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There is talk, my sources inform me, of including chess in the Olympic Games. While this is, in principle, to be welcomed, we must ensure that the conduct of the event, if it happens, conforms to Olympic ideals. That is to say, we must dispense with the one-point-for-a-win, half-for-a-draw scoring conventions and replace them with a team of judges who assess the games for technical merit and artistic impression.

At the recent British Championships in Hove, our best grandmasters came out on top through considerable technical merit; yet, in the quest for points, their artistic impression sometimes fell short of the highest standards. Now here is a game which I would award an undoubted 9.9 for artistry.

White: Ali Mortazavi

Black: Andrew Greet

British Championship 1997

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6

Black is to be congratulated for avoid-ing the currently fashionable trend of taking all artistic merit from the position with dxe4.

4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.h4 a6

Avoiding the discomfort of 6...Bxg5 7.hxg5 Qxg5 8.Nh3, Black prepares ...c5 without having to fear Nb5 in reply.

7.Qg4 Kf8 8.Nf3 c5 9.dxc5 Nc6 10.Bxe7 Qxe7 11.Qf4 Qxc5 12.0-0-0! Qxf2 (See diagram.)

While the decision to grab this hot pawn must have been partly motivated by greed, there was more to it than that. Black also now threatens Nxe5 as well as ...d4 followed by Qe3+.


High art indeed: White plans to get a rook to f1 without delay.

13...exd5 14.e6 Nde5 15.Bc4! dxc4

Black takes the bait. 15...Bxe6 16.Rhf1 Qxf1 17.Bxf1 Nxf3 would have been wiser.

16.Rhf1 Qb6

16...Qc5 would have been met by 17.Nxe5 Nxe5 18.Rd8+.

17.Nxe5 Nxe5 18.Qxe5 Bxe6 19.Rd6 Qc7 20.Qxe6 Qe7

Black is a pawn ahead, yet with his rook buried at h8 he is effectively a rook behind.

21.Qd5 Re8 22.a3 c3 23.bxc3 f6 24.Rd7 Qe6 25.Qxb7 Re7 26.Rfd1 Ke8

Losing at once, as did everything else.

27.Rxe7+ Qxe7 28.Qc6+ Kf7 29.Rd7 Black resigned.