CHESS

Britain's leading woman player annotates her first-round victory from the Hastings Premier tournament.
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The Independent Culture
White: Colin McNab

Black: Susan Lalic

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 Bg4

McNab is famed for his technical style, so I decided to try something lively in the opening moves to prevent him churning out his favourite system. After 4.0-0, I had planned 4...Qc8 with a possible Bh3 to come.

4.h3 Bxf3 5.Bxf3 e5 6.d3 f5 7.e4

My aggressive play in the centre provoked a reaction, but the following exchanges give White no more than equality.

7...dxe4 8.dxe4 Qxd1+ 9.Kxd1 fxe4 10.Bxe4 Nf6 11.Bg2 Bc5 12.Ke2 0-0 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.Kxe3

The manoeuvring begins: White plans to blockade and target the e-pawn; Black wants to harass the white king, using the e-pawn to attack.

14...Nbd7 15.Rd1 Nb6 16.Ke2 e4 17.Nd2 Rae8 18.Nf1 Nfd5?

A waste of time. I overlooked White's reply which forces the knight back.

19.Rd4 Nf6 20.Ne3 Re5 21.Rad1 Rfe8 22.R1d2 Kf7 23.b3 R8e7 24.c4 Nbd7 25.h4 Nc5 26.Bh3 g6 27.Rd8 Nd3 28.Kd1 Re8 29.Rxe8 Rxe8 30.Kc2 Rd8 31.Kc3 (see diagram)

White now threatens to win a pawn with Bf1.

31...b5!

With only five minutes left on my clock, I would, under normal conditions, have been worried by time pressure. In Hastings, however, we were playing with the new "Bobby Fischer" clocks which allocate extra time each time a move is played.

32.Bf1 b4+ 33.Kc2 Ne1+ 34.Kd1 Rxd2+ 35.Kxd2 Nf3+ 36.Ke2 Nd4+

Five checks and another two- and-a-half minutes - and my position has improved too.

37.Kd2 Ke6 38.Bh3+ Ke5 39.Bc8 Nf3+ 40.Kc2 Kd4

My well-placed king gives me the advantage. 40...Ne1+ 41.Kd2 Nd3 would have been a mistake because of 42.f3

41.Ng2 Ne5 42.Nf4 Neg4

Missing the chance to lose instantly with 42...Nfg4?? 43.Ne6 mate.

43.Bxg4 Nxg4 44.Ne6+ Ke5 45.Nd8 c5 46.Nb7 Kd4 47.Nd8 Nxf2

Finally capturing this pawn under the most favourable circumstances.

48.Ne6+ Ke3!

Paradoxically moving in front of the passed pawn in order to ensure its progress.

49.Nc5 Kf3 50.Na6 Nd3!

It was not too late to make a mess of it: 50...e3 51.Nxb4 e2 52.Kd2 is better for White.

51.c5 e3!

Now the pawn cannot be stopped and 52.c6 e2 53.c7 e1(Q) 54.c8(Q) loses to Qc1+.

White resigned.

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