Chess

THE INAUGURAL Redbus knockout tournament, which was held over the Easter weekend at the Southend Civic Centre, featured 16 British players who fought it out in this oldest - and recently most trendy - of formats.

After suitably copious bloodshed, the 16 were reduced to just two, Jim Plaskett and Bogdan Lalic, who played the two regulation games at the time limit of 100 minutes plus 30 seconds per move but were then, owing to constraints of time, forced to forgo the blitz play-offs.

You can't have a knockout without a winner, though, and now, thanks to the further generosity of Redbus Investments, one has been found. The rematch took place last Sunday and, most aptly, since Redbus was set up by the Demon Internet founder Cliff Standford after Demon was sold to Scottish Telecom, was transmitted live over the Internet - at Redbus's Internet site http:// redbus.co.uk, with commentary by Malcolm Pein.

The first game, with Plaskett White (and the same time limit as the main event), was drawn fairly quickly and harmlessly; but Plaskett won the second, below, so obviating the need for blitz play-offs and becoming the inaugural Redbus champion.

7 ...b6 was prepared by Nigel Short for his match against Garry Kasparov way back in 1993. He never got the chance to play it then, but unleashed the move against Alexander Baburin at the Isle of Man Open last November.

Kasparov himself subsequently played it against Vladimir Kramnik in the second game of their marathon blitz match in December. Kramnik replied with the modest 8 Nf3 and got a good game, though he eventually lost.

Baburin, like Lalic after him, played 8 Bf4 but he chose the better 11 Nf3 Rc8 12 Be5 Nxe5 13 dxe5 Nd7 14 b4 Bb7 15 e3 Bxf3 16 gxf3 Nxe5, and Short and he agreed a draw nine moves later.

Not 12 e3 Bxf1 13 Kxf1 Nb3 when if 14 Rc3? Ne4! 15 Rxb3 Nd2+, but Black got a strong initiative anyway - the "consequent" 14 Rg3 Nce4 15 Rxg7 Rc8 would have been suicidal.

18 ...Na4 won a vital pawn since 19 Rxc8 Rxc8 20 b3 Rc2+ 21 Nd2 Nc5 would have been even worse for White. If 22 Nc6 Rc7 23 Rd1 Nb5! is very strong, while if 24 Rxc8+ Nxc8 25 Kd3 Kf8 26 Kc4 a6 27 a4 Nd6+ keeps control. But with the rooks on it was vile, and at the end 34 ...Nb5 will win a whole piece.

White: Bogdan Lalic

Black: Jim Plaskett

Nimzo-Indian

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 e6

3 Nc3 Bb4

4 Qc2 d5

5 a3 Bxc3+

6 Qxc3 dxc4

7 Qxc4 b6

8 Bf4 Ba6

9 Qxc7 Qxc7

10 Bxc7 Nc6

11 Rc1 Nxd4

12 Be5 Nb3

13 Rc3 Nc5

14 Bxf6 gxf6

15 e3 Bxf1

16 Kxf1 0-0

17 Ke2 Rac8

18 Nf3 Na4

19 Rcc1 Nxb2

20 Nd4 Nc4

21 Rc3 Nd6

22 Rhc1 Rxc3

23 Rxc3 Rc8

24 Rd3 e5

25 Ne6 Nc4

26 Nd8 Kf8

27 Nb7 Ke7

28 a4 Rc7

29 Rc3 Rc6

30 Rd3 Nb2

31 Rd8 Nxa4

32 Ra8 Rc7

33 Rxa7 Nc3+ 0-1

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