Pursuits: Chess

THE ANNUAL Blackpool Congress took place last weekend at the Winter Gardens with six sections headed by a strong Open. Carrying on from his victory in the Onyx Grand Prix last year, the favourite Mark Hebden won this outright with 4.5/5. He was followed by Keith Arkell, who drew his first two games but then recovered, then Bogdan Lalic and Danny Gormally on 4.

The casualty of the tournament, though, was the fourth grandmaster Jim Plaskett (in addition to all of the above, except for Gormally, an international master) who drew his first game and dropped out of contention with the blood-curdling defeat in the penultimate round below.

The second tournament, the Lancashire Challengers (under 180) was won jointly by R Savory, P Isherwood and M Peacock on 4.5/5 and there were four further sections ranging right down to a "Standard" for players rated less than 80.

In a Modern Benoni-cum-Four Pawns' attack against the King's Indian (2 ...g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 f4 0-0 6 Nf3 c5 7 d5 e6 comes to the same thing), both players did their stuff, with Mr Merriman showing admirable self- belief and purpose against such a formidable opponent.

When White started a kingside pawn storm the position sharpened still further, and the crisis exploded in the diagram. Plaskett quite rightly counter-attacked rather than expediting the enemy attack with 23 ...gxh5? 24 Qxh5 Bxc3 when 25 bxc3!? Rxe4 is very messy but 25 Qh6 Ndxf6 26 gxf6 Bxf6 27 Rg1+ Kh8 28 Raf1 Rg8 (or 28 ...Qd8 29 Bd4 Re5 30 Bxe5 dxe5 31 Rf5 wins) 29 Rxf6 Rxg1+ 30 Bxg1 Qe1 31 Rxf7 Qxe4+ 32 Kh2 Qe2+ 33 Bf2 is a clean kill.

But 26 ...Qxc3? was careless. Instead 26 ...Ne5! looks fine, eg:

a) 27 Bd2 Nxf3 28 Qxf3 Rh5 29 Rh1 Nxg5 30 Bxg5 Rxg5+ 31 Kf1 Qxd5! (but not 31 ...Rf5 32 Qxf5 gxf5 33 Rg1+ Kf8 34 Rh1 with a draw)

b) 27 Rh1 Rxh1 28 Rxh1 Qxc3 29 Kg3 Nxf3 30 Qxf3 should be excellent for Black, though he must still be very careful.

31 ...Ne5 was a gross blunder. Plaskett hoped for 32 Qxc8? Qf3+ 33 Kf1 h3, when Black should win, but after 32 Re3! it was all over.

White: J Merriman

Black: Jim Plaskett

Modern Benoni

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 c5

3 d5 g6

4 Nc3 d6

5 e4 Bg7

6 f4 0-0

7 Nf3 e6

8 Be2 exd5

9 cxd5 Bg4

10 0-0 Nbd7

11 Re1 Re8

12 h3 Bxf3

13 Bxf3 a6

14 a4 c4

15 Be3 Qa5

16 Kh1 Re7

17 Qe2 Rc8

18 g4 h6

19 h4 Nh7

20 g5 h5

21 f5 Be5

22 f6 Ree8 (see diagram)

23 Bxh5 Bxc3!

24 bxc3 Rxe4

25 Bf3 Rxh4+

26 Kg2 Qxc3?

27 Qf2 Rh5

28 Bxh5 gxh5

29 Qf5 Nhf8

30 Rad1 h4

31 Bf2 Ne5??

32 Re3! Qa5

33 Qxc8 Qxa4

34 Rh1 c3

35 Rxh4 Qb5

36 Rh8+

1-0

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements