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The Independent Culture
TODAY AND tomorrow two beautiful games played by John Nunn on successive days in the French League. Both feature rather unusual attacks and although he lost the first Nunn gamely annotated both in the June issue of the British Chess Magazine (BCM, which is obtainable from the BCM shop at 69 Masbro Road, London W14 0LS, telephone 0171-603 2877; website http://www. bcmchess.

8 ...f5!? was unusual in this exact position. If then 9 exf5 Bxf5 10 Bd3 Be6 is reasonable for Black. Nunn expected 10 ...fxg3 11 hxg3 Nf6 but the aggressive young French grandmaster chucked in a pawn to create activity down the f file.

14 Be2? looks strong but it turns out that Black really can sacrifice. If 15 Bxf2 Rxf2 16 Kxf2 Bh4+ 17 Kg2 Qg5+ 18 Bg4 Ne5 (not 18 ...Bxg4? 19 Qd5+) 19 h3 h5! is very dangerous so Nunn, as intended, played 15 Qd5+! He had missed 16 ...Nb4! but after it saw all the way to the diagram though not Nataf's spectacular 24th move.

If 17 Qd1 Rxf2 18 Kxf2 Bh4+ 19 Kg2 Qg5+ 20 Bg4 Bxg4 now wins easily since the black knight prevents 21 Qd5; while 17 Qd4 Rxf2 18 Kxf2 Bh4+ 19 Kf3 Bh3!! cutting off the king's retreat leads to a win after 20 Nd5 Qg5 21 Nf4 Rf8 22 Qxd6 Rxf4+ 23 Qxf4 Bg2+ 24 Ke3 Qc5+ 25 Kd2 Bg5; and 17 Qd2 Rxf2 18 Kxf2 Bg5! forces a transposition.

If 19 Ke3 g6 20 Qf3 Qg5+ 21 Qf4 Qc5+ 22 Kd2 Bg5! wins and 20 Qh6? Bg5 traps her immediately. Nataf threw in another piece with 21 ...Bh3+! and after 22 Qxh3 Rxf8+ Nunn couldn't return the queen in view of 23 Qf3 Rxf3+ 24 Bxf3 Qe3 25 Kg2 Qf2+ 26 Kh3 Qxf3+ 27 Kxh4 h6!

In the diagram 24 ...Rxf3+? 25 Kg2 is simply bad while 24 ...Qxf3+? 25 Kg1 Qe3+ 26 Kg2 Qf3+ is only perpetual check. Instead, Nataf quietly brought in the knight with 24 ...Nd3!!.

Then if 25 Re1 Rxf3+ 26 Kg2 Nf4+! 27 Qxf4 Qf2 mate or 25 Kg2 Qxf3+ 26 Kg1 Nf4 etc. 25 Nd5 was desperation and Black could have won immediately with 25 ...Rxf3+ 26 Kg2 Qe2+ 27 Kg1 g5! though the line he chose was quite good enough..

A truly superb game!

White: John Nunn

Black: Igor Nataf

Sicilian Kalashnikov