chess

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The Independent Culture
The splendidly titled "Lord Novgorod the Great" tournament in Russia (actually, it's in Novgorod, but one hates to repeat oneself) features six top players, each playing twice against each of the others. Nigel Short has made a solid start with draws in all of the first four rounds - not a bad performance considering the strength of the opposition. The other five players are Kramnik, Gelfand, Polgar, Ivan-chuk and Topalov.

The pre-tournament favourite was Vladimir Kramnik, but an early loss by him to Ivanchuk has thrown the event open. After four rounds Topalov and Ivanchuk shared the lead on 21/2 points, with Karmnik, Short and Gelfand on 2, and Polgar comfortably tucked in at the back (as they used to say of British athletes) on 1.

Kramnik pulled himself up to 50 per cent with the following win. Polgar's 8...h6!? was a vigorous offer of a pawn and her 9...Qb6!? an imaginative way to break the pin on her knight (10.Bxf6 is met by Qxb2!) but Kramnik was having none of it.

He preserved a small endgame edge, then showed fine technique to squeeze out a win.

White: Vladimir Kramnik

Black: Judit Polgar

1 e4 e6 29 Rb3 b6

2 d4 d5 30 Rb5 Kh6

3 exd5 exd5 31 g4 g6

4 Nf3 Bd6 32 g5+ Kg7

5 c4 Nf6 33 f4 Rc2

6 Nc3 c6 34 Kg3 Rd2

7 Bg5 0-0 35 f3 Rc2

8 cxd5 h6 36 Rb3 Kf7

9 Bh4 Qb6 37 Ra3 Rxb2

10 Qd2 Nxd5 38 Rxa7 Kg8

11 Bg3 Bxg3 39 f5 Rb5

12 hxg3 Bg4 40 Ra8+ Kf7

13 Bd3 Re8+ 41 fxg6 Kxg6

14 Kf1 Nd7 42 f4 Rb1

15 Nxd5 cxd5 43 Rg8+ Kf5

16 Rh4 Bxf3 44 Rf8+ Ke4

17 gxf3 Nf8 45 Re8+ Kf5

18 Kg2 Ng6 46 Re5+ Kg6

19 Rh5 Qxd4 47 Re6+ Kf5

20 Rd1 Rad8 48 Rf6+ Ke4

21 Bxg6 Qxd2 49 g6 b5

22 Bxf7 Kxf7 50 Kh4 Rh1+

23 Rxd2 d4 51 Kg5 h4

24 Rh4 d3 52 Re6+ Kf3

25 Rf4+ Kg6 53 g7 Rg1+

26 Re4 h5 54 Kf6 h3

27 Rxe8 Rxe8 55 Re8 1-0

28 Rxd3 Re2

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