Independent Pursuits: Chess

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I'M IN Calcutta at the moment, playing in the 10th annual Goodricke International Open.

The Goodricke is the strongest annual event in Asia and this year 66 players are involved, from 15 countries. Sixteen grandmasters are included.

This is my third visit to this excellent event, though in contrast to previous years, this time I'm the only English player in a sea of ex-Soviets and therefore face a particularly hard task. Indeed we should all be pretty tired by the end of the event, for there aren't any rest days, and they've added an extra round to make 11 consecutively. After three days the top seed, Alexei Fedorov, was the only player left with a perfect score. The fifth is being contested today.

First-round games are always somewhat nervy and mine, against a reasonable Indian international master, was no exception.

After the 12 Rb1?, Black was doing well. I couldn't play 14 b4 in view of Ne5! but really ought to have equalised with 14 Ne4.

15 ...Bd7 was also good, as was 16 ...Qd8!? 17 Qe2 e5. Things started to go wrong for him after 18 ...Ne5 missing 19 Bf4! - 18 ...Qf6 looked better. But 19 ...f6 was quite playable, as was 20 ...Bxf4 21 Qxf4 Bd7 22 Qc7 Qe8!

21 ...Bc5 was much better, though after 22 Qg3 (also conceivably 22 Qxb7!?) 22 ...Rfc8 23 Ne4, I have an excellent game.

In the diagram the sacrifices win. If 24 ...Kh8 25 Bg5 Qc5 26 Qe4 g6 27 Qh4 h5 28 Nxh5 etc. He defended resourcefully - if instead 25 ...Kh8 26 exf6 Qd8 27 Bg7+ Kg8 28 Qg4 Qd3 29 Bxf8+ Kxf8 30 Qxb4+ etc - but the endgame with queens and rooks was hopeless.

In fact, I'd stupidly missed 38 ...Qxh3, but luckily I hadn't spoilt anything. At the end 41 ...Qf5 42 Qxf5 exf5 43 Rxh7 Rc2 44 Rh8+ Kg7 45 Rb8 is trivial.

White: Jon Speelman

Black: RB Ramesh

Queen's Gambit Meran

1 Nf3 Nf6

2 c4 e6

3 Nc3 d5

4 d4 c6

5 e3 Nbd7

6 Qc2 Bd6

7 Be2 0-0

8 0-0 dxc4

9 Bxc4 a6

10 a4 c5

11 dxc5?! Bxc5

12 Rb1? Qc7!

13 Bd3 Bd6!

14 Bd2?! Nc5!

15 Rfc1 Nxd3

16 Qxd3 Qe7

17 e4 Ng4

18 Qe2 Ne5?!

19 Bf4 Nxf3+

20 Qxf3 Bd7?

21 e5 Bb4

22 Ne4 Bc6

(see diagram)

23 Rxc6! bxc6

24 Nf6+! gxf6

25 Bh6 Bd2!

26 exf6 Qc5

27 Qg3+ Bg5

28 Bxg5 Qf5

29 Bh6+ Qg6

30 Bxf8 Kxf8

31 Qd6+ Kg8

32 Rd1 Qxf6

33 Rd4 a5

34 g3 Qf3

35 h3 Qf5

36 Qxc6 Rb8

37 Qc7 Rf8

38 Rf4 Qxh3

39 Qxa5 Rc8

40 Qg5+ Kf8

41 Rh4 1-0

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