Chess

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Some games become so complicated that a player may be forgiven for feeling that he has lost control of the steering wheel. In today's encounter from the recent tournament in St Helier, Jersey, both players give the impression of careering in opposite directions round a race track, totally out of control. It's one of the most delightfully imaginative and haphazard games I have seen for a long time.

In the early stages, White had it all his own way. Hodgson's favourite Trompowsky opening led quickly to a highly favourable version of the stonewall, with his black-squared bishop developed outside the chain of pawns on d4, e3 and f4.

When Black played 9...h6, Hodgson saw it as just the weakness he needed to get on with an immediate attack. By exchanging on f6, then playing h4, g4 and g5, he would open a file on the K-side and deliver a quick mate. At that stage, however, Black decided to join in the game.

His 15...Qc7! is a highly practical decision. He knew that neither 15...hxg5 16.hxg5 nor 15...Be7 16.gxh6 gave him much chance of survival, so he gave up a piece for a couple of pawns - also objectively leading to a lost position, but at least one in which White had problems to solve.

Typically, Hodgson got on with his mating intentions, sacrificing a rook on move 19, having seen that 20.Rg1+ Kh8 21.Qe5 would win. Gunter saw it too, and found 20...Ng4+! after which all was unclear again.

Somehow a perpetual check was the only fitting finale, but White would have lost if he had tried 35.Bg4+ Kd6 36.Qxf7 Rxd2+.

White: J Hodgson

Black: D Gunter

1 d4 Nf6 20 Rg1+ Ng4+

2 Bg5 e6 21 Rxg4+ Kf6

3 Nd2 d5 22 f5 Ke7

4 e3 Be7 23 Qe3 Rxa2

5 Bd3 0-0 24 Rg1 Ra3

6 f4 c5 25 f6+ Kxf6

7 c3 cxd4 26 Qxh6+ Ke7

8 exd4 Nbd7 27 Be2 Ra2

9 Ngf3 h6 28 Qg5+ f6

10 Bxf6 Bxf6 29 Qf4 Rf7

11 Qe2 Rb8 30 Rg8 Bd7

12 h4 b5 31 h5 Qc1

13 g4 b4 32 Nh4 e5

14 g5 bxc3 33 Ng6+ Ke6

15 bxc3 Qc7 34 dxe5 fxe5

16 gxf6 Nxf6 35 Nf8+ Ke7

17 Rg1 Qxc3 36 Ng6+ Ke6

18 Kf2 Rb2 37 Nf8+ Ke7

19 Rg7+ Kxg7 38 Ng6+ draw

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