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WHEN THE final round of the British Championship began last week, Nigel Short needed only a draw with Black against Tony Miles to be sure of winning the title. When Short was making his mark on the international chess scene, Miles was England's leading player and seemed to recognise that this young man was destined to supplant him. His results against the teenage Short were dreadful, with only a string of draws and losses.

So Miles had something to prove when they met last week and he made his point with great subtlety. At the start, the game seemed to be heading for the dreariest of dreary draws. With queens exchanged at move 14 and all the minor pieces off the board six moves later, the title seemed to be in the bag for Short. But perhaps he had misjudged Miles's intentions. After 22.Rc7, White had a small but undeniable edge in the endgame, and Miles exploited it to perfection.

The last few moves in particular demanded great accuracy. 49...e2 would have lost to 50.Re6 Kf2 51.Kd4 e1=Q 52.Rxe1 Kxe1 53.Ke3, and right at the end, 52.Kd3! is the only move to win. Instead 52.Rxe2? Kf3 leads to a draw. After 52.Kd3 e1=Q (or 52...Kf3 53.Re3+) 53.Rxe1 Kf2 54.Re2+ Kf3 55.Re8 g3 56.Rf8+ Kg2 57.Ke2 Kg1 58.Kf3 g2 59.Rg8 Kh1 60.Kf2 White wins.

After this shock, Short did well to pull himself together and win the play-off for the title against Matthew Sadler.

White: Tony Miles

Black: Nigel Short

British Championship1998

1 Nf3 d5 27 Ke2 h5

2 c4 e6 28 b4 e5

3 g3 Nf6 29 a5 bxa5

4 Bg2 Be7 30 bxa5 Rd4

5 b3 0-0 31 a6 Ra4

6 0-0 c5 32 a7 Kg6

7 Bb2 Nc6 33 Kd3 f6

8 e3 b6 34 Kc3 Kf5

9 Nc3 Bb7 35 Kb3 Ra1

10 cxd5 Nxd5 36 Rc7 Ke6

11 Nxd5 Qxd5 37 Kc4 Kd6

12 d4 Na5 38 Rf7 Ke6

13 dxc5 Bxc5 39 Rh7 Kf5

14 Qxd5 Bxd5 40 Kd5 Ra5+

15 Rfd1 Rfd8 41 Kc6 Ke4

16 Rac1 Nc6 42 Kb6 Ra2

17 Nd4 Bxg2 43 Rh8 Rxa7

18 Kxg2 Bxd4 44 Kxa7 Kf3

19 Bxd4 Nxd4 45 Kb6 Kxf2

20 Rxd4 Rxd4 46 Kc5 e4

21 exd4 g5 47 Rxh5 e3

22 Rc7 Rd8 48 Rf5+ Kg2

23 Rxa7 Rxd4 49 Rxf6 Kxh2

24 Rb7 Rd6 50 Kd4 e2

25 a4 Kg7 51 Re6 Kxg3

26 Kf1 g4 52 Kd3 resigns