Chess

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The Independent Culture
AFTER A painfully near miss last year, 22-year-old Jonathan

Rowson not only won the 106th Scottish Championship in Edinburgh on Sunday at a canter,

but secured his third and final grandmaster norm, to become the third Scottish grandmaster. Many congratulations!

As in 1998, Rowson began at a sprint with two victories, then a hard- earned draw against the English guest grandmaster Aaron Summerscale.

The second win was particularly significant; his victim was last year's champion, John Shaw, who had started Rowson's decline when he stood at 5.5/6. This year Rowson reached "only" 5/6, but with the vital win against Paul Motwani shown below. His nerve held and though Summerscale kept pace, the rest were far behind.

In the last round, both leaders drew quite quickly to leave the final scores in the 20-player field Rowson and Summerscale 7/9, Motwani 6 and Neil Berry, who gained his first international master norm, 5.

7 ...Bg4 is inaccurate since the natural 8 ...cxd5 is strongly met by 9 Qb3. Rowson got a big advantage but Motwani fought hard sacrificing a pawn with 19 ...e5!? - not 19 ...Nf4 20 Bxf4 Qxf4 21 Nxe6 for activity.

Rowson kept calm and broke through just at the time control with 40 Rh4! causing annihilation on the white squares.

White: Jonathan Rowson

Black: Paul Motwani

Grunfeld

Keith Arkell (Worcester) increased his lead on the pounds 3,000 Onyx Grand Prix leader-board to 192.8 out of a possible 200 points. He won the White Rose International at Wakefield with the magnificent score of 8.5 from 9. Following him in the Onyx are Bogdan Lalic 180.2, Andrew Ledger 174 and Jim Plaskett 173.2. Other Onyx leaders are: Prixette - Jovanka Houska; Junior - Simon Williams; Senior - Otto Hardy; Amateur - Nick Burrows and Disabled - Graham Lilley.

The Fide knockout world championship tournament begins this weekend in Las Vegas, with 72 players. England has five of these. In round one Tony Miles meets Ralf Akesson (Sweden) and I am paired with Pablo Ricardi (Argentina). Mickey Adams, who got as far as the semi-finals in the last event, plus Matthew Sadler and Nigel Short, are seeded to the second round. With Kasparov, Anand, Karpov and Morozevich not competing, favourites may include Alexander Shirov, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Leko and Judit Polgar.

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