CHESS

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The Independent Culture
The ingenuity of youth never ceases to amaze me. Take this example from the World Junior Championships in Poland last week. Just look at the diagram position. Could you, as Black, have contrived a plausible way to lose in just four more moves? Do I hear you suggest a mate on g7, perhaps? Nothing so vulgar! What Black found was a help-mate for his own queen - both elegant and conclusive.

White: Rustam Kasimdzhanov

Black: Marcin Myc

World Junior Championship, Zagan 1997

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c6 3.Bg2 Bg4 4.b3 Nd7 5.Bb2

White's double fianchetto development is just the sort of dreary thing to play if you are confident in your opponent's ability to commit suicide.

5...Ngf6 6.0-0 e6 7.d3 Bd6 8.Nbd2 0-0 9.h3 Bh5 10.Qe1 Bxf3

An apparent change of mind, but with some logic behind it.

11.Nxf3 e5 12.e4 Re8

Black feels happier to have this position with the white queen on e1 than on d1. He may be right. Such positional nuances are largely a matter of taste, I find.

13.Nh4 Qb6 14.Kh1 Bb4 15.Qe2 a5 16.a4 Qc5 17.Rad1 Bc3 18.Bc1 b5

Black shows commendable common sense. He threatens to saddle White with a weak pawn on a4, while 19.axb5 cxb5 would leave him ready to make a passed pawn with ...a4.

19.exd5 cxd5 20.axb5 Qxb5 21.Nf5 Qb4 22.g4 h6 23.f4

Seeing that he has lost the battle in the centre and on the Q-side, White attempts to open another front.

23...a4 24.bxa4 Rxa4 25.Qf2 (See diagram.)

Now Black is rather inconvenienced by the threat of 26.g5.

25...exf4 26.Bxf4 Be5

Black appreciates the need to keep the bishop out of d6.

27.Bd2 Qf8

Perhaps fearing some sacrificial nonsense on h6, Black thinks to bolster his defences.

28.Rb1!

The best move of the game - threatening precisely nothing!

28...Ra2?? 29.Bb4! resigns

None can rid him of the turbulent priest.

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