CHESS

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The Independent Culture
The presence in an endgame of bishops of opposite colour is taken by many players short of the highest class as a signal to commence peace negotiations. As our own Nigel Short well understands, however, opposite- coloured bishops may enhance winning prospects when rooks remain on the board.

White: Dao (Vietnam)

Black: Short (England)

Chess Olympics, Armenia 1996

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.cxd5 Qxd5 6.Nf3 Qf5

A move that Short has played before, and fully in keeping with his strategy. Black aims to prove that the white squares are more important than the black ones.

7.Qxf5 exf5 8.a3 Be7 9.e3 Be6 10.Bd3 h6 11.0-0 Nbd7 12.Bd2 Nb6 13.Rfc1 c6 14.b4 0-0 15.Ne2 Nbd5 16.Ne5 Rac8

All very turgid stuff, but I'm afraid that's the way to win games in today's professional climate. Bear with me, however, for the excitement is yet to come.

17.Be1 Rfd8 18.Bc2 Rc7 19.Nd3 Bd6 20.Bd2 Re7 21.Nc5Bc8 22.Nc3?

A tactical error that lets Black seize the initiative.

22...Nxc3 23.Bxc3 f4! 24.e4

Although this loses a pawn, it is the best solution to his problems.

24...Bxc5 25.dxc5 Nxe4 26.Re1 Rde8 27.Bxe4 Rxe4 28.f3 Rxe1+ 29.Rxe1 Be6 30.Be5 g5 31.Kf2 Kh7 32.Bd6 b5!

Planning to activate his rook with Ra8 and a5. the bishop on d6 looks imposing but is little more than dead wood.

33.cxb6 e.p. axb6 34.a4 Ra8 35.Rc1?

Another misjudgement. The rook should play to a1. White underestimates his difficulties in holding the position.

35...Rxa4 36.Rxc6 Ra2+ 37.Kg1 Ra1+ 38.Kf2 b5 39.h4 Bc4 (see diagram) 40.g3

White evades the threat of mate on f1, but allows a prettier finish.

40...Ra2+ 41.Kg1 g4!!

Bravo! That's the way to get the pawns moving. While rook and bishop alone may create annoying threats, rook, bishop and passed pawn can bring destruction. The remaining moves are forced.

42.fxg4 f3! 43.Bc5 Rg2+ 44.Kh1 f2 White resigned.

White must give his bishop for the pawn, leaving his task hopeless.

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