CHESS

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The Independent Culture
Croatia's leading grandmaster an-notates one of his victories from last month's Chess Olympics.

White: B. Lalic (Croatia)

Black: J. Nogueiras (Cuba)

This was in the last round after my run of six draws. Unlike those games, however, this one began at 10am and Nogueiras does not like to play in the morning.

1. d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e6 4.e3 Nf6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bd6

An old line that has come back into fashion recently. The alternative is 6...dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5.

7. e4 dxe4 8.Nxe4 Nxe4 9.Bxe4 c5

The modern way of handling the position. The older plan was to aim for e5, which always seems to leave White with a useful lead in development.

10. 0-0 Qc7 11. Bc2! A new and strong idea, getting the bishop out of the way before it is attacked by a knight. Instead 11.dxc5 Nxc5 12.Bc2 b6 13.Qe2 Bb7 14.Rd1 a5 15.Be3 Rc8 16.h3 0-0 left Black with a good game in Bareyev-Dreyev, Tilburg 1994.

11 ... b6?! Perhaps hoping to transpose into the other game, but he should have protected his king with 11... 0-0.

12. d5! e5

An unhappy admission. Now his bishop has no future on b7, but neither12...exd5 13.Re1+ nor 12...Ne5 13.Nxe5 Bxe5 14.Qh5! g6 15.Qh6 solves Black's problems.

13. Re1 0-0 14. Ng5 Nf6 15.Qd3 g6

A necessary weakening of the black squares. 15...h6 16.Nh7 would have been far worse.

16. Qf3 Qe7

My opponent sensed the danger he was in and offered me a draw - but too late! 17. Qc3! Nh5 18.f4 f6 (see diagram)

I can win a pawn with 19.Nf3 Bg4 20.fxe5 fxe5 21.Nxe5, but Black obtains good counterplay with 21...Qh4 or Rae8. Instead, I found a more forceful continuation.

19. fxe5! fxe5

After 19...Bxe5 20.Nf3! Bxc3 21.Rxe7 White has a clear advantage in the endgame.

20.Ne4 Bf5 21.Bg5 Qd7?

He had to play 21...Qc7 when 22.Nxd6 Qxd6 23.Rxe5? (23.Bd1! is the right move) Bxc2 24.Re6 Nf4! 25.Rxd6 Ne2+ 26.Kh1 Nxc3 27.bxc3 Bd3 lets Black escape.

22.Ba4! Qxa4

22...Qc7 simply loses a pawn to 23.Nxd6 Qxd6 24. Rxe5.

23.Nxd6 e4 24.Be7 Rfe8

After 24...Rfb8, simply 25.Nxe4 wins for White.

25.Nxe8 Rxe8 26.d6 Nf4 27.Qe5 Nd3 28.Qd5+ Kg7 29.Rxe4! Qc2 30.Rf1 resigns.

30...Bxe4 31.Qxe4 leaves Black helpless against the threats of d7 or Bf6+.

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