England beats Holland 26.5-23.5 at Staunton Memorial, Short scores 8/10

PeterDoggers
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Staunton Memorial 09After 8 rounds the score was still even, but eventually England beat Holland 26.5-23.5 yesterday at the Staunton Memorial in London. Nigel Short scored an amazing 8 out of 10 (a 2862 performance), virtually overtaking Michael Adams on the rating list.

The 7th Staunton Memorial took place August 8-17 at Simpsons-in-the-Strand, one of London's most renowned traditional English restaurants located in The Strand. Players like Steinitz, Morphy and Lasker used to play at Simpsons and it was where in 1851 the famous "Immortal Game" was played between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky.

Rounds 5-10

From our previous report we know that the teams started off as absolute equals, with a 10-10 score after four rounds. Also in the fifth round the score remained even after the first tied match result: 2.5-2.5. Jones lost to Sokolov after spoiling a winning position but McShane saved England's day by beating Werle. (Then, coincidentally on Wednesday night the two soccer teams of England and Holland also met, and also couldn't decide matters: 2-2!)

Staunton Memorial 09

A horrific game for Jones, against Sokolov



Round 6 was a marvellous round with four decisive games. Dutch champ Smeets beat British champ Howell in a Ruy Lopez and then Sokolov put a 2-0 on the leaderboard with a victory against McShane. However, the luckless Werle, who played one of his worst tournaments as a GM ever in London, went down with White against Short, who on his turn was in top shape this week. England then managed to level the score once again when l'Ami overpressed against Jones.

Staunton Memorial 09

The battle between the reigning champions



The next day Howell produced an absolute masterpiece against Sokolov in a Scotch that was decided with a beautiful queen sacrifice on h8 - if you only have time to reply one game (viewer below), pick this one! l'Ami lost his second game in a row, against McShane, and so suddenly the English were leading by two points, with three rounds to go.

However, the Dutch were up to the task and levelled the score once again in round 8! Van Wely added another Bayonet KID victory to his long list, against McShane, and l'Ami bounced back from two consecutive losses - he beat Howell in beautiful, Capablanca style. (Really!)

In the penultimate round this went wrong for Holland again. It started with Jones-Smeets, where Jones avoided the Petroff in an original way, starting the game with the moves 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Nf3!? and, after a pause, The Dutchman deciced to go back to familiar stuff with 3...Nc6. Smeets missed 13...Bxe5! in the opening which gives Black a clear advantage, and then had a total blackout at the end.

Short then won a nice, thematical endgame against l'Ami to raise his score to 7/9 and a virtual rating of >2700 and to make matters worse, Howell defeated Van Wely to finally set to score to 4-1. Three draws would be enough for the English to win the event, and things started well for them on Monday with quick draws in l'Ami-Adams and Sokolov-Jones.

Staunton Memorial 09

Nigel Short, at 44 back to the world elite!?



Smeets then crushed Jones in a Berlin Wall to keep Dutch hopes for a tied final score alive. However, this was followed by another victory for Short, who beat Van Wely with the black pieces, to set an amazing personal result of 8 out of 10 and a 2862 performance. It looks like Short will be taking back the England number one spot from Michael Adams for the first time in many years. It was also fitting to have Short, "man of the match", deciding the event in England's favour. Werle and Howell then drew the last game remaining and so the final score was 26.5-23.5 in England's favour.

Staunton Memorial 2009 | England-Holland | Individual scores Staunton 2009



The all-play-all group was won by Timman, who finished clear first with 7/9, half a point ahead of Cherniaev. After a rough start, 78-year-old Korchnoi had a great comeback, winning his last three games and eventually finishing clear third with 6/9! As Steve Giddins points out in his last report, "Victor played a total of 549 moves in his nine games, for an average of 60 per game!"

Staunton Memorial 09

A great comeback for Korchnoi, also responsible for Timman's only loss



All photos © Barry Martin, more here

Staunton Memorial 2009 | All-play-all group | Final Standings Staunton 2009



Games (rounds 5-10 Scheveningen group, rounds 5-9 all-play-all group)

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