AFTER THEIR 1-3 drubbing in round two of the European Team Championship in Batumi at the hands of the young, star-less Russian team, England's men recovered on Wednesday to beat Slovakia 3-1. Nigel Short beat Igor Stohl, Lubomir Ftacnik drew with your correspondent, John Emms drew with Tomas Balogh and Mikulas Manik lost to Murray Chandler.

Leader board: Armenia 9.5 (from 12); Hungary 8.5; Bulgaria 8.0; Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Ukraine 7.5; England, Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland 7.0; Croatia 6.5; Azerbaijan, Georgia, Israel 6.0; Scotland 3.5; Ireland 2.0 (36 teams).

England's women's team has beaten Scotland and drawn with Greece and Bosnia/ Herzegovina. Standings are: Yugoslavia 5.0 (from six games); Bulgaria, Georgia, Georgia II, Poland 4.5; Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, Ukraine 4; England, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Russia, Armenia, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain 3.5; Scotland 2.0 (also 36 teams).

Leaders in the Onyx Grand Prix are: Grand Prix: Julian Hodgson 200.0, Keith Arkell 194.7, Mark Hebden 193.7, Bogdan Lalic 190.7, Jim Plaskett 189.3, Aaron Summerscale 188.8, Danny Gormally 181.7. Prixette: Jovanka Houska 78.5, Heather Richards 60.5, Jessie Gilbert 57.6, Harriet Hunt 57.2. Junior: Simon Williams 82.0, Jovanka Houska 78.5, Nicholas Pert 77.9. The climax will coincide with the Islington congress, 18-19 December. Det- ails: A. Duncan, 0171-226 5976.

In my third-round game with the little-charted ...b6 defence to the English 7 ...f5 could be met with 8 exf5 Nxf5 9 Be4. Interesting alternatives are 9 a3 Bxc3 10 dxc3, 14 h4 and 17 ...Qa4. 22 ...f5, though it concedes that the e4 square is the only active plan. 27 g4!? Bh7 28 Bxe7 Qxe7 29 g5! hxg5 29 Rg2 would have needed careful handling.

White: Lubomir Ftacnik

Black: Jonathan Speelman

English ...b6

1 c4 b6

2 Nc3 Bb7

3 e4 e6

4 Nf3 Bb4

5 Bd3 Ne7

6 0-0 0-0

7 Re1 Ng6

8 Bc2 Nc6

9 d4 Na5

10 Bd3 Ba6

11 Qe2 c5

12 d5 Bxc3

13 bxc3 e5

14 Bg5 f6

15 Be3 d6

16 g3 Qd7

17 Nd2 Rad8

18 a4 Bc8

19 f3 Qe7

20 Rf1 Bh3!?

21 Rf2 Qd7

See diagram

22 Kh1 f5!?

23 exf5 Bxf5

24 Ne4 Kh8

25 Bc2 Ne7

26 Bg5!? h6

27 Bd2 Bh7

28 Raf1 Ng8

29 g4 Nf6

30 g5 hxg5

31 Bxg5 Nxe4

32 fxe4 Rxf2

33 Rxf2 Ra8

34 Qh5! Kg8

35 Bd3 Qxa4!?

36 Qf7+ Kh8

37 Bh6 Qd1+

38 Rf1 Qg4

39 Rg1 Bxe4+

40 Bxe4 Qxe4+

41 Rg2 Qe1 1/2-1/2

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