Francis Rayner wins Geof Tyrrell Best Game Prize 2013

In this the fourth year of the competition in memory of Geof, the judges (Stuart Hutchings, Dave James and Howard Williams) identified 24 games (six up on 2012) which met our basic criteria, in short  wins or draws by Welsh players against foreign opposition rated both 2250 or over and 150 points or more above the Welsh player.  These consisted of four wins and 20 draws, all hard-fought. 

Among the drawn games, we particularly liked Richard Jones’ solid performance against a Polish 2600+ GM and Rudy van Kemenade’s hard-fought draw against a player 300 points above him but our attention centred on the four decisive results.  Alan Spice’s win with Black against Matthew Rose in the 4NCL was one where in the style of Nimzovich he emerged from a cramped position to gradually outplay his opponent and to finish him off with some deft touches.  Alan Young’s game was from the European Club Cup against a Swedish IM with a rating advantage of 400.  Alan appeared to have let his promising attacking position slip but he resourcefully rekindled his attack and his opponent suddenly found he had to give up his queen to avoid mate.  Tom Brown’s win from the last Hastings International was against a Kazakhstan master with another kingside attack, this one featuring a far from obvious but sound piece sacrifice. Finally, we looked hard at Francis Rayner’s gargantuan struggle with Black against GM Mark Hebden played at the previous Hastings, at the very start of 2013.  Francis needed to win to get an IM norm and therefore played a sharp and risky opening.  From a difficult and original middle game where the GM had compensation for a sacrificed pawn, there developed a long rook and opposite-coloured bishop endgame where eventually, at move 82, Francis’s passed pawns overwhelmed White.  There were inevitably mistakes by both sides in such a protracted, tense game but Francis played remarkably well not only to stand up to such a tough competitor as Mark but in the end to nail the win.

 

We have therefore decided uninanimously that the 2013 Geof Tyrrell Best Game Prize should go to Francis Rayner for this effortwith a giant-killing performance very much in the spirit of the award.

 

Here are the four decisive games - download

 

We are already collecting games for the 2014 competition but there is no need to wait until the year end before sending to me those that meet the basic rules; see above. Annotated games are particularly welcome. One slight amendment to the rules for 2014 is that they have been amended to put beyond doubt that rapid play and blitz games are not eligible. (Rules).

 

Howard Williams

Welsh Champion

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