Chess

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The Independent Culture
THE ENGLAND teams have been announced for the European Team Championships in Batumi in Georgia, to run from 27 November to 8 December.

Two years ago in Pula in Croatia we were first, albeit on tie-break after a harrowing last-round defeat by Germany. But we certainly counted it as a victory over the Russians, who caught us up, and were delighted also for our wonderful sponsors, Duncan Lawrie, who have supported the team for two decades through "thick" in the Eighties and, sadly, mostly "thin" in the Nineties.

It will be much harder this time, since several key players are unavailable. But we hope that the five of us - Nigel Short, myself, John Emms, Stuart Conquest and Murray Chandler - can perform well, the more so under the renewed captaincy of David Anderton. Meanwhile the women's team of Harriet Hunt, Jovanka Houska and Ingrid Lauterbach also has a new old captain, in the person of Peter Wells.

Nigel Short is currently in the Isle of Man, where the annual tournament starts today. He heads a star-studded field of 49 with no fewer than 17 other grandmasters, and stopped off en route in London to go to Buckingham Palace, where he received his MBE for services to chess.

This deceptively calm game from Pula shows his excellent technique. Not liking his position after the normal 11 ...0-0 12 Ng3, Bogdan Lalic sacrificed one and then later a second pawn in the opening to get the two bishops and a structural advantage. Rather than get involved in anything like 14 Nxf7?! Rxf7 15 e5 Ng4 16 exd6 Qxd6, Nigel simply held on and was eventually to return one pawn but gain control.

Unfortunately for Black, 31 ...Nxd4? loses to 32 Re1+! followed by 33 Nc1! If 37 ...Kxc5? 38 Rd7 is easy, but 40 ...Re8 was a better chance than 40 ...Nb4+ when the rook ending is fairly easy.

White: Nigel Short

Black: Bogdan Lalic

Ruy Lopez

1 e4 e5

2 Nf3 Nc6

3 Bb5 a6

4 Ba4 Nf6

5 0-0 b5

6 Bb3 Bc5

7 a4 Bb7

8 d3 d6

9 Nc3 Na5

10 Ba2 b4

11 Ne2 d5

12 Nxe5 0-0

13 d4 Bd6

14 exd5 Nxd5

15 Nf4 b3

16 cxb3 Nb4

17 Bd2! Nac6

18 Bc3 Nxa2

19 Rxa2 Qg5

20 Nh3 Qf5

21 Qd3 Qxd3

22 Nxd3 Rab8!

23 Ng5 Rfe8

24 Raa1 f6

25 Nf3 Bc8

26 Nd2 Be6

27 Rfe1 Kf7

28 Rac1 Bxb3

29 Rxe8 Kxe8

30 Nxb3 Rxb3

31 Kf1! Kd7

32 Ke2 Ke6

33 Rd1! Ne7

34 Kd2 Kd5

35 Kc2 Rb8

36 Nc5 Bxc5

37 dxc5+ Kc6

38 Re1 Nd5

39 Re6+Kxc5

40 Rxa6 Nb4+?

41 Bxb4+ Rxb4 42 b3 Re4

43 Ra5+ Kb6 44 Rb5+ Ka6

45 Kd3 Re1

46 Rf5 c6

47 h4 Kb6

48 h5 Rh1

49 b4 Kc7

50 a5 Kb7

51 Kd4 Kc7

52 g3 Rb1

53 Kc3 Rh1

54 b5 cxb5

55 Rxb5 Ra1

56 Rf5 Rh1

57 Kd2 Kd7

58 a6 Kc7

59 Rb5 g6

60 Rb7+ Kc6

61 h6! Rxh6

62 Rb8 1-0

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