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The Independent Online
"We thrashed them on board count," said Mark Thornton, captain of the victorious Cambridgeshire team in last weekend's County Championship final. Cambridgeshire - or Cambridge University-shire, as the team might more accurately be described - tied their match with Middlesex 8-8, but were awarded the title on the standard tie-split which places greater value on wins secured on higher boards. With Cambridge, led by Jonathan Mestel, scoring heavily on the top boards and collapsing lower down, the board count was no contest.

The following game, played on board four, was a total knightmare for the Middlesex player. Of Black's 34 moves, exactly half were made by knights.

Black effectively won this game in the opening with a little-known positional trap in the Alekhine Defence. 5...c6 is a subtle variation on the usual 5...e6 and is best met by 6.c4. White missed the point by continuing with 6.0-0, when the exchange of bishop for knight followed by dxe5 and e6 left White's pawn on e5 potentially a serious weakness. It can be attacked by both black knights and the queen. Providing three stable defenders is not so easy.

When White continued with the routine 10.c4 (driving one knight where it wanted to go) and followed it up with 11.b3, Burgess was very happy with his position. The entire variation is analysed in The Complete Alekhine (Batsford, pounds 14.99) by Graham ("don't leave out the book plug") Burgess.

The move that justifies Black's entire strategy is the delightfully cheeky 15...0-0-0! when 16.fxg6 hxg6 leaves the bishop on h5 too terrified to move, for fear of instant death from Bc5+ and Qxh2.

The rest of the game is little more than a cheerful gallop by the black horsemen, which seemed able to romp around White's position creating havoc and despair wherever they chose.

Once the rook on a1 came within their sights, there was nothing White could do to save himself.

White: Ben Martin

Black: Graham Burgess

1 e4 Nf6 19 g3 Nc5

2 e5 Nd5 20 Qe3 Nfd3

3 d4 d6 21 Bd4 Be5

4 Nf3 Bg4 22 Bxe5 Qxe5

5 Be2 c6 23 Qxe5 Nxe5

6 0-0 Bxf3 24 Bh3 Kc7

7 Bxf3 dxe5 25 b4 Ncd3

8 dxe5 e6 26 a3 Nxc4

9 Qe2 Nd7 27 Bxe6 Ne3

10 c4 Ne7 28 Rf3 Ne1

11 b3 Ng6 29 Rf7+ Kd6

12 Bb2 Qc7 30 Bb3 Rhf8

13 Bh5 Ndxe5 31 Nd2 Rxf7

14 f4 Nd7 32 Bxf7 N1c2

15 f5 0-0-0 33 Nc4+ Ke7

16 fxe6 fxe6 34 Nxe3 Nxa1

17 Bg4 Nf4 White resigned

18 Qe4 Bd6

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