Pursuits: Chess

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WHILE THE heavy artillery thunders away in zonal tournaments and international opens, the overwhelming bulk of serious chess in this country is played in leagues, normally local - though there will be a powerful international contingent on show this weekend in the Four Nations Chess League at the Birmingham Grand Hotel (0121-607-9988) - and weekend and one-day tournaments.

There were two of the latter last weekend in London alone. Adam Raoof (phone/fax: 0181-202 0982; e-mail: adam@circuit.demon.co.uk) is nowadays better known for his multifarious international events. He started out, though, with one-day tournaments in Golders Green, north London, and still keeps these going regularly.

The latest, last Saturday, was won by Danny Gormally on 5.5/6, ahead of Richard Tozer on 5/6. The next will be on 12 December.

The Kensington Rapidplays held by Barry Gale (0181-316-4132; e-mail b.j.gale@ic.ac.uk) at Imperial College, in Kensington, central London, are another regular fixture. The Premier section in this Sunday's (restricted to players rated less than 215) was won by Abimbola Adelaja and Mark Lyell, equal first on 4.5/6. The next Kensington Rapidplay is on 13 December - but there is a weekend congress on 28-29 November.

The indefatigable Mr Gale also found time to send out the entries for the best game prize in last weekend's tournament, and I very much liked this powerful win by the 30-year- old Nigerian joint winner

In the Taimanov variation Black almost always keeps a good structure as a higher priority than mechanical development. 15.0-0-0 was very bold and after 17.Nf6+ White got a dangerous attack along the g file.

The intuitive piece sacrifice 22.Bxf5! was splendid, if quite impossible to calculate out at this speed. In the diagram 26...Bxg3? made it easy for White - the vicious 30.Rg6! ended matters. Instead 26...Qe6! is much tougher though, in fact ,White can win with 27.Rg7 Ba8 28.Qh3 Qh6 29.R7g5! Rc4! 30.e6+! Rxd4 31.e7 when the main line goes 31...Bxg5 32.Rxg5 Qf6 33.exf8Q+ Qxf8 34.Qc3 Qf6 35.Qc8+ and mate next move.

White: Abimbola Adelaja

Black: Richard Tozer

Kensington Rapidplay 1998

Sicilian Taimanov

1.e4 c5

2.Nf3 Nc6

3.d4 cxd4

4.Nxd4 e6

5.Nc3 Qc7

6.f4 a6

7.Be2 b5

8.Nxc6 Qxc6

9.Bf3 Bb7

10.e5 Qc7

11.Ne4 Nh6

12.Be3 Nf5

13.Bf2 Be7

14.Qd2 0-0

15.0-0-0 Rfe8

16.g4 d5

17.Nf6+! gxf6

18.gxf5 Rac8

19.Rhg1+ Kh8

20.fxe6 fxe6

21.Bg4 f5

22.Bxf5! exf5

23.Bd4 Rf8

24.Rg3 Bh4

25.Rdg1 Qe7

26.Qe3 (see diagram) Bxg3?

27.e6+ Rf6

28.Qxg3 Rcf8

29.Qh4 Qxe6

30.Rg6 Bc6

31.Bxf6+ Rxf6

32.Qxf6+ Qxf6

33.Rxf6 Bb7

34.Rb6 Black resigns