Krasenkov comes second to Nunn

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The Independent Online
A LANKY and nervous fellow, Mikhael Krasenkov, 30, seemed not to know what to do with his hands when they were not moving chess pieces. John Nunn, 38, was by contrast a model of calmness. Yesterday they met in the last round of the Premier Tournament of the 69th Hastings Chess Congress, with the pounds 2,000 first prize depending on the result.

Nunn, leading with 6 1/2 points, needed only a draw to win the tournament. Krasenkov, on 6 points, had to win to overtake him. The rest of the field were so far behind that no one else could challenge the leaders even for a share of the runners-up prize.

The game began quietly with Krasenkov, playing white, aiming for the sort of small advantage that would let him torture his opponent late into the night if necessary. After making each move, he padded nervously across the stage wringing his hands in front of him or tapping fingers behind his back. Nunn, in trainers, jeans and sweatshirt, stayed rooted to his chair.

For the first three hours, Krasenkov kept the game under tight control without achieving a great deal. Then Nunn seized the chance to open the position when the Russian's pieces were poorly placed to cope.

Krasenkov complicated the position further, but Nunn took advantage of his opponent's increasing time shortage and found a neat tactical trick that ended with his winning the white queen. Krasenkov obtained rook, knight and pawn for it but his forces were scattered and king vulnerable.

In the final moves, he did manage to conjure up some spectacular attacking ideas, but Nunn held the draw to give Hastings its first British winner for six years.

Final scores: Nunn 7; Krasenkov 6 1/2 ; Sadler and Hennigan 4 1/2 ; Arakhamia 4 (1 unfinished); Gurevich and Hebden 4; Rogers 3 1/2 (1 unfinished); Barua and Sherbakov 3.