Earlier this year, the English men's team won the European Championships - the first time they have finished ahead of the Russians in a major senior event. Equally impressive, however, was the result of our Women's team in taking bronze medals. While our men have been among the best in the world for some 15 years, the women have never before looked like medal contenders. Now, with the experience of Susan Lalic backed by the rapidly improving Harriet Hunt and Ruth Sheldon, the prospects for British women's chess have never looked better.

Here is an example of Harriet Hunt's play from the World Junior Girls' Championship. Avoiding the more theoretical lines of the Dragon Sicilian, she sensibly played for a small advantage in space obtained by bringing a knight to d5, then recapturing on that square with the e-pawn.

After 28.Qd1 the position was balanced, but Black upset it with 28...Bg7 (the bishop should stay on f6 to guard e7). Black's plan became clear with 29...f5, but White must have been happy to be forced to make such an effective sacrifice of the exchange.

White: Harriet Hunt

Black: Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi

1 e4 c5 22 Re4 h5

2 Nf3 d6 23 Bd1 Qc5

3 d4 cxd4 24 Be2 Rb8

4 Nxd4 Nf6 25 Be3 Qc7

5 Nc3 g6 26 Bd4 Qb7

6 Bc4 Bg7 27 Be3 Rdc8

7 0-0 0-0 28 Qd1 Bg7

8 Re1 Nc6 29 f4 f5

9 h3 Bd7 30 fxe5 fxe4

10 Bg5 Rc8 31 Qd4 b4

11 Bb3 a6 32 axb4 axb4

12 Qd2 b5 33 c4 dxe5

13 Nxc6 Bxc6 34 Qxe4 e6

14 Rad1 a5 35 Qxg6 exd5

15 a3 Qc7 36 cxd5 Qxd5

16 Re2 Rfe8 37 Bd3 Rc7

17 Nd5 Bxd5 38 Rf1 Rf7

18 exd5 Nd7 39 Rxf7 Qxf7

19 c3 Bf6 40 Qh7+ Kf8

20 h4 Ne5 41 Bc5+ Ke8

21 Rde1 Red8 42 Bg6 resigns