England v Rest of the World, Round 6
Round 6, the final round, of the “England v Rest of the World” Scheveningen tournament at the 2021 London Chess Classic was played on 9th December.
The team score after round 5 stood at England 7-8 Rest of World. Round 6 was a replay of round 3 but for the reversal of colours.
Despite all having the black pieces, the England players each went a pawn ahead, and after two hours play all had promising-looking positions, though Vitiugov was making things slightly uncomfortable for McShane down the half-open g-file, and McShane decided it was preferable to sacrifice the exchange rather than get his pieces bogged down in defence, hoping to make something of his queen’s side pawn majority without too much distraction on the king’s side. First to finish was Gawain Jones, who had launched a sacrificial attempt to deliver mate using minor pieces which sadly fell just short of the mark. (If after 37. … Nf5+ the knight was still at h4 whence it had moved, as well as f5, then 38. … Bg2 would have been mate.) This meant the other two England players both needed to win for England to draw the match, and that was not going to be easy. Vitiugov’s rook pair became too strong and Luke McShane resigned. Michael Adams at this stage was well on top in his game, and his opponent soon resigned.
Sixth-round results were as follows:
The final match score was thus England 8-10 Rest of World. Although England lost in the end, the scoreline was no disgrace, and the match had good entertainment value.