Chess

John Emms not only won the grandmaster tournament at the Drury Lane Moat House earlier this week, but he finished a clear point ahead of his nearest rivals and brought off by far the best finish of the event.

In the diagram position, playing White against Adrian Summerscale, Emms found a brilliant way to force his attack home just as Black seemed to have come back into the game with his last move of 21...Qb4. That, however, was as far as Black's planned counter-attack ever reached, for White crashed through with 22.Rxh7! Kxh7 23.Rh1+ Kg8 (or 23...Kg7 24.f6+ Kxf6 25.Nd5+) 24.Rxh8+! Kxh8 and Black resigned. After 25.Bxe5+ Rxe5 26.Qh6+ Kg8 27.f6 Black cannot avoid mate.

Black should have tried 22...Nd3+ instead of taking the first rook. After 23.Qxd3 Kxh7 or 23.cxd3 Bxc3 he is still just about alive. Here are the full moves of the game:

White: J Emms

Black: A Summerscale

1 e4 d6 14 Rh3 Nxf1

2 d4 e5 15 Rxf1 c5

3 Nf3 exd4 16 Nf5 Nc4

4 Nxd4 g6 17 Qd3 Be6

5 Nc3 Bg7 18 Bf4 Qb6

6 Be3 Nf6 19 b3 Ne5

7 Qd2 0-0 20 Qd2 Bxf5

8 0-0-0 Re8 21 gxf5 Qb4

9 f3 Nc6 22 Rxh7 Kxh7

10 h4 Ne5 23 Rh1+ Kg8

11 Bh6 Bh8 24 Rxh8+ Kxh8

12 h5 Nxh5 Black resigned

13 g4 Ng3

Black's opening of 1...d6 and 2...e5 invited a queen exchange on d8, which must be in White's favour. Emms reasoned that Black must be happy with that line, and there is nothing a grand-master likes less than a happy opponent. The way the game went justified his decision to transpose into Philidor's Defence instead.

Black's 3...exd4 and 4...g6 is an unusual continuation, treating the opening rather like a dragon Sicilian. White treated it the same way too, getting on with the standard anti-dragon attack of long castling followed by advance of the h-pawn and g-pawn. Meanwhile, Black's counterplay suffered by not having the open c-file usual in the dragon. White's first sacrifice with 16.Nf5 must have been easy enough: after 16...gxf5 17.gxf5 Black's king cannot survive for long on the open g-file. It was 22.Rxh7! that needed courage and imagination.

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