CHESS

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The Independent Culture
INCREASING SOPHISTICATION has taken much of the spirit of adventure from the game. In olden days, men would happily jettison pawns and pieces for the sake of opening lines of attack. Now they hoard all their possessions. As today's effort shows, however, there are still some players prepared to inject a little life into their game.

White: Stuart Conquest

Black: S Bjornsson

Reykjavik 1998

1.e4 e4 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4

When Captain Evans introduced this gambit in the 1830s, it was described as a "gift from the gods to a languishing chess world". In recent times, we have far too often languished under the weight of dreary games in the Ruy Lopez opening, so it is good to see the Evans Gambit back again.

4...Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.0-0 Nf6

Rushing one's officers into battle before the pawns have secured the land is always a risky procedure. 7...Nge7 is a safer option, planning to meet 8.cxd4 with 8...d5.

8.Ba3! d6 9.e5!

At all costs, Black must be prevented from castling. When the a3-f8 diagonal is under White's control, the enemy king will be unable to escape to safety.

9...d5?

9...Nxe5 10.Re1 is unattractive for Black, but this is worse.

10.Bb5 Ne4 11.e6!

Wonderful. White wishes to clear the clutter on the e-file.

11...Bxe6 12.Qa4

Now 12...Bxc3 13.Nxc3 Nxc3 14.Bxc6+ bxc6 15.Qxc6+ Bd7, which would have been fine for Black with a white pawn still on e5, leaves him dead after 16.Rfe1+.

12...Bd7 13.Bxc6 Bxc6 14.Qxa5 b6 15.Qb4 dxc3 16.Nxc3

Black now has three for the piece he has lost. More important, however, his king is still trapped in the centre.

16...Qf6 17.Nxe4 dxe4 18.Rad1!

Black is not to be permitted to castle on either wing. 18...exf3 loses to 19.Rfe1+.

18...Rd8 19.Nd4 Bd7 (See diagram.)

A hard choice, but 19...Bb7 20.Qa4+ was no better.

20.Nb5! Bxb5 21.Qxe4+!! Qe6 22.Rxd8+ Kxd8 23.Rd1+ resigns

23...Kc8, Bd7 or Ke8 all lose to Qa8+.

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