CHESS

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
There is an unhealthy mood of bravado laced with machismo running through modern Russian chess. In the old days, captures were met with the politeness of a recapture. And any player with pretensions to be considered a gentleman would retreat a piece that his opponent had attack. Such old formalities, however, are no longer observed, as the following game attests.

White: S Tiviakov

Black: S Beshukov

Russian Championship 1996

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.Be2 Qc7 8.a4 Nc6 9.0-0 Be7 10.f4 0-0 11.Kh1 Re8 12.Bf3 Rb8 13.g4 Nxd4 14.Bxd4 e5 15.fxe5 dxe5

We have seen all this often enough before. The bishop must now escape, but takes the chance to send the black rook home before doing so.

16.Ba7 Ra8 17.g5!

Vulgar, but effective. Now 17...Rxa7 18.gxf6 Bxf6 19.Nd5 brings Black severe problems.

17...Bb4

Not to be outdone in this game of "Chicken", Black also refuses to move his attacked piece. He will eliminate the white knight before it can reach d5.

18.gxf6 Bxc3 19.Qc1

Quite outrageous! White neither recaptures on c3 nor moves his own attacked piece. And all for a threat to force mate with 20.Qg5 g6 21.Qh6.

19...Bb4 20.Be3

Finally, four moves after being invited to leave, the bishop makes its exit.

20...Bf8 21.Bh6!

Having proven its immunity on one wing, the bishop tries its luck on the other. Now 21...gxh6 is met by 22.Rg1+ Kh8 23.Qd2 and the threat of Qg2 is fatal.

21...Qc6 22.Bxg7 Bxg7 23.fxg7 Be6

Black's king shelters behind the white pawn as his men arrange counterplay.

24.Rf2 a5 25.Qg5 Rad8 26.b3 Qc5 27.Raf1 Rd7 28.Bh5 Rc8 29.Qh6 Qc6 (see diagram) 30.Bg6!

White defends his e-pawn - but perhaps not quite in the way Black had envisaged. Now 30...hxg6 31.Qf8 or 30...fxg6 31.Rf8+ is the end. So Black resigned, thus confirming the truth of the old values: as soon as White actually defended an attacked man, his opponent gave up.

Comments