Pastimes: chess

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
The County Championship final last weekend was a close contest with Cambridge winning on tie- break over Middlesex after tying 8-8. Jonathan Mestel scored a good win on top board for Cambridge.

In a normal line of the Slav Defence, Black's 10...Bg4 and 11...Bh5 was a strange plan. 10...Bg6 is more reliable, keeping pressure on e4, while after playing Bg4, he should block the Q-side with 11...a5.

Black must have relied on 16...Bg6 to fight back against White's growing Q-side pressure, but 17.d5! and 19.e5! cemented White's advantage. He will regain the pawn on d5, and b7 must fall shortly after.

Crouch escaped into an endgame a pawn down, but his 28...Ba3 and 32...Bb2?! played into White's hands.After 33.Rxa5! Mestel's b-pawn was always liable to win the game, though 34...Rd8 eased his task Everything became clear with 36.Ra6! when 36...Rdb8 (Rxa6 leaves an unstoppable a-pawn) 37.Rxb6 Rxb6 38.Kd3 lets the white king advance to c5, when b6 follows and the king infiltrates decisively to c7 or a7.

White: Jonathan Mestel

Black: Colin Crouch

1 c4 c6 24 Rxd4 Qb6

2 Nf3 d5 25 Bxb7 Qxb5

3 d4 Nf6 26 axb5 Rb6

4 Nc3 dxc4 27 Bc6 Bb4

5 a4 Bf5 28 Rc1 Ba3

6 e3 e6 29 Rcc4 h6

7 Bxc4 Bb4 30 Kf1 Bf5

8 0-0 0-0 31 Ke2 Be6

9 Qe2 Nbd7 32 Ra4 Bb2

10 e4 Bg4 33 Rxa5 Bxd4

11 Rd1 Bh5 34 Nxd4 Rd8

12 Na2 Be7 35 Nxe6 fxe6

13 b4 a5 36 Ra6 Rbb8

14 b5 Nb6 37 b6 g5

15 Bb3 cxb5 38 b7 Kf7

16 Qxb5 Bg6 39 Ra8 Kg6

17 d5 exd5 40 Ke3 Kf5

18 Be3 Ra6 41 Rxb8 Rxb8

19 e5 Ng4 42 Kd4 h5

20 Bd4 Nh6 43 Be4+ Kf4

21 Nc3 Nf5 44 g3+ Kg4

22 Nxd5 Nxd5 45 Kc5 Kh3

23 Bxd5 Nxd4 46 Kd6 1-0