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Several tournaments took place in Europe over the New Year. In Cork, FM Colm Daly won the Mulcahy Memorial; GM Jun Zhao (China) won the Hastings Congress; while GMs Jon Ludvig Hammer (Norway) and Tiger Hillarp Persson (Sweden) shared victory in Stockholm's Rilton Cup.

Several tournaments took place in Europe over the New Year. In Cork, FM Colm Daly won the Mulcahy Memorial; GM Jun Zhao (China) won the Hastings Congress; while GMs Jon Ludvig Hammer (Norway) and Tiger Hillarp Persson (Sweden) shared victory in Stockholm's Rilton Cup.

In Lisbon, IM Sam Collins took part in the Christmas Open and scored 6.5pts in 9 rounds, finishing just half a point behind the winners. Though his final Grandmaster norm proved elusive again, the quality of Sam's play is encouraging, as the following game from round seven shows:

Collins - Shamima

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6

3.c3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5

5.d4 Nf6 6.Bd3 Be7

7.0-0 0-0 8.Be3 cxd4

9.cxd4 b6 10.Nc3 Qd8

11.Qe2 Bb7 12.Rfd1

A more popular option is 12.Rad1, as after Nf3-e5, followed by f2-f4-f5, the other rook can be useful on f1.

12...Nd5

13.Rac1 Nd7 14.Bb1 N7f6

15.Bg5 h6 16.Bxf6 Nxf6

17.Ne5 Rc8 18.Qd3 Re8

19.a4 Bd6 20.f4 Ba8

21.Re1 Bb8 22.Rcd1 Qc7

23.Re2 Qb7 24.Qh3 Red8

25.Ba2 Qa6?? (D)

Black had to play 25...Kh8 or 25...Rc7, but he made an overly ambitious move, planning 26...Rxc3 or 26...Bd5. Alas, White's attack is too quick:

26.Nxf7! Rxc3

The knight could not be taken in view of 26...Kxf7 27.Qxe6+ Kg6 28.Bb1+.

27.Qxe6 Re8

Black was doomed as 27...Rc6 would be met with 28.Nxh6+ Kh8 29.Nf7+ Kg8 30.Nd6+ Kh8 31.Qh3+, winning.

28.Qxe8+! Nxe8

29.Ng5+ 1-0

Sunday Independent