CHESS

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The Independent Culture
Delightful though it was to see the face of young Ruth Sheldon beaming from the front page of the Daily Telegraph the other day, can one really believe that anyone can still consider it newsworthy for a slip of a girl to defeat a grandmaster? Why, they've been doing it for years!

White: Ruth Sheldon

Black: John Nunn

"Chess & Bridge" Rapidplay 1996

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be2 0-0 6.Nf3 e5 7.d5 a5 8.Be3 Ng4 9.Bg5 f6 10.Bh4 Na6 11.Nd2 Nh6 12.0-0 Qe8 13.a3 Bd7 14.b3 f5 15.f3 Nf7

Black plans to bring his bishop back to life on the h6-c1 diagonal, and advance his f- and g-pawns. Yet White's attack on the opposite wins is not to be underestimated!

16.Rb1 Bh6 17.Bf2 Nc5 18.b4 axb4 19.axb4 Na4 20.Qc2 Qe7 21.Nb5!

Black's last is exposed as carelessness. He should have taken on c3 when he had the chance. Now the donkey on a4 is braying in the wilderness.

21...Rfc8 22.Ra1 Bxd2

A horrid move to have to make, but 22...Nb6 23.Nxc7 is disastrous.

23.Qxd2 fxe4 24.fxe4 Qg5

There was a time when young girls would always exchange queens, given the chance, but those days are long gone.

25.Be3! Qh4 26.Qc2! Bxb5 27.cxb5 Nb6 28.Rxa8 Nxa8 29.b6! Ng5

This steed would have done better to hide in the corner, like its colleague.

30.Bd3 Qg4 31.bxc7 Nxc7 32.Kh1 Nb5? (see diagram)

Jumping at the chance to attack White's queen, Black misses a trick. After Ruth's reply he is lost.

33.Qf2! Nc7

33...Nxe4 would have lost to 34.Qf7+ Kh8 35.Bxe4 Qxe4 36.Bh6, while 33...Nd4 fares no better after 34.Qf6 Nxe4 35.Qf7+ Kh8 36.Bxe4 Qxe4 37.Bg5.

34.Be2! Qxe4

The queen cannot maintain her guard on the poor knight.

35.Bxg5 Qxd5 36.Bh6 resigns

The threat is mate in two beginning with 37.Qf8+, and 36...Ne6 37.Bg4 leaves Black without a move.

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