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The Independent Culture
OF THE three recent matches, Fischer-Spassky, Short- Timman and Polgar-Spassky, the last has produced certainly the most entertaining and arguably the best chess. The extraordinary circumstances and huge prize of Fischer-Spassky and the importance to both players of Short-Timman led to blunder-inducing tension. When Judit Polgar met Boris Spassky, however, it was, notwithstanding the dollars 200,000 prize fund, a great deal of fun, and it showed in the uninhibitedly spirited play of both contestants.

The eighth game, which gave Polgar an unbeatable 5-3 lead, also saw a splendid piece of opening preparation. Repeating the second game until White's 15th move, Spassky 'improved' with 15 . . . d5. The idea is that after 16. exd5 Nxd5, White has problems defending the pawn on c3, as Polgar found to her cost in a 1991 game against Alexander Belyavsky.

This time she was ready with 16. Bg5] h6 17. Bh4] inviting 17 . . . g5 18. Nxg5 hxg5 19. Bxg5. Not wanting his king's defences ripped apart in this fashion, Spassky found a different way to win a piece. He must have missed 23. e6] and 24. Ne5] regaining the material with a winning advantage.

Here are the moves, with Polgar White, Spassky Black.

1 e4 e5 22 Rd4 Re7

2 Nf3 Nc6 23 e6 fxe6

3 Bb5 a6 24 Ne5 Rg7

4 Ba4 Nf6 25 Rxd7 Qg5

5 0-0 Be7 26 Qf3 Rd8

6 Re1 b5 27 Rxg7+ Qxg7

7 Bb3 d6 28 Re1 Bc5

8 c3 0-0 29 Ng4 Qg6

9 h3 Nb8 30 Qf4 Bb6

10 d4 Nbd7 31 Nxh6+ Kg7

11 Nbd2 Bb7 32 Qxh4 Qf6

12 Bc2 Re8 33 Qxf6+ Kxf6

13 Nf1 Bf8 34 Re2 Rd1+

14 Ng3 g6 35 Kh2 Rc1

15 b3 d5 36 g4 Rxc3

16 Bg5 h6 37 h4 Rd3

17 Bh4 dxe4 38 g5+ Ke7

18 Nxe4 g5 39 g6 Kf8

19 dxe5 Nxe4 40 Rxe6 Rf3

20 Bxe4 Bxe4 41 Ng4 Rf5

21 Rxe4 gxh4 42 Kg3 1-0