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Surprise victor in a London tournament

By Arthur Bisguier / July 20, 1988



The Watson Farley & Williams International (sponsored by a firm of London solicitors), although not a major event, was significant for various reasons. The surprise victor in the 12-player round-robin event in London was Paul Motwani, a relatively unknown 26-year-old International Master from Scotland. Motwani's score of 7-4 nosed out a trio of British masters: Keith Arkell, Jonathan Levitt, and 14-year-old Mathew Sadler, each of whom scored 6 points. Sadler obtained his second International Master norm within a few weeks (Arkell and Levitt are already IMs), and his achievements already brook comparison with those of other prodigies such as Bobby Fischer, Henrique Mecking, and Nigel Short, all of whom went on to become world championship candidates and, in Fischer's case, to win the title.

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The tournament was a failure for the United States grandmaster participants, John Fedorowicz, who scored 6-5, and Larry Evans, who ended up a dismal 4-7. Evans hadn't played serious chess in five years, and the rust showed on the veteran grandmaster who, along with me, was Samuel Reshevsky's only serious rival in American chess in the early and mid-1950s. (Of course, that was just before the advent of Fischer, who soon removed all doubt as to who was numero uno.)

Today's featured game shows an out-of-form Evans losing to tournament winner Motwani. Though Larry, one of the leading American players for three decades, was not up to snuff, the game was splendidly conducted by the tournament winner, who blended a fine mix of strategy and tactics for an impressive victory.

Sicilian Defense

Motwani Evans 1. P-K4 P-QB4 2. N-KB3 PQ3 3. P-Q4 PxP 4. NxP N-KB3 5. N-QB3 P-QR3 6. B-K3 P-K4 (a) 7. N-KB3 B-K2 (b) 8. B-QB4 O-O 9. O-O Q-B2 10. B-N3 QN-Q2 11. B-N5 P-R3 12. B-R4 N-B4? (c) 13. BxN BxB 14. N-Q5 Q-Q1 15. R-K1 B-N5 16. P-KR3 B-R4 17. P-B3 B-N4 18. B-B2 K-R1 19. Q-K2 B-N3 20. QR-Q1 P-B4 (d) 21. PxP BxP 22. BxB RxB 23. P-QN4 N-K3 24. P-KR4! (e) B-K2 25. Q-K4 R-KB1 26. Q-N4 N-B2 27. N-N6 R-B5 28. Q-R3 P-K5 (f) 29. NxR NxN 30. N-Q4 RxRP 31. Q-B5 Q-K1 32. RxP RxR 33. QxR P-Q4 34. Q-K5 Q-B2 35. R-K1 B-B1 36. Q-K8 Resigns (g)

A.This committing move is again in vogue, mainly because White has been enjoying considerable success against the more flexible 6.... P-K3. The antidote against the latter move is the attacking maneuver of P-B3, Q-Q2, O-O-O, followed by the advance of the kingside pawns.

B.Since the key strategical square is White's Q5, the most accurate move here is 7.... Q-B2 to prevent White from easily developing his KB at QB4. And here or on the next few moves Black should consider playing P-KR3 to prevent a potential White B-KN5, which indirectly influences the same critical square.

C.This move is queried as it does not relate to the positional requirements of Black's pawn structure. More to the point was 12.... R-N1, intending 13.... P-QN3 or 13.... P-QN4 and 14.... B-N2 to battle for Black's Q4.

D.Simple developing moves have enabled White to develop a powerful position, so understandably Black strives for counterlay on the KB file. The plan has the drawback of ceding White more of the sensitive light squares (K4, KB5, KN4).

E.A fine move that repels Black's counterplay. Its tactical justification is based on 24.... BxP? 25. Q-K4, R-R4; 26.Q-N4, which wins a piece.

F.Equally unsavory for Black is 28.... R-N1; 29.NxP, which threatens both 30.N-B7 ch and 30.N-N6 ch. Actually Black could have already abandoned the game safely.

G.Black will lose one of his minor pieces after the exchange of queens.

International Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier is a former US champion and has won or shared the US Open title five times.