CHESS

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The Independent Culture
Viktor Korchnoi, at the age of 64, is still playing great chess.

"Sixty-four is the perfect age for a grandmaster," I explain-ed in my speech as guest of honour at Korchnoi's last birthday celebrations. "It is one year for every square on the board."

Viktor roared with mirth then flew off to win three tournaments on the trot. The latest was in Madrid, where this game helped him to first prize.

White: Miguel Illescas

Black: Viktor Korchnoi

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.d4 b6 4.a3 Bb7 5.Nc3 d5 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Qa4+ c6 8.Bxf6 Bxf6 9.cxd5 exd5 10.g3 0-0 11.Bg2 Nd7 12.0-0 Be7!

A brave retreat. Instead of playing conventionally for c5, which tends to leave Q-side pawn weaknesses, Korchnoi intends to advance his f-pawn and assault the enemy king.

13.Rfd1 f5 14.e3 Bd6 15.Ne2 a5! 16.Nf4 Qe7 17.Nd3 b5! 18.Qc2 a4!

Continuing the plan begun with 15...a5. Nb6 and Nc4 will shield the backward c-pawn. 19.Re1 Kh8 20.Qc3 Nb6 21.Nfe5 Nc4 22.f4 g5

This is the sort of king-exposing plan that can easily backfire, but you don't win games without taking risks!

23.Qc2 Rg8 24.Nxc4 bxc4 25.Ne5 Bxe5!!

An anti-positional move of great power, that exchanges Black's good bishop to give White a passed pawn! But this is just the move to liven up the game. Whichever way White recaptures, Black's pawns will gain mobility and his bishop - vegetating on b7 - gains a new lease of life.

26.fxe5 (see diagram)

On 26.dxe5 Black plays Bc8, Be6, Rgd8 and c4 to set his pawns rolling.

26...Bc8 27.Bf3 Be6 28.Bd1 f4! 29.Qf2 Qf8 30.Bc2 Qh6 31.Kh1 Raf8 32.Rg1 Bg4

Bad bishop? What bad bishop? This fine piece will win the game for Black.

33.Raf1 f3 34.Re1 Bh3 35.e4 g4! 36.exd5 cxd5 37.Bxa4 Qe6 38.Rc1 Bg2+

Now is the moment to cash in his chips, with d5 protected and f3 secured for a rook.

39.Rxg2 fxg2+ 40.Qxg2 Rf3 41.Re1 Rgf8 42.Kg1

Stopping the rook's invasion on f2, but now the attack strikes on another line.

42...Qb6! White resigns

After either 43.Qd2 or 43.Rd1, the reply 43...Rd3! is quickly decisive.

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