Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


CHESS / A touch of Dutch delicacy

CONTINUING the saga of the second world title Candidates Match game between Kamsky and van der Sterren, play was adjourned on Monday in the diagram position after Kamsky's 66th move as White.

When they resumed the next day, a pair of minor pieces was quickly exchanged: 66 . . . a4 67. Nd4+ Bxd4 68. Kxd4. By forcing the exchange, Kamsky seemed to indicate that he considered the position drawn, but the Dutch grandmaster played with great delicacy to prove him wrong. The game continued 68 . . . a3 when White's problems become apparent. If he gallops in with 69. Kc5, then 69 . . . Ke5 70. Kxb5 f4 wins easily for Black.

Kamsky played more subtly with 69. Bb4 a2 70. Bc3 b4 71. Ba1 when it was Black's turn to come up with an idea. 71 . . . f4 leads only to a draw after 72. Ke4. So van der Sterren played 71 . . . Kd6] which led to a critical moment after 72. Kc4. Remarkably, 72 . . . f4 still does not win: after 73. Kd4] f3 (73 . . . Kc6 74. Ke4 Kb5 75. Kxf4 Kc4 76. Ke3 Kb3 77. Kd2 comes to the same thing) 74. Ke3 Kd5 75. Kxf3 Kc4 76. Ke2 Kb3 77. Kd2 and Black cannot make progress.

Even more surprisingly, 72 . . . Kc6]] does win, as van der Sterren demonstrated. 73. Kxb4 loses to 73 . . . Kd5] 74. Kc3 (74. Kb3 f4 wins simply for Black) 74 . . . Ke4 75. Kd2 Kf3 followed by Kg2 and pushing the f-pawn. The game continued 73. Kb3 Kd5 74. Kxa2 f4 75. Bf6 f3 76. Bh4 Kd4 77. Kb3 Ke3 78. Kxb4 f2 79. Bxf2+ Kxf2 and White resigned. After 80. Kc3 Kg3 81. Kd2 Kxh3 82. Ke1 Kg2 he is one move too slow to save the game. If White's pawn had been on h4 instead of h3 in the final position, it would have been drawn. A remarkable endgame.