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AFTER the opening, the beginners' books tell us, you must formulate a strategic plan then carry it through to victory. Reality, however, is not so simple. More games are lost by remorselessly carrying out bad plans than won by the correct execution of good ones.

The art of good strategy is in maintaining a proper balance so that you are ready to respond to the various choices of the opponent. In a well-played game, it is the player who commits himself to a plan first who loses.

Today's game, from the Open tournament in Wijk-aan-Zee, is a nice example. While White adopts a sound and restrained scheme of development, Black formulates his dark-square attacking plan. With c5 and cxd4, he enhances the power of his g7- bishop, then with f4 he bolds seizes the initiative. After 12. Nxd4, White would lose his d-pawn; after 12. Qxd4 Qb6 Black is on the attack; so White had to play gxf4,leaving his pawns weak and rigid.

With White forced to castle behind his shattered pawns, Black moved his queen and knight into threatening positions. By move 16, he was threatening mate. Then, with Bh6 and f6, he turned his attention to the vulnerable pawn on f4. If only he had not got his queen trapped, it might have worked.

Black's play was not all bad, he was just a little carried away, not realising that anything could go wrong. The final plan with Bh6 and f6 is a blunder, but easy to understand. You do not often see a king charging up the board to win a queen.

White: Sokolov

Black: Har-Zvi

1 d4 Nf6 12 gxf4 Qh4

2 Bg5 g6 13 d5 Ne7

3 Bxf6 exf6 14 0-0 Nf5

4 e3 f5 15 Ng3 Nh6

5 Ne2 Bg7 16 Nce4 Ng4

6 g3 0-0 17 h3 Nf6

7 Bg2 d6 18 Ng5 Nh5

8 c4 c5 19 Nxh5 Qxh5

9 Nbc3 cxd4 20 Kh2 Bh6

10 exd4 Nc6 21 Kg3 f6

11 Qd2 f4 22 Bf3 1-0