CHESS

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The Independent Culture
When playing with the white pieces against a world champion, I have always advocated an aggressive stance moderated by a spirit of caution. If one shows neither fear nor bravado, then a draw as White should always be there for the taking. Young Tal Shaked, the American world junior champion, sadly hit quite the wrong note when he met Garry Kasparov in Tilburg the other day. Perhaps he felt that as one world champion facing another, he could match his opponent blow for blow. But Kasparov blew harder.

White: Tal Shaked

Black: Garry Kasparov

Tilburg 1997

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5

A bold choice, but perhaps one of the quieter systems with 4.Nf3 might have been better suited to the occasion.

4 ... Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Be3 c5 8.Qd2 Qa5 9.Rb1

By playing a fashionable system, White unwisely challenges his opponent to a theoretical duel. There was much to be said for an old-fashioned line such as 7.Nf3 and 8.Be2, or 9.Rc1 in the present position.

9 ... b6 10.Bb5+ Bd7 11.Be2 Bc6 12.Bd3

Is all this finessing really worthwhile? White's plan, I suppose, was to trick the bishop on to c6, just to stop the knight developing on that square. Not a bad idea in itself, but it seems to have given him a false sense of security.

12 ... Nd7 13.Ne2 Rd8 14.f3

Why this unnecessary precaution? He does not know yet whether the pawn is wanted on f3 or f4. Best therefore to castle and wait to see what turns up.

14 ... 0-0 15.h4?

More a display of valour than a strategic plan. The position in the centre is too un-stable to permit such an advance.

15 ... h5 16.Bg5 Rfe8 17.Rc1?

White sets course for a blunder.

17 ... Bb7 18.d5?

Dreadful. This should only be played if White can support it with c4.

18 ... Ne5 19.Bb1? Nc4 (See diagram)

Now 20.Qc2 is uncomfortable, but no immediate disaster. Instead, White advances:

20.Qf4?? Be5 White resigns.

Such games make me despair for the young players of today.

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