Chess

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The Independent Culture
THE TOURNAMENT at Katrineholm near Stockholm concluded on Thursday with a fighting round in which four of the five games were decisive.

Going into it, Ulf Andersson, Viktor Gavrikov and myself were first equal on 5.5/8, ahead of Alexei Fedorov on 5 with the relevant pairings Fedorov vs Andersson, Berg vs Gavrikov and Pia Cramling against me.

I was first of the leaders to finish, in the tough game below, which I eventually won. Meanwhile Berg had bravely refused a draw against Gavrikov when he stood better but eventually got swindled and lost, while Andersson got a good position against Fedorov but the top seed almost turned it round before a tactical sequence just around the time control led to a forced draw.

So in the end I was first equal with Gavrikov on 6.5/9 ahead of Andersson 6, Ibragimov, Fedorov and Lutz 5.5, Cramling 4, Lyrberg 3, Berg 1.5 and Laveryd just 1.

In the opening 6 g3 is normal at once but Pia wanted to try something different. I thought she might have continued 7 Nb5!? since after 7 g3 Be5 my pieces are well co-ordinated.

13 dxe6 is rather a concession - I was much more concerned about 13 Qc2 - but White's position remains fundamentally sound. After 15 ...Qe8 I got the initiative but a slightly bad pawn structure so perhaps 15 ...Qe7 16 Nd3 Nxd3 17 exd3 Bxc3!? 18 Rxc3 e5 was theoretically better.

If 20 gxf4!? Ne4 21 Nxe5! Nxc3 22 bxc3 the centralised knight reasonably compensates White for the exchange. Analysis after the game suggested that 20 ...e4 is better and if 21 Ne5 Nh5 22 e3 g5!

22 Nxc5 was also possible when if 22 ...Ra5 23 Nxe4! Nxe4 24 fxe4 Qxe4+ 25 Rcf3 sets a nasty trap - 25 ...Qxe2+? 26 R1f2 Qe4 27 Qe1!! - though 25 ...Re8! is all right for Black. So I might have played 22 ...Qc6 when 23 Nxe4? is now much worse - with the rook on a8 Black can take on e2; but 23 b4 axb4 24 Nxb3 is unclear.

22 ...Qc6 may be wrong: I'd missed her reply. Not 24 ...exf3+ 25 exf3! Re2+ 26 Rf2! Rxf2+ 27 Kxf2 Ne4+ 28 Kg2! with the advantage!

After 25 ...h6 I had 22 minutes left and she just nine. But the position only swung decisively after 26 Rh1?? for 26 Nxf6! even gives White hopes of an advantage and 26 Qf5 also looks playable. At the end 35 fxg5 Re4+ 36 g4 Qf2+ 37 Kh3 Re3 is mate.

White: Pia Cramling

Black: Jon Speelman

English Defence

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