England’s woeful performance at the European team championship in Crete began with a 2-2 draw against Moldova, and ended with a brutal defeat, 0.5-3.5, by Hungary. They were the No 4 seeds, but finished 16th in a field of 40 countries. Meanwhile, the favourites, Russia and Azerbaijan, fought out the gold medals, which the Azeris took by a surprisingly comfortable 3-1 margin.
English chess could do with a junior like Nodirbek Abdusattorov. The 13-year-old from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, has just become the secondyoungest GM in chess history. He reached GM three months younger than world champion Magnus Carlsen, and his record is only surpassed by Sergey Karjakin, the 2016 title challenger, who achieved it at 12 years, seven months.
Abdusattorov showed below the importance of being alert for central opportunities when your rival delays castling. India’s Babu Lalith should probably have preferred 11 Nf3, even though c5-c4 gives Black an active pawn majority. But the real step to disaster was 15 Ne4? (15 Bg3!), which allowed the killer 16...Bb3! so that if 17 Qxb3 Qxf2+
18 Kd1 Qd2 mate. If 19 Bxf8 instead of 19 Qh4, then Re8+ 20 Kf2 Re2+ mates. At the end if 20 Kf2 Qd2+ 21 Kg1 Qe3+ and Qxe7, when Black is a piece up with a winning attack.
B Lalith v N Abdusattorov Moscow Aeroflot 2017
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5 6 Bg5 h6 7 Bh4 0-0 8 e3 Be6 9 a3 Be7 10 Bd3 c5 11 dxc5? d4 12 exd4 Nc6 13 Nge2 Nxd4
14 Nxd4 Qxd4 15 Ne4? Nxe4 16 Bxe7 Bb3! 17 Qe2 Nxf2! 18 Qxf2 Qxd3
19 Qh4 Bc4 0-1
queen. the wins or mates Rxc3+! Qxh2 2 Rh2!1... 3520
3520 Velimir Ivic v Vladimir Dobrov, Serbia 2017. Black (to move) and win.