Chess

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Britain's youngest grandmaster explains how he let a woman slip from his grasp.

White: Matthew Sadler

Black: Ketevan Arakhamia

Hastings 1993-4

King's Indian Defence

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 0-0 6. Bg5 c5 7. d5 e6 8. Qd2 exd5 9. cxd5

I have played this unbalanced position many times as White. I am happy with my strong centre and a Black weakness to attack on d6, but Black has a big advantage in development and plenty of plans to choose from.

9 . . . b6 10. a4 Na6 11. Nh3

A neat trick, planning to meet 11 . . . Bxh3 with 12. Bxa6 completing my K-side development. One of the problems of this variation is finding a useful role for the knight on g1 where it does not obstruct the bishop.

11 . . . Nb4 12. Nf2 h6 13. Be3 h5 14. Bb5 Ba6 15. 0-0 Bxb5 16. axb5 a6

I thought for a long time here. I felt I stood better but I could see no way to prevent Black exchanging pieces and untangling her Q-side. Eventually I found an idea.

17. bxa6 Nxa6 18. Ra3 Nc7 19. Rfa1 Rxa3 20. Rxa3 b5 21. e5]

A typical breakthrough in such positions, and just in time to deal with the threat posed by the advancing Q-side pawns. I think Black's best now is to exchange pieces by 21 . . . b4 22. exf6 Bxf6 23. Ra2 bxc3 24. bxc3 though White has a nice advantage thanks to the weak pawn on d6. After Black's reply, which she played instantly, I felt very confident.

21 . . . dxe5 22. Bxc5 Re8 23. d6 Ne6 24. Bb4 Nd4

25. Nfe4 Nxe4 26. Nxe4 f5

27. Nc3

I couldn't quite decide between this and the more adventurous 27. Ng5. In the end I decided to play solidly and control the centre.

27 . . . e4 28. fxe4 fxe4 29. Nd5 Rf8 30. Bc5?? (see diagram)

I was quite happy with this move, chasing away the powerful black knight, which made my embarrassment on seeing her reply all the greater. It's Black to play and win:

30 . . . Qg5]]

The queen is immune from capture because of 31. Qxg5 Ne2+ 32. Kh1 Rxf1 mate, while 31. Ne3, quite apart from losing the bishop, allows 31 . . . Nf3+ forking king and queen. With my queen and knight attacked, and Nf3 in the air, I am totally lost.

31. Nf6+ Qxf6 White resigns.

My 30th move was really unfortunate: it placed an extra piece on the fifth rank and left my queen unprotected, helping the combination to work in all variations. Instead, 30. Ne7+, or practically any other move, would have kept a big advantage. Chess can be a cruel game.

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