CHESS

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The Independent Culture
A lifetime's experience of this noble game has convinced me that chess is permeated with an inherent sense of moral rectitude. This exhibits itself nowhere better than when a strong player, who ought to know better, adopts a dubious opening variation. Even if he then fights back to an acceptable, or even superior position, he will, more often than not, go on to lose. The deliberate choice of a poor opening is an offence against the game's moral code and the perpetrator is punished for it. Take this game, for example.

White: Alexei Shirov

Black: Valery Salov

1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5

A man of classical culture such as Salov undoubtedly ought not to be adopting such Rococo systems. It is quite simply incorrect to allow your queen to be chased about by moves that assist the opponent's development - and well he knows it!

3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.Bc4 Bf5 7.Bd2 e6 8.Nd5 Qd8 9.Nxf6+ Qxf6 10.Qe2

Now Black would find himself too far behind in development after 10...Bxc2 11.d5. Salov adopts a prudent course.

10...Bg4 11.d5 Bxf3 12.gxf3 cxd5 13.Bxd5 Nd7 14.0-0-0

Not falling for 14.Bc3? Bb4! 15.Bxb4 Qxb2 when Black stands well.

14...Ba3 15.c3 0-0 16.Be4

Black's nifty tactics have enabled him to complete his development, but there is still a sting in White's tail.

16...Be7 17.Bxh7+ Kxh7 18.Qd3+ Kg8 19.Qxd7 b6 20.Rhg1

Black has lost a pawn, but with three isolated white pawns on the -side, Black has not come badly out of the opening.

20...Rad8 21.Qxa7 Bc5 22.Be3 Ra8 23.Qb7 Rxa2 24.Qe4

White is under a good deal of pressure so brings his queen back to defend.

24...Bxe3+ 25.fxe3 b5 26.Kc2 b4

Perhaps all these last three Black moves have been errors. His magnificent idea has just one defect.

27.Qxb4 Qf5+ 28.Kb3 Raa8 (see diagram.)

Black threatens Rfb8, and if the white queen moves, then Rfb8+ is very strong.

29.Rxg7+!! resigns

29...Kxg7 30.Rg1+ Kf6 (or 30...Kh6 31.Qh4+ Qh5 32.Qf6+) 31.Qh4+ Ke5 32.Qd4 is mate.

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