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The Independent Culture
Col Polhill offers the benefit of his experience to the world title combatants.

White: Garry Kasparov

Black: Viswanathan Anand

Tal Memorial, Riga 1995

Evans Gambit

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4!

When Captain Evans disembarked from his ship and introduced this Gambit in the 1840s, it was embraced as "a gift from the Gods to a languishing chess world".

4...Bxb4 5.c3 Be7

A spoilsport response. Capt. Evans' opponents would never have declined the invitation to take up cudgels with 5...Ba5 6.d4 exd4 7.Qb3 or 5...Bc5 6.0-0 Nf6 7.d4.

6.d4 Na5 7.Be2!!

An innocuous retreat which wins the game outright!


Ghastly! But let me explain. The theoretical manuals all give 7.Bd3 for White, when 7...d6 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Nxe5 Nf6 leads to equality. When Kasparov played 7.Be2, Anand was bluffed. Now 7...d6 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Qa4+ c6 10.Nxe5 no longer leaves a bishop exposed on d3, but it was still the right way to continue.

8.Qxd4! Nf6 9.e5 Nc6 10.Qh4 Nd5 11.Qg3 g6 12.0-0 Nb6

12...0-0 would have run into terrible problems after 13.Bh6 Re8 14.Ng5 with Bc4 menacingly in the air.

13.c4! d6 14.Rd1 Nd7 15.Bh6!

Fixing the king in the centre.

15...Ncxe5 16.Nxe5 Nxe5 17.Nc3!!

The best of many fine moves in this game. White could have regained material with 17.Bg7 Bf6 18.Bxh8 Bxh8, but playing for the attack is stronger.

17...f6 18.c5! Nf7 19.cxd6 cxd6 20.Qe3 Nxh6 21.Qxh6 Bf8

After 21 moves all Black's remaining pieces are on their original squares.

22.Qe3+ Kf7 23.Nd5 Be6 24.Nf4 Qe7 25.Re1 (see diagram) Black resigns!

White threatens 26.Bf1 (or Bd3 or Bb5) when ...Bf5 loses to 27.Bc4+ Ke8 28.Qd4. If Black tries to bolster his bishop with 25...Re8, then 26.Nxe6 Qxe6 27.Qxe6+ Rxe6 (or 27...Kxe6 28.Bb5+) 28.Bc4 wins. Finally, 25...Qd7 is squashed by 26.Bb5! Qxb5 27.Qxe6+ Kg7 28.Rab1 Qc6 29.Rec1 with a withering attack.

By resigning here, Anand kept his dignity intact and can now hope for better luck in their world title match which takes place this autumn.