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The piece of advice that turned a young man into a champion.

When the young Anatoly Karpov came to me for advice on winning the world championship, I gave him the benefit of my long experience: "Keep your rooks, protected, young man." Even now you will rarely see a Karpov rook insufficiently protected. Yet to judge from today's game, he has not passed the secret on to his friend, trainer and confidant, Jaan Ehlvest.

White: Jaan Ehlvest

Black: Vladimir Kramnik

Intel Rapid Chess Grand Prix, New York 1995.

1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 d6 6.d4 cxd4

A passive plan that leaves Black with insufficient stake in the centre. 6...Bg4 is better.

7.Nxd4 Bd7 8.0-0 Bg7 9.e3 0-0 10.b3 a6 11.Bb2 Qa5

Rather pointless adventurism. 11...Rb8 was called for, playing for b5 without delay.

12.a4 Rfc8 13.h3 Rab8 14.Re1 Qb6 15.Rb1 Kf8

A miserable confession that Black has no useful plan.

16.Nde2 Na5 17.Ba1 Qd8 18.Nd5 Ne8 19.Bxg7+ Nxg7 20.e4 Nc6

Renouncing his last chance to play b5, which would have left Black stifled after 21.cxb5 axb5 22.b4! Nc4 23.a5.

21.Nec3 Kg8 22.Re2 Ne8 23.Rd2 e6 24.Ne3 Qa5 25.Rc1 Ne7 26.Kh2 Bc6 27.Rb2 Qd8 28.b4 b6 29.Rd2 Qc7 (see diagram)

With the advantage on both wings and in the centre, White has everything. He can "soften up" his opponent with Ra2 and a5, or play for attack with h4 and h5.


Calculating on 30...axb5 31.cxb5, White makes a faulty combination. And why does it fail? Because the rook on c1 is insufficiently protected!


Naturally! White cannot recapture 31.cxb5 without losing the rook to Qxc1.

31.axb5 axb5 32.e5?

Having lost a pawn, White now compounds the error. It is true that 32...dxe5 33.Rd7! wins for him, but Black's reply again exploits the feebly protected rook on c1.

32...d5! 33.c5 Qxe5

Now two pawns up, the rest is, as the Russians say, as simple as quaffing borshch.

34.Ng4 Qg7 35.cxb6 h5 36.Ne3 Rxb6 37.Rxc8 Nxc8 38.Rc2 Ncd6 39.Rc5 Qb2

There goes another one!

White resigned.