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Jonathan Parker, 18, from Edinburgh, has taken the sole lead in the British Championship in Swansea with three rounds left to play. In the top games of the eighth round, the previous leader, Keith Arkell, suffered his first loss of the tournament against Christopher Ward. Parker moved ahead of him with a convincing win against Charles Cobb.

Leading scores: Parker 61/2; Levitt, Arkell and Ward 6; Sadler and Williams 51/2. The race for the title seems to be among these six.

Further down the field, 11-year-old Luke McShane, in his first British Championship, has 41/2 points, and 16-year-old Harriet Hunt, already Britain's highest-ranked woman player, is on 50 per cent with 4.

Parker's eighth-round game was a splendid demonstration of winning with the black pieces. Playing the unusual Centre Counter Defence, he set his opponent problems from the start.

When Black plays the rustic 2...Qxd5 - the modern line is 2...Nf6 - White must decide what sort of an advantage he is playing for. It is tempting, when meeting such ramshackle stuff, to go for the throat but, despite the time lost with his queen, Black's position is resilient.

Cobb made the mistake of thinking too long and trying to remember some old theory. The idea of playing Ne5 and g4 is not bad, but White must follow with Qe2, Bd2 and 0-0-0. His 10.g5? was far too violent and created only weaknesses.

Parker's 12...Kxd7! was a splendidly confident move. The knight belongs on c6 and Black's king is perfectly safe in the centre. For the rest of the game, it was White's own king that lacked shelter behind his own far- advanced pawns.

Parker ended it prettily. If White plays 29.Rg3, he is mated after 29...Rxh2+! 30.Kxh2 Qf2+. Black's final move (see diagram) of 31...Rg1+! forces mate after 32.Rxg1 Qd5+.

White: Charles Cobb

Black: Jonathan Parker

Centre Counter Defence

1 e4 d5 17 0-0 Bxc3

2 exd5 Qxd5 18 bxc3 Rac8

3 Nc3 Qa5 19 Rab1 b6

4 d4 Nf6 20 Rb3 Rc4

5 Nf3 c6 21 f4 Ke7

6 Bc4 Bf5 22 a3 h6

7 Ne5 e6 23 gxh6 Rxh6

8 g4 Be4 24 Rf3 Qc5+

9 f3 Bd5 25 Kg2 a5

10 g5 Nfd7 26 Qd2 Rh5

11 Bxd5 cxd5 27 Qc1 g5

12 Nxd7 Kxd7 28 fxg5 Rg4+

13 Bf4 Nc6 29 Kh1 Rhxg5

14 Qd3 g6 30 Rf1 d4

15 Be5 Nxe5 31 cxd4 Rg1+

16 dxe5 Bb4 White resigns

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