Chess: Grit teeth and hang on

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The Independent Culture
JULIAN HODGSON made a good start to the defence of his British Championship title in Dundee when a miscalculation by his opponent gave him an easy point in Monday's first round. At move 16, Gerry McElligott's attempt to rid himself of a pawn weakness backfired badly.

After 16 . . . c5? 17. dxc5, the immediate 17 . . . Nxc5 18. Nxc5 Rc8 loses to 19. Bxf6 gxf6 (if Bxf6, Black will never regain the knight) 20. Qg4+, so Black was forced into the ugly 17 . . . g5. When he played 18 . . . Nxc5, Black must have calculated 19. Nxc5 Rc8, regaining the piece, but 19. Rfd1] cut across his plans since 19 . . . Qc8 loses to Nb6. Black had to play the uncomfortable 19 . . . Ncd7, but stuck to his plan with 19 . . . Qe8? 20. Nxc5 Qc6 (Rc8 loses to 21. Bd6 Bxd6 22. Rxd6 Nd7 23. Nxd7 Rxc4 24. Nf6+) only to be killed by 21. Be5] The weakness of the knight on f6, no longer defended by a pawn, gives White time to save his own knight.

In a cramped and inferior position such as Black had after 15 moves in this game, it can be very tempting to thrash out in an attempt to solve the positional problems by tactical means, but countless games are lost in that manner. Sometimes, you must just grit your teeth and hang on to the weaknesses you have, rather than risk swapping them for more serious ones.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Hodgson Black: McElligott ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 d4 d5 13 0-0 Be7 2 Bg5 c6 14 b5 0-0 3 Nf3 h6 15 bxc6 bxc6 4 Bh4 Bf5 16 Na4 c5 5 c4 Qa5+ 17 dxc5 g5 6 Nc3 e6 18 Bg3 Nxc5 7 e3 Nd7 19 Rfd1 Qe8 8 a3 Ngf6 20 Nxc5 Qc6 9 b4 Qd8 21 Rac1 Rac8 10 Bd3 Bxd3 22 Be5 Nd5 11 Qxd3 dxc4 23 Bd4 e5 12 Qxc4 a5 24 Nfxe5 1-0 -----------------------------------------------------------------

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