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Smacked Up by the Protégé
Sam Walker's always been on the radar. He emerged around the time I stopped playing in junior tournaments and then won everything. Repeatedly. Together with Ilya Iyengar, now of Cambridge University, he dominated the 1993/94 age group in Bucks. Tonight he smashed me to bits in a short, sharp battle in the Bourne End - Wycombe & Hazlemere fixture, which featured 4 of the top 5 players in the county. I'm publishing this blind with regards to the eventual result, but Bourne End were 2½-½ up at the halfway stage when I ran for the London train. I'll provide a full report of the match in the coming days.
My plan of simplifying into a level endgame never got going. I'm already a pawn down before 19... Ne4, which loses on the spot. In the swift post-mortem we conducted, Sam demonstrated a superior understanding of the positions that emerge from this opening. The January 2012 national ratings are due any day now - I wouldn't be shocked to see him improve on his current Bucks ranking of 5th.
1. c4 e6 2. g3 d5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. Nf3 Be7 5. 0-0 0-0 6. d4 b6 7. Nc3 Bb7 8. Ne5 c5 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Qa4 cxd4 11. Qxd4 Bc5 12. Qa4 Qe7 13. Ng4 Ne4 14. Ne3 Nxc3 15. bxc3 Bxe3 16. Bxe3 Nd7 17. Rfd1 Nc5 18. Qb4 a5 19. Qxb6 Ne4 20. Bxe4 Ra6 21. Bc5 Qd7 22. Bf5 1-0