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Chinese and Indian players have been prominent winners in recent years at the traditional Hastings New Year congress, but in 2018-19 they switched to a rival event in Stockholm. This left an open and low-scoring contest where last weekend the £2,000 first and other top prizes were shared among experts from six nations.

It was an outstanding success for Conor Murphy and for Ireland. The 19-year-old mathematics student from Christ’s College, Cambridge, who led his university team against Oxford last year in the traditional match at the RAC and who also plays for Charlton chess club in south-east London, was joint first on 7/10 and achieved an international master score, the only one at this year’s Hastings.

The English co-winner was Danny Gormally, the North-East master who has few major opportunities in competition with the national Olympiad team. Gormally was close to taking first prize outright when he established a big advantage in his final round game, only to see it drift into a draw.

The great days of Hastings chess were in the 1930s and 1970s, but its more modest current version, supported by Hastings council and Tradewise Insurance, continues a tradition begun in 1895.

Puzzle 2297

Garry Kasparov v Jan Timman, Wijk aan Zee 2000. Black has just played c5-c4+ intending 1 Rxc4 Rxb5 with level material and a drawn rook ending or 1 Kxc4 d3 followed by d2 and d1Q. What was the flaw which the all-time No1 Kasparov spotted?

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