Chess

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The Independent Culture
IT'S A small thing compared to the horrors around but even at a time of (undeclared) war the post is still working, as I discovered on Wednesday when my Informant 74 arrived. Quite rightly, it had been opened; but it took just under a fortnight from its dispatch from Belgrade on 16 April.

Since it was founded in 1966, Chess Informant, which is predominantly Serb but also employs people from other groups, has become an institution: part of the chess family with members of the editorial panel familiar faces on the circuit; and contributions - games annotated without language by an agreed set of symbols - from nearly all leading grandmasters irrespective of national boundaries.

As usual, No 74 contains over 600 games - nowadays from a four-month period, though it used to be six; and various features including the panel's judgement of the best game of the previous volume which by almost universal acclaim received 79/90, with seven 10/10s, one 9/10 and ignored only by the loser himself.

14 Bh4 is currently in fashion in this horrifically theoretical variation. 17 ...a3 is dubious because after Gelfand's novelty 19 Rc7! Black has trouble with his knight. The obvious improvement is 17 ...Nc6 at once and this ultimately led to success in Sergei Shipov vs Ivan Sokolov Hastings1998-9.

19 ...Na6? misplaced the horse so that Black couldn't meet 20 Rxe7 with the normal ...Nc6. Instead Gelfand gives either 19 ...Nd7 or 19 ...Qb2 as possible improvements. If 21 ...a2 22 Rxf7! Rxf7 23 Bxf7+ Kxf7 24 Nxg5+ yields a winning attack. In the diagram, the splendid 23 Rd7!! was forced but very strong. Shirov had to give up his queen to avoid mate but although he initially had enough wood, Gelfand's initiative proved much too strong. If 27 ...Bxe5 28 Qh5+! Kg8 29 Qxe5 etc. Once the "a pawn" went on move 32, Black was gone.

White: Boris Gelfand

Black: Alexei Shirov

Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6

2 Nf3 g6

3 c4 Bg7

4 Nc3 d5

5 cxd5 Nxd5

6 e4 Nxc3

7 bxc3 c5

8 Rb1 0-0

9 Be2 cxd4

10 cxd4 Qa5+

11 Bd2 Qxa2

12 0-0 Bg4

13 Bg5 h6

14 Bh4 a5

15 Rxb7 g5

16 Bg3 a4

17 h4 a3

18 hxg5 hxg5

19 Rc7! Na6?

20 Rxe7 Qb2

21 Bc4 Qb4

22 Bxf7+! Kh8

(see diagram)

23 Rd7!! Bxd7

24 Nxg5 Qb6

25 Be6! Qxe6!

26 Nxe6 Bxe6 27 Be5! Rf7

28 Qh5+ Kg8

29 Qg6 Bd7

30 Bxg7 Rxg7

31 Qd6 Kh7

32 Qxa3 Nc7

33 Qe3 Ne6

34 d5 Ng5

35 f4 Nh3+

36 Kh1 Ra2

37 f5 Ng5

38 f6 Rg6

39 f7 1-0

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