Williams Sacrifices Queen For Brilliancy At Rejkavik Open

Williams Sacrifices Queen For Brilliancy At Rejkavik Open


GM Simon Williams (a.k.a. GingerGM) added yet another candidate for Game of the Year in his round-two game at the Reykjavik Open 2023 on Wednesday. 

The English grandmaster has long been known for his daring, sacrificial, and “YOLO” style of play. His 20-move miniature win over Ukrainian WIM Anastasiya Rakhmangulova showcases a powerful opening choice and, after his opponent grabbed a pawn sacrifice, an avalanche-style attack culminating with a queen sacrifice followed by several beautiful checkmating themes.

See what happened

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Williams’ Brilliancy

The Exchange Variation of the Slav Defense has, perhaps wrongfully so, a deceptive reputation for being solid, unambitious, or even “boring,” as Williams jokingly tweeted after the game. The grandmaster and streamer put this reputation in doubt as he played the interesting 5.f3, disrupting the symmetrical pawn structures and preparing an ideal pawn center. 

By move 11, Williams sacrificed a pawn for a powerful initiative. His opponent was unable to withstand the attack that followed, and the fact that he played a nearly perfect game, according to Chess.com’s Game Review feature, certainly didn’t help her. 

It doesn’t take long to go through this game as it’s just 20 moves long. By reviewing the attack that follows the queen sacrifice, you’ll also see a few beautiful checkmating patterns and instructive attacking themes.

After the game, Williams quipped about the “boring” nature of his opening.

Iceland, A Home For Chess

Reykjavik is most famous for hosting the 1972 World Chess Championship in which GM Bobby Fischer defeated GM Boris Spassky, a historic match that has been covered in dozens of books as well as in film adaptations.

The Reykjavik Open, however, dates back to 1964 (then, it was just called “Reykjavik 1964”). The Latvian-born World Champion Mikhail Tal won the inaugural event with an immense score of 12.5/13. Tal reportedly said: “I didn’t come all the way from Riga to Reykjavik to make a short draw!” 

Back then it was a round-robin tournament, and since 1980 it has been an open tournament bringing together hundreds of players. There are 150 players from around the world registered in this year’s edition. Popular streamers such as WGM Dina Belenkaya, WFM Alexandra Botez, WFM Anna Cramling, and Williams himself—who are all playing—have brought more publicity to this annual event. 

I hope you enjoyed going through the game as much as I did!

Would you vote for this game as the Game of the Year? Why or why not?


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