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Winter Tournament - Thompson and Ruben win best game prizes

As the post-Christmas portion of the Winter Tournament gets underway, two best game prizes for the pre-Christmas portion have been awarded.

Such is the quality of chess being played at this season's Winter Tournament, taking place at QUB's Lanyon Building and directed by Belfast South's Neil Green, that not one but two best game prizes have been awarded for the pre-Christmas portion of the tournament, covering the first six rounds out of a scheduled 16. The games, lightly annotated by Neil Green, are given below:

Bobby Thompson - Paul Hanna (round 3, 18.11.2019)

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nge2 O-O 6. Ng3 e5 7. d5 Nbd7 8. Be2 Kh8?

A wasted move: h6 preventing White’s next move or Re8 followed by Nf8 were good alternatives.

9. Bg5 a6 10. h4!

Starting a Kingside attack which develops surprisingly fast.

10 ... Qe8 11. h5 Ng8 12. Qd2 f6 13. hxg6 Qxg6 14. Be3 Qf7

Forced to save the Queen.

15. Bh5 Qe7 16. Nf5!

Driving the Black Queen even further from the defence.

16 ... Qd8 17. Bg6 h6

Black’s defenders are outnumbered and the White pieces home in on the King.

18. Bxh6 Bxh6 19. Rxh6+ Nxh6 20. Qxh6+ Kg8 21. Qg7#

David Ruben - John Bryars (round 5, 9.12.2019)

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. f4 Nd7 4. Nf3 a6 5. a4 e6 6. Bc4 Ndf6 7. d3 d5 8. exd5 exd5 9. Bb3 Ne7 10. O-O g6 11. a5 Bg7 12. Ba4+ Bd7 13. Bxd7+ Nxd7 14. f5!

An interesting pawn sacrifice in exchange for weakening Black’s King side. Black sensibly declines.

14 ... O-O 15. fxg6 hxg6 16. Qe1 d4?

Allowing White’s Knight into the attack.

17. Ne4 Nf5 18. Nfg5 Rc8 19. Rxf5!

A superb sacrifice, removing an important defender and facilitating the White Queen’s move to h4.

19 ... gxf5 20. Qh4 Re8 21. Qh7+ Kf8 22. Qxf5 Ne5 23. Bf4 Rc7 24. Nh7+ Kg8 25. Nef6+ Kh8 26. Qh5!

Black is completely defenceless to mate.

26 ... Bxf6 27. Nxf6+ Kg7 28. Qg5+ Kf8 29. Nh7#

The Winter Tournament takes place every Monday night at the Lanyon Building, with rounds kicking off around 7:45 pm.