The English Chess Federation has published the latest ratings list. Now posted twice a year, the dramatic improvements by juniors we were used to seeing, are not so noticeable.

Bucking the trend somewhat, the Oxford High School student Anna Wang has gone from a rating 162 to an impressive 179 in six months and now out-rates her equally talented older sister Maria. Earlier this month, Anna won the British U13 girl’s title continuing a fine pedigree of success on the national stage for Oxfordshire juniors.

For those of us beginning to study chess in the 1970s, Yugoslavian Svetozar Gligoric, who died last week at the age of 89, was one of a group of Soviet and East European players who had legendary status. The games of Gligoric along with those of other exotic sounding individuals such as Korchnoi, Botvinnik, Bronstein, Keres, Stein, Tal, Geller and Smylov seemed to fill every chess-book — though we knew little of the players themselves. Much later Gligoric’s fine chess autobiography I Play Against Pieces put some flesh on the bones. We learned amongst other things that, orphaned at a young age, he spent a good part of his teenage year’s fighting with the resistance against Hitler’s invading army. For chess-players Gligoric’s name will live on, attached as it is in perpetuity to a number of opening variations — in particular, 7.Be3 against the King’s Indian. The following game was played in 1946 while Gligoric was working as a journalist and before he had made the decision to become a chess professional.

White: Svetozar Gligoric Black: Pavle Bidev

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.h3 Bb7 At this major crossroads of the Spanish opening, Bidev chooses the path that Flohr and Lilenthal — popularised back in the 1940s and still very much in vogue. To play this opening White needs to know something about Bidev’s choice 9...Bb7, about the Chigorin 9...Na5 , about the Breyer 9...Nb8, about Karpov’s favourite 9...Nd7 and about the Smyslov system 9...h6. Also regularly seen are 9...Be6 and 9...Re8. With so much to learn, not surprisingly amateurs often steer clear of these heavily analysed lines — plumping for quirkier side-lines instead.

10.d3 This move itself is a step off the well-beaten path represented by 10.d4 10...Nd7 11.Nbd2 Nc5 12.Bc2 d5?! With Black so well developed it looks logical for him to open the centre — but this move helps White unleash the latent power of Lopez bishop.

13.exd5 Qxd5 14.Nf1 Rad8 15.Ne3 Qd7 16.d4! It’s said that one should try very hard to make positionally desirable moves work tactically, and this is just what Gigoric achieves here.

16...exd4 17.cxd4 Qc8 The point is that after 17...Nxd4 18.Nxd4 Qxd4 19.Nf5 Qxd1 20.Nxe7+ is check and loses a piece for Black.

18.Bd2 Na4 19.d5 Nb8 An ignominious retreat. Unfortunately for Black 19...Nb4 runs into 20.Nf5 Bc5 21.Bxb4 Bxb4 22.Qd4 winning a piece.

20.Nf5! Now nearly all White’s pieces pour forward towards Black’s king and Black’s are stuck on the queenside and unable to help.

20...Bf6 21.Ng5! g6 22.Nxh7! Kxh7 23.Ne7! Bxe7 24.Qh5+ Kg8 25.Bxg6! fxg6 26.Qxg6+ Kh8 27.Rxe7 1–0