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The 99th British Championship in North Shields is reaching its midway point. The favourites are grandmasters Gawain Jones (my personal tip for the top), David Howell, Keith Arkell, Stuart Conquest and Stephen Gordon. This week a game by three-times British champion Harry Golombek in his favourite English Opening.

Golombek-Wood: British Championship 1947; English Opening

1 c4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 g3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 Bg2 Nb6 6 d3 This game features the white development with Nh3 – a plan pioneered by Golombek. Another example of the move Nh3 is the following: 6 Nh3 Nc6 7 d3 Be7 8 0-0 0-0 9 f4 Bxh3?! 10 Bxh3 Bc5+ 11 Kh1 Nd5 12 Nxd5 Qxd5+ 13 Bg2 Qe6? 14 f5 Qd7 15 Qa4 which was good for White in H.Golombek-Scholtens, Leeuwarden 1947. 6 ... Be7 7 Nh3 By this move, White keeps open the long diagonal for his bishop. The knight will eventually be centralised either to e4 via g5 or f2, or still more effectively, on f4. 7 ... 0-0 8 0-0 Nc6

9 f4 The key move to White’s system. Black’s centre is directly attacked and White can open the f-file at a moment of his choosing to liberate his f1-rook. Furthermore it is now difficult for Black to develop his light-squared bishop since the natural square, e6, leaves it vulnerable to both White’s knight and f-pawn. 9 ... Bc5+ This achieves very little. The safest continuation is 9 ... Rb8 as Foltys played against Golombek at Prague 1946, that game continuing 10 Nf2 f6 11 Be3 Be6 12 Nfe4 exf4 with equality. 10 Kh1 Bd7 11 fxe5 Also very strong is the more restrained 11 e3. 11 ... Qe8 Clearly overlooking the force of White’s next move. He must play 11 ... Nxe5. 12 e3

12 ... Rd8 Black has now lost a most valuable central pawn, since 12 ... Nxe5 loses a piece after 13 d4. 13 d4 Bb4 14 Qh5 Bxc3 15 bxc3 Nc4 16 Ng5 h6 17 Ne4 White is now threatening a devastating Nf6+ so Black’s next move is forced. 17 ... f5 18 Qxe8 Rdxe8 19 Nc5 Nb6 Black must surrender a second pawn, since 19 ... Bc8 fails after 20 Bd5+. 20 Nxb7

20 ... Nxe5 This is desperation; Black might as well resign. 21 dxe5 Rxe5 22 Ba3 Rb8 23 Nc5 Bb5 24 Rfb1 Nc4 25 Nd7 Nxa3 26 Nxe5 Re8 27 Rb3 Rxe5 28 Rxa3 Rxe3 29 Rc1 a6 30 Rb3 Re2 31 c4 Bxc4 32 Rxc4 Re1+ 33 Bf1 Rxf1+ 34 Kg2 Rd1 35 a4 Rd2+ 36 Kf3 Rxh2 37 Rxc7 Ra2 38 Rb4 a5 39 Rd4 h5 40 Rc5 Black resigns