Chess

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The Independent Culture
TODAY is the day. Bobby is back and we shall soon know the truth. Either Bobby Fischer has spent the last 20 years analysing the games of other grandmasters and developing a formidable armoury of new ideas without having to give anything away by actually playing, or his supreme talent for chess has withered and he no longer has the energy to concentrate for five or six hours at a stretch.

Give him a week to scrape the rust off his mind and then let us declare whether the greatest player of all time has still got what it takes.

Meanwhile, back at the Lloyds Bank Masters, Gennadi Timoshchenko and Jonathan Speelman were on fine form to outdistance a remarkably powerful field. The strength of the event can be judged from some of the names who finished well behind the leaders: Nunn, Chandler, Adams, Barua, Murshed, Hodgson and Bronstein were all outside the top seven.

Timoshchenko's win against Michael Adams was one of the tournament's most striking games. White's 5. Nc3 is a counter-gambit to Black's Benko Gambit. After 5 . . . axb5 6. e4, the usual line is 6 . . . b4 7. Nb5 Nxe4 with great complications. Adams's 6 . . . Qa5 led to a queen sacrifice and a pawn promotion, winning the exchange, but White's attack crashed through. At the end, White walks away from the checks (Ke1-f1-g1 is simplest), then gives mate with Qxh8 or Qe7.

White: Timoshchenko Black: Adams 1 d4 Nf6 14 Qxe4 a1=Q 2 c4 c5 15 Nf3 Qa5 3 d5 b5 16 Bc4 e6 4 cxb5 a6 17 Rd1 Be7 5 Nc3 axb5 18 Bg5 Ra7 6 e4 Qa5 19 Bxe7 Kxe7 7 e5 b4 20 Ng5 Qb4 8 Nb5 Ne4 21 Qf4 f6 9 Bc4 Ba6 22 exf6+ gxf6 10 Qd3 b3+ 23 d6+ Ke8 11 Ke2 Bxb5 24 Qxf6 Qxc4+ 12 Bxb5 Qxa2 Black resigns 13 Rxa2 bxa2

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