CHESS

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The Independent Culture
Back in the autumn of 1993, we saw Garry Kasparov performing several acts of escapology with the Black pieces against young Nigel Short. None of those, however, was a patch on his Houdini performance last week in Amsterdam.

White: Nigel Short

Black: Garry Kasparov

Euwe Memorial Tournament 1996

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Bb3 0-0

All well-trodden ground, but it is interesting to see Kasparov changing from the system with Nbd7 and Nc5 that led him to defeat in the first round against Topalov.

9.f4 Nc6 10.Be3 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 b5 12.e5 dxe5 13.fxe5 Ne8 14.Ne4

It should be self-evident to a player of Kasparov's calibre that Black's game offers few prospects. The champion's opening repertoire needs some attention.

14...Bb7 15.Qd3 Qc7 16.c3 Rd8 17.Bc2

With 18.Nf6+ now threatened, Black must surrender his white-squared bishop to eliminate the knight.

17...Bxe4 18.Qxe4 g6 19.b4! Ng7 20.g4!

Black is stifled on both wings. While his K-side defences are sound, he will find it difficult to defend against the positional threat of a4, axb5 and a build-up of pressure against the b-pawn.

20...h5 21.h3 a5 22.a3 Rd7 23.Rf3 Qd8 24.Rb1 Bg5 25.Rbf1 axb4 26.axb4 Be7 27.Rb1

On this square the rook eliminates any nonsense with Bxb4 and Rxd4.

27...h4 28.Qe3 Ne8 29.Be4 Nc7 30.Bc6 Nd5 31.Qe4 (see diagram)

Black seems to have invited disaster. When his rook moves away from the bishop's attentions, his b-pawn will fall. But Kasparov has a piece of witchcraft ready.

31...Nxc3!! 32.Bxc3 Qb6+ 33.Kg2 Rc7 34.Ba8

Despite its impressive command of the long diagonal, this is the bishop's only square, but with 34...Ra7 losing to 35.Bd4, it appears sufficient.

34...Rc4! 35.Qb7 Qxb7 36.Bxb7 Rb8

Again the hapless cleric has only one safe sanctuary.

37.Ba6 Rb6 38.Ra1 Rcc6 39.Bxb5

There was no alternative.

39...Rxb5 40.Ra8+ Kg7 41.Ra7 Kf8 42.Ra8+ Kg7 43.Ra7 Kf8 draw agreed.

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