Malcolm Pein Asks…Howell’s That?
Three-time British Champion David Howell is having an excellent few months. Not only has he been hired as an official pundit by the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, but he triumphed at the Caplin Hastings Online All-Play-All and then won the Bunratty Blitz with 8/9.
Howell defeated former Bunratty Champions Joel Benjamin and Peter Svidler ahead of clinching first place with an early repetition of moves against Romanian IM Mihnea Costachi, who was half a point behind. Svidler, Michael Adams, Ameet Ghasi, Gawain Jones and Simon Williams also finished on 7.5/9, with Jones coming second on tie-break and Svidler third.
The initiative is all-important at Blitz. In today’s game, the players enter a sharp line of the Reti Opening. 11.Re1 was first played in Grandelius-Perunovic, Sarajevo 2011, where after 11…e6? 12.Bf3! Bg6 (or 12…Bxf3 13.Nexf7 Qd5 14.Re5) 13.Bxc6+! bxc6 14.Qxc6+ Nfd7 15.Nexf7! White was already winning.
D. Howell – T. Rendle
Bunratty Blitz 2021
1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 dxc4 5.0-0 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Nb6 7.Na3 Be6 8.Ng5 Bg4 9.Nxc4! Bxe2 10.Ne5 Bh5! 11.Re1 h6 12.Ngxf7! Bxf7 13.b4 e6? (13…a6 14.a4!? g5 was just highly unclear in Nepomniachtchi–Vachier-Lagrave, Carlsen Invitational, Chess24 2020) 14.Bh3! Bd6 15.Nxf7 Kxf7 16.Bxe6+ Kf8 17.Bb2
(White has only a pawn for the piece, but he enjoys highly promising compensation. His bishops are monsters, while Black remains vulnerable on f7 and cannot easily coordinate his pieces) 17…Nbd5 18.b5! Qc7 19.bxc6 bxc6 20.Rac1 Rb8? 21.Bd4? (21.Qg6! Rxb2 22.Rxc6! wins) 21…h5 22.Qf5 Rh6?? (A blunder in a difficult position. 22…Ne7 would have left everything to play for) 23.Bxd5 Qa5 24.Be6 Qxf5 25.Bxf5 Bb4 26.Rxc6 Bxd2 27.Re2 Bb4 28.Bxa7 Ra8 29.Be3 Rh8 30.Bg6 Rd8 31.Bb6 Ra8 32.a4 h4 33.Rc4 Bd6 34.a5 hxg3 35.hxg3 Rh6 36.Bd3 Nd5 37.Kg2 Be7 38.Be4 Nxb6 39.axb6 Ra1 40.b7 1-0
Test Your Strength
S. Williams – J. Heinrich
White to play and win
Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.
42.Rxf6+! exf6 43.e7 1-0