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THE ADVANTAGE of playing White in chess has often been likened to that of having the serve in tennis. Were there a net in the middle of the board, and the game consisted of throwing pieces at the opponent, I would agree with that assessment. With the present rules, however, I fear it is absolute tosh - though sometimes I cannot help feeling the game would be fairer if both players moved at the same time. Play through this game and see if you do not concur.

White: N Nikolayev

Black: D Polyakov

St Petersburg 1998

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.g3

An invitation, which is taken up, for Black to retain his extra pawn.

5...b5 6.Bg2 e6 7.0-0 Bb7 8.a4 a6 9.Ne5 Qc8

Giving c6 another defender to enable Nbd7 to be played.

10.e4 Nbd7 11.Nxd7 Qxd7 12.e5 Nd5 13.Ne4 Rd8 14.Bg5 Rc8 15.Qg4 Qc7 16.Bd2

A clever retreat, making his opponent think that White does not want the bishop to stand on g5.

16...g6 17.Bg5!

Having tempted a weakness, the bishop returns to exploit it.

17...h6 18.Bf6 Nxf6 19.Nxf6+ Kd8 20.Rfd1!

Neatly not threatening d5. Threats may be countered; non-threats are always more difficult to deal with.

20...Be7 21.Qf4 Rb8 22.Rac1 Kc8 23.b3 g5 24.Qe3 Bxf6 25.exf6 cxb3 26.d5!

There was nothing wrong with Qxb3, but this move cries out to be played. 26...exd5 will be met by 27.Bh3+.

26...bxa4 27.dxc6 Ba8 28.Rd7 Qb6 29.Qe5 b2 30.Rb1 a3 (See diagram.)

One cannot help but feel sorry for Black here. Had he been White, it would now be his move and he could decide the game with 31...a2. In what follows, White time and again takes advantage of the fact that it happens to be his move and not his opponent's. This seems a most unfair exploitation of the advantage of moving first.

31.Rxf7 Re8

The pawn on e6 must be defended.

32.Rf8! Bxc6

32...Rxf8 33.Qxe6+ leads to mate.

33.Qxe6+ Kb7 34.Rf7+ Ka8 35.Bxc6+ resigns

His entire army is lost.