Chess

AS I explained recently, of all the countries in the world Iceland has easily the highest density of grandmasters, with fewer than 31,000 citizens per GM - that is nine out of just over 275,000 people. This chess- mad country is also the only place in the world where I've been harangued on the main street of the capital for drawing too many games, or quizzed in a bar about the theoretical status of an adjourned game.

Reykjavik was last weekend host to one of the elimination tournaments in this season's European Club Cup with eight teams competing over three days in a knockout format to produce the one winner who will go on to the finals. They were three teams from Iceland - the hosts Hellir from Reykjavik and Reykjavik Chess Club itself and Akureyri; SK 34 from Nykobing in Denmark; Siberia Tomsk, Cardiff, Crumlin from Dublin and Invicta Knights from Maidstone.

The sensation of the weekend was the lousy form of the Tomsk top board and currently world number four Alexander Morozevich, who scored just 1/3. His miserable long weekend started with defeat against Reykjavik's Margueir Petursson and although he redeemed himself with a nice victory against the hosts' top board Hannes Stefansson he went down again on the final day to Invicta's Matthew Sadler.

This was in the deciding match for despite Morozevich's lapses, Tomsk had won through easily enough with 4-2 against Reykjavik followed by a massive 5.5-0.5 against the hosts, while Invicta beat Crumlin by 6-0 and then SK 34 3.5-2.5. Invicta put up a splendid show against Tomsk, to lose by the narrowest margin of just 3.5-2.5 with the results on the other boards being draws between Nunn and Pigusov, Flear and Filippov and Ledger and Landa; they lost only on the bottom two boards where they were heavily outgunned - McDonald to Fominyh and Dickenson to Khasin.

I'll give Matthew Sadler's win against Morozevich in a few days' time when I've had a chance to catch up with him, but here for the moment is a quick win by Andrew Ledger against the Danes.

White's opening looked plausible enough but although Black had to isolate his queen's pawn starting with 15 ...e6 (not 15 ...Nbxd5?? 16 Nxd5 Nxd5 17 Qxd5 Qxd5 18 Nxe7+!) in the absence of White squared bishops this was quite unimportant. White was in terrible trouble after 21 ...Nac3 and at the end 25 Qxb4 Nxf2+! 26 Rxf2 Rc1+ forces mate.

White: Mikkel Antonsen

Black: Andrew Ledger

Reykjavik 1999

Grunfeld Defence

jspeelman@compuserve.com

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 g6

3 Nc3 d5

4 Nf3 Bg7

5 e3 0-0

6 b4 b6

7 Qb3 c5

8 bxc5 bxc5

9 cxd5 Nbd7

10 Bd2 cxd4

11 Nxd4 Nb6

12 Bb5 Bb7

13 Bc6 Bxc6

14 Nxc6 Qd7

15 0-0 e6

16 Rad1 exd5

17 Na5 Rfc8

18 Ne2 Rab8

19 Qa3 Ne4

20 Bb4 Na4

21 Nd4 Nac3

22 Rd3 Bxd4

23 exd4 Ne2+

24 Kh1 Rxb4

0-1

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