Chess

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Britain's youngest grandmaster annotates his win from the first round of the Hastings Premier tournament at the end of last year.

White: Sadler

Black: Scherbakov

Slav Defence

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. e3 Nd7 5. Nf3 f5 6. Qc2 Nh6 7. Be2 Bd6 8. h3 Nf6 9. Bd2 Nf7 10. g4

Black's opening is very ambitious, accepting dark-square weaknesses in return for extra space and a good outpost for his knight on e4. With 10. g4 I hoped to loosen his grip on the centre and weaken his pawns. Black's cannot win a pawn with 10 . . . fxg4 11. hxg4 Nxg4 because of 12. Rxh7.

10 . . . 0-0 11. Rg1 Ne4 12. gxf5 exf5 13. Qb3

Increasing the pressure against the pawn on d5.

13 . . . f4]

An interesting idea which caught me by surprise. Black abandons his centre but gains the bishop pair and exposes my king.

14. cxd5 Nxd2 15. Kxd2

The king is more seriously displaced after 15. Nxd2 fxe3 16. fxe3 Qh4+.

15 . . . fxe3+ 16. fxe3 Bf5?

Despite my imposing centre and extra pawn, I had been rather worried by 16 . . . c5 which opens the position further for his bishops while preventing my idea of pushing the centre pawns with e4 and e5. By playing Bf5 he forces me to do exactly what I want, with gain of time.

17. e4 Bf4+ 18. Kc2 Bg6 (see diagram) 19. Rxg6]

I was very happy after this move: my king is safe, Black has no pressure on the centre and I can start grabbing pawns.

19 . . . hxg6 20. Qxb7 Nd6

21. Qxc6 Rc8 22. Qa6 Kh8

In his earlier calculations, my opponent had probably missed that 22 . . . Nxe4 allows 23. Qe6+ winning the knight. With an army of three centre pawns for the exchange, the win should be straightforward now, but around this stage of the game I started wishing that I had spent less time on my previous moves. I now had only ten minutes left to reach move 40.

23. Bd3 Qd7 24. Nh4 Rf6

25. e5 Bxe5

Objectively this must be classified as desperation in a lost position, but I must admit it had me really worried.

26. dxe5 Rf2+ 27. Kb3 Rb8+

28. Ka3 Rb6 29. Nxg6+ Kg8

30. Qa5 Rfxb2

Black's rooks look dangerous, but in reality he has no threats, which gives time to develop my own attack.

31. Rf1 Nf7 32. Qc5 Qd8 33. Ne7+ Kh8 34. Rxf7 Rh6?? 35. Kxb2 resigns.

I have never been so many pieces up against a grandmaster]

(Graphic omitted)

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