THE DESTINATION of gold medals at the European Team Championship depended on this position between Smbat Lputian (Armenia) and Artur Jussupow (Germany).
White cannot capture 42 Kxg2 - Black would mate after 42 ...Kf4. White's asset that may compensate for the loss of a knight is the passed pawn at a6. Can it be promoted?
White played 42 Nb6!!
This also opens his rook's rank, to upset the mating net and reduce Black's pawns.
Game continued with 42 ...Rb1 43 Rb7 N2h4 44 a7 Nf3+ 45 Kg3 N6h4 46 Rxg7+ Kf5 47 Rf7+ Kg5.
Now White must not be greedy; 48 Rxf3 would allow ...Rg1+ and ...Nxf3 mate.
Lputian played 48 Rg7+ repeating and the players agreed a draw, bringing the Armenian team to 22.5 points to clinch gold. They were team champions of Europe.
Other scores: Hungary 22 (silver), Germany 21 (bronze); Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Slovenia 20.5; Belarus 20; England, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Czech Republic 19.5; ...Scotland 6.5 and Ireland 5.5.
England's men drew with the Netherlanders in the last round; Nigel Short with the black pieces defeated Jerome Piket, I drew with Loek van Wely, Stuart Conquest lost to John van der Wiel and Murray Chandler, by drawing with Dimitri Reinderman, gained a medal for one of the best performances by a reserve player.
England's women beat the Swiss, with Harriet Hunt beating Tatjana Lematschko and Jovanka Houska drawing with Barbara Hund. This gave Harriet the gold medal for the absolute best score on top board - perhaps the only occasion a Brit has done so. She had totalled 7 (five wins, four draws).
Slovakia's unknowns Zuzana Hagarova and Regina Pokorna won the gold in the women's team event with 12.5 points from 18. Silver went to Yugoslavia and bronze to Romania, both on 12. Others: Ukraine 11.5, Armenia 11, Spain, Bulgaria, Russia and England 10.5, Georgia I, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Georgia III and Israel 10... Scotland 8...
Our sponsor Duncan Lawrie has announced that it will also be sponsoring the Olympiad teams next year.
Chess Moves, the BCF's newsletter, distressingly dwells on its loss of pounds 21,688 in the 1998-99 season. However, there are reports of our Siatek- sponsored juniors, Adam Hunt and Melanie Buckley, at the European under- 20s in Greece and Nicholas Pert, Simon Williams and Ruth Sheldon at the World Juniors in Yerevan, Armenia. More from the Federation, 9a Grand Parade, St Leonards, East Sussex, TN38 0DD.