Chess: Emms misses opportunity

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OAKHAM School in Rutland has established a fine reputation over the past decade for its biennial international chess tournaments. Short, Shirov, Anand, Adams, Kramnik and Gelfand, now all leading contenders for the world championship, have all passed through Oakham. Even the young Kasparov once mentioned 'Gastings and Oak-khem' as the most important British towns outside London.

There is a new format this year involving two teams each of nine players, one composed entirely of International Masters, the other comprising three Grandmasters and six below the IM level. Each player meets all the members of the adverse team. If any of the Masters scores 7 points from his 9 games, he will obtain one of the three norms needed for the GM title; the untitled players need 41 2 for a Master norm. The tournament opened with a delicious missed opportunity by John Emms in a game that had four queens on the board simultaneously. The diagram position arrived after White's 59th move in the game Britton-Emms.

After 59 . . . d1=Q 60. c8=Q, play continued 60 . . . Qde2 61. Qch8+. Realising that Kf6 loses to 62. Qef6 mate, Kg4 loses to 62. Qxe2 Qxe2 63. Qh3 mate, and Nh6 loses to 62. Qhe8+ followed by Qxe2, White resigned. So what did he miss?

The answer is a sacrifice of one of his queens, forcing mate in three: After the pawn promotions comes 60 . . . Qh3+] 61. Kxh3 Qh1+ 62. Qh2 g4 mate.

Nigel Short will be playing a simultaneous display in aid of the Sick Children's Trust at Simpson's-in-the-Strand, London, beginning at 2.30pm on Sunday 27 March. Full sideshows and supporting attractions (071-404 3329 for details).

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