CHESS

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The Independent Culture
By the time these words appear in print, it will all be over. As I write, Viswanathan Anand trails Garry Kasparov by three points, and his dream of winning the world title has turned into a nightmare.

The play of the young Indian has been a great disappointment to many and yet, while I cannot totally absolve him of responsibility for his loss, I would point the finger primarily at his young and inexperienced team of helpers. Take the crucial 13th game, for example:

White: Viswanathan Anand

Black: Garry Kasparov

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Qd2 Nc6

The PCA champion (whom I have always assessed as a fundamentally conservative player) prefers to head for the refuge of his home analysis rather than take up the challenge of playing 7...Ng4!

8.f3 0-0 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.h4 h5 11.Bb3 Rc8 12.Nxc6?

Whoever sold Anand this dog ought to be horsewhipped. In the 11th game, he had got nowhere with 12.0-0-0 Ne5 13.Kb1, but 12.Nxc6? is a positional howler, strengthening Black's centre.

12...bxc6 13.Bh6 c5 14.Bc4 Qb6 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.b3 Be6! 17.Nd5?

This makes it easy for Black.White must fight with 17.Bxe6 fxe6 18.e5!

17...Bxd5! 18.exd5 e5 19.dxe6 e.p.

Otherwise the black knight will be far superior to White's bishop.

19...d5! 20.Be2

White would have lost a piece after 20.Bxd5 Rfd8 21.c4 fxe6. After Black's reply, however, White's king is sentenced to die in the centre.

20...c4! 21.c3 Rce8 22.bxc4 Rxe6 23.Kf1 Rfe8 24.Bd3 dxc4 25.Bxc4 (see diagram) 25...Ne4! White resigns

Simple but effective. 26.Qd4+ loses to Qxd4 and Nd2+, while 26.fxe4 Rf6+ 27.Ke1 Rxe4+ 28.Be2 Qf2+ 29.Kd1 Rxe2! 30.Qxe2 Rd6+ is a rout.

What young Mr Anand clearly lacks is the advice of an experienced campaigner whom he can respect, and who would steer him away from such inelegancies as 12.Nxc6?? I await his call.

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