Chess: Basman's heresy

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TWENTY-ONE grandmasters are among the field of 218 contesting the 17th Lloyds Bank Masters tournament at the Cumberland Hotel, Marble Arch, London. Michael Adams, England's world title candidate, is the favourite, but Jon Speelman, Tony Miles and John Nunn will also be eager to show that they have not forgotten how to win tournaments.

The main challenge from abroad should come from Mikhail Krasenkov (Poland), Ian Rogers (Australia), Paul van der Sterren (Netherlands) and Dibyendu Barua (India).

In Saturday's first round, however, the informed spectators were not watching the top games but lurking in an obscure corner of the hall where Michael Basman was doing his stuff. Basman's stuff, as his followers well know, is a modern chess heresy, denying the value of central occupation and sneaking wins around the edges.

In this game, he was frustrated by 2. b3 and had to steel himself to push a centre pawn two squares forward as early as move six. He made up for this conventional behaviour with a rapid rush of the h-pawn to h3, and finally managed to get back on course with g5 at move 16.

When White played 22. Nd2, he must have calculated 22 . . . Nxf5 23. Nxf5 Qh7 24. Ne4 with a huge attack. Basman's queen sacrifice, however, changed the game entirely.

Following 26. d5 Rc5] (after 26 . . . Bxd5+ 27. Nf3 White was threatening Qxd5) the position was a splendid mess and White lost his way in time trouble shortly afterwards.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: F Babar Black: M J Basman ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 e4 h6 20 Rxf5+ Ke8 2 b3 e6 21 Ng3 Ne7 3 Bb2 b6 22 Nd2 Qxg3+ 4 g3 Bb7 23 hxg3 h2+ 5 Bg2 Nf6 24 Kh1 Nxf5 6 d3 d5 25 gxf5 Bb7+ 7 e5 Nfd7 26 d5 Rc5 8 d4 c5 27 e6 Rxd5 9 c3 Nc6 28 Qf3 Nc5 10 Ne2 Ba6 29 Bxh8 Rxd2 11 0-0 cxd4 30 Qxb7 Nxb7 12 cxd4 h5 31 Rc1 Nc5 13 f4 h4 32 b4 Ne4 14 g4 h3 33 Rc8+ Ke7 15 Bf3 Qh4 34 Rc7+ Kd8 16 a3 g5 35 Rd7+ Rxd7 17 f5 exf5 36 exd7 Nxg3+ 18 Bxd5 Rc8 White resigns 19 Bxf7+ Kxf7 -----------------------------------------------------------------