Zhao Jun bulldozes Hastings Chess Congress

by Priyadarshan Banjan
1/7/2015 – The Hastings Chess Congress – the oldest tournament on the planet - was held from 29th December 2014 to 6th January 2015 at the Horntye Park Sports Complex at Hastings. Top seeds Maxim Rodshtein and Romain Edouard led the field of 104 players with fourteen Grandmasters, but Chinese GM Zhao Jun bulldozed through the field with 8.0/9. Enjoy this report with attacks and combinations.

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Horntye Park Sports Complex

Into its 90th edition, the Hastings Chess Congress is more than just a traditional tournament. It is a piece of chess history that will be a timeless part of chess folklore. Over the years, the tournament has stood witness to the changing nature of chess. The young replaced the old and the younger have begun to displace the young.

This traditional tournament has acted as a graduation function where a generation has passed the baton to the next. Chinese Grandmaster Zhao Jun put up the show of his career until date. What do they say about China being the new chess powerhouse?

Getting ready for the games to begin

Winner of the 90th Hastings Chess Congress: GM Zhao Jun

GM Zhao Jun massacred his opposition in the 9-round swiss to win with a dream score of 8.0/9, clocking a total rating performance of 2852. The Chinese grandmaster began his campaign as the sixth seed, but raced away to a Fabianosque 6.0/6.

[Event "Hastings Masters"] [Site "Hastings"] [Date "2015.01.05"] [Round "8"] [White "Zhao, Jun"] [Black "Vakhidov, Jahongir"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2595"] [BlackElo "2494"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rnbq1rk1/p4p1p/1p2p1p1/2pPN2n/2P5/1BR2N1P/PP1Q1PP1/4R1K1 w - - 0 23"] [PlyCount "17"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "ENG"] 23. Nxf7 $1 Kxf7 (23... Rxf7 24. dxe6 Qxd2 25. exf7+ Kxf7 26. Nxd2 $18) 24. dxe6+ Ke7 (24... Bxe6 25. Ng5+ Kg8 26. Rd3 $18) 25. Rd3 Qc7 26. Qh6 Rh8 27. Ne5 Bxe6 28. Nxg6+ hxg6 29. Qxh8 Kf7 30. Rf3+ Bf5 31. Rxf5+ 1-0

 

He eventually finished his jaw dropping performance with two draws towards the end, taking clear first place by miles

GM Aleksander Mista

The tournament followed an accelerated swiss pairing system and the third seeded Polish GM Aleksander Mista was a notable casualty in the early rounds.

[Event "Hastings Masters"] [Site "Hastings, England"] [Date "2014.12.30"] [Round "2.3"] [White "Gledura, Benjamin"] [Black "Mista, Aleksander"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2450"] [BlackElo "2614"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4r1k1/p2q3p/1p3Qp1/1Pp3N1/2P5/P7/3N2PP/7K b - - 0 31"] [PlyCount "7"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [TimeControl "6600+1610"] [WhiteClock "0:01:25"] [BlackClock "0:10:08"] 31... Rf8 {Mista donning the black pieces played 31...Rf8 with the point that if, for example, 32.Qc3 33.Qxd2 leads to back-rank mate.} 32. Nge4 $1 Qg4 ( 32... Rxf6 33. Nxf6+ $18) 33. Qa1 Qe2 {/\ ...Rf4} 34. h3 Rf5 $18 {White went on to win} 1-0

Despite this early setback, GM Aleksander Mista recovered quickly to set up a crucial encounter with the second seed GM Roman Edouard in the final round.

[Event "Hastings Masters"] [Site "Hastings, England"] [Date "2015.01.06"] [Round "9.2"] [White "Mista, Aleksander"] [Black "Edouard, Romain"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2614"] [BlackElo "2659"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r2k2/pp3q1p/1bn5/3pp3/2r5/1NQ5/PPP2P1P/2KRN2R w - - 0 22"] [PlyCount "27"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [TimeControl "6600+1145"] [WhiteClock "0:02:25"] [BlackClock "0:02:14"] 22. Qh3 Nb4 23. Kb1 $1 Nxc2 24. Nd3 $1 Qf6 25. Rhg1 $1 {calmly improving his rook} R8c7 26. Qg2 Qe6 27. Nxe5 Rf4 28. Qg5 Rf6 29. Rc1 h6 30. Qh5 Bxf2 31. Ng6+ Ke8 32. Nf4+ Qf7 33. Rg8+ Kd7 34. Qxd5+ Qxd5 35. Nxd5 1-0

With this victory over the Frenchman, GM Mista finished with 7.0/9 to finish tied second.

