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The Independent Culture
WHEN Jonathan Mestel and Julian Hodgson met in the fourth round of the British Championship in Plymouth, they were the only players to have won their first three games. The result of the game would certainly have a strong bearing on the destination of the title, but anyone predicting a cautious draw was clearly unfamiliar with the players.

Julian, playing White, attacked from the start, with more vigour than accuracy. By move 20 he stood clearly worse, so resorted to a little bluff. Playing a move that looked as though it threatened something, but really didn't, he lured Mestel needlessly onto the defensive.


The result was an endgame in which Mestel's active pieces gave good hopes of a draw despite his being a pawn behind.

From the diagram position (after White's 37th move), an epidemic of blunders struck. Mestel played 37 . . . g5, avoiding the threat of Rf7+. Now after 38. Bd3+ Nxd3 39. Kxd3 White's extra pawn gives him real chances to win the game. Instead, Hodgson decided to keep his bishop and push his passed pawn with 38. a4?

Now Black can draw with 38 . . . c5] when White has no good way to avoid the threatened perpetual check with Ng2+ and Ne1+. The game ended38 . . . Ke5? 39. Bf1 c5 40. Re7+ draw agreed.

What did they miss? Instead of 39 . . . c5, Black wins with 39 . . . Nd5+ 40. Kd3 Rf2] and wherever the bishop moves, it is lost to Nf4+.