Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
IT'S RARE for anybody to be as aptly named as Tiger Hillarp-Persson, a 28-year-old Swede with a vigorous attacking style that often spreads gore throughout the chess board: most often his opponent's, ,but also sometimes his own.

"The Tiger" has just been in action at the Jersey Open where his ferocious play earned him a splendid 7/7 - no claws on the other foot this time - for first place, a whole point-and-a-half clear of the rest.

The seven-round Swiss, sponsored for the third year by the accountancy firm Deloitte and Touche, ran from 14-20 February, with a record 125 players in the three sections. In the 62-player Open, Hillarp-Persson was followed by Chris Ward and Tony Corkett on 5.5, and Simon Williams and Angus Dunnington on 5. The group of 11 players on 4.5 was headed by Jim Plaskett, whom Hillarp-Persson had dispatched in the final round game below; indeed the winner beat both of the two grandmasters - the other was Chris Ward - with the Black pieces.

The Open also gave opportunities to some formidable juniors sent by the British Chess Federation to play against senior opposition, while the 27-player major resulted in a tie between RGR Harris (Kingston Chess Club) and Paul Kelly (ISH Chess Club) on 5.5/7; and in the minor Lucy Smith (Oxford City) led a field of 34 on 6/7.

This was a rematch following their last-round game at the third Hampstead grandmaster tournament last August, when Hillarp-Persson had correctly accepted a somewhat dubious pawn sacrifice from Jim Plaskett but subsequently got blown away in just 27 moves.

In an Alekhine's, Plaskett played the apparently tame 6 g3 and 7 Nf3 but then developed some potential pressure on the long white diagonal after Hillarp-Persson played his thematic break 9 ...c5.

14 c4 was morally forced - the only way to exploit Black's temporary looseness. After the first exchange on f3, 15 ...Nxf3+ 16 Qxf3 Qf6! was then perfectly playable, but Hillarp-Persson decided instead to jettison a pawn himself with 15 ...Nb4!?. His compensation lay initially in the massive knight on d3 and play against White's b pawn. Plaskett tried 19 Bxd3 Nxd3 20 Be3, but in so doing weakened the white square complex around his king.

This quickly became decisive. If 25 Bf4 Nf3+ 26 Kg2 Qb7 27 Nd6 Rxd6 28 Bxd6 Nd2+ wins; while the attempt to confuse matters with 28 Bg5 can be met simply with Rd7! At the end Black is winning a whole piece - the trapped knight on a7.

White: Jim Plaskett

Black: Tiger Hillarp Persson

Alekhine Defence

1 e4 Nf6

2 e5 Nd5

3 d4 d6

4 Nf3 dxe5

5 Nxe5 g6

6 g3 Nd7

7 Nf3 Bg7

8 Bg2 0-0

9 0-0 c5

10 Re1 cxd4

11 Nxd4 Ne5

12 Na3 Bg4

13 Nf3 e6

14 c4 Bxf3

15 Bxf3 Nb4

16 Bxb7 Nbd3

17 Re2 Rb8

18 Be4 Qd4

19 Bxd3 Nxd3

20 Be3 Qd7

21 Rb1 Rfd8

22 b3 Qe7

23 Nb5 Ne5

24 Qf1 a6

25 Na7 Qb7

26 Qg2 Nf3+

27 Kh1 Bd4

28 c5 Bxe3

29 Rxe3 Nd4