The second Chigwell Junior Congress took place at the Chigwell school and attracted ninety-four competitors to the three sections. It was originally intended that four sections should be organised, but as usual the under-18 section was so poorly supported that it was amalgamated with the under-13s, leaving a total of 22 players. The clear favourite here was Tim Hebbes (Ilford) and when he reached 3/3 he faced Ellen Walker (Southend). Tim's victory in this game left him a point clear with two rounds to spare and he made certain of outright first place with his win over Lawrence Trent (Ilford) in round 5. It was just as well that he did, as in the final roud he was obliged to play the youngest competitor in the section. 9-year-old Josiah Lutton played the Milner-Barry Gambit against Tim's French Defence, a particularly sharp line well suited to an attacking player, and although Josiah shed a number of pawns, his pieces were beautifully placed. Tim was unable to castle and his king became stranded on the open d-file, cowering behind a pinned bishop. Josiah chose the wrong check and gradually Tim emerged from defence and began to create threats himself. Now black was definitely winning and all interested centred upon whether Tim was able to deliver checkmate in the few seconds remaining. He did so, to become the only player in the whole congress to score 6/6. Second place was shared by Lawrence Trent, Adam Weider (Surrey) and Caius Turner (Waltham Abbey) on 4«.

The under-11 section was very strong and closely contested. The third round pairing of Ezra Lutton (Basildon) and Vanessa Aarons (Hampstead) ended as a draw, both players seemingly content to keep the other at arm's length. Second seed James Berlin found his Sicilian Dragon completely extinguished by Heather Walker's Yugoslav Attack and James had to exchange queens and drop a rook to avoid an early mate. This ploy merely served to delay the inevitable for fifteen moves or so. Heather then played David Bareham (London) and was unable to deal with his French Defence. David then became the only player to reach 5/5 when he beat Jessie Gilbert (Hampstead). Meanwhile, Ezra Lutton and Vanessa Aarons had continued collecting points, so that when the final round began Vanessa floated up to play David Bareham and Ezra floated down to play Stewart Trent. Ezra took an early advantage and simply piled on the pressure under which Stewart buckled. The Aarons - Bareham game, however, was very tight indeed. Vanessa had won a pawn and later converted this to a two-pawn advantage. The drawback was that the two pawns concerned were on the f- and h-files and when exchanges left just these two and a rook each, a technically drawn position was reached. This, however, is in an area of endgame theory which is almost certainly uncharted territory for the vast majority of players graded under 150, and in practice, with only two or three minutes left on the clock, it is extremely hard to prove. David eventually lost on time, but when his flag fell Vanessa's h-pawn was poised to queen and David did not even have the choice of giving up his rook for it. Thus Ezra Lutton and Vanessa Aarons shared first place on 5«/6, a repeat of last year's result, and James Berlin joined David Bareham on 5 to share third place.

The under-9 section also contained some very strong players. Five of these reached 3/3, most notably Antony O'Toole (Southend). Antony, who has only been playing in tournaments since Christmas, continued on what appears to be a meteoric rise as he beat Edgar Gerrard Hughes (London). Six weeks ago he was borderline for the Essex under-9 team. Now he is challenging for a high board as he appears to be establishing himself in the top half-dozen in the County. In round 4, Daniel Diamond (London) played Jacob Bigio (Herts) and this was a win for Daniel. Daniel Hedges (Southend) played Francesca Berlin (Ilford) and Antony O'Toole (Southend) floated down to play Max Stechman (Danbury). Antony and both Daniels now found themselves on 4/4. In round 5, both Daniels scored the points, Diamand against Antony and Hedges against Shaun Alley (Ilford). This set up the classic final round in which the two leaders, a point clear, now opted for and early draw and a share of first and second prize. Antony O'Toole played Jacob Bigio (Herts) and won well, giving him a share of third prize with Francesca Berlin on 5/6.

The next junior tournament in Essex is at Woodlands School, Basildon, on 4th May. Contact Arnold Lutton on 01268 280932 (jalutton@aol.com) for details.

Sneesby, John - Hebbes, Tim

Chigwell u18 , 1997

1.e4 e6 2.e5 d5 3.d4 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Qb6 6.b3 Bd7 7.Bb2 Rc8 8.Nbd2 Nh6 9.Bd3 cxd4 10.cxd4 Nb4 11.Qe2 Nxd3+ 12.Qxd3 Bb5 13.Qb1 Qa6 14.Qd1 Ba3 15.Rc1 0-0 16.Rxc8 Rxc8 17.Qb1 Bxb2 18.Qxb2 Qxa2! and black won

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White to play and win

Forsyth: 5qk1/5ppp/b3pP2/3pP3/1p1N2P1/r2p1R2/P2Q3P/7K

Last week's solution: 1 Qxf5! gxf5 2 Ne4+ Qxg3 3 Nxf6+ black resigns.