2014 Greg Hjorth Brilliancy Award
In 2014, the 9 winners of Brilliancy Prizes in our slow play tournaments went into the running for a $300 book prize and trophy, in what has been named the Greg Hjorth Brilliancy prize, in honour of Australian legend IM Greg Hjorth. The games are given to the judges without names or ratings.
There were a few very nice games that stood out as the main contenders for the brilliancy award. I was presented with 9 submissions by the MCC committee and enjoyed comparing them all. The runner up especially, at first seemed like it would be an automatic choice, featuring an amazing Queen sacrifice for a few pawns against the Najdorf Sicilian and a classic King hunt. However, although a lovely game, the Queen sac had already been discovered and played by Ivanchuk and therefore lacked true originality. Most ideas in chess are not entirely original these days, but in this case I felt the theme was just too well documented to be characterised as a brilliancy. Also, White's 22. Bf7+? was a potentially serious error that should have handed Black the better chances, whereas 22.Bd5! was available with a big advantage. It's still an exhilarating game with some excellent attacking play by White. After considerable musing I
decided that the winning game, although less spectacular, should triumph on accuracy and greater originality. Another contender, the second runner up, featured a nice piece and then exchange sacrifice in the Barendregt variation of the Exchange Lopez. Both sacrifices are well known and White defended poorly, but it was an enjoyable tour de force. Congratulations on all the fine submissions and I hope you enjoy playing over the following MCC gem.