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Volokitin Defeats Adams With Round To Spare In UK Vs. Ukraine Solidarity Match
Adams vs. Volokitin playing a friendly blitz game at the opening ceremony. Photo: Tao Bhokanandh /CSC.

Volokitin Defeats Adams With Round To Spare In UK Vs. Ukraine Solidarity Match

AnthonyLevin
| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

The three-time and reigning Ukrainian champion, GM Andrei Volokitin, defeated the English number-one and seven-time British champion, GM Michael Adams, in the UK vs. Ukraine Match 2023, with a score of 4.5-3.5. The match concluded on Thursday.

The competition, representing solidarity between the two countries during Russia's now year-long invasion of Ukraine, took place in London. The first four games (of eight) were held at the Ukrainian Embassy in Holland Park, while the last four were played at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in Canary Wharf. The opening ceremony took place at the Palace of Westminster.

See what happened

You can click here to find all the details of what happened during the event, including games, results, standings, and more, as part of our live events platform.

micheal adams volokitin match 2023


Opening Ceremony

The Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) team organized the event and the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, hosted the opening ceremony of the match.

In his address, he stated that this "could be the first ever chess match between grandmasters from the United Kingdom and Ukraine," adding:

A place that only a few weeks ago welcomed Ukraine's President Zelensky to address MPs and peers in Westminster Hall, but also, a seat of democracy that has been—and continues to be—so supportive of Ukraine since Russia’s illegal invasion. We are also, as a nation, proud to have offered loving homes and sanctuary to many Ukrainian families and displaced people.

He also acknowledged the "massive boom in popularity worldwide" that chess has undergone, adding: "In the UK alone, there are over three million players registered with Chess.com."

The grandmasters played a friendly blitz game (five minutes each), which ended in a draw.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP (left) and Ukraine Ambassador Vadym Prystaiko (right) made the ceremonial first move for each side. Photo: Tao Bhokanandh / CSC.

The second competition of the opening day was a traditional match between the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Chess has been played in Parliament for over 150 years and even contains a chess room.

12 games were played simultaneously—the MPs won 7.5-4.5. The last time a Lords vs. Commons match took place was 2016, and the MPs won. 

The Match: Adams-Volokitin 3.5-4.5

The match, despite an overwhelming victory by Volikitin with a round to spare, had its ebbs and flows and plenty of fighting chess. Five of the games were decisive.

In the first game, Adams had the advantage with the black pieces in a complicated endgame and even had one chance to win the game before it ended in a draw. It was a significant missed chance—a victory for the English grandmaster in the very first game could have set a different tone for the match from the start.

The first blood was drawn in the very next game—in favor of the Ukranian player. After equalizing comfortably in the Moscow Variation of the Sicilian Defense, Volokitin ultimately took advantage of a blunder made in time trouble.

They were just four moves from 40, after which 50 more minutes would be added to the clocks. After winning a central pawn for nothing, Volokitin won the game with a cutthroat technique. 

After a draw in round three, the players traded blow for blow, each winning with the white pieces. Adams won round four after trapping his opponent's bishop, but Volokitin returned the favor in the following game after also emerging with an extra piece from a tactical slugfest. 

The breakaway happened in round six, where Volokitin won again—this being the second time with the black pieces—to take a two-point lead. it was the third decisive game in a row.

The game featured a curious opening wrinkle after which the Petroff Defense started to closely resemble a Benoni after 11.d5. 

After 14...Nxd5, Adams played the most natural yet incorrect response. Although he was worse, he was unable to find the best way of fighting back, and on move 23 he surrendered his queen when he indeed had a viable defense. Although he had 36 minutes against his opponent's less-than-five, Adams' 23rd move, played after about a minute's thought, left the white position irrevocably lost.

Two games were left in the eight-game match, and so the English grandmaster would need to win both just to tie the score. (There would be no tiebreak; a tied score would result in both players splitting the prize fund.)

Volokitin was never worse in the seventh game and drew comfortably, thereby securing the match. They played the final game anyway, and Adams enjoyed a consolatory victory to finish the weeklong battle despite the overall score favoring the Ukrainian player.

Volokitin receives $30,000 for winning the match, while Adams earns $15,000. 

Final Match Scores:

adams volokitin match uk ukraine 2023 final score table

All The Games


About Chess in Schools and Communities:

Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) is a UK charity whose mission it is to improve children's educational outcomes and social development by introducing them to the game of chess. Founded in 2009, CSC works with 1,500 schools across the UK. Each year, the charity stages ChessFest, a free mass participation event, in Trafalgar Square as well as an elite tournament, the London Chess Classic. See chessinschools.co.uk

AnthonyLevin
NM Anthony Levin

NM Anthony Levin caught the chess bug at the "late" age of 18 and never turned back. He earned his national master title in 2021, actually the night before his first day of work at Chess.com.

Anthony, who also earned his Master's in teaching English in 2018, taught English and chess in New York schools for five years and strives to make chess content accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages. At Chess.com, he writes news articles and manages social media for chess24.

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