Chess: Adams wins with ruthless efficiency

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The Independent Culture
MICHAEL ADAMS is well placed in the tournament in Las Palmas, having recovered from a first-round loss to Gata Kamsky to take 3 1/2 points from his next four games. After five rounds, Adams is in third place behind the joint leaders, Kamsky and Lautier who have 4 points each. Half a point further back lurks Anatoly Karpov, who was beaten by Joel Lautier in the fourth round. The strength of the event may be judged by the position of Alexei Shirov, ranked fifth in the world, but languishing in ninth place here with only one point.

Adams scored a fine win against Judit Polgar, with an exemplary display of how to handle the black pieces in the Ruy Lopez. Adams is exceptionally strong in two areas: first, he seems able to secure advantages by straightforward, classical strategy, and then he has a ruthless efficiency in turning such advantages into winning attack. In games