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The Independent Culture
ON TUESDAY, I reported on the triumph of age in the Dutch multimillionaire Joop van Oosterom's eighth annual contest between Veterans and Ladies - the Flamenco tournament in Marbella.

Already condemned to defeat with a round to spare, the Ladies made no great effort with their Whites in the final round on Monday and all five games were drawn, leaving the final score 30.5-19.5. A staggering margin, even though the Ladies were slightly outgraded, especially considering the history of the contest, which was tied at three wins apiece and one draw before the Flamenco, with the veterans holding a minuscule lead of 219.5 - 218.5 in terms of game points.

The turnaround is surely due in no small measure to this year's and last's top scorer, Victor Lvovich Korchnoi, now 68 - he was born on 23 March 1931: but still 16th in the world with a rating of 2,676.

Never one to make concessions either to his opponents or himself, Korchnoi finally consented to play as a Veteran only last year, at the Can Can tournament in Monaco where he made 9/12. He also made 75 per cent this time - 7.5/10 - with six wins, three draws including an 149-move effort against Maia Chiburdanidze in which he spent the last 103 moves (!) trying to win with rook and knight against a rook, initially with one pawn and later by itself; and just a single loss to Xie Jun.

Three of the other four men also made a plus score - Hort and Portisch on 6.5/10 and Spassky on 5.5; but 78-year-old Vassily Smyslov did make less than 50 per cent as, rather traumatically, did all the women. The scores were: Chiburdanidze, Smyslov and Xie Jun 4.5; Cramling and Zhe Chen 4; Galliamova just 2.5.

Korchnoi's revenge against Xie Jun was with his favourite line against the King's Indian. Somehow, when Kasparov is Black this always seems to turn into a huge melee but Korchnoi is able to keep control against almost anybody else and although Xie Jun got some threats and he had to be careful - not, for example, 42 Nxb6? when Bf4! is really strong - in the end his queenside attack crashed through.

White: Victor Korchnoi

Black: Xie Jun

King's Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 g6

3 Nc3 Bg7

4 e4 d6

5 Be2 0-0

6 Nf3 e5

7 0-0 Nc6

8 d5 Ne7

9 Ne1 Nd7

10 Be3 f5

11 f3 f4

12 Bf2 g5

13 b4 Nf6

14 c5 Ng6

15 a4 h5

16 c6 Bh6

17 b5 b6

18 a5 g4

19 axb6 cxb6

20 fxg4 hxg4

21 g3 Rf7

22 Bd3 Nh7

23 Kh1 Ng5

24 Ra2 Qc7

25 Be2 Nh3

26 gxf4 Rxf4

27 Bg3 Rxf1+

28 Bxf1 Ngf4

29 Nd3 Qf7

30 Nf2 Qg6

31 Be2 Kh8

32 Qf1 Qg5

33 Bd1 Nh5

34 Nxh3 Nxg3+

35 hxg3 gxh3

36 Qf3 a6

37 Kh2 Kg8

38 Be2 a5

39 Bd1 Ra7

40 Rf2 Rg7

41 Na4 Qg6

42 Rf1 Bf4

43 gxf4 exf4

44 Be2 Qg2+

45 Qxg2 Rxg2+

46 Kh1 Rxe2

47 Nxb6 Bg4

48 Rg1 f3

49 Rxg4+ Kh7

50 c7 f2

51 Rf4