While Britain lags considerably behind other European countries - particularly Spain and The Netherlands - in its organisation of top- class international tournaments, we have seen a most encouraging growth in the number of not-quite-top-class events in recent years. While high- profile grandmaster tournaments are undoubtedly inspirational, and hugely beneficial in publicising the game, we need a steady stream of master tournaments, too, to give young players experience and the chance of earning their own international titles.

The latest such event has been the Staffordshire Centenary International Tournament, held to celebrate 100 years of the county's Chess Association. The 18 players were split into two teams in order to give as many as possible the chance of progressing towards their master and grandmaster titles. Team A was composed almost entirely of international masters and women grandmasters; Team B included three grandmasters, one woman master and five players chasing their master titles.

With all the players in one team meeting all those in the other, the masters in Team A thus had a chance of moving towards their grandmaster titles, while the non-masters in Team B could move up a notch on the title ladder by scoring well enough against the masters in Team A.

Well, that was the idea, but in fact it was all so competitive that nobody quite managed to score enough points to secure their objectives. The best scores were made by grandmaster Bogdan Lalic (7/9 for Team B) and international master Jonathan Rowson (61/2/9 for Team A).

Here is a cheerful win by Rowson, with Black's 22nd move allowing a sudden finish. Black must have expected 23.cxd4 Qxc4+; he really should have been a little more suspicious.

White: Jonathan Rowson

Black: John Richardson

1 c4 e6 13 Rb1 Qd8

2 Nc3 Nf6 14 h4 Nf6

3 e4 d5 15 Qe3 Be7

4 e5 d4 16 h5 Qd6

5 exf6 dxc3 17 Ke2 Rd8

6 bxc3 Qxf6 18 Bb2 Nd7

7 Nf3 b6 19 Rbd1 Bf6

8 d4 Bb7 20 Bc2 h6

9 Bd3 Nd7 21 Bc1 Qc7

10 Qe2 Bxf3 22 Ba3 cxd4

11 gxf3 c5 23 Qxe6+ fxe6

12 Qe4 Rc8 24 Bg6 mate