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Scottish Championships - Best Game Prize
Today (round 6) seemed to be golf's equivalent of moving day with the 2500+ set asserting themselves. Alan Tate got a real shellacking at the hands of Sengupta.
Hera played in a similar fashion to Ruck against Colin Mcnab, but he didn't let his advantage slip and finished Colin off in expert style. Mark Hebden won a nice game against Andy Greet. Andy never managed to equalise and was always struggling against the experienced grinder. Mark finished it off in some style.
Nikolov played a great game as Black in a sharp Sicilian and totally outplayed his opponent, who is no slouch rated at 2485.
Round 7 and my tip for the winner, Hera got defeated on 1. Thorfinsson was prepared to unbalance the opening and you have to respect his approach. Perhap Hera was too ambitious in the end, but it was sure a great result for the Islandic player and he might be in pole position now.
Nikolov defeated Hebden very neatly. Mark can normally be relied unto to generate play in his King's Indian, but he never seemed to quite get going today.
A strange choice of opening by Barnaure against Donald Holmes, but what a superb victory by the Scot.
A extremely professional display by Hawkins as he nursed a small opening advantage through to victory.
I really enjoyed Donald Holmes game today. What criteria should make up a best game prize? The list may be endless but the personal determination to achieve a win plus achieviements and results well above your official grade could be to the forefront. Now then, is grade strictly important for this (type of) award? I don't strictly have any set ideas. Is a grinder more pleasing than a an incredibly risky tactical wizard?... Who knows?. The result at the end is usually the same. I am in the Tal/ Fischer camp but I am sure that there will be plenty of supporters in the Botvinnik/ Petrosian department,

Round 8 saw some very insipid play on the top boards; Is this the lull before the final round storm or the shape of things of come? Jacob Aagard won an important game with Black, but he seem to be under the cosh early on before his opponent played some aimless checks in the Rook and pawn ending. Mark Hebden won a nice game in Hebdenesque style, squeezing his opponent thrgoughout. Similar could be said of Jasmin Bejtovic's victory over Colin McNab.
Well the time has almost come for me to make a decision and there were certainly some candidates in the last round. Andrew McClement scored a fine win over IM Mark Orr. Jonathon Hawkins dispatched his opponent in fine style and Jacob Aagard won a really nice game against Mark Hebden, although it did infringe the no Rook and Pawn endgame rule.
Whilst perhaps not a traditional best game winner, I also enjoyed the Nikolov - Gormally encounter, which finished as a good fighting draw.
I'm not sure how that Best Game winner will be announced, but I will not be posting for a couple of days to allow the organisers to announce the winner in the way they wish. After that I will give my run down on my 1,2,3 for the best game. Hopefully, everyone will enjoy the game(s) that I have chosen and hopefully most people will disagree with my choice - it would be pretty boring if we all liked just the one style of game.
I said I would comment on my top three best games, so here goes. I made a provisional decision about the best game on the Saturday night and I came down to three candidates. I ran these through an engine, just to check that I, and the players, hadn't missed something horrible. There were a lot of good games on the Sunday and I think probably one of these deserved to be in the top 3.

4th Place Iain Swan - Imre Hera 0-1 (Round 3 board 4)
I really enjoyed this his game. Iain took the fight to his opponent and we had a dynamic, unbalanced position, White with a Queen and lots of passed pawns against a collection of Black forces. Hera played incredibly well to coordinate his pieces and secure a victory. Unfortunately, I think the Silicon monster did for this game's chances. It showed that White was 2 points ahead at one point and I questioned how objectively good a game could be if such a seemingly big advantage was allowed to slip.

3rd Place Arghyadip Das - Momchil Nikolov 0-1 (Round 6 board 4)
This was a game between two very strong players and it looked like it. Nikolov demonstrated how to play a Sicilian and there were lots of thematic ideas - A minority attack, opening lines to utilise two Bishops. My reservation about this game was was it special, would people remember it was played at the scottish? could it just have easily come from the 4NCL or the Paris Championships?

2nd Place Andrew McClement - Mark Orr 1-0 (round 9 board 8)
I found it difficult to evaluate this objectively in a short space of time. It would be very nice for scottish youngster to win the prize for defeating a titled player. I think it was superb diplay, extinguishing Black's attacking play in the Dragon (never an easy thing to do) and then using the two Bishop to dominate the endgame. There was a cheesy little tactic at the end too. I really enjoyed this game, but I didn't know if it would be everyone's cup of tea. Best Game Prize - Dragon might evoke a slightly different image.

Winner Vlad-Victor Barnaure - Donald Holmes 0-1 (Round 7 board 6)
A tremendously creative game from both players. White established a mass of central pawns in the opening and a tense struggled ensued to established whether these gave White the advantage by controlling the key squares or were a potential target for Black. Very accurate play by Donald Holmes led to Black seizing the initiative and he kept control to score a very fine victory.
Hi Mathew

Of course if Clement Sreeves had played the Double Bishop sac and under promoting
to a Bishop variation in his Round 7 game v Michael Grove then Clement would have won it.


[pgn][FEN "7r/2p3p1/2k4p/4bpN1/P7/2P2b2/5PpP/1R4K1 w - - 0 1"]

1. Rf1 {Clement now took the Rook (g2xR=Q) and White resigned. Boring, I'll be having words with Clement. How about....} 1... Bxh2+ {The first Bishop sac.} 2. Kxh2 hxg5+ 3. Kg3 gxf1=B {Two light squared Bishops, that is fairly unique.} 4. Kxf3 {There goes the 2nd Bishop.} 4... Rh3# {Checkmate. All brilliancy games should end in checkmate.}[/pgn]

The position was mistaken, the bishops were on d6 and d5 in the game. However this allows another nice finish:

[pgn][FEN "7r/2p3p1/2kb3p/3b1pN1/P7/2P5/5PpP/1R4K1 w - - 0 1"]

1. Rf1 Bxh2+ 2. Kxh2 hxg5+ 3. Kg3 gxf1=N#[/pgn]

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