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THE EUROPEAN Junior Championships are now under way in Litohoro, about 60 miles south of Thessaloniki and, crucially, 200 miles from Athens; so they have not been directly affected by the earthquake.

Young people from 44 countries (or rather, chess federations - e.g. England, Scotland, Wales and a united Ireland are all separate chess entities) are taking part in 10 separate competitions - five each for boys and girls - ranging in two-year intervals from under-10 to under-18, with the last round to be played tomorrow.

The British Isles is well represented with seven Welsh players, six Scots, three from Ireland and 10 from England. The England juniors, sponsored by Saitek, started rather disappointingly but have fought back well. After six of the nine rounds their scores were: Gawain Jones (boys' under-12) first equal on 5/6; Rosalind Kieran (girls' under-16) 4; Melanie Buckley (girls' under-18), Matthew Broomfield (boys' under-16), Thomas Rendle (boys' under-14) and David Howell (boys' under-10) 3.5; Aly Wilson (girls' under-14) 3; Stewart Haslinger (boys' under-18), and Jessie Gilbert (girls' under-12) 2.5; and Yasmin Ball (girls' under-10) 2.

In this game from the boys' under-18, Black plays the Leningrad Dutch - an opening I personally have always distrusted; but Black was doing reasonably well until the awful 21 ...Kh7? missing White's threat. Instead 21 ...Nf6 was playable since if 22 bxc6 bxc6 23 Bxd5 Nxd5 24 Qxd5 Qxg3+! Black at least has an extra pawn. Instead White broke through for nothing and faced with 26 Rbb7 Black gave up.

White: R Buhmann

Black: J Berkvens

Leningrad Dutch

A. Kovchan vs Matthew Broomfield (Black to move)

In this instructive finish from the boys' under-16, Matthew Broomfield was unfortunately on the wrong side.

The game ended 27 ...Re2 28 Rc1 h5 29 gxh5 Rff2 30 Rc8+ Kh7 31 Rdd8 Rxb2+ 32 Kc1 1-0.

Normally it would be right to activate the rook, but here White's mate threats take precedence. Instead 27 ...Rxg4 looks right, preparing ...h5 to evacuate the king.

1 d4 f5

2 Nf3 Nf6

3 g3 g6

4 Bg2 Bg7

5 0-0 0-0

6 c4 d6

7 Nc3 Qe8

8 Nd5 Nxd5

9 cxd5 Qb5

10 Ng5 h6

11 Ne6 Bxe6

12 dxe6 d5

13 a4 Qc4

14 e3 c6

15 Bd2 Rf6

16 Re1 Qa6

17 b4 Qb6

18 Rb1 Rxe6

19 b5 Qc7

20 Qb3 Nd7