Chess

BEST KNOWN for his brutal series of Melody Amber tournaments in Monaco, in which the world's top elite fight it out in a mixture of Quickplay and Blindfold Quickplay chess, the Dutch multi-millionaire Joop van Oosterom also holds an annual contest between women and veterans.

Organised under the auspices of the "Association Max Euwe" (after the Dutch world champion from 1935-7) this peripatetic event is now in its seventh year. Each time the tournament is named after a national dance of the country in which it is held. Accordingly this year' s contest in the Vista Palace Hotel, in Roquebrune Cap Martin - in France but just minutes away from Monaco - was the Can Can tournament.

After a veteran victory the first time round, the Ladies won three times in a row before a strengthened veterans team gained victory the last two times. This year, the veterans were beefed up with the introduction of the redoubtable Victor Korchnoi.

After the usual very tough battle the Veterans appeared to be coasting for victory by the last round on Sunday morning, but the Ladies scored an impressive 4.5 - 1.5 to level at 36-all. The top scores were for the veterans: Korchnoi 9/12, Spassky 7.5 and Hort 7; and for the Ladies Chiburdanidze 7.5 and Zhu Chen and Cramling 6.5.

The diagram shows Korchnoi's splendidly controlled first-round victory against the former womens' world champion. Black never got serious counterplay out of the opening. After the temporary sacrifice of the b2 pawn 27 Nxc5! regained the material - of course if 27...dxc5 28 d6+ wins. Presumably in serious time trouble, Korchnoi repeated before capturing 39 Qxd7. In the final position 45 Rxc4?? would have lost to Qa1+; but after 45 e7+ Ke8 46 Qg8+ and 47 Qxc4 safely captures the rook.

Victor Korchnoi v Xie Jun Can Can (Round 1, 1998)

King's Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 g6

3 Nc3 Bg7

4 e4 d6

5 f3 0-0

6 Nge2 c5

7 d5 e6

8 Ng3 exd5

9 cxd5 h5

10 Be2 h4

11 Nf1 Nh7

12 Be3 a6

13 a4 Nd7

14 Nd2 f5

15 exf5 gxf5

16 f4 Ndf6

17 h3 Qe7

18 Kf2 Re8

19 Nc4 Rb8

20 a5 b5

21 axb6 Nd7

22 Re1 Nxb6

23 Kf1 Nxc4

24 Bxc4 Rxb2

25 Qd3 Nf6

26 Na4 Rb8

27 Nxc5! Ne4

28 Rac1 Bf6

29 Ne6 Kh8

30 Qd1 Qf7

31 Bd4 Ng3+

32 Kg1 Bd7

33 Re3 Rbc8

34 Ng5 Qg7

35 Bxf6 Qxf6 (see diagram)

36 Rxg3 hxg3

37 Qh5+ Kg8

38 Qh7+ Kf8

39 Qxd7 Kg8

40 Qh7+ Kf8

41 Qd7 Kg8

42 Qh7+ Kf8

43 Ne6+ Rxe6

44 dxe6 Rxc4

45 e7+ resigns

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