Chess

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The Independent Culture
STAR of the Manila Olympiad was Vladimir Kramnik, who 'krammed' more points into fewer games than any other player. This Russian teenage discovery will no doubt make the bookies revise their odds for the 1999 World Championship.

Kramnik turned out to be an inspired choice for the Russian team. In last year's valedictory Soviet Championship, he scored an impressive, but hardly astounding 6 out of 11, made up of two wins, one loss and eight draws. Both wins, however, showed a very high class of fighting ability.

After a quiet opening, Rashkovsky's 8 . . . a6]? leads to intriguing complications. Waiting for 9. e4, Black surrenders a pawn with 9 . . . e5 in order to establish his knight on d4. The push of the a-pawn justifies itself with 14 . . . b5, by which time Black appears to have a dangerous attack.

Cautiously side-stepping all the threats, and returning the pawns which his opponent has thrown at him, Kramnik plays the middle-game skilfully to wrest back the initiative.

The crucial moment comes with 26 . . . e4? which misjudged the effects of allowing a white rook to g7. Kramnik pushes the attack home brilliantly with 28. Qg5] (threatening Rxh7+ and Qg7 mate) and 29. Qh6] (threatening Rxd7).

Finally, 31. Qxh7+] forces mate after 31 . . . Nxh7 32. Rg8.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Kramnik Black: Rashkovsky ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 d4 Nf6 17 Bd3 Rad8 2 c4 e6 18 Qc3 Bxe4 3 Nc3 Bb4 19 f4 Nd5 4 Qc2 Nc6 20 Qd4 Bxg2 5 Nf3 d6 21 Rhg1 f6 6 Bd2 0-0 22 Rxg2 fxe5 7 a3 Bxc3 23 Qe4 Qxc5+ 8 Bxc3 a6 24 Kb1 Nf6 9 e4 e5 25 Qf5 Qc6 10 dxe5 dxe5 26 Rdg1 e4 11 Nxe5 Nd4 27 Rxg7+ Kh8 12 Qd3 c5 28 Qg5 Rd7 13 Bxd4 cxd4 29 Qh6 Qc5 14 0-0-0 b5 30 Bxe4 Rff7 15 Qxd4 Qc7 31 Qxh7+ 1-0 16 c5 Bb7 -----------------------------------------------------------------

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