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Bill Armstrong Wins Best Game prize

Our recently crowned British Champion has also been presented with the BCA Best Game Prize for 2016. This new trophy was generously donated by Owen Phillips in memory of our friend and valued member, David Hodgkins, who died two and a half years ago.

Photograph of Bill Armstrong receiving David Hodgkins Memorial Best Game Prize for 2016

Owen comments:-

""In first place is Bill Armstrong's exotic win against Sergio Harnandan.

Sergio Harnandan (1897) vs William (Bill) G. Armstrong (1839), Round 7 of the 2016 IBCA European Team Championship in Poland: UK vs Netherlands. Again played in difficult circumstances where the UK team was desperate to get a match win and game points on the board after a number of close encounters and other maulings at the hands of so many teams which greatly out-graded our lads! Bill fought hard and bravely sacrificed to go all out for a win. His tenacity and do or die attitude resulted in a very fine problem-like finish to an exciting game, and put us on the way to our first and only match win of the European Team Championship event. David Hodgkins would have been proud of Bill's fighting spirit and fine sacrifices here!

I now set out the game with comments from Bill himself, although naturally I reviewed the game with the aid of Fritz and Komodo before shortlisting it.

Sergio Harnandan vs Bill Armstrong

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. f3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Be3 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Qd2 exd5 9. cxd5 a6 10. a4 Nbd7

11. Be2 (Ne2 is better) Ne5 12. h3 Nh5 13. Bf2 Qf6 14. g3

Black must retreat or find a response to White’s likely f4. Why not sacrifice a piece?

14. ... g5 15. f4 gxf4 16. Bxh5 fxg3 17. Bxg3 Nc4 The point of the sacrifice.

18. Qf4 (If White had played 18 Qc2 Black is winning after 18. … Nxb2 19 Qxb2 Qxc3+)

18. … Qxf4 19. Bxf4 Nxb2 20. Kd2

I was much more worried about Bd2 when Black has less obvious lines of attack.

20. … f5 21. Be2 fxe4 22. Bxd6 Rf2 23. Bxc5 Nc4+

24. Kc2 e3 If now 25. Kd3 then b5 26 axb5 Bf5+ 27. Kxc4 axb5+ winning the Rook on a1.

Harnandan chose 25. Rf1 Bf5+ 26. Kc1 Bxc3 27. Rxf2 Bd2+ Resigns as mate is imminent.

27 Bxc4 also loses Bb2+ 28 Kd1 Bc2+ 29 Ke1 Bc3 mate.

If White prefers 26. Kd1 rather than Kc1, I much prefer Black’s attack in that position. After 26 Kd1 Nb2+ 27 Kc1 Bxc3 Black has Rc8 and Be4 as powerful weapons against a white formation with poor development and a king that is far from being safe."


BCA 2002 - 2017