Mista was awarded with the Best Game of the tournament prize for his win over GM Edouard

Brazilian GM Alexander Fier scored 7.0/9 as well, tying for second place

[Event "Hastings Masters "] [Site "Hastings ENG"] [Date "2015.01.04"] [Round "7.5"] [White "Sengupta, Deep"] [Black "Fier, Alexandr"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2566"] [BlackElo "2592"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "2r3k1/1b3pbp/1p2p3/p4p2/P1B3q1/1P2PN2/4QPPP/2R3K1 b - - 0 23"] [PlyCount "49"] [EventDate "2014.12.29"] 23... b5 $1 24. axb5 a4 $1 25. Rc2 $2 (25. bxa4 Bxf3 26. Qxf3 Rxc4 27. Rxc4 Qxc4 28. Qa8+ Bf8 29. g3 $44) 25... a3 26. Ra2 Bxf3 27. Qxf3 Qxf3 28. gxf3 Bb2 $1 {entombing the rook.} 29. f4 Kf8 30. Kg2 Ke7 31. Kf3 Kd6 32. e4 fxe4+ 33. Kxe4 Rc5 34. Kf3 Kc7 35. Kg4 Kb6 36. Bd3 h6 37. f5 exf5+ 38. Kh5 Rc3 39. Bf1 Rf3 40. h4 Rf4 $1 {Diagram [#] entombing the king!} 41. Bc4 Rxf2 42. Bxf7 Rg2 43. Bd5 Rg3 44. Kxh6 f4 45. h5 f3 46. Kh7 f2 47. Bc4 Rg7+ 0-1

IM Gudmundur Kjartansson of Iceland also scored an impressive 7.0/9 and was the only
non-grandmaster in the top ten. However, he missed his GM norm by a whisker.

WIM Tereza Olsarova played sparkling chess throughout the event to score 5.5/9 to register her WGM norm

15-year-old Hungarian IM Benjamin Gledura needed a win in the last round for his GM-norm but could only draw

Top seeded Israeli GM Maxim Rodshtein had to be content with 6.5/9

This traditional tournament at the turn of the year has always been played in festive spirits. How do you think the players wished each other ‘Happy New Year’? With imaginative combinations of course, as GM Rodshtein found at his expense on the 1st of January 2015.

[Event "Hastings Masters"] [Site "Hastings, England"] [Date "2015.01.01"] [Round "4.2"] [White "Galyas, Miklos"] [Black "Rodshtein, Maxim"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2428"] [BlackElo "2676"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "r3kbnr/1p2q2p/n1p3p1/2P2p2/2QPp3/R1N1P3/3N2PP/2B2RK1 w kq - 0 17"] [PlyCount "25"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [TimeControl "6600+1460"] [WhiteClock "0:41:59"] [BlackClock "0:15:44"] {Black just played ...f5 protecting the e4 pawn.} 17. Ndxe4 $3 {Happy New Year! } fxe4 18. Nxe4 Qd7 (18... Qxe4 19. Qf7+ $18) 19. Nd6+ $1 Bxd6 20. cxd6 Nh6 21. e4 Qxd6 22. Bxh6 (22. e5 Qd7 23. Bxh6 {is winning as well.}) 22... Qxa3 23. Qf7+ Kd8 24. Qxb7 Nc7 25. Bg5+ Kd7 26. Rf7+ Ke6 27. Qxc7 Qa1+ 28. Rf1 Qxd4+ 29. Kh1 1-0

Mr. 17.Ndxe4

Bernard Cafferty moved to Hastings in 1981 has since then been a regular feature of this legendary tournament. To readers who know his name but cannot really recall where they heard it, Cafferty was the translator of many important Soviet chess books, the most notable being Alexander Kotov’s ‘Think like a Grandmaster’, which to this date has proved to be a blessing for many chess players. IM Malcolm Pein paid a glowing tribute to his contribution to chess in the Telegraph.

In the following game unfortunately, Cafferty found himself with the short end of the stick.

[Event "Hastings Masters"] [Site "Hastings, England"] [Date "2014.12.31"] [Round "3.11"] [White "Hunt, Adam C"] [Black "Cafferty, Bernard"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "2437"] [BlackElo "2095"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "4rk2/r2q1pp1/pp3n1p/3PbR2/P1P5/1PN2Q1P/6P1/2B2R1K w - - 0 35"] [PlyCount "9"] [EventDate "2014.??.??"] [TimeControl "6600+795"] [WhiteClock "0:08:24"] [BlackClock "0:03:56"] 35. Bxh6 $1 gxh6 36. Rxe5 Rxe5 37. Qxf6 Rg5 (37... Re8 38. Qxh6+ Ke7 39. Qf6+ Kf8 40. d6) (37... Re3 38. Qxh6+) 38. Qxh6+ Rg7 39. Ne4 1-0

Jonathan Hawkins finished seventh with 6.5/9. He is Britain’s newly minted grandmaster
and the current British Chess Champion.

