Independent Pursuits: Chess

MANY CONGRATULATIONS to Murugan Thiruchelvam, from New Malden in Surrey, who, at the age of 10 years and three months has become the youngest player ever to defeat a grandmaster.

His splendid feat, which cut nine days off the record previously held by the American Hikaru Nakamura, came on Sunday in the third game of a specially arranged rapidplay match with the grandmaster Jonathan Levitt.

Ironically, Levitt, who came fifth in the British Open rapidplay championships last year and won the best game prize there, had been dominating the third game - whereas he had just escaped from the ropes after Murugan conducted the second splendidly. But an attack of overconfidence allowed the young titan to trap his queen. And though Murugan became very nervous and Levitt squirmed so well that he at one point missed a draw, the grandmaster finally resigned in a dead lost position with one second left on his clock; Murugan still had 90 seconds.

Jonathan Levitt vs Murugan Thiruchelvam (3rd game)

32 Be5?? Rc8! 33 Qxc8 Bxc8 34 Rc1 Bb7 35 Rc7 Qe6 36 Bd4 Ba6 37 Rxa7 Qc6 38 Kh2 Qc4 39 Rg7+ Kh6 40 Rf7 Qd3 41 a4 Bc4 42 Rf6+ Kh7 43 Kg3 Qe4 44 f3 Qc2 45 fxg4 hxg4 46 Kf4 Qe4+ 47 Kg5 g3! 48 Rf7+ Kg8 49 Rg7+ Kf8 50 Kf6 Qxh4+ 51 Ke6 Qh6+ 52 Kxf5 Bd3+ 53 Kg4 Qh2 54 Ra7 Be2+ 55 Kg5 Qh5+ 56 Kf6 Qh6+ 57 Ke5 Qg5+ 58 Kd6 Bf1?? 59 Ra8+ Kf7 60 Ra7+ Kg8 61 Rg7+?? Qxg7 62 Bxg7 Kxg7 63 Ke5 Bxg2 64 Kf4 Kf6 65 Kxg3 Bf1 66 Kf4 Ke6 67 b4 Kd6 68 a5 Bd3 69 Kf3 Ke5 70 Kf2 Ke4 71 Ke1 Kxe3 72 Kd1 Bb5 0-1

58 ...Bf1?? was a gross blunder - 58 ...Qd8+ 59 Rd7 Qb8+ 60 Kxd5 Bf1 would have been clean enough. For 61 Ra8+ Kf7 (not 61 ...Kh7 62 Rh8+ Kg6 63 Rg8+) 62 Ra7!+ is a draw.

After a draw in game four, a tired Murugan was dispatched by Levitt in the final two games for a match score of 3.5-2.5 in favour of the grandmaster.

White: Jonathan Levitt

Black: Murugan Thiruchelvam

London 1999 (5th game)

Queen's Gambit Declined

5 ...0-0 was inaccurate - he should play 5 ...h6 6 Bh4 and then 0-0. If 9 ...dxe4 10 Qxe4! At the end, the attack was overwhelming.

But this sharp reverse only underlines the impressiveness of Murugan's earlier play.

1 d4 d5

2 c4 e6

3 Nc3 Nf6

4 Bg5 Be7

5 e3 0-0?

6 Nf3 b6

7 Qc2 h6

8 Bxf6 Bxf6

9 e4 Bb7

10 cxd5 exd5

11 e5 Re8

12 0-0-0 Bg5+

13 Kb1 Nd7

14 h4 Be7

15 g4 Nf8

16 Bd3 a5

17 g5 h5

18 g6 f6

19 Qe2 Bb4

20 Ng5! fxg5

21 hxg5 Qxg5

22 Rdg1 Qxg1+

23 Rxg1 Ne6

24 Qxh5 Kf8

25 f4 Ke7

26 f5 Rh8

27 Qg4 Nxd4

28 f6+ gxf6

29 exf6+