Pursuits: Chess

THE CENTRAL London Premier Congress, a new incarnation of the

International Student House (ISH) tournament as was, took place at the ISH on 13-14 March. Three sections packed in no fewer than 269 players of whom 46 competed in the top event, the Premier for players rated under 210, which was won by Paul Georghiou (Barnet/Imperial College) with a perfect 5/5.

In the Major (for players rated less than 180) four out of a field of 116 ended up first equal on 4.5/5, including 10-year-old Murugan Thiruchelvam who this Sunday will play a six-game speed match with Jonathan Levitt in a bid to become the youngest player ever to beat a grandmaster. (At the London Chess Centre, 369 Euston Road - there are no spectator facilities but I'll be reporting on it next week.)

The Minor, for players rated under 125, had 107 entrants. First place went to William D Bennet (Cambridge) who like Paul Georghiou in the Premier also made 5/5.

This is Georghiou's crucial last- round victory against Jovanka Houska. I'm grateful to him for the moves, and some nice variations.

In the opening Black should first capture 8 ...dxc4 9 Bxc4 before g6 when if 10 e4 e5!: the problem being that as played if 9 ...dxc4 10 e5!. 12 ...Ba5 parried the threat of 13 Qa4 a5 14 a3 winning the bishop, but White got a huge bind.

If 21 ...axb4 22 h5 g5 23 f4!. Perhaps Black should have tried the vile 22 ...Bxd6 23 cxd6 Qd7 but she'd surely have lost. 23 Rd1 avoided the trap 23 Nxf7? Bxf7 24 Bxg6 Qxf6! 25 exf6+ Bxf6.

In the diagram if 23 ...Qd7 24 Bxg6 fxg6 25 Nxe8+ Qxe8 26 Rd7+ is easy; or as they found in the post mortem if 23 ...Rh6 24 cxb6 axb4 25 b7 Rb8 26 Be4 Qf8 (or 26 ...Qd7 27 Qc1 Bxf6 28 exf6+ Kh7 29 Nxe8 Qxe8 30 Bxc6 Qf8 31 Qf4 etc) 27 Bxc6 Bxc6 28 Rxf7+! Qxf7 29 Qxh6+! Kxh6 30 Nxf7+ Kg7 31 Nxd8 Bd5 32 Rc1! wins.

After 24 Nxf7! it was all over - if 27 ...Bxg6 28 Rd7+ etc.

White: Paul Georghiou

Black: Jovanka Houska

Queen's Gambit Semi-Slav

1 d4 d5

2 c4 e6

3 Nf3 c6

4 Nc3 Nf6

5 Bg5 h6

6 Bxf6 Qxf6

7 e3 Nd7

8 Bd3 g6?!

9 e4 dxe4

10 Nxe4 Bb4+

11 Kf1 Qe7

12 c5 Ba5

13 Nd6+ Kf8

14 Ne5 Nxe5

15 dxe5 Bc7

16 h4 Bd7

17 Rh3 Be8

18 Qg4 b6

19 Rf3 Kg7

20 b4 a5

21 Rf6 h5

22 Qg5 Bd8

23 Rd1 (see diagram)

23 ...axb4

24 Nxf7! Bxf7

25 Bxg6 Qxf6

26 exf6+ Bxf6

27 Qg3 Rhd8

28 Bxf7+ Kxf7

29 Qc7+ Kg6

30 Rxd8 Rxd8

31 cxb6 Rd2

32 b7 Rxa2

33 b8Q Ra1+

34 Ke2 Ra2+

35 Kf3 1-0