Chess: Baroque to basics

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The Independent Culture
THE FISH soup at Cafe Baroque is truly excellent, or so the waitress told me, writes William Hartston. Unfortunately the fish soup was off the day I lunched there: apparently she had drunk it all. The Baroque International, however, is definitely on, and taking place at that other London chess-players' watering hole, Simpson's-in-the-Strand.

The International, for invited aspirants to the Master title, is part of a new series of events linked to the Cafe Baroque. Plans include a 'Tuesday Night Celebrity Challenge' with food and five-minute games, and Sunday coaching sessions (for beginners, intermediate or advanced players), with Master tuition. Full details from Chris Dunworth on 081-688 3119.

The tournament opened on Saturday with an entertaining round; every game was decisive. Neil McDonald, one of the three International Masters competing, scored the best win of the day against fellow-master Demetrios Agnos. With 12 . . . d5]? Black gave up his K-side pawns in exchange for a central pawn mass, but McDonald established a blockade with 19. Nd4 and 20. Be5, then combined threats to the king with pressure on the e- pawn. 25. b4] was a key move to dislodge the knight on c5, and 29. Na4] continued the theme to force gain of material.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: N McDonald Black: D Agnos ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 e4 d6 21 Qf3 Nc5 2 d4 Nf6 22 Qh3 Nxh7 3 Nc3 g6 23 Bxg7+ Kxg7 4 f4 Bg7 24 Qe3 Kh8 5 Nf3 0-0 25 b4 cxb3 6 Bd3 Na6 26 axb3 a5 7 0-0 c5 27 Qe5+ Qg7 8 d5 Rb8 28 Qxg7+ Kxg7 9 e5 Nd7 29 Na4 Rxf1+ 10 e6 fxe6 30 Rxf1 Nxa4 11 dxe6 Nf6 31 Nxe6+ Kg6 12 f5 d5 32 Nxd8 Nc5 13 fxg6 c4 33 Nf7 Nf6 14 gxh7+ Kh8 34 Ne5+ Kg7 15 Bf5 Bxe6 35 g4 Nfe4 16 Bxe6 Qb6+ 36 Rf7+ Kg8 17 Kh1 Qxe6 37 Rc7 b5 18 Bf4 Rbd8 38 h4 a4 19 Nd4 Qd7 39 bxa4 1-0 20 Be5 e6 -----------------------------------------------------------------

The diagram introduces a related competition (prizes: two meals and many chess books). It is Black to play and mate in two. Send solutions (Black's first move only), and your name, address, phone number and indication of chess strength to: Cafe Baroque, 33 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HE.