Chess

AS I explained yesterday, despite losing his last-round game by default, the Kent international master Danny Gormally's 5/9 at the recent Hampstead International was enough to propel him into the lead in the Onyx Grand Prix.

But after a reign tiny even by Lady Jane Grey's standards of just three days, he was overtaken by Keith Arkell who put behind him the disappointment of his 3.5-2.5 defeat in Hampstead in the challenge match with Mark Hebden, with a savage 5/5 at Rhyl last weekend.

This left Arkell on 175.5/200 well clear of Gormally 164.9, Lalic 160, Simon Williams 157, Andrew Ledger 139.4, Crouch 138.2, Plaskett 136.7 and Hebden - last year's winner - currently on just 125.5.

There were 130 competitors in all at Rhyl including, I'm informed, a honeymoon couple who had got married the day before in Gretna Green. The three sections consisted of an Open, Major and what the organiser, a local GP, Dr Hugh Jones, prefers to call not as is usual the Minor, but by the less psychologically undermining "Goodnight tournament".

Arkell is already entitled to play in the British Championship; it was the runner-up R.A. Barton from Morecambe on 4 who qualified for this year's tournament, as ever in the first fortnight in August, and this time in Scarborough.

Arkell's best game was probably this one in the first round against the joint British under-18 champion, eldest of a family of four talented juniors from Bath.

When Buckley played 2 Qe2 rather than the usual 2 d4, Arkell decided on the unusual "Hippopotamus", named after the supposed resemblance between the structure, with the two fianchettoed bishops, centre pawns on e6 and d6 and the two knights behind them, and a hippo in a river.

This highly provocative opening is difficult to meet since White must strike a balance between the desire to punish his opponent's effrontery and overpressing. Buckley played perfectly reasonably but I don't like 11 axb5?! - eg 11 Nbd2 looks better, since after Black recaptured with the queen on a8 there was already strong pressure on e4.

If 15 Qxb5 Ba6 nets the exchange while 20 e6 Re8 21 exf7+ Kxf7 is also better for Black. Arkell got powerful queenside pressure and after 26 ...Be4! the advantage was considerable. At the end if 35 cxd5 Rxa4 36 Rxd3 Ra1+ wins the knight.

White: David Buckley

Black: Keith Arkell

"Hippopotamus"

1 e4 e6

2 Qe2 d6

3 d4 Nd7

4 g3 Ne7

5 Bg2 g6

6 f4 Bg7

7 Nf3 0-0

8 0-0 a6

9 c3 b5

10 a4 Bb7

11 axb5 axb5

12 Rxa8 Qxa8

13 Nh4 Nf6

14 e5 Nfd5

15 Nd2 Rd8

16 Ne4 Nf5

17 Nxf5 exf5

18 Ng5 h6

19 Nf3 Qa4

20 Bd2 Qb3

21 Rb1 Ra8

22 exd6 cxd6

23 Qd1 Qxd1+

24 Rxd1 Ra2

25 Bc1 Nb6

26 Ne1 Be4!

27 Bf1 Nc4

28 b3 Na3

29 Bxa3 Rxa3

30 Bxb5 Rxb3

31 c4 d5

32 Ng2 Bd3

33 Ba4 Bxd4+

34 Kh1 Ra3 0-1

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