Chess: Time runneth over

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AS EVERY time-trouble addict knows, running short of time is one of the best ways to win games. When one player has to rush his moves and the other has all the time in the world, as often as not it is the unhurried one who blunders. The temptation to rush an opponent can be hard to resist.

Michael Hennigan, the current leader in the British Championship in Dundee, provided a good example of this in his fifth round win against John Emms. After 26 moves, in the diagram position with Emms (White) to play, Hennigan had only three minutes left to reach move 40.

White has a wide choice of possible moves. The d6-pawn, the g- file and the f-file all look ripe for exploitation, while the c2-pawn needs defending.


27. Rxd6? would lose to Qxc2+, while 27. Bxd6 runs into trouble against Rd5] (when 28. Rxd5 Bxc2+ is good for Black). Any of 27. Rgd1, 27. Rc1 or 27. Ka1]? would maintain the tension, but Emms was tempted to complicate further with 27. Bg5 and it lost the game for him.

Hennigan replied with 27 . . . Qxc2+] 28. Rxc2 (28. Ka2 Qxb3+] 29. Kxb3 Be6 is mate) Rxc2 and White's queen cannot hide. After 29. Qxc2 Bxc2+ 30. Kxc2 Rxg5, Black is winning, so Emms played 29. Qxf5 Rxf5 30. Bxf6, but after 30 . . . Rcf2] 31. Bd8 Rf1+ 32. Rxf1 Rxf1+ 33. Kc2 Rh1, his pieces were no match for the rook and pawns.

A good win by Hennigan, but this piece must carry a health warning - you can also lose games by running short of time.