Games: Chess

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The Independent Culture
THE ANNUAL Monarch Insurance Isle of Man tournament at the Cherry Orchard Hotel in Port Erin is running from 6 to 14 November.

Once somewhat of a poor relation to the powerful series of Lloyds Bank Masters, this has developed, particularly since that venerable event's decease in 1994, into Britain's premier international Open. This year's event features 15 grandmasters and three IMs in the field of 54 - and not just any grandmasters but a list headed by Nigel Short, followed by Shipov, Tiviakov, Sutovsky, Baburin, Emms, Psakhis. It also has strong juniors, including the 10-year-old Murugan Thiruchelvam.

No big surprises in the first round, but several top seeds drew, including Shipov, Baburin and last year's winner - on tie-break ahead of Nigel Short - the Israeli Emil Sutovsky. And the accelerated pairings did their stuff well, leaving four players on a perfect score: Short, Tiviakov, Psakhis and, unexpectedly, the Englishman Jeremy Fraser Mitchell.

Nigel Short started particularly impressively with two wins on either side of the French Defence, both in fewer than 30 moves. A further victory in round three against Lev Psakhis left him the sole leader, with 3/3.

In the first, White against Chris Ward, he indulged his taste for space advantages - manifest for example in his pet system against the Caro Kann - 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 Bf5 4 Nf3 - in a slightly unusual line of the advance French. Though Ward achieved the supposedly strategically favourable exchange of light squared bishops he found no suitable squares for his minor pieces and got badly mauled after castling long into what became a vicious attack.

White: Nigel Short,

Black: Chris Ward

Advance French

Changing sides the next day, Nigel used the rather trendy 3 ...Be7 against the French Tarrasch and quickly got a superb game. After 10 ...e5 - preventing Nbd4 - followed by 11 ...a4 White was pressed back and after 18 ...Nd3 it already looked dire. Kudrin jettisoned the exchange, but it didn't help.

White: Sergei Kudrin

Black: Nigel Short

French Tarrasch

1 e4 e6

2 d4 d5

3 e5 c5

4 c3 Qb6

5 Nf3 Bd7

6 Be2 cxd4

7 cxd4 Bb5

8 Nc3 Bxe2

9 Nxe2 Nc6

10 0-0 0-0-0

11 Rb1 Kb8

12 b4 Rc8

13 Bd2 h6

14 a4 g5

15 Bc3 Be7

16 Ne1 f5

17 Nd3 f4

18 Qd2 Nd8

19 b5 Qc7

20 Rfc1 Qd7

21 Bb4 Rc4

22 Nc5 Rxc1+

23 Rxc1 Bxc5

24 Bxc5! b6

25 Bd6+ Kb7

26 Qb4 Rh7

27 a5


1 e4 e6

2 d4 d5

3 Nd2 Be7

4 Bd3 c5

5 dxc5 Nf6

6 exd5 Qxd5

7 Ngf3 Nbd7

8 Nb3 a5

9 c4 Qh5

10 Be2 e5!

11 0-0 a4

12 Nbd2 Nxc5 13 Re1 0-0

14 Nf1 Rd8

15 Qc2 e4

16 Ng3 Qg4

17 Ng5 Qh4

18 Be3 Nd3

19 Red1 Ng4

20 Bxg4 Bxg4

21 N5xe4 Bxd1

22 Rxd1 Nb4

23 Rxd8+ Rxd8

24 Qxa4 f5

25 Bc5 Nd3