Chess Notes

Chess Notes

Resignation does not win chess games, at least not in Reykjavik, Iceland, if today’s game is a good example. It is Simon Bekker-Jensen of Denmark vs. Simon Williams of Great Britain. Williams is known for his entertaining online tournament commentary. Playing Black, he sacrifices material, and then sacrifices even more. The computer gave him trivial chances to survive. But awaken! Black marches back, as will be seen.

2013 Reykjavik Open

Simon Bekker-Jensen (2405)
Simon Williams (2498)

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 The Botvinnik variation of the Semi-Slav, which is really not for the faint of heart. Nor for the poorly prepared!

5. Bg5 dxc4 6. e4 White has the center but Black has his pawn.


6. … b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Nxg5 Nd5 ?! They say that this line has been refuted but the “Ginger GM,” as Simon Williams is known, has other ideas. Williams seems to be the latest in a long line of wacky and enterprising English players.

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10. Nxf7 Qxh4 11. Nxh8 I should say the computer thinks that the game is all but over after this. For the exchange, Black has only some very active pieces but, once again, the computer is not impressed.

11. … Bb4 12. Rc1 c5 13. dxc5 Nd7 14. Be2 Nxe5 15. O-O Bb7 16. Nxb5 O-O-O !? The first new move, which will require another exchange sacrifice. The only other game that I can find with 16. Nxb5 is a very short one between Peter Heine Nielson and Evgeny Sveshnikov (1995), where Black didn’t last long after 16... Bxc5 17. Ng6 Nxg6 18. Rxc4 Ndf4 19. Rxc5 Rd8 20. Nd6+ Rxd6 21. Bb5+ Kf7 22. Qxd6 Qg4 23. Qc7+ Kg8 24. Qxb7 Nh3+ 25. Kh1 Nxf2+ 26. Rxf2; 1-0

17. Nd6+ Rxd6 18. cxd6 Bxd6 With the somewhat obvious threat of 17. ...Nf3+ and then 18. ... Qxh2 mate. Now, for his two sacrificed exchanges, Black has even more active pieces and now the computer is really, really not impressed.

19. h3 Nf4 Black pieces do really look threatening if only his king was a little safer, he might have something.


20. Bg4 Bc5 21. Nf7! A strong move. He brings the knight back into the game, threatens 22. NxN and 22. Nd6+. If now 21. NxN, 22. Rxc4 threatens both 23. RxB and 23. RxN

21. … Nf3+ !? (Diagram) Almost wins but “almost” is not good enough. Now, if 22. BxN then Nxh3+ wins and 22. gxN Qg3+ leads to mate. Sadly, for Black, White does not have to take the Knight.

22. Kh1 Nd4 Trying to hold things together. Now, 23. … Bxg2+ is a threat.

23. Rxc4 ?! Much better and winning was 23. Nd6+ BxN (Can’t let White take the white square bishop) 24. Rxc4+ Kb8 25.QxN 23. … Bxg2+

24. Kg1 Better is 24. Kh2 when White is much better after the 24. ... Nf3+ 25.QxN BxN 26. RxB+. It seems that Black’s swarming pieces have worn down the Danish IM. 24... Nxh3+ 25. Kxg2 ?? Complete collapse. Required was 25. BxN when the game would continue after 25. ... QxB 26. RxB+ Kb8 27. Rh5 Nf3+ 28.QxN QxQ 29. Rb5+ Ka8 30. Rc1 a6 31. Rc8+ and it is Black’s king that needs help.


25. ... Nf4+ 26. Kg1 Nde2+; 0-1 As after 26. BxN, Qg3+ leads to mate. An exciting, if flawed game. It was given a very strong honorable mention for the “Game of Round 6” at the recently concluded 2013 Reykjavik Open.