Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
THE 7TH Monarch assurance Open in Port Erin, Isle of Man, ended on Sunday in a tie for first place between Nigel Short and Israeli grandmaster, Emil Sutovsky, on 7/9, with the latter taking the title of "Manx King" on tie-break. They were followed in the 50 player field by a four- way tie a whole point behind on 6 between last year's champion, Alexander Baburin, Jaan Ehlvest, Daniel Fridman and Andrew Ledger.

Going into the last round, Short was half-a-point clear of Sutovsky but unfortunate to be paired against the sometimes wobbly, but potentially extremely strong Estonian grandmaster, Jaan Ehlvest. Burdened with the Black pieces, he was happy to agree a draw in just seven moves - in the last round of the Goodricke Open in Calcutta this February, I was equally conservative against Elvest, even with the White men - leaving the field clear for Sutovsky, White against Latvian grandmaster, Normunds Miezis.

Strong, sensible play by Sutovsky gradually netted him a delightful position in the diagram where the two bishops and powerful passed d pawn obviously give White a clear advantage. Still, it's surprising how quickly White converted this with a series of venomous blows.

After driving one knight back, Sutovsky attacked the other with 26.a4. Now 26 ... Na7 would lose the exchange to 27 Ba5 Rd7 28 Nc5, so Miezis jettisoned a pawn.

Sutovsky's best move of the game was 30.g4! If then 30 ... Be6 31 gxh5 gxh5 the extra weakness on h5 must be decisive though not absolutely instantly. Instead, Miezis allowed the h file to be opened.

If 32 Bh5 White can at least take the exchange with 33 Bh3, though he might well look for more starting 33 Rf1. After White won the piece, it was fairly simple.

Emil Sutovsky - Normunds Miezis,

Monarch Assurance, Isle of Man 1998. Sicilian Kan

1 e4 c5

2 Nf3 e6

3 Nc3 a6

4 d4 cxd4

5 Nxd4 Qc7

6 g3 Bb4

7 Bd2 Nf6

8 Bg2 Nc6

9 Nb3 h5

10 f4 d6

11 a3 Bxc3

12 Bxc3 e5

13 Qd2 Be6

14 Na5 Na7

15 Bb4 0-0-0

16 0-0-0 Nb5

17 f5 Bd7

18 Nb3 d5

19 exd5 Bxf5

20 Qf2 g6

21 Rhe1 Ng4

22 Qc5 Rhe8

23 Qxc7+Nxc7

(see diagram)

24 h3! Nf6

25 d6 Nb5

26 a4! Nd4

27 Nxd4 exd4

28 Re7! Rxe7

29 dxe7 Rd7

30 g4! hxg4

31 hxg4 Bxg4

32 Rh1 d3

33 Rh8+ Kc7

34 e8Q Nxe8

35 Rxe8 dxc2

36 Ba5+ b6

37 Bc3 Rd1+

38 Kxc2 Rg1

39 Re7+ Kc8

40 Bb7+ Kd8

41 Rxf7 Bd1+

42 Kd2 Bxa4

43 Bxa6 Ke8

44 Rg7 Kd8

45 Bc4 b5

46 Be6 Rd1+

47 Ke2 Rd6

48 Rg8+ Ke7

49 Bb4 1-0