CHESS

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The Independent Culture
When young Anatoly Karpov telephoned me, he was in a high state of excitement. "Colonel," he said. "I need your advice." That, of course, was nothing unusual, but his request was certainly out of the ordinary. He was about to play, he explained, a game against the combined efforts of chess enthusiasts throughout the globe, through the medium of something called the Internet. "It's just me against the entire world," he protested. "How shall I cope?"

I was quick to calm him down. Democracy, I assured him, was no way to conduct any campaign, be it military or chess. "Your principal task," I assured him, "will be to keep the game simple and avoid exposing too early the inadequacies of your opposition." How right I was.

White: Rest of the World

Black: Anatoly Karpov

1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3

On seeing this move, the champion appreciated the wisdom of my advice. The votes of the strong players would have been split between 5.Bc4 and 5.Ng5, while all the weaker players apparently voted for the insipid 5.Nf3.

5...Ngf6 6.Bd3

Again the strong vote was split between 6.Nxf6+ and 6.Ng3, letting in the third party candidate.

6...Nxe4 7.Bxe4 Nf6 8.Bd3 Bg4 9.c3 e6 10.0-0 Be7 11.h3 Bh5 12.Bf4

In such positions, the bishops belong on e2 and g5, to exert a little pressure, or e2 and e3, to discourage c5. Democracy, however, means compromise.

12...0-0 13.Re1

The white players don't appreciate the danger. It was time to break the pin with 13.Be2.

13...Qb6! 14.Rb1 c5! 15.dxc5 Bxc5 16.Be3 Rfd8! 17.Bxc5 Qxc5 18.Qe2 Qd5!

Taking full advantage of the tangles in White's game.

19.Bc4 Bxf3 20.gxf3 Qg5+ 21.Kh2 Qh4

The weaknesses in White's K-side and the vulnerability of the black squares to invasion by queen and knight spell doom.

22.Rg1 g6 23.Rad1 Qf4+ 24.Kh1 Qh4 25.Kh2 Rxd1! 26.Rxd1 Nh5 27.Rd4 Nf4 28.Qf1 Rc8 29.b3 b5! 30.Bxb5 Rxc3 31.Be2 Rc2 32.Re4 Rc1! (See diagram) 0-1.

As the final position bears witness, democracy spells mediocrity.

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