THE WESTERN European Women's (world championship) Zonal Tournament took place from 18 to 20 May in the Italian town of Saint-Vincent. Eighteen players - three each from England, France, Holland, Italy and Spain and one each from Luxembourg, Portugal and Scotland - battled it out for the two places in the Women's Interzonal, scheduled in Kishinev in Moldavia in September.

The top English player, Women's International Master (WIM) Jovanka Houska, was always well in the frame and only a loss in the last round to the winner Monica Calzetta from Spain, prevented her from taking first place. Nevertheless, she shared second on 6/9 with Maria Leconte from France half a point behind Calzetta. A four-game play-off at a time limit of 25 minutes per game plus an additional 10 seconds extra per move then took place with Leconte holding the advantage that in the event of a two- all draw she would go through. Houska won the first, drew the second and lost the third. But she rallied in the fourth game to defeat the Frenchwoman and so qualified, to join Harriet Hunt who already had a place. Many congratulations to her for this excellent result.

Meanwhile Ingrid Lauterberg (England) also had a good result, ending up in the three-way tie for fourth to sixth place on 5,5; while Helen Milligan (Scotland) was 10th equal on 4.5; and the other English representative, Natasha Regan, was 13th equal on 4/9.

Houska won four and drew four, with only the loss in the last round, when it wasn't clear whether she should play for a draw or win.

Her style is essentially clean and classical, as you can see in her first- round victory against the Portuguese representative.

White got some space advantage in the opening. The pull became fairly minimal looking after the exchange of all the rooks but Houska managed to gain the distinct advantage of the bishop pair. With 39 Bd7+, she transformed this to a bishop vs knight with much the better king position and this soon proved quite sufficient.

White: Jovanka Houska

Black: Alda Carvalho

Centre Counter

1 e4 d5

2 exd5 Nf6

3 Nf3 Bg4

4 Bb5+ Nbd7

5 d4 Nxd5

6 0-0 c6

7 Be2 e6

8 c4 N5f6

9 Bf4 Be7

10 Nc3 0-0

11 h3 Bh5

12 Qd2 Bg6

13 d5 exd5

14 cxd5 cxd5

15 Nxd5 Nxd5

16 Qxd5 Nc5

17 Rad1 Qxd5

18 Rxd5 Rfd8

19 Rfd1 Rxd5

20 Rxd5 Rd8

21 Rxd8+ Bxd8

22 Ne5 Bf5

23 b4 Nd7

24 Nc4 Be7

25 Nd6 Be6

26 a3 Bxd6

27 Bxd6 Bd5

28 f3 a6

29 Kf2 f5

30 b5 axb5

31 Bxb5 Nb6

32 Bc5 Nc4

33 Ke2 Kf7

34 Kd3 Ne5+

35 Kd4 Ke6

36 Bf8 g6

37 Bg7 Nf7

38 Bd7+ Kxd7

39 Kxd5 Nd8

40 h4 Ne6

41 Bh6 Nd8

42 Be3 Ne6

43 Ke5 Nc7

44 h5 Ke7

45 hxg6 hxg6 46 Bc5+ Kf7

47 a4 Ne6

48 Bb4 Nd8

49 Kd6 Ne6

50 Bd2 g5

51 Ke5 f4

52 Bb4 Nd8

53 Kf5 Ne6

54 a5 Nc7

55 Kxg5 Nd5

56 Bd2 Ne3

57 Kxf4 Nxg2+

58 Kg3 1-0

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