Click to follow
The Independent Culture
For some years now, the names of Nigel Short and Michael Adams have hogged the headlines of British chess journals, but there is now another name well worth watching. The current British champion, Matthew Sadler, is only 22 and has been steadily improving his rating. A studious and quiet youth, he has shown that he has the clear head needed to cope with the most complex positions, as the following game shows:

White: Ilya Smirin

Black: Matthew Sadler

Ischia 1996

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nf3

Falling victim to fashion, White plays a cumbersome move all too typical of some modern masters. 7.Nb3 is far better.

7...Be7 8.Bc4 0-0 9.0-0 Be6 10.Bb3 b5 11.Qe2 h6! 12.Rfd1 Nbd7 13.Nh4?! b4!

Excellent timing! Now 14.Nd5 Nxe4 leaves White with little to show for his pawn.

14.Na4 Nxe4 15.Bxe6 fxe6 16.Ng6 Rf6 17.Qg4 d5 18.f3 Ng5!

Black trusts his centre pawns rather than returning the e-pawn with 18...Nec5 19.Nxc5 Bxc5 20.Bxc5 Nxc5 21.Nxe5

19.Bxg5 hxg5 20.Qxg5 Bd6 21.c4!?

Desperation or miscalculation? Who can tell? Now White's knights are in trouble.

21...Qe8! 22.Nh4 e4!

Preparing a cavalry charge by freeing e5 for the knight. The threat is 23...Bf4 24.Qg4 Ne5 25.Qh3 Rh6.

23.fxe4 Bf4 24.Qg4 Ne5 25.Qe2 Qxa4

The knight is over, but all is not yet light.

26.g3 Bg5 27.exd5 Bxh4!

Realising that the initiative is far more important than the life of the knight on e5.

28.Qxe5 Qc2 29.Kh1 (see diagram)

The black bishop appears trapped.

29...Bxg3! 30.Qxg3 Rg6 31.Qf3 Rf8

White's queen is to be chased from her defensive duties. When the major pieces are on the board in an open position, the winner will be not be the man with more pawns but the one with the safer king

32.Rac1 Qxb2 33.Qh3 Rh6 34.Qg3 Rf2 35.h3 Rg6!

Bravo! 36.Qxg6 allows mate in two.

36.Qb8+ Kh7 37.Rg1 e5! White resigns.

38.Rxg6 Rh2+ 39.Kg1 Qf2 is mate.