Independent Pursuits: Chess

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THERE WERE a variety of events last Bank Holiday weekend, with hundreds of players across the country, including a gallery of the usual suspects in pursuit of lucre.

The 34th Berks and Bucks Congress had more than 100 players in eight graded sections. The Open was won by the Fide master M Simon Williams (Farnham) on 4/5. He was followed by 17-year-old JP Coulon and JH Hodgson (not grandmaster Julian Hodgson, but the man who sometimes mistakenly gets to share his international rating points) on 3.5. Williams was also victorious in the Lightning tournament.

More than 150 battled it out in Hereford. The Open section was won by the international master Matthew Turner with 41/2 out of 5, ahead of Peter Varley and brothers Charles and James Cobb on 4.

But the biggest turn-out was in Chorley, the first event in the Northern Counties Chess Union Centenary year Grand Prix, where they just topped 200. Mike Surtees (Bolton) caught up with Ben Hague (Rochdale) by beating him in the final round to share first in the Open on 5 out of 6. Third prize was shared between O Jackson (Cheshire), H Lamb (Bolton) and R Palliser (Hull) on 41/2.

In his round four victory, the co-winner was White against a markedly higher-rated opponent. In an effort to sow confusion, Lund, who in any case has an eccentric opening repertoire, pushed his luck to the limit and beyond. In the diagram, Black can't capture 20...exf4 in view of 21.Qd4 forking the two black rooks. The final position is total carnage. After 26...Kh8 27 Qd4 Nc8 28 Nxd7!Bxd7 29 e6+ Kh7 30 exd7 would win even more material.

White: Ben Hague

Black: Bret Lund

Chorley, 1998

1 e4 c5

2 d4 e6

3 Nf3 a6

4 c3 b5

5 Bd3 Bb7

6 .0-0 Nf6

7 Bg5 h6

8 Bxf6 Qxf6

9 Nbd2 Qd8

10 a4 c4

11 Bb1 Nc6

12 d5 Na7?

13 Nd4 e5

14 Nf5 g6

15 Ne3 Bc5

16 Ng4 Qg5

17 b4 cxb3

18 Nxb3 Rc8?

19 Nxc5 Rxc5

20 f4! see

diagram Qe7

21 fxe5 Rc4

22 d6 Qg5

23 Ba2 0-0

24 .Bxc4 bxc4

25 Rb1 Bc6

26 Nf6+

Black resigned