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The Independent Culture
THE SMITH & Williamson British Championships start on 1 August, in the Spa Centre in Scarborough, with a plethora of different events, running, as always, for almost a fortnight, until 13 August. Despite, or rather perhaps because of the absence of Michael Adams, Nigel Short, Matthew Sadler, Tony Miles and myself at the Fide knockout World Championships in Las Vegas, an excellent turn-out is expected in the hunt for the pounds 10,000 first prize in the Championship itself, with grandmasters Arkell, Baburin, Conquest, Nigel Davies, Emms, Gallagher, Hebden, Hodgson, Kosten, Bogdan Lalic, Summerscale, Ward and Wells already confirmed.

In the meantime, the Private Bank and Chartered Accountants are holding their ninth Smith & Williamson Young Masters at King Edward's School, Witley, near Guildford.

The main event, running from 16 to 24 July, is a nine-round Swiss with 20 players: 13 English, two Danes, two Israelis and one competitor each from Scotland, France and the US - among them five international masters.

In order to foster fighting spirit, the organiser, Alec Webster, has this year introduced a win bonus and this has certainly borne fruit, with a pleasingly sanguine 31 decisive games of the 50 in the first five rounds. With four to go, Simon Williams and Karl Mah were first on 4/5 ahead of three Richards - Bates, Pert and Palliser on 3.5; while the bloodbath has submerged the top seeds, with world under-18 champion IM Nick Pert (rated 2,425) on just 2.5 and Simon Bekker-Jensen from Denmark (rated 2,436) struggling on 1.5.

In this impressive game, Karl Mah, fresh from an excellent result in Copenhagen, put to the sword David Bekker Jensen, Simon's elder but lower- rated brother (2,264).

In the Meran, White can easily not only allow equality but even get worse if he plays accurately. 13 Ne4?! looks wrong - 13 h3 is normal against the threat of ...b4, ...e4 and ...Bxh2+ - and after easily repelling White's attack 21 ...f4! already gave Black a nice edge. though 23 Qh3 looks slightly less bad than 23 Qg4 as played.

Black crashed through on the f file. At the end if 39 Kg3 Qe3+ wins at once and 39 Kh4 Qxg2 was no better.

White: David Bekker Jensen

Black: Karl Mah

Smith & Williamson Masters 1999 (Round 2)

Queen's Gambit Meran