Click to follow
The Independent Culture
TODAY (WITH apologies to the devout) a short homily on chess and "sin". I always remember the deadly ones by my own mnemonic of "Pale Gas" - Pride, Anger, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Avarice, Sloth - and while there are chess players who are enthusiastic practitioners of the first six (not so much Sloth since we're such a high- adrenaline lot), at the chess board itself the most common manifestation is a combination of Gluttony and Avarice in the form of an over-eagerness to win material, particularly pawn-grabbing.

Today's game from the Swiss League also has an admixture of Pride since Korchnoi's team Zurich had deliberately put him on second board in order to play King whom he had beaten twice previously; they had second-guessed Winterthur who had moved King down, precisely in an attempt to avoid Viktor! And some postprandial Anger as the loser stomped off, though we all feel that to some extent, after defeat.

In the opening, 11 ...Bxd4, which Viktor played very quickly, was rather rash. Instead 11 ...0-0 12 Qe2 Nxd4 13 Nxd4 Bxd4 is quite playable. For example my own game as Black against Michael Adams at Hastings 1991 was quickly drawn after 14 Bxh7+ Kxh7 15 Qe4+ Kg8 16 Qxd4 Nb6 17 Be3 Qxd4 18 Bxd4 Nc4 19 Ne4 b6 20 Rfd1 1/2-1/2.

14 ...exd5 isn't absolutely absurd though 15 Rae1+ Be6 16 f4 is very dangerous indeed eg Qb6+ 17 Rf2 0-0 (Black should try 17 ...0-0-0!) 18 f5 Bd7 19 f6 Rfe8 20 Bxh7+ Kxh7 21 Qh4+ Kg8 22 Qg5 Rxe1+ 23 Bxe1 and mate in a couple more moves.

But in the notes which he kindly e-mailed to me Dan suggests that 15 ...Qxd2 is more critical, eg 16 Rfd1 Qxb2 17 Bxc6+ Ke7! 18 Rab1 Qe5 19 Qb4+ Kf6 20 Rb3!? leads only to a draw after bxc6 21 Rf3+ (21 Re3 Qb5 doesn't change the result) Kg6 22 Rg3+ Kf6 23 Rf3+ Kg6 24 Rg3+ - but not 24 Qe7? h6 25 Qxf7+ Kh7 when Black is winning.

After 16 Rfd1 Black was already in serious trouble since if 16 ...Ne5? 17 Bg5!; or 16 ...0-0 17 Bb4! or 16 ...Nd4 17 Qc4 e5 18 Bb4! traps the king in the centre. So Korchnoi jettisoned his queen but King's calm technique prevailed without too many problems: along the way, if 20 ...b6 21 Qh3! while 35 Bxe7? Ba6! would have imperilled the win.

White: Dan King

Black: Viktor Korchnoi

Caro Kann Defence

1 e4 c6

2 d4 d5

3 exd5 cxd5

4 c4 Nf6

5 Nc3 e6

6 Nf3 Bb4

7 cxd5 Nxd5

8 Bd2 Nc6

9 Bd3 Be7

10 a3 Bf6

11 0-0 Bxd4

12 Nxd4 Nxd4

13 Qa4+ Nc6

14 Nxd5 Qxd5

15 Be4 Qd7

16 Rfd1 f5

17 Bg5 fxe4

18 Rxd7 Bxd7

19 Rd1 Rf8

20 Qb3!? Rf7

21 Qxb7 Rb8

22 Qc7 h6

23 Be3 Rxb2

24 h3 Rc2

25 Bxa7 e5

26 Bb6 Re7

27 Qd6 Rc3

28 Bc5 Rd3

29 Rxd3 exd3

30 Qxd3 Re6

31 a4 e4

32 Qd5 Ne7

33 Qc4 Kf7

34 a5 Bc8

35 Bb6 Ke8

36 h4 h5?

37 Qb5+ Kf8

38 a6 e3

39 fxe3 Kf7

40 a7 Bb7

41 Bd4 Be4

42 Qb8 1-0