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Independent Pursuits: Chess

THE SECOND Mind Sports Olympiad took place last week at the Novotel in Hammersmith. More than 2,200 competitors contested 40 different disciplines including bridge, Go, Shogi, speed-reading, memory feats, IQ, Scrabble, crosswords and, of course, chess.

The main chess event was a 15-round Quickplay. Sadly, the excellent pecuniary conditions of last year were not repeated. But there was one glittering prize, a pair of round-the-world air tickets courtesy of British Airways, after which 80 competitors, including three grandmasters, set off in pursuit last Monday, at a rate of three rounds a day.

After serious slaughter the three grandmasters ran out ahead of all opposition. The Gold Medallist on Friday night was Stuart Conquest on a splendid 13/15, a point ahead of Jim Plaskett and Aaron Summerscale on 12, with Plaskett taking the Silver on tie-break.

Conquest was a most apt and worthy winner. An excellent linguist who speaks French and German fluently, has a Spanish girlfriend with whom he converses in that language, and can certainly manage bits of Italian, Portuguese and no doubt several more, he is an inveterate traveller, who always likes to stay on after any event in an interesting place. I can't think of a British player who would use the round-the-world tickets better.

Quickplay chess is often chaotic. The Russian IM's 12. Bxf5!? was shown to be rather speculative by Black's excellent 16...Nf7!. But White had ample compensation for the piece, before he lost the plot completely with 31 a5??

White: Alexander Cherniaev

Black: Stuart Conquest

Mind Sports 1998

Sicilian 2 c3

1 e4 c5 20 Rd1 Qb7

2 Nf3 e6 21 Be3 Nd5

3 c3 b6 22 Bd4 h5

4 d4 Bb7 23 Qd2 Nf6

5 Bd3 Nf6 24 Nh4 Qe4

6 Qe2 Be7 25 Nf3 h4

7 0-0 Nc6 26 h3 Rh5

8 e5 Nd5 27 Bxa7 Qg6

9 dxc5 bxc5 28 Be3 d5

10 Na3 Qc7 29 Qd3 Ne4

11 Nc4 f5 30 a4 Rf5 (see

12 Bxf5?! exf5 diagram)

13 Nd6+ Kf8 31 a5?? Rxf3

14 Qd3 Nxe5 32 Qxd5 Rxh3

15 Qxf5+ Nf6 33 a6 Rxe3!

16 Nxb7 Nf7! 34 fxe3 h3

17 Nxc5 Qxc5 35 Rd2 Nxd2

18 Qd3 Qd5 36 Qxd2 Bc5 0-1

19 Qe2 Re8

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