Zhao Jun was assured of at least a share of first prize at Hastings after his eighth-round opponent, GM Jahongir Vahidov, played so eccentrically in the opening, the result of the game was never in doubt.
He holds a full-point lead over GM Alexander Fier and plays black against the Brazilian in the last round.
Fier defeated Mark Hebden, who stood well but over-pressed when a draw was in sight. Keith Arkell drew quickly with Jonathan Hawkins.
Black never moves his queen’s knight or rook:
Zhao Jun – J. Vakhidov
1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qd6 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 g6 6.Nb5 Qb6 7.Na3 c6 8.Nc4 Qc7 9.Nce5 Bg7 10.Bc4 0–0 11.0–0 Nd5 12.Bb3 e6?! (12…Nbd7) 13.c4 Nf6 14.h3 c5?! (14…Nbd7) 15.Bf4! Qa5 16.d5 Qd8 17.Rc1 b6 18.Re1 Nh5 19.Bh2 (Even now 19.Nxf7 Rxf7 20.dxe6 Rf8 21.e7; 19.Nxf7 Kxf7 20.dxe6+ Bxe6 21.Ng5+; 19.Nxf7 Qe7 20.Nh6+ Kh8 21.Bg5 wins) 19…Bh6 20.Rc3 Bf4 21.Bxf4 Nxf4 22.Qd2 Nh5
It’s the lone ranger on h5 against the entire white army – place your bets.
23.Nxf7 Kxf7 24.dxe6+ Ke7 (24…Kg8 25.e7 Qxd2 26.exf8Q+ Kxf8 27.Nxd2) 25.Rd3 Qc7 26.Qh6 Rh8 27.Ne5 Bxe6 (27…Nc6 28.Qg5+ Nf6 29.Ng4 Rf8 30.Nxf6 Rxf6 31.Rf3 or 28.Nxg6+) 28.Nxg6+ hxg6 29.Qxh8 Kf7 30.Rf3+ Bf5 31.Rxf5+ 1-0 31.Rxf5+ gxf5 32.Qxh5+ Kg7 33.Re8 is good enough.
Scores with one to play: Zhao Jun 7.5/8; Fier 6.5; Mista, Lagarde, Edouard, Arkell, Kjartansson 6.
T. Warakomski – E. Alexeev
White to play. 24.Rxd7, or 24.Qh3 are strong.
White found something even better. What was it?
Answer: 24.Rxe5! fxe5 25.Ng5 1-0