The Smith & Williamson British Championship, which is currently in progress in Hove, is run as usual on the Swiss system, which means that each contestant plays all 11 games, being paired each round against an opponent on a score as close as possible to his or her own. There is also some seeding to keep the strongest players apart as long as possible.

In the first round, for example, the top seed (Michael Adams) played against the 43rd player on the ranking list, while the number two (Matthew Sadler) played number 44 and so on down the list. The match between the top half and bottom half was won 32-9 by the stronger side.

With 16 grandmasters in the field, clashes between top players came more quickly than usual and resulted in one of the first major upsets. James Plaskett is a former British champion and grandmaster but is still seeded only 17th in this powerful event. Yet he outplayed the third seed, Jon Speelman, in round three.

With 9.Qb3 and 10.Rd1, White played for pressure against the knight on d5 and the pawn on b7, but Plaskett turned the tables cleverly with the use of tactics that took unusual advantage of the fact that his queen was on the same file as the white rook.

Speelman is such an imaginative player, one can only guess whether he entered the complications beginning at 20.Bf4 deliberately or fell into them through an oversight. Whatever the reason, his rook never looked as good as Black's two pieces, and his blunder with 35.Qxc5 hastened the end.

White: Jonathan Speelman

Black: James Plaskett

1 d4 Nf6 23 Qc4 Qxe8

2 Nf3 e6 24 Rxd4 Nd6

3 g3 c5 25 Bxc6 bxc6

4 Bg2 cxd4 26 Qd3 Qe5

5 0-0 d5 27 Rxf4 Qxb2

6 Nxd4 Be7 28 Re1 Kh8

7 c4 0-0 29 Rd4 Rd8

8 cxd5 Nxd5 30 Rd1 c5

9 Qb3 Na6 31 Qf3 Be7

10 Rd1 Nc5 32 R4d2 Qe5

11 Qc2 Nb4 33 Re2 Qf6

12 Qc4 e5 34 Qe3 Bf8

13 Qxb4 Ne6 35 Qxc5 Ne4

14 Qe1 exd4 36 Qc2 Rxd1+

15 Nc3 Bd7 37 Qxd1 Nc3

16 Nd5 Bc6 38 Qd2 Nxe2+

17 e4 Re8 39 Qxe2 Bc5

18 Bd2 Bf8 40 Kg2 Bd4

19 Qf1 Nc5 41 f3 h6

20 Bf4 Nxe4 42 h4 Qe6

21 Nc7 g5 43 Qc2 h5

22 Nxe8 gxf4 White resigned

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