Chess

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The Independent Culture
The game of the week is undoubtedly Alexei Shirov's brilliant victory over Judit Polgar in Tilburg in the Netherlands. The first nine moves were a standard Sicilian Defence; White's 10th was an attacking thrust usually considered risky, his 11th was unusual, but, in conjunction with his 12th, looked little more than a harmless inversion of moves.

The game had now reached the diagram position, when the sort of thing one usually expects is for White to play Bd3 or Bf3 and Bg2, bring his queen to h5 and try to bring his rook quickly to the h-file. meanwhile, Black brings his knight to the fine square of h5 and counter-attacks with b5 and b4.

Instead of all that, Shirov played 13.Nxe6!! and it soon became clear that Polgar had fallen into a vicious piece of opening preparation. After 13...fxe6 14.Bh5 both 14...Re7 15.f6 and 14...Rd8 15.fxe6 Ne5 16.Nd5 led to an overwhelming advantage for White. As the game went 16.Nd5! kept up the attack in brilliant style. 19...Bg7 was necessary to defend against the threat of Bd4+ but left no time to recapture with 20...Kxh7 when 21.Qf5+ Kh8 22.Qh3+ Kg8 23.Qe6+ Kh7 24.Rf4 wins quickly.

A superb game, which will force many players of the Sicilian to rethink their strategy.

White: Alexei Shirov

Black: Judit Polgar

1 e4 c5 16 Nd5 exd5

2 Nf3 d6 17 Qxd5+ Kh8

3 d4 cxd4 18 gxh7 Rxh7

4 Nxd4 Nf6 19 Bg6 Bg7

5 Nc3 a6 20 Bxh7 Qd8

6 Be2 e6 21 Bf5 Ne5

7 0-0 Be7 22 Qd1 Bxf5

8 f4 0-0 23 exf5 Qe8

9 Be3 Qc7 24 g6 Ng4

10 g4 Re8 25 Bd4 Qe4

11 f5 Bf8 26 f6 Nc6

12 g5 Nfd7 27 fxg7+ Kg8

13 Nxe6 fxe6 28 Rf8+ Rxf8

14 Bh5 g6 29 gxf8=Q+ Kxf8

15 fxg6 Re7 30 Qf1+ resigns

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