Published 1 June 2004

Woodcock prize 2004

Jim Keene (white) - Robert Thomas (black)
Played 30 September 2003 at Halesowen

1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 Nd7 5.0-0 e5 6.e4 Ne7 7.Nc3 0-0 8.Be3 h6 9.Qd2 Kh7 10.Rad1 Nc6 11.Qe2 a6 12.dxe5 Ndxe5 13.Nxe5 Nxe5 14.Bd4 Be6 15.b3 Qc8 16.Nd5 Rb8 17.Qe3 c5 18.Ba1 Re8 19.f4 Ng4 20.Qc1! Bxa1

Declining the sac doesn't help, e.g. 20...Bxd5 21.Rxd5 Qc7 22.Bxg7 Kxg7 23.Qb2+ Nf6 24.g4+-

21.Qxa1 Bxd5 22.Rxd5 Ne3 23.Rxd6 Nxf1 24.Qf6 Qc7 25.f5 Rg8 26.Bxf1 Rbd8 27.e5 Rxd6 28.exd6 Qd7 29.Bd3 g5

Here the player of the black pieces writes: "Beginning of the end, but is there anything else?" Not really! 29...g5 is a poor move, but after (a) 29...b5 30.a4! seals black's fate (Not 30.Qe7? Qxe7 31.dxe7 Kg7 32.a4 c4!! 33.Be4 (33.Bxc4? bxa4-+) 33...Re8 34. axb5 axb5 35.Bc6 Rxe7 36.Bxb5 cxb3 37.cxb3 gxf5 -+) 30...Qa7! (30...bxa4 31.bxa4 a5 32.Qe7+-) 31.c4! bxa4 32.bxa4 Qd7 33.Bc2 a5 34.Be4 Qe8 35.Qe7 Qxe7 36.dxe7 Re8 37.f6+-; or (b) 29...Qe8 30.a4 Rg7 31.Qe7+-

30.Qe7 Rd8?

Black had a better defence, but it would only have delayed the end. 30...Qxe7 31.f6+ Qe4! 32.Bxe4+ Kh8± Though after 33.d7! (33.Bxb7?! Rd8 34.Bxa6 Rxd6 35.Bd3 Rxf6 is seriously problematic.) 33...Rd8 34.Bf5 Kg8 35.Kf2 h5 36.Ke3+- and the white king can just march up to c7/e7

31.f6+ Kg8 32.Qe4 1-0