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Despite the dearth of top grandmaster tournaments in Britain, there has been an encouraging growth in recent years of strong master events designed to give young players opportunities to improve their international credentials.

The Croydon Centraal International, one of a very busy series organised by the Four National Chess League, just ended in victory by a huge margin for Keith Arkell, the only grandmaster competing. More importantly, however, it resulted in a good crop of international master norms for some of the other contestants.

No sooner was that over than the fifth Smith & Williamson Young Masters began at King Edward's School, Witley, near Guildford, where seven top British under-21s join five invited players from overseas in an 11-round all-play-all.

Meanwhile, in France, the European Youth Championships are progressing, with the British contigent doing less well than had been hoped. After seven rounds, Luke McShane, who had been hotly tipped for the under-12 title, was in the middle of the field with 31/2 points.

The best British game of last week was played in the Scottish Championships currently in progress at Hawick. Jonathan Rowson, the Aberdeen schoolboy who has been scoring such fine results recently, will not win the title this year but, as the following game shows, his aggressive style and tactical alertness show great promise.

When Black's 10...f5 sacrificed control of the g5 square, White set about trying to exploit it with 15.Ng1 and 16.Be3, intending to continue with Nh3 and Ng5+.

That plan was interrupted by a courageous piece sacrifice, 19...Ng4+, that left White's king under threat. Not prepared to wait for the pressure to build up on the h-file, White fought back by returning the piece with 23.Bh3! which led to a position in which it was no longer certain who stood better.

That all changed, however, when White became too ambitious. His combination with 32.Qc3+ and 33.Ng5+ met with a brilliant refutation.

After 33...Rxg5! 34.Qxh8 (34.hxg5 allows Qxh3 mate), White must expected something like 34...Rh5 followed by g5. Instead 34...Rg2+!! finished him off instantly. 35.Kxg2 Qg4+ 36.Kh2 Qe2+ 37.Kh1 Qxf1+ 38.Kh2 Qg1 is mate. A delightful finish.

White: J Grant

Black: J Rowson

Scottish Championship 1995

1 c4 e5 19 Bf2 Ng4+

2 Nc3 Nc6 20 fxg4 hxg4

3 g3 g6 21 Bxd4 Bxd4

4 Bg2 Bg7 22 Qe2 Kg7

5 e4 d6 23 Bh3 gxh3

6 Nge2 h5 24 Nf3 Be3

7 h4 Nh6 25 Ng5 Rf6

8 d3 Be6 26 Rf3 c6

9 Nd5 0-0 27 dxc6 bxc6

10 0-0 f5 28 Raf1 Rh8

11 Bg5 Qd7 29 Rxh3 Rh5

12 Qd2 Kh7 30 Nf3 Rf8

13 f3 a5 31 Qe1 Rfh8

14 Kh2 Rf7 32 Qc3+ Kf7

15 Ng1 Nd4 33 Ng5+ Rxg5

16 Be3 f4 34 Qxh8 Rg2+

17 gxf4 Bxd5 White resigns

18 cxd5 exf4