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The Independent Culture
FAST play and large prizes is not a recipe designed to produce good chess, but bad chess is often a better spectator sport. The organisers would never have put it that way, but that was more or less the philosophy behind the SWIFT Rapid Chess Challenge in Brussels earlier this month. Thirty-two of the world's top players (with Garry Kasparov the most notable absentee) gathered to do battle at 30 minutes a game in a series of two- game knock-out matches.

Today's game, Short vs Ribli from the first round, is one of the better examples of the chess produced at this rate. Playing a ramshackle opening as Black, Short had a simple strategic plan: exchange his own bad bishop, then reach a position in which his knight was superior to the white bishop. Ribli had his own plan: to surround the black a-pawn, then, after winning it, move attention to the b-pawn. Presumably, the Grand Strategy would have ended with the h-pawn, if all had gone well.

After losing the a-pawn, however, Short was clever. Playing Ng5, he tempted h4, which allowed the subsequent opening of the h-file with g5. With 33 . . . Rh8, the threat of Rhh1 was already decisive. White resigned before Black could finish with Ne3+ and Rf1 mate.

--------------------------------------------------------------------- White: Ribli Black: Short --------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Nf3 d5 21 Nb6 Rad8 2 d4 Bf5 22 Bd1 g6 3 c4 e6 23 Rxa5 Kg7 4 Nc3 c6 24 Kg2 Ng5 5 Bf4 Bd6 25 h4 Ne6 6 Bxd6 Qxd6 26 R1a4 Re7 7 Qb3 Qe7 27 Bf3 h6 8 g3 Nf6 28 Ra7 g5 9 Bg2 0-0 29 hxg5 hxg5 10 0-0 a5 30 Rb4 g4 11 Rfc1 Qb4 31 Bd1 Ng5 12 c5 Nbd7 32 Ra1 Re1 13 Na4 Qxb3 33 Rba4 Rh8 14 axb3 Rfe8 34 Bxg4 Rxa1 15 Ra3 Be4 35 Rxa1 Nxg4 16 Rca1 Bxf3 36 Ra7 Rh2+ 17 Bxf3 e5 37 Kf1 Rxf2+ 18 e3 exd4 38 Ke1 Nf3+ 19 exd4 Ne4 39 Kd1 20 Bg4 Ndf6 White resigned ---------------------------------------------------------------------