Despite great efforts over the past few weeks, none of Mark Hebden (on 190.6 out of a possible 200), Keith Arkell (190.2) and Jim Plaskett (189.3) has succeeded in improving their scores. The man most rapidly improving is Bogdan Lalic, who has moved up to fifth on 173.5, behind Aaron Summerscale on 177.5. Both of these are too far behind to catch the leaders, even if they scored 5/5 at Islington - an elite event which counts eightfold so that this would be multiplied up to a maximum 40/40. But a perfect score for any of the top three would almost certainly secure victory.
Apart from the main Grand Prix there is also a so-called Prixette led by Susan Lalic, a Junior Prix led by Simon Williams, who has a narrow lead over Richard Bates, a Disabled section in which D Hartley is in front, and an Amateur Prix.
In a most informative press release, Grand Prix supremo Leonard Barden explains that Andrew Horton-Kitchlew, the Amateur Prix leader, was taught chess by his father, who in turn was taught in Pakistan by the almost legendary Mir Sultan Khan (1905-66).
A truly great natural player, Sultan Khan was taken by Sir Umar Hayat Khan into his household as a chess player in 1926 and only played in Europe from 1929-33 while his master was based in England. Three times British Champion, in 1929, 1932 and 1933, he was possibly unique in being described by Capablanca as a genius; and he included Flohr, Rubinstein and Capablanca himself among his victims.
Although generally much weaker in the opening than other phases, here Sultan Khan with 5.a3 introduced an idea taken up many years later by Tigran Petrosian and now deeply theoretical. After 13.Nxd6, Black got a bad structure. White's material advantage after 23.Qxc2 was decisive: but Khan's exploitation against an ex-world champion was extraordinarily calm.
White: Mir Sultan Khan
Black: Jose Raoul Capablanca
Queen's Indian Defence
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