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The first round of the British Championship is such a disappointing occasion. They pair the stronger half of the players against the weaker half in order to encourage the cream to rise quickly to the top, and that ought, in theory, to produce a succession of mismatches in the opening round - a slaughter or two to adorn the chess columns of the world. But it never seems to happen like that. The trouble is, the bottom half have become too good. They not only put up a fight against their supposed betters, but they may, as in today's game from the current championship in Nottingham, even beat them.

Nicholas Pert, the winner of the game, is one of a pair of identical twins both playing in the championship this year. His brother Richard (collectors of trivial coincidences will be interested to learn) also beat a higher-rated player in the first round.

Black starts going wrong in this game with 8...Bg4 (he should leave the bishop to be exchanged with 8...0-0). His 14...Nh5!? was an ingenious idea resulting in the win of the exchange, but by that time his bishop was so shut out of the game on h7 that White had ample compensation.

What cost Black the game, however, was his decision to launch a counterattack when he would have been better off bolstering his defences. His plan of Qa5, d5, Re6, Rb6 and Qb4 left him threatening a decisive check on b2, but gave White exactly the time he needed to set up a vicious reply. With 26.Qd3! in the diagram position, White gave his king an escape square and created a fatal threat of his own. 26...Bxd3 is met by 27.Rh8 mate. When White repeated the trick with 32.Be4! Black could no longer resist.

White: Nicholas Pert

Black: Sekhar Sahu

Sicilian Defence

1 d4 c5 18 Rxh1 Re8

2 d5 d6 19 g5 hxg5

3 Nc3 e6 20 Nxg5 Bxg5

4 dxe6 Bxe6 21 Bxg5 Qa5

5 e4 Nc6 22 h6 d5

6 Nf3 Be7 23 hxg7 Re6

7 Bf4 Nf6 24 e5 Rb6

8 Ng5 Bg4 25 Bf6 Qb4

9 f3 Bh5 26 Qd3 Qxb2+

10 Qd2 0-0 27 Kd2 Qxc2+

11 h4 Bg6 28 Qxc2 Nxc2

12 0-0-0 Nd4 29 Nxd5 Re8

13 Be3 h6 30 Nxb6 axb6

14 Nh3 Nh5 31 f4 Nb4

15 g4 Ng3 32 Be4 Rd8+

16 h5 Bh7 33 Ke2 resigns

17 Bg2 Nxh1