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I have said it before, and I shall, in all probability, say it again: you win games by making bad moves, not good ones. Good moves maintain the balance and encourage correct replies; result: a draw. Bad moves unbalance the position and give the opponent scope for error. The new British Champion, Christopher Ward, clearly understands this maxim. His most dramatic victory in the event came from what was perhaps his worst position.

White: Christopher Ward

Black: Aaron Summerscale

British Championship, Nottingham 1996

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 dxc4 4.e4 b5 5.a4 b4 6.Nb1?

White plans to regain the c-pawn, then utilise the c4 square for his minor pieces. For that reason, he sends his knight on to the b1-d2-c4 circuit. After this move, however, he discovers that regaining the pawn is not so easy. 6.Na2 is preferable.

6...Ba6! 7.Nf3 Nf6 8.e5

With 8.Qc2 met by ...b3 and 8.Nbd2 met by ...c3, White reluctantly chases the black knight to a powerful central square.

8...Nd5 9.Ng5

Had White not already gone wrong, he would not have been reduced to making this ambitious foray - an ambition born of desperation, one must admit.

9...h6 10.Qh5 hxg5!

The unmoved rook is a small price to pay for eliminating White's only active piece. Black already dominates the board.

11.Qxh8 Nf4 12.Be3

After 12.Bxf4 gxf4, the white d-pawn falls and his position crumbles to dust.

12...Qd5 13.f3 Ne6

Leave a man with only one good move and he will probably find it, but give him the choice between several and he is likely to pick the least effective. Confronted by an embarras de richesse, White starts to dither. 13...c5! was the most effective way to bring about White's downfall.

14.Nd2 Nxd4 15.0-0-0! c3 16.Nc4 (see diagram)

Now 16...c5 is good; 16...cxb2+ is good. What he played, however ...

16...Bxc4?? 17.Rxd4 Qxe5??

18.Qxf8+! resigns

18...Kxf8 19.Rd8 is mate.