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ENGLAND'S top board in the Women's Chess Olympiad indulges in a little self-criticism over a drastic defeat.

White: Susan Arkell

Black: Erica Sziva

Of all my games at the Olympiad in Manila, my best was, unfortunately, this loss against a former Hungarian who now plays for the Netherlands. Her inspired combination gave me such a jolt that I went on to score 41 2 points from my next five games.

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4

This made-in-England attacking line had been bringing me good results against women and eastern Europeans. This time, my opponent was well prepared.

3 . . . g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bb5 Nd4 6. 0-0 a6

I had never met this move before. Usually Black takes the bishop or waits for it to retreat of its own accord.

7. Bd3 e6 8. e5?

I should have resisted the temptation to threaten Ne4 and Nd6. The right plan is 8. Nxd4 cxd4 9. Ne2 followed by b3 and Bb2.

8 . . . f5] 9. b3 d6] 10. exd6 b5]

Black's 6 . . . a6 is justified by this move. Both her bishops work effectively on the long diagonals.

11. Bb2 Qxd6 12. Nxd4 Bxd4+ 13. Kh1 Bb7 14. Qe2

With Black's firm grip on the centre, I should have been trying to equalise. Instead, I had dreams of sacrifices on b5 and was looking at 14 . . . Nf6 15. Bxb5+ axb5 16. Nxb5 Qc6 17. Bxd4 cxd4 18. Nxd4. I seemed to be overestimating my dynamic possibilities and ignoring the positional features of the game.

14 . . . Kf7] 15. Rae1 Nf6 16. a4 (diagram)

By now, I realised that I was a little worse, but had great hopes for this move. After 16 . . . b4 17. Nd1, White threatens c3, and 17 . . . Bxb2 18. Nxb2 brings the knight to a fine square on c4. Perhaps I was overestimating positional factors and missing some tactics. Chess is a difficult game.

16 . . . h5]] 17. axb5 h4]

Even now I did not realise what my opponent was up to. My only idea was that she planned to meet 18. bxa6 with Bc6, then play for h3, but I was sure I could defend.

18. bxa6 Nh5]]

Too late, I understood. And I'm sure I have seen this idea before. 19. axb7 Ng3+ 20. hxg3 hxg3+ leads to mate.

19. Ne4 Ng3+]

Refusing to be bought off by the offer of a knight.

20. Nxg3 hxg3 21. Bxd4

Of course 21. h3 Rxh3 is mate, as the g-pawn is pinned.

21 . . . Rxh2+ 22. Kg1 Qxd4+ White resigns.

Apart from other horrors, 23. Qe3 Rxg2+ 24. Kh1 Rh8 is mate.