Pastimes: Chess

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The Independent Culture
Experienced prodigy watchers can tell a future grandmaster from a precocious, but fundamentally talentless chess brat. The future GM sits with head in hands and an expression of total absorption in the game - as though nothing less than a major earthquake would disturb their concentration.

Nigel Short and Judit Polgar both had that mature and concentrated look by the age of 11. So does Ruth Sheldon, 14, who made a women's grandmaster norm at last week's Vera Menchik Memorial in Newcastle.

The following game, while unspectacular, shows all the right qualities: patience (the quiet opening), positional judgement (the space-gaining 19.b4 and 23.d5), calmness (29.axb4, without fear of the black a-pawn), and ruthlessness (37.Ra2! rather than taking immediately on a8). A highly polished game.

White: Ruth Sheldon

Black: Richard McMichael

Old Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 28 Be2 cxb4

2 c4 d6 29 axb4 a3

3 Nf3 Bg4 30 Nc3 Nhf6

4 Qb3 Qc8 31 Rd2 Ng4

5 Nbd2 Nbd7 32 Bf4 h5

6 h3 Bxf3 33 Nb5 Ra6

7 Nxf3 g6 34 Nd4 Qe7

8 Bf4 Bg7 35 b5 Ra8

9 e3 0-0 36 Bf3 Nef6

10 Be2 c5 37 Ra2 Nd7

11 0-0 h6 38 Bxa8 Rxa8

12 Bh2 b6 39 Qb4 Be5

13 Rfd1 Nb8 40 Rxa3 Rxa3

14 Rac1 Nc6 41 Qxa3 Qxh4

15 a3 Nd7 42 Qa8+ Kg7

16 Qa4 a5 43 Qf3 Nc5

17 Bd3 Ra7 44 Ra1 Ne4

18 Be4 Nd8 45 Ra2 Nc5

19 b4 Nf6 46 Ra7 Qf6

20 Bd3 Qd7 47 Nc6 Bxf4

21 Qb3 a4 48 Qxf4 Qxf4

22 Qb1 Ne6 49 exf4 Nd3

23 d5 Ng5 50 Nd8 Ngxf2

24 Nd2 e5 51 Nxf7 Kf6

25 dxe6 Qxe6 52 Nxd6 Ng4

26 h4 Ngh7 53 g3 Nc5

27 Ne4 Ne8 54 Rc7 1-0