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The Independent Culture
THE FRENCH prodigy Etienne Bacrot has been rather quiet since becoming the world's youngest grandmaster at the age of 14 last year. Now a seasoned veteran of 151/2, he has scored one of his most impressive results since gaining the title by defeating the German grandmaster Robert Hubner by 31/2-21/2 in a six-game match. Hubner was one of the world's best players in the Seventies and Eighties and his formidable technique and experience might have been expected to be too much for his young challenger. Bacrot was sometimes outplayed positionally, but always battled his way out of danger.

The sole decisive game was a fine achievement for Bacrot. The position after 6.Nxd4 has long been considered better for White, but Bacrot fought for the initiative with 13...Bh3 and the cheeky 15...Ne5 (when Nxh3 is met by Nf3+).

As Bacrot nibbled away creating weaknesses in White's K-side, Hubner was never allowed time to settle down and exploit his positional advantages. Black's combination with 39...Rxd5! was very well calculated. After 43...Qf7! White had no good way to defend his second rank; 44.Rd2 Bd4 leaves Black totally in control. At the end, the likely finish would be 47.Kh3 Qxd1 48.Kg2 Bd4 49.a8=Q Qg1+ 50.Kh3 Qh1 mate.

White: Robert Hubner

Black: Etienne Bacrot

English Opening

1 c4 Nf6 25 Rfd2 c5

2 Nc3 e5 26 Bb2 Kh7

3 Nf3 Nc6 27 Ncd5 Ne6

4 g3 g6 28 Qb1 Rf8

5 d4 exd4 29 Qa1 b5

6 Nxd4 Bg7 30 cxb5 axb5

7 Bg2 0-0 31 a5 Nd4

8 0-0 Re8 32 Bxd4 cxd4

9 e3 Rb8 33 Rf2 Qa7

10 Nde2 d6 34 Nd3 f5

11 b3 Bf5 35 Nxe5 dxe5

12 Bb2 Qc8 36 b4 fxe4

13 Qd2 Bh3 37 fxe4 Rxf2+

14 Bxh3 Qxh3 38 Kxf2 Qf7+

15 Nf4 Ne5 39 Kg2 Rxd5

16 f3 Qd7 40 exd5 Qxd5+

17 Rad1 Rbd8 41 Kh2 d3

18 e4 c6 42 a6 e4

19 Kg2 Qc7 43 Qa3 Qf7

20 Rf2 a6 44 a7 Qf2+

21 Qc2 Qb8 45 Kh1 Qf3+

22 a4 h5 46 Kh2 Qe2+

23 Ba3 Nh7 White resigned

24 h4 Nf8