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SHOWING DEDICATION which surely ought to be above and beyond the call of duty, Grandmaster Bogdan Lalic seized back the lead in the race to the pounds 3,000 first prize in the Onyx Grand Prix last weekend, with 4/5 at the Aberdeen Congress.

This netted him just pounds 210, some of which he will have had to spend on the entry fee, accommodation and the two 12-hour bus journeys there and back. But the important gain was in the Grand Prix, where he moved up to 180/200, a fifth-of-a-point ahead of Keith Arkell on 179.8.

Arkell, meanwhile, had gone from his home in Derby, only as far as the Walsall Kipping tournament. Unfortunately for him both Mark Hebden and Jim Plaskett were also there and they shared first place on 5/6 ahead of Arkell on 4.5 in a field of just nine players.

Danny Gormally was in action elsewhere, at the Frome Open, which he won with 4.5/5 gaining just over five Grand Prix points. The scores in the pack behind Lalic and Arkell are now Gormally 167.9, Plaskett 163.2, Hebden 160.5; Simon Williams 157.2 and Andrew Ledger 156.4. In this surprisingly fluctuating battle, Lalic quickly exchanged queens which ought, other things being equal, to be favourable to the stronger player. But Black defended staunchly and got a very reasonable position.

14...Nxc5! was extremely sensible. If instead 14...f5? 15.Bd6+ Kb6 (15...Kd7 16.Nxe5+)16.Nxe5 fxe4 17.Nc4+ Kb5 18.a4+! Kxc4 (if 18...Kxa4 19.Rxd5 cxd5 20.Rxd5 the king is in a mating net anyway) 19.b3+ Kc3 20.Rd3+ exd3 21.Rxd3 is mate. But two moves later 16...f5 was quite strong. White should probably try 17.Nxe5!? fxe4 18.Nxg6 Rg8 19.Bxe4. 18...Nd5 was also good and if 19.Nd6 Be6 20.a3 (threatening 21.e4) 20...Bxd6 21.cxd6+ Kd7 with an excellent position. If 24...Nc5 25.Nexc5 Bxc5 26.Rdc1 Ba3 27.Rxc6+! Bxc6 28.Rxc6+ Kd7 29.Rxf6 looks very strong but in fact something like Ke7 30.Rxg6 Rac8 31.Rc6 Rxc6 32.Bxc6 Rc8 33.Be4 isn't at all clear because White's king is trapped.

Once the knight got established on d3, White had real prospects of an advantage though both 26...Rxa4 27.f3 - not 27.Bxg6? Rb4+ 28.Ka1 e4! winning a piece; and 29...Ra5 were improvements.

White: Bogdan Lalic

Black: K. Neil

Aberdeen 1999 (Round 3)

Queen's Pawn Game