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Belfast South tournament: Two more best game prizes awarded

There was so much great chess played in the post-Christmas portion of this season's BSCC Open that the organisers have decided to award not one but two best game prizes.

With so many great games being played at Belfast South's Monday night tournament, the club have decided to award two best game prizes for the post-Christmas period; one to Norman McFarland for his display of coolness under intense time pressure against Robert Lavery in round 13, and the other to Mikhail Pavlov for his fantastic attacking performance against the same opponent in round 16.

Robert Lavery 0-1 Norman McFarland (round 13)

(click here to play through the full game)

Lavery-McFarland

We join the action after Black's 36th move. With an advanced passed pawn and just seconds on his opponent's clock, White should win. But instead, complacency begins to creep into his play:

37 b6?

This allows a perpetual check: 37 ... Rh2 38 Re1+ Kf3 39 Rf1+ Rf2 40 Rxf2+ Kxf2 41 c3 Rd3+ 42 Kc2 Rd2+ 43 Kb1 Rd1+ 44 Kb2 Rd2+ 45 Kc1 Re2+ 46 Kb1 Re1+ 47 Kb2 Re2+, and so on. 37 Kc1 would have kept White out of trouble.

37 ... Kf3

Objectively - according to Stockfish - Black can still draw, but in practice it's prohibitively difficult; it took Stockfish about a minute to find the drawing line. (38 b7 Rd2+ 39 Kc1 Rh2+ 40 Kb2 Rxh1 41 b8=Q Rgg1 42 Qf8+ Kg2 43 Rxb4 Bd2 44 c3 Bxc3+ 45 Kxc3 Rc1+ 46 Kd3 Rhd1+ 47 Ke3 Re1+ 48 Kd3 Red1+)

38 b7 Rgg2?

Now, 39 Rh3+ is a clear win for White as 39 ... Kf4 allows the White king to escape to safety via c1. Instead:

39 Bh3??

But does Black even have enough time to capitalise on this error?

39 ... Rd2+!

He does.

40 Kc1 Rxc2+ 41 Kd1

Or 41 Kb1 Rb2+ 42 Ka1 Ra2+ 43 Kb1 Rgb2#.

41 ... Rgd2+ 42 Ke1 Bh4+!

The crucial move White missed when playing his 39th, instead expecting 42 ... Re1+ 43 Kf1 Rf2+ 44 Kg1 when Black has no good checks left.

43 Kf1 Rd1#

Black delivered mate with just eight seconds to spare.

Mikhail Pavlov 1-0 Robert Lavery (round 16)

(click here to play through the full game)

Pavlov-Lavery

White wastes no time in sacrificing material to break up Black's Kingside:

22 Bxh6 Bxf2+

Black fights fire with fire.

23 Kxf2 Ne4+ 24 Kg1 gxh6

It now looks like Black has the situation under control, but he had reckoned without another sacrifice from White:

25 Rxe4! dxe4 26 Qxe4

Black will now either be mated on h7 or suffer ruinous material loss.

26 ... Qf5 27 Qc4+ 1-0

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