Chess

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I have never understood the passion of the younger generation for the Sicilian Defence. Its reputation as an "aggressive" or "fighting" defence to 1.e4 is quite unfounded. All White has to do is launch a full- blooded attack, confident in the knowledge that one may always bale out with a perpetual check if no mating combination can be found.

White: Judit Polgar

Black: Boris Gelfand

Dos Hermanas, Spain, April 1997

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bd3 g6 7.f4 Bg7 8.Nf3

White's plan is the delightfully ramshackle 0-0, Qe1, Qh4 followed either by f5 and Bh6 or e5 and Ng5.

8...0-0 9.0-0 Nbd7 10.Qe1 Nc5 11.Be3

Take my bishop young man, for I have no need of it!

11...Nxd3 12.cxd3 b5 13.a3 Bd7 14.h3

A signal that White is planning e5 and does not wish to be concerned with the reply Ng4.

14...a5 15.e5 Ne8 16.Qh4 f6

Black feels obliged to keep the knight out of g5.

17.Ne4 Nc7 18.Rae1 Nd5 (see diagram)

White has simply transported all her forces to the front as quickly as possible but must now find a way to breach the enemy ranks. She spots what looks like a promising combination.

19.e6!? Nxe3 20.Rxe3 Qb6! 21.Rfe1 Bxe6 22.Neg5!

The point of 19.e6: when the knight is captured it will be replaced by its colleague and White will threaten both Qxh7 mate and Nxe6. But all is not so simple.

22...fxg5 23.Nxg5 Rf6

Horrors! 24.Qxh7 is not mate, and Black can meet 24.Nxe6 with 24...Rxe6. It is time for White to start baling.

24.Kh1! Bf7 25.Rxe7 h6

Black expects to chase the knight away and stay a piece for a pawn ahead.

26.Nxf7 Rxf7 27.Rxf7 Kxf7 28.Re7+ Kg8 29.Rxg7+!

Now after 29...Kxg7 30.Qe7+ Black's king cannot run away: 30...Kg8 31.Qe6+ Kf8 32.Qf6+ Ke8? 33.Qh8+ loses Black his rook. So: Draw agreed.

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