English Chess Championship 2022, Rounds 5 & 6
Rounds 5 and 6 of this 7-round event were played on the third day, Saturday 21st May.
Open Round 5
Sheffield’s Oskar Hackner with White this time faced Jacob Connor Boswell whose rating would suggest Oskar ought to win, but Oskar drifted slowly but surely astray and entered an ending two paws down. However, Oskar is tenacious, and does not resign as soon as he has he has a losing position (as the writer knows from direct experience) – you have to prove you can win! Thus the game lasted 30 more moves after many would have resigned. Oskar’s final attempt was to reach the difficult ending R+B v R, but Black avoided that and Oskar decided it was time to resign. (To play through the game, click on the link, and return to this page using the browser’s “back” function.)
Peter Hepworth of Huddersfield faced David J Ireland (Oskar’s opponent in round4) and the two are as near as makes no odds of equal strength, though Peter having White would probably count slightly in his favour. Peter allowed his opponent’s queen to snap up the white b-pawn in exchange for some development tempi, so showing hostile intent. In time, after Black managed to plant a bishop firmly at d4, Black’s position began to look the more promising. Then, however, Black voluntarily opened things up in a way which facilitated a successful invasion by White of Black’s newly weakened white squares.
With two more rounds to go, this left both Yorkshire players in equal 13th to 21st place (out of 33 players) on 2˝ points out of 5.
Open Round 6
In the afternoon Oskar had an opponent much weaker than himself. He played a line against the French Advance variation in which Black plays Nc6 while the Black c-pawn is still back home at c7. (Modern chess Openings 10th edition, written in English descriptive notation, had the humorous misprint in this or a similar position, “Unusual is 6. ... K-QB3,” claiming Petrosian or some such player had played it!) White offered up his h-pawn which Oskar eventually decided to take, then going on to create a passed h-pawn which he pushed down the board without delay. White soon blundered away a piece and had to resign.
Meanwhile Peter faced an uphill struggle with Black against Adam Ashton. When White started to double rooks on the half-open g-file, Peter played the injudicious 20. … Qh4, diverting his queen from the defence of his f- and g-pawns. This resulted in his g-pawn falling, with White going into the ending a pawn up in the form of a supported passed d-pawn, with same-colour bishops and a queen each. With queens on there are nearly always fiddling chances, but in this case Black was mated (though not by force) only four moves later, with his queen still stuck at h4.