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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 June, 2003, 06:07 GMT 07:07 UK
Chess prodigy secures a draw
David Howell in the match outside Somerset House
David Howell started learning chess at the age of five
A 12-year-old British chess prodigy managed to secure a draw when he played the world's youngest grandmaster in an intriguing and unusual game.

Young chess player David Howell, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, took on teen chess king Sergei Karjakin on Saturday - David and Sergei, aged 13 and from the Ukraine, were competing in an East meets West contest.

The pair used giant chess pieces for the game, which marked the opening of The Art of Chess Exhibition, at Somerset House in London.

'Slight advantage'

The young chess duo raced against the clock for 30 minutes, trying to outmanoeuvre one another but declared the game finished two minutes before the end with honours shared - jointly losing their queen, knight and bishop.

Afterwards David, who on Wednesday defeated the world championship semi-finalist Jonathan Speelman, 47, was declared to have had a slight advantage by Mike Basman, who runs UK Chess Challenge.

 David Howell (left) plays Sergei Karjakin from the Ukraine
The opponents played for 30 minutes

He said: "I thought maybe he (David) was going to win the end game, but Sergei managed to establish equality. David was putting pressure on Sergei."

Sergei disagreed. Speaking through a translator, he said: "If this had been a normal match I would have won. Because this was a special match and the pieces were rather heavy it was hard to lift them."

Asked what would have happened if the game had not been cut short by the stopwatch, he said: "I'm sure I would have won."

David said: "I'm quite pleased because he is such a good player and I didn't expect anything."

Both boys began learning chess at the age of five. Sergei became the youngest grandmaster in history aged 12.

The exhibition at Somerset House features 19 chess sets dating from the early 20th century to the present.




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