French GM Romain Edouard finished tenth after a last round loss to GM Aleksander Mista

[Event "Hastings Masters"] [Site "Hastings, England"] [Date "2015.01.02"] [Round "5.2"] [White "Hawkins, Jonathan"] [Black "Edouard, Romain"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2552"] [BlackElo "2659"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "1k1r3r/pppqbppp/1nn1p1b1/4P3/3PB3/P1N1BP2/1P2N1PP/2RQ1RK1 w - - 0 15"] [PlyCount "23"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [TimeControl "6000+1405"] [WhiteClock "0:29:27"] [BlackClock "0:48:22"] 15. Na4 Nxd4 16. Bxd4 Qxa4 (16... Nxa4 17. Bc6 $3 bxc6 18. Qxa4 $14) 17. Rxc7 Bxe4 (17... Kxc7 $4 18. Bxb6+ axb6 19. Qxa4 $18) 18. Rxe7 Qxd1 19. Rxd1 Bg6 20. Nf4 Rhf8 21. Kf2 Nc8 22. Nxg6 hxg6 23. Bxa7+ Nxa7 24. Rxf7 Rxf7 25. Rxd8+ Kc7 26. Rd6 $17 {Black went on to win.} 0-1

Veteran GM Mark Hebden played a fine tournament until the final two
rounds where he lost steam

One of his games ended in a curious position.

[Event "Hastings Masters"] [Site "Hastings, England"] [Date "2015.01.02"] [Round "5.7"] [White "Bellin, Robert"] [Black "Hebden, Mark L"] [Result "0-1"] [WhiteElo "2338"] [BlackElo "2523"] [SetUp "1"] [FEN "rbbq1rk1/5ppp/p7/1p1p4/3P4/2P1R3/PP1N1PPP/R1BQ2K1 b - - 0 15"] [PlyCount "33"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] 15... a5 {Setting up the rook lift.} 16. Nf1 Ra6 17. Re1 Rg6 18. a4 Bg4 19. Qb3 bxa4 20. Qxa4 Bc7 21. b3 Bd7 22. Qa2 h5 23. Ba3 Re8 24. Qd2 h4 25. Kh1 h3 26. g3 Rge6 27. f4 Bb5 28. Ne3 Re4 29. Bc5 Qd7 30. Kg1 Qe6 {Light squared symphony! Reminiscent of the second game of the 2014 WCC which Carlsen won in a similar fashion - with white.} 31. Nc2 Be2 0-1

Some choice tactics:

Sengupta-Sowray

The Indian grandmaster found the simplest path to victory here, can you?
White to play and win.

Rayner-Othman

Find the weakness; attack it mercilessly. White to play and win.

Kheit-Hunt

Black's position screams "Hit me!" Indulge him. White to play and win.

Slade-Wallis

Plenty of attractive options, but which to choose? White to play and win.

Young Theo Slade thinks Magnus style. Note the junior picked up 113 Elo.

A view of the city near the shoreline

Hastings castle near the town (source: Wikipedia)

The beach at Hastings

Solutions to tactics:

  1. Sengupta-Sowray: 40.Rc6+! Rxc6 41. a8=Q d1:Q 42.Qxc6+ Kxb3 43.Qb5+ Kc3 44.Qxf5 1-0
  2. Rayner-Othman: 31.Rf5! threatening 32.Rxh5+ and mate to follow. 31...Ndf4 32. Bxf4 1-0
  3. Kheit-Hunt: 34.Rxf6! Rxf6 35.Bxe5 1-0
  4. Slade-Wallis: 24.Bxf7+! Kxf7 25. Qxh7+ Rg7 26. Rxe7+ Simplicity itself. 1-0

Tournament photos by Brendan O’ Gorman
Hastings city and prize giving photos by Akshay Halgannavar

Final standings

Rk
Name
Pts
Fed
Rtg
Perf
TB
1 GM Zhao, Jun
8.0
CHN
2585
2852
54.0
2 GM Mista, Aleksander
7.0
POL
2614
2619
51.0
3 GM Fier, Alexandr
7.0
BRA
2592
2660
52.5
4 IM Kjartansson, Gudmundur
7.0
ISL
2451
2583
50.0
5 GM Rodshtein, Maxim
6.5
ISR
2676
2546
48.5
6 GM Lagarde, Maxime
6.5
FRA
2576
2606
52.0
7 GM Hawkins, Jonathan
6.5
ENG
2552
2549
50.0
8 GM Vakhidov, Jahongir
6.5
UZB
2502
2564
51.0
9 GM Arkell, Keith C
6.5
ENG
2489
2608
55.5
10 GM Edouard, Romain
6.0
FRA
2659
2622
58.0
11 GM Bogner, Sebastian
6.0
SUI
2586
2500
47.5
12 GM Sengupta, Deep
6.0
IND
2566
2517
52.0
13 GM Flear, Glenn C
6.0
ENG
2460
2494
48.0
14 IM Gledura, Benjamin
6.0
HUN
2450
2580
53.0
15 FM Longson, Alexander
6.0
ENG
2339
2251
41.0

Click for complete standings


Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.




Priyadarshan Banjan is a 23-year-old club player from India. He works as an editor for ChessBase News and ChessBase India. He is a chess fanatic and an avid fan of Vishy Anand. He also maintains a blog on a variety of topics.
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