Thursday 9 March 2006

Archive: UNCUT! 46

The Sean Marsh Chess Column

*Column 46*
* *March 2006* *

Dear Readers,

You may have noticed as you go through life, that people have a curious habit of perpetually stating the obvious. Meet someone six foot plus and what do they say? ‘You’re very tall’. Come back from the barber and guess what the first thing you hear is? ‘You’ve had your hair cut’. Enter a building dripping wet and trying to place your sodden umbrella somewhere safe and someone is bound to ask, ‘Oh - is it raining?’

Over the last couple of years it has become an equally obvious statement to say ‘The Hawk is getting good.’

The most recent congresses attended by Jonathan ‘The Hawk’ Hawkins have confirmed the truth more than any others…

First, at York, The Hawk swooped and collected a share of second place.

Then he stunned the pack at the Cleveland Congress by sticking his claws into sole first place, with a grading performance of almost 220 - a magnificent achievement!

Not content with this, he went on to a good second place at the Darlington Rapidplay and an even better share of first place at the Doncaster Open.

Here’s a few snippets for you to enjoy….

Two from York….

J. Hawkins v Fitzpatrick

Here The Hawk played 16 h5! and after the further moves …. 16 …Ng5 17.Qg6 Qf6 …he has succeeding in blackmailing Black into accepting a clearly inferior ending. 18.Bxg5 Qxg6 19.hxg6 hxg5 20.Ne4 g4 21.Ke2 Rf5 (Suddenly it is clear - d6 cannot be satisfactorily defended!) 22.Nxd6 1–0 After 22 …Rf6 23 Nf7! Rxg6 24 Rh8+ and 25 Rxa8 White’s game is obviously won.
With a last round victory essential for tournament success, The Hawk duly wheeled out 18 moves of sharp theory and soon reached this position…

J. Hawkins v Maulinn
The Black centre pawns could become menacing but only if White fails to find….
20.f5+! Kh7 21.Rf4! Bxf5 Just three moves out of the book and it’s an easy win for White. Black has to shed material to stave off checkmate. 22.Qxa8 Qc5+ 23.Kh1 Qc2 24.Qxa7 1–0 Total devastation as The Hawk rips his prey to shreds.

The final round of the Cleveland Congress had a dramatic finish. So far, he had scored:
Round 1: Hawkins-Kinney 1-0
Round 2: Hawkins-Shaw 1-0
Round 3: Hutchinson-Hawkins 0-1
Round 4: Addison-Hawkins ½-½

J. Hawkins v R. Coathup
This doesn’t look too bad at all for Black but now White steps up the pace…
23.Nf5!? Tricky stuff. Black needs to be careful about the in on the d-file; eg. 23 …Qxe3+? 24 Nxe3 and he loses material. 23 …Qc7 24.Ne7+ Kg7 25.Nd5! Now Nb6 is coming, enforcing the pin once more. 25 … Qa5 26.b4 Qb5 27.a4 Qc6 Apparently Black offered a draw here but needless to say The Hawk spotted the winning idea some moves ago.

28.Nb6! Absolutely fatal for Black. 28 …Bxh2+ 29.Kxh2 Qc7+ 30.g3 Bxa4 31.Nxa4 1–0

The Hawk’s best single result came in a key encounter on his way to success at Doncaster, against a very strong International Master.

J. Hawkins v IM R. Palliser
After 21 moves of a typically lively Modern Benoni, White refuses to take the bait with 22 Bxh6? Bxh6 23 Qxh6 Nc2 and instead ensures a Knight fork is never available on his Rooks.
22 Ra7 Ne5 23 Bxh6 and he now considered it safe to do so, despite the activity of the Black Knights. 23 …Nc4 24 Qf4 Note the annoying attack on f7, which ensures White of an advantage. After a few more moves, The Hawk spotted a tactical way to wrap things up.

White’s advantage is beyond doubt, but not many players would find (and the confidence to play) the bombshell: 30 Nxb5!

The ideas include:

Deflecting the Queen from protecting the Bishop (30 …Qxb5 31 Bxd4 and the dark squares are gone)
Destroying the Queenside pawn constellation (Bxc4 could happen in some lines).
Winning the d6 pawn (if Black plays 30 …Bxf6 31 Qxf6 Rf8 allowing 32 Nxd6)

Black tried 30 …Be3 but after 31 f4 his position is beyond repair, so...1-0

The message is clear – beware of The Hawk!

Sean Marsh

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