Chess: Masters hold back the hordes

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The Independent Culture
THE THIRD Cafe Baroque International is galloping along, with two rounds a day squeezed in between meals at a restaurant off the Strand in London. After five rounds, Neil McDonald is well placed to repeat his victories in the first two events.

The event provides title- gaining opportunities for young British players, with three international masters (McDonald and Whiteley of England, and Afek of Israel) fulfilling the Fide minimum for a title-qualifying performance, and the other seven chasing their master norms.

So far, the masters are holding back the hordes, with McDonald on 41 2 and Whiteley on 31 2 leading the field. Richard Britton, with 3 points, and Russell Dive and Andrew Ledger on 21 2 , all still have chances of international master results.

The most amusing game so far has been Whiteley's fourth round win against Ben Martin of New Zealand. With 15 . . . Bxf3 and 16 . . . Ne5, Black launched some tactics which quickly got out of control. Whiteley's 17. Bf4] left no good way to defend e5 and d6, so Martin improvised with an exchange sacrifice, based on the idea of cutting off White's rook with 19 . . . Nd5.

When 21 . . . Qb7 threatened mate on b2, and 22 . . . Qc7 planned to meet 23. Qa4 with Qe5] Black seemed to have chances, but 23. cxd5] led to a position in which White's monstrous pawns were too much for the black queen.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: A Whiteley ----------------------------------------------------------------- Black: B Martin 1 d4 Nf6 20 Qd3 g6 2 c4 e6 21 Ra6 Qb7 3 Nc3 Bb4 22 Qb3 Qc7 4 Qc2 0-0 23 cxd5 Rxb3 5 a3 Bxc3+ 24 d6 Qb8 6 Qxc3 b6 25 d7 Nd4 7 Bg5 Bb7 26 exd4 Qf4+ 8 e3 c5 27 Kb1 Rb8 9 dxc5 bxc5 28 dxc5 Qc7 10 Nf3 d6 29 Rad6 Rd8 11 Bd3 Nbd7 30 c6 Kf8 12 0-0-0 Qe7 31 Ba4 Ke7 13 Rd2 Rfd8 32 R6d4 a5 14 Rhd1 Rab8 33 R4d3 Qxh2 15 Bc2 Bxf3 34 Rc1 Qc7 16 gxf3 Ne5 35 Rb3 Ra8 17 Bf4 Nxf3 36 Rb7 Kd8 18 Bxd6 Rxd6 37 Rxc7 Kxc7 19 Rxd6 Nd5 38 Rc5 1-0 -----------------------------------------------------------------