September 2015 Grandmaster Spotlight: Hicham Hamdouchi

GM Hicham Hamdouchi (strikingly similar in appearance to GM Anand)

GM Hicham Hamdouchi (strikingly similar in appearance to GM Anand)

This month we are examining the games of GM Hicham Hamdouchi. For a long time, GM Hamdouchi was one of the strongest players in Africa. He won the Moroccan Championship a whopping 11 times. In 2013, he won the french championship. This makes him one of the few players in the world to win in two different country championships. There are others, Gulko comes to mind as the best example (winning both the USSR and the US Championships). He currently lives in France and is still active on the tournament circuit. His FIDE rating is 2599 and he plays on ICC (handle: isham) to my knowledge we haven’t played any games.

The first game that I found was played in 1994 against GM Joel Lautier. It’s the kind of solid attacking game that I’m always looking for in these spotlights. Hamdouchi is the kind of player that finds those “impossible” moves in critical positions. In this game he sacrifices a rook on f7 and just rains down pieces on Lautier. Once Hamdouchi gets going there isn’t any stopping him.

This next game, is a real fun miniature that demonstrates once again how important it is to castle. Castle early and often everyone; don’t wait or terrible things can happen to you. The game ends when Hamdouchi finds a cute trick on move 19. It’s not clear to me why Simutowe didn’t play 13. … Bd7.

I liked this next game because it’s a good example of playing active defense. After withstanding an attack Hamdouchi goes on the offensive and launches a brilliant counter-attack. When Hamdouchi is attacking, you’re probably losing.

At this point it should come as no surprise that I like crazy games. In this game Hamdouchi sacrifices his queen and gets great compensation. Eventually, Tkachiev resigns as the white pawn will queen.

Sometimes when I’m writing these articles I find games that are just too fun for me to ignore. The tactic at the end of this game is great; a sham queen sacrifice that mates the black king.

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