Chess: The hungriest players usually triumph

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The Independent Culture
HUNGER is a powerful motivator. We all like to win almost as much as we hate to lose. But it is the hungriest players - those who have most at stake - who tend to win the crucial encounters.

All of which explains why the Oakham School Masters Tournament has been such a success. The contestants were split into two teams with the intention of giving as many as possible the chance to gain international titles. One team comprised nine international masters, chasing grandmaster status; the other had three grandmasters and six Fide masters.

The higher the objective, the greater the greed; so the international masters had most to play for. Indeed in the early rounds, they were so harsh on the Fide masters, that the aspirations of the latter group were reduced to the level of mere survival.

The grandmasters, fighting only for their reputations and prize money, were all savaged by the international masters team. Glenn Flear and Stuart Conquest managed only 4 points from their nine games, while Colin McNab ended on 21 2 . James Howell and Peter Wells of England, and Throstur Thorhallsson of Iceland, all achieved grandmaster results.

Today's game sees a grandmaster beaten by an aspirant for the title (although Denmark's Sune Hansen finally fell half a point short of his objective). White's 13. h5]? gambles his a-pawn on the strength of his K-side attack. The logic is that Black's own attack will be delayed by the time taken to eat the pawn. On the other hand, the absence of the a-pawn makes the attack harder to meet when it does arrive.

After 19. g5, Black could not move his knight: 19 . . . Ne8 loses to 20. hxg6, while 19 . . . Nxh5 is demolished by 20. Rxh5 gxh5 21. Ng3. So he gave up a piece and got on with his own assault.

White soon had to return the piece to stop the galloping a-pawn, but his queen shimmied neatly with 27. Qg5] and 28. Qh4 to regain the initiative. McNab's 30 . . . Rf4 was an ingenious defence, but not quite enough to save him. 35. c5] was the start of the final onslaught: 35 . . . dxc5 loses to 36. Qe5+ with Bc4+ or Qxc5+ to follow.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Hansen Black: McNab ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 d4 d6 22 Rxb3 Qa1+ 2 e4 g6 23 Kc2 a2 3 c4 Nd7 24 Nc3 exd4 4 Nc3 e5 25 Nxa2 d3+ 5 Nge2 Bg7 26 Rxd3 Qxa2 6 Be3 Ngf6 27 Qg5 Ne8 7 f3 0-0 28 Qh4 Ra7 8 Qd2 c6 29 hxg6 fxg6 9 0-0-0 a6 30 Ra3 Rf4 10 Bh6 Bxh6 31 Qh6 Rxa3 11 Qxh6 Qa5 32 Qxh7+ Kf8 12 h4 b5 33 Qh6+ Ke7 13 h5 b4 34 Qxf4 Nf6 14 Nb1 Qxa2 35 c5 Be6 15 Rd2 Qb3 36 Qxd6+ Kf7 16 Rc2 a5 37 Qc7+ Kg8 17 Nd2 Qa2 38 Qb8+ Kf7 18 g4 a4 39 Rh8 Nd7 19 g5 b3 40 Rh7+ Kf6 20 gxf6 Nxf6 41 Qf4+ 1-0 21 Rc3 a3 -----------------------------------------------------------------

Here is the answer to yesterday's puzzle: Black plays g1=B, h1=R, Rh8, Bh2, Bb8, Ba7, Kb8, Kc7, Ra8 and Kb8 when Bf4 is mate.