CHESS

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While the leading grandmasters in the land have been scrabbling for the splendid prizes offered in this year's Smith & Williamson British Championships in Hove over the past two weeks, there have also been many notable games played by some of the lesser players lower down the list. The following win by Luke McShane, our youngest International Master, particularly caught my eye.

White: Luke McShane

Black: Graham Lee

French Defence

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4

This exchange of pawns may be recommended to anyone who seeks an opening without too many complex variations to learn. It has the slight disadvantage of leading to an inferior and lifeless position, but one cannot have everything.

4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Bd3 b6 8.0-0

White takes matters calmly, resisting the temptation to enter the complications of 8.Ne5 Bb7 9.Bb5+ c6 10.Nxc6 Qd5.

8 ...Bb7 9.b3!

A better scheme of development than the more obvious 9.Bg5. Bishops attack better from long range than at close quarters.

9 ...Be7 10.c4 0-0 11.Bb2 c5

Although this brings the bishop on b2 to life, it is the correct decision. White's central space advantage cannot go unchallenged.

12.dxc5 bxc5 13.Qe2 Qc7 14.Rad1 Qc6

An ugly move designed solely to prevent the knight on f3 from moving. Yet in discouraging one white piece from landing on e5, he permits another to utilise that square effectively.

15.Qe5! Rfd8 16.Qg3 h6 17.Rfe1 a5 18.Ne5!

The knight reaches its goal in any case, with the added bonus of a queen effectively deployed to the attack.

18 ...Qc7 19.Bc1!

As I said, the bishop is a long-range beast.

19 ...Nh5 20.Qh3 Nf6 (See diagram.)

If Black thought he had prevented Bxh6 by chasing the queen, the reply must have come as a shock.

21.Bxh6! gxh6 22.Qg3+!

The point! 22 ... Kf8 23.Ng6+ costs Black his queen.

22 ...Ng4 23.Qxg4+ Kf8 24.Qf4 resigns.

Further resistance is futile.

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