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It is good to hear that the Martell Chess Trophy - the up-market contest for cognac-swilling teams from the London clubs - has got off to a good start. Reports from the front indicate a remarkable defeat of Simpson's-in-the-Strand (a team reputedly packed with grandmaster and master ringers) by the RAC (reputedly only half- packed with grandmaster and master ringers).

The 100-degree-proof spirit of the event is confirmed by eye-witness accounts of a game from that match. Roger Smolsky, representing the RAC, was playing with great verve against International Master Ali Mortazavi when he overstepped the time-limit. Ali sportingly suggested they continue the game regardless of the technical default, and he seemed to be getting the better of it until suddenly falling victim to a rather clever two- move mate.

Feeling that the score was now more-or-less one-all, Smolsky, after forcing mate, suggested they call it a draw. Which was how the result was duly recorded. We commend this precedent to the Fide rules commission. Far too many games end in results that are blatantly unfair to one player or another. With a little room for brandy-lubricated negotiation, everyone could be kept happy.

Staying on the topic of accuracy-challenged play, here's a game from the Hastings Challengers that proves the old traps are the best ones:

White: R van Vaalen

Black: J Shaw

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 e3 Nf6 4 Bxc4 e6 5 Nf3 c5 6 0-0 a6 7 a4 Nc6 8 Nc3 Be7 9 dxc5 Qc7 10 Qe2 Bxc5 11 e4 Ng4 12 h3?? Nd4! 13 hxg4 Nxe2+ 14 Bxe2 Bd7 15 Bg5 h6 16 Bh4 g5 0-1.