IT IS always a pleasure to be able to report on success, particularly success as merited as that of 18-year-old Jovanka Houska, who last week won a bronze medal at the European Under-20 Girls Championships in Erevan, the capital of Armenia.

Unbeaten until the final round, when she went down to the pre-tournament favourite Elina Danielian, she finished with 8.5/13, a point behind two of the Georgians. Indeed, Houska played no fewer than five representatives from the world's top women's chess nation (barring the Hungarian Polgar sisters), scoring a splendid 3.5/5.

Added to her recent successes at Dresden, where she amassed an extraordinary 9/10 in a match tournament between English and German women, and her Women's International Master result at the recent British Championships, this augurs very well for her England debut in the forthcoming Olympiad.

Speaking of which, there have been fairly positive developments since I touched on the Olympiad last Friday. David Sedgwick, the international director of the British Chess Federation said that he would be seeking clarification from both the Foreign Office and Fide (Federation Internationale des Echecs - the sport's governing body). A press release from Emmanuel Omuku, the Fide executive director, assures us that "(all) have been billeted to stay at Chess City, Hotel Elista and Hostels based on specific requests". The venue is conspicuous by its absence in this report: but there is now information from a very reliable source that the Olympiad's start will be delayed by a day - the final rest day being transferred to the start - so that it can be completed in time!

In this fine positional game, Houska's Polish opponent played somewhat passively in the opening and then made a definite mistake with 13 f4 after which she had a bad structure for no compensation. Houska skillfully elicited the further weakening 21 g3 but felt that she might have been more accurate thereafter. Even so, after her opponent attempted to move forward with 29 c4, Houska was able to send here reeling with the excellent 30...Rxd4! This is only a temporary sacrifice since after 31...Bf6 Black must regain the exchange. The clearing of the air highlighted White's weaknesses; and the pressure soon proved unbearable.

White: Joanna Dworakowska

Black: Jovanka Houska

Erevan 1998

Centre Counter Defence

1 e4 d5

2 exd5 Qxd5

3 Nc3 Qa5

4 d4 Nf6

5 Bc4 c6

6 Nge2 Bf5

7 0-0 e6

8 f3 Nbd7

9 Ng3 Bg6

10 Nce4 Be7

11 c3 Qc7

12 Qe2 0-0

13 f4? Nxe4

14 Nxe4 c5

15 dxc5 Nxc5

16 Nf2 Rac8

17 Be3 a6

18 a3 Rfd8

19 Rad1 b5

20 Ba2 Bd6

21 g3 Qc6

22 Bd4 Re8

23 Rd2 Rcd8

24 Rfd1 Be7

25 Re1 h6

26 Ng4 Nd7

27 b4 h5

28 Ne3 Nf6

29 c4 Ne4

30 Rdd1 Rxd4!

31 Rxd4 Bf6

32 Rxe4 Bxe4

33 Bb1 Bxb1

34 Rxb1 bxc4

35 Qxc4 Qb6

36 Re1 Rd8

37 Re2 h4

38 g4 Rd1+

39 Kf2 Rd4

40 Qc8+ Bd8

41 f5 exf5

42 Qxf5 h3

43 Rc2 Qd6

44 Kg1 g6

45 Qf3 Bb6

46 Rf2 Qe7

47 Kf1 Re4

48 Nc2 Bxf2

49 Kxf2 Qe5

white resigns

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