Independent Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
ALTHOUGH THE the first international tournament in London in 1851 was a knockout, this format was fairly soon supplanted by all-play- alls and later Swisses, and came back into favour only a decade or so ago, fuelled by a press demand for clear-cut results and the chess public's taste for blood.

A totally new event, the Red Bus Knockout, starts today at Southend Civic Centre alongside the traditional Southend Easter Congress, now in its 43rd edition. It is sponsored by Redbus Investments, which was founded by Cliff Stanford in May last year after his earlier company, the massively successful Demon Internet, was bought by Scottish Power, and brings together 16 of the top British players with each round consisting of two games at the rate of two hours each for all moves, followed if necessary by blitz play-offs.

Subject to any late withdrawals the first round draw which pits 1 vs 9, 2 vs 10 etc in rating order is: Miles vs Plaskett, myself vs Ward, Emms vs Andrew Ledger, Lalic vs Nicholas Pert, Chandler vs McNab, Davies vs Levitt, King vs Pein and Rowson vs Ruth Sheldon. Play takes place from today until Easter Monday, with rounds starting at 10am and 3.30pm.

Whilst all pairings may be equal some are less equal than others and Miles and Plaskett in particular must have mixed feelings about renewing their often bloody combat at such an early stage. In the game I've chosen, Plaskett, as always, goes full tilt for his opponent and in this case he made dramatic contact. But I could equally have adduced one in which the attack eventually veered off course and Miles emerged triumphant.

The dramatic queen sacrifice with 18 Bxf5 - 18 Qb4 was sensible - was probably somewhat unsound but very hard to defend.

20 ...Qd8 was fine - not, eg 20 ...Qf8 21 Nxf7 Qxf7 22 Bxe6 Qxe6 23 Rd8+ Kg7 24 Bb2+ Ne5 25 Rff8 when White wins the house. But the obvious 21 ...Rxf5? proved disastrous - instead 21 ...Rf8 and if 22 Nxc8 Qxc8 23 Bxf8 Ngxf8 is good for Black.

Of course, not 22 ...Qxd3 23 Nh6 mate! But in the diagram 24 g4!! was suddenly murderous.

White: Jim Plaskett

Black: Tony Miles

Lugano Open 1986

English Opening

1 c4 e5

2 e3 d6

3 Nc3 g6

4 g3 Bg7

5 Bg2 Ne7

6 d4 0-0

7 Nge2 Nd7

8 0-0 f5

9 dxe5 dxe5

10 b3 c6

11 Ba3 Qe8

12 f4 e4

13 Qd6 Rf7

14 Rad1 Nf8

15 Rd2 Ne6

16 Bh3 g5

17 fxg5 Ng6

18 Bxf5 Bf8

19 Nxe4 Bxd6

20 Nxd6 Qd8!

21 Rd3 Rxf5?

22 Nxf5 Qxg5

23 h4 Qh5 (see diagram)

24 g4!! Qxg4+

25 Neg3 Qh3

26 Nh6+ Kg7

27 Nhf5+ Kf6

28 Nh5+ Ke5

29 Nfg3 Nef8

30 Bb2+ Ke6

31 Ng7+ Ke7

32 Ba3+

1-0

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