CHESS

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The Independent Culture
AN UTTERLY futile exercise was concluded last week when Garry Kasparov defeated Veselin Topalov in a match in which the players were permitted to use computers to assist their thoughts. The Spanish hosts, with typically pompous Latin overstatement, called it Ajedrez del Futuro - chess of the future. Ajedrez del Estupido would have been a better title. When a world champion needs a computer to help him think, that's when he ought to consider hanging up his pawns. The only decent chess came in the last game - a five-minute playoff in which neither man had time to plug his laptop in.

White: Veselin Topalov

Black: Garry Kasparov

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 Bg5 12.Nc2 0-0 13.a4 bxa4 14.Rxa4 a5 15.Bc4 Rb8 16.b3 Kh8 17.0-0 g6 18.Qd3 Bd7 19.Ra2 f5 20.f3 Bh6 21.Rd1 Qh4 22.Nce3

Until here both players had been following the computer-assisted first game of the match, which Topalov won after 22.Nde3.

22...Be6 23.Nf1 fxe4 24.Qxe4 Qxe4 25.fxe4 Rf7 26.Rf2 Kg7 27.Rxf7+ Bxf7

An interesting endgame has been reached: the question is whether the pawns on d6 and a5 are weaker than those on e4 and b3.

28.Kf2 Nd8 29.Ra1 Ne6!

Now we can see why Black chose to recapture with the bishop at move 27.

30.Rxa5 Nc5

Either b3 or e4 must fall.

31.Ng3 Nxb3 32.Ra7 Nd2 33.Ba2 Rb2

Thanks to Black's little combination at move 29, he has seized the initiative.

34.Ke1 Kf8 35.Nb4 Nb3!! (See diagram.)

Brilliantly walking into White's trap.

36.Nd3 Rxg2 37.Rxf7+ Kxf7 38.Bxb3+ Kg7

White has gained two pieces for rook and pawn - normally a good bargain, but he has problems of coordination.

39.Nf1 Bf4 40.h3 Bg3+ 41.Kd1 h5 42.Be6 Bf4 43.Ne1 Rf2 44.Bc4 g5

Suddenly White realises that his pieces cannot reach as far as the h- file.

45.Be2 g4! 46.Nd3 Rg2 47.hxg4 h4! 48.Bf3 h3! 49.Ke1 Rc2 50.Nxf4 exf4 51.Nd2 h2 52.Nb1 and White resigned.

52...Rc1+ wins everything, but 52.Kd1 Rxc3 would not have helped much.

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