Chess: Hodgson's choice hits an entertaining note

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THE British Championship ended in a great success for the younger generation of masters, with Michael Hennigan and Dharshan Kumaran pushing the three grandmasters off the top of the table.

However, the defending champion, Julian Hodgson, ended the tournament with a typically cheerful flourish. When he met Chris Ward in the final round, a win could still have given either player a slim chance of sharing first, but they both played with splendid lack of inhibition.

Hodgson's third move is an extravagant attempt to change the character of the opening, inviting 4. e5 to turn it in something resembling a French Defence. Ward responded in still more dynamic fashion, changing it into a gambit.

With 12. Bxh7+]? White sacrificed a piece for the attack and threw another on the fire with 15. Nxg6.

Hodgson had to defend carefully, but at the end neither side dared diverge from a forced sequence of repeating moves. After they had had the same position five times, they gave up and called it a draw.

An enjoyable battle supporting the theory that sharp games are just as likely to be drawn as quiet ones.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Ward ----------------------------------------------------------------- Black: Hodgson ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 d4 d6 14 Ne4 g6 2 e4 Nf6 15 Nxg6 fxg6 3 f3 d5 16 Qxg6+ Bg7 4 Nc3 dxe4 17 Ng5 Rf6 5 Bg5 exf3 18 Qh7+ Kf8 6 Nxf3 e6 19 Qg6 Kg8 7 Bd3 Be7 20 Qh7+ Kf8 8 0-0 Nc6 21 Qg6 Kg8 9 Kh1 Nb4 22 Qh7+ Kf8 10 Ne5 0-0 23 Qg6 Kg8 11 Bxf6 Bxf6 24 Qh7+ Kf8 12 Bxh7+ Kxh7 25 Qg6 drawn 13 Qh5+ Kg8 -----------------------------------------------------------------

The draw for the Candidates eliminators for the Fide World Championship has been made and pairs Michael Adams against Boris Gelfand. The other matches will be Kramnik- Yudasin, Salov-Khalifman, van der Sterren-Kamsky, Yusupov-Anand and Lautier against the loser of the Karpov-Timman world title match.

Meanwhile, back in central Europe, Bobby Fischer is reported to have left Yugoslavia and has been staying with the Polgar family in Hungary. According to Laszlo Polgar, father of Judit, Zsuzsa and Zsofia, conditions have been agreed for a match between Fischer and Judit Polgar. They are now seeking a sponsor with dollars 5m ( pounds 3.5m) to spare on staging it.