the match 6-2 without winning a game! 2. d4 Bb7 3. Bd3 Nc6 4. c3 e5 5. Nf3 exd4 6. O-O! Enterprising chess as always from G. Jones. I can only find this gambit in one other very exciting game: Morin vs. Dussol (Paris, 2001) — 1. e4 b6 2. d4 Bb7 3.Bd3 Nc6 4. c3 e5 5. Nf3 exd4 6. O-O dxc3 7. Nxc3 d6 8. Re1 f6 9. Bc4 Qd7 10.b4 Nge7 11. Qb3 Nd8 12. b5 a6 13. Ba3 axb5 14. Nxb5 N(e)c6 15. Rad1 Na5 16. Qc3 Nxc4 17. Qxc4 Bc6 18. Nfd4 Ra5 19. e5! fxe5 20. Nxc6 Qxc6 21. Rxe5+! Be7 22.Nxc7+ Kd7 23. Qg4+ Kxc7 24. Rxe7+ Kb8 25. Rc1 Rxa3 26. Rxc6 Nxc6 27. Rxg7 Rxa2 28. h4; 1-0  6. … dxc3 7. Nxc3 d6 8. Nd5 Be7 9. Qc2 Threatening 10. Bb5. For his pawn White has better development, a safe king, a great knight on d5 and pressure on the c-file but is this enough? 9. …a6 10. b4 Nf6? Hard to believe but this natural move gets Black into a lot of trouble as it permits White's following combination. If this natural move is such a mistake, what can Black play? Maybe he needs to bite the bullet and play 10. … Kf8 11. b5! Nxd5 12. bxN Nb4 13. cxB! Well, there goes White's queen, something which G. Jones has no real trouble sacrificing! 13. …  NxQ 14. bxR=Q QxQ 15. BxN (Diagram) The smoke has cleared and White has 2 minor pieces and a rook for queen and 2 pawns. The computer, after some thought, indicates this is more or less equal but it seems much easier to play for White. 15. … Qc6 16. Bb3 O-O 17.Bb2 Bf6 18. e5 I and the computer prefer BxN with a plus to White: better pawn structure, a bind on the white squares, a nice post for the knight on f5 and for his bishop on d5. 18. … dxe5 19.Nxe5 Qb7? Maybe the losing move as 19. … BxN seems to lead to equality. Now, White’s two bishops rake the board and his rooks will control the open files. 20. Rfe1 Qc8 21. Nxf7! Winning Rxf7 22. BxB gxf6 23. Re7; 1-0. Yet another very entertaining game from the current English champion.

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