CHESS

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The Independent Culture
KEEPING YOUR opponents potential weak- nesses under surveillance can be counter-productive. If he knows you're watching him, he will be cautious. The way to tempt errors is to walk away and turn off the security cameras - a strategy well exemplified by the following game.

White: Alexei Shirov

Black: Peter Svidler

Linares 1998

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.f3 h5

A rather vulgar attempt to prevent White from enjoying himself with g4 and g5. Yet Black compromises his own K-side with this advance.

10.0-0-0 Rc8 11.Kb1 Be7 12.Nd5 Bxd5

12...Nxd5 13.exd5 Bf5 looks at first more natural, but after 13.Bd3 White is on top.

13.exd5 Nb6 14.Bxb6 Qxb6 15.g3!

The obvious point of this move is to place the bishop on the h3-c8 diagonal. There is, however, a far more subtle point: to take the bishop away from its sentry duties on the f1-a6 diagonal.

15...0-0 16.Bh3 Ra8 17.Rhe1 a5?

Would Black have ever perpetrated this act of criminal negligence had the White bishop stayed on f1? I think not. The right course was 17...Re8 followed by Bf8.

18.a4! Qc7 19.Bf1!

Returning to seize control of b5.

19...Rfc8 20.Bb5 Bf8 21.f4!

The right way to sound the advance. With his rook denied the e8 square, Black has neither counterplay nor the possibilitiy of exchanging rooks down the e-file.

21...exf4 22.gxf4 Qb6 23.Re2 Ne8 24.f5

Perfectly judged. If the knight hovers between e8 and f6, then White will double rooks on the g-file, while if it wanders to c7, then White is ready with f6, as we now see.

24...Nc7 25.f6 g6

25...Nxb5 26.fxg7 Bxg7 27.Rg2 would have been miserable for Black.

26.Bd7! Rd8 (See diagram.)

Now White's notionally bad bishop comes into its own.

27.Be6! Re8

After 27...fxe6 28.Qg5 Black would quickly die.

28.Qg5 Black resigned

28...Nxe6 29.dxe6 Kh7 30.e7 Bh6 31.Qd5 is too depressing to contemplate.

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