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THE DERBY grandmaster Keith Arkell tightened his hold on the pounds 3,000 Onyx Grand Prix last weekend with an excellent 5.5/6 at the 24th Nottingham Premier, including 2.5/3 against fellow grandmasters: a draw against Jim Plaskett after Arkell had blundered in a winning position and wins against Aaron Summerscale and, crucially, his arch Grand Prix rival Mark Hebden in their last-round game below.

The other leading scores were Plaskett 4.5 and Hebden, Matthew Turner and D. Hulmes 4; Summerscale made just 3.5. This leaves Arkell well clear in the Grand Prix with 178.8/200, ahead of Gormally 162.7, Lalic 160, Plaskett 159.2, Simon Williams 157, Hebden 145.5, Andrew Ledger 139.4, Crouch 138.2 and Summerscale 124.3.

There were 178 players in the three sections. The 10-year-old Murugan Thiruchelvam won the Major with an easy 5.5/6, moving him up to second in the Onyx Junior Prix on 55.6, though well behind IM Simon Williams, on 79.3. J. Williams won the Minor with 5.5/6.

In the final game of their challenge match in Hampstead a fortnight ago, Arkell, needing to win, had chased the game with 7 ...Bxg3!? 8 hxg3 Qe7 9 Qa4 0-0 10 Ne5 Nxe5 11 dxe5 Nd7 12 Nf3 c4 13 Qd1 f6 but after 14 exf6 Nxf6 15 Qd4 Ne4 16 Bxc4! Nxf2 17 Kxf2 dxc4 18 Qxc4 h6 19 Rad1 Kh8 20 Kg1 e5 21 Rh5 White was in control and Hebden only agreed the draw six moves later because it clinched victory.

11 Bh4! was better though Ne8 is far from bad for Black. After 12 ...Ne7! though, Arkell was able immediately to charge the cavalry to e4 and had equalised.

25 f5?! was very dubious but White looks uncomfortable anyway, since it's hard to prevent Black from seizing control of the c file except by leaving the bishop loose on a6. Arkell then consolidated the extra pawn though 29 Bxb6 wasn't absurd since after Bxh2+ 30 Kxh2 Black at least has a difficult choice between the simple 30 ...Qxb6 and 30 ...Rxa6 when White can fight on with 31 Bc7! but must avoid 31 Qxa6? Qh6+ 32 Kg1 Qxe3+ 33 Kh2 Qh6+ 34 Kg3 Qxc1 35 Bc5 Qg5+ 36.Kh2 h5 to be followed in some order by ...e3 and ...f4 and perhaps ...h4 with a tremendous attack.

The exchange sacrifice 40 ...Rxa6! soon broke White's resistance.

White: Mark Hebden

Black: Keith Arkell

Queen's Pawn Game

1 d4 e6

2 Nf3 c5

3 c3 d5

4 Bf4 Nc6

5 e3 Bd6

6 Bg3 Nf6

7 Nbd2 0-0

8 Bd3 b6

9 Ne5 Qc7

10 f4 a5

11 Qe2 Bb7

12 0-0 Ne7!

13 Bh4 Ne4

14 Nxe4 dxe4

15 Bb5 Nf5

16 Bf2 Be7

17 Nc4 a4

18 Rad1 cxd4

19 cxd4 Nd6

20 Nxd6 Qxd6

21 Rc1 a3

22 b3 Rfc8

23 Bc4 Bd5

24 Ba6 Rc7

25 f5? Rxc1

26 Rxc1 exf5

27 Bg3 Qe6

28 Bc7 Bd6

29 g3 Bxc7

30 Rxc7 Qd6

31 Rc2 g6

32 Qb5 Kf8

33 Kf2 h5

34 Ke1 Kg7

35 Kd1 h4!

36 gxh4 f4

37 exf4 Be6

38 d5 Bg4+

39 Ke1 Qxf4

40 Qxb6 Rxa6!

41 Qxa6 Qe3+

42 Re2 Qg1+ 43 Kd2 Qd4+ 44 Ke1 e3 0-1