The best excitement at this year's Hastings was provided by the Challengers Tournament, which gives an opportunity for players to qualify for the invitation-only Premier tournament the following year. With 10 grand-masters, the field was almost as star-studded as that of the top tournament.

While the press were concentrating on the feats of 12-year-old Luke McShane, who so narrowly missed scoring his second norm towards a master title, the real thrills were in the battle for first place. First, James Plaskett romped into a clear lead, then he was beaten by Joe Gallagher, but in the last two rounds, Igor Rausis of Latvia beat both of them to sprint into first place. He and Plaskett secured qualification for next year's premier.

We gave one brilliant Plaskett win in Thursday's paper. Here's another one, equally spectacular and also ending in mate.

After Black's 1...b6 and White's 2.b3, much of the game becomes a battle to prove which is the stronger bishop: the one of b7 or that on b2. White's 15.g4 is an attempt to open the g-file and bring his rook to help the bishop's efforts in an attack against g7, but the whole plan seemed too optimistic.

When 16.gxf5 was met by 16...d3! the bishop on b2 may have looked more active than its colleague on b7 (particularly when Black had to avoid 17...dxe2? 18.Qxd6!) but the illusion was exposed in forceful style by Plaskett's 20...Rxf4! For the price of a rook, Black reopens his bishop's diagonal and gains two monster pawns on d3 and e3.

After this, White was always facing defeat. He avoided the trap of 29.Bg5 Qxg5! 30.Qxg5 Rxh2 mate, but fell into a prettier version of the same thing on the following move. After 29...Ke8 Black threatened 30...Qd7, which on the previous move would have been met by Qf2+. White could have forced Black to rethink by playing 30.Bc6+ (when Kd8 loses to Bg5) but instead played the bishop to g5 immediately, letting Black polish the game off with a queen sacrifice.

White: Colin McNab

Black: James Plaskett

1 c4 b6 18 Bh5 Rxf5

2 b3 Bb7 19 Qg4 Raf8

3 Bb2 e6 20 Kh1 Rxf4

4 Nf3 Nf6 21 exf4 Rxf4

5 e3 d5 22 Qh3 e3

6 Be2 Bd6 23 Bg4 Bxg2+

7 0-0 Nbd7 24 Qxg2 e4

8 d4 0-0 25 Be6+ Kf8

9 Nbd2 Ne4 26 Bd5 e2

10 Nxe4 dxe4 27 Rg1 g6

11 Ne5 f5 28 Bc1 Rh4

12 Nxd7 Qd7 29 h3 Ke8

13 f4 Qe7 30 Bg5 Qxg5

14 Rf2 c5 31 Bc6+ Kf8

15 g4 cxd4 32 Qg5 Rh3+

16 gxf5 d3 33 Kg2 Rh2

17 Rg2 e5 checkmate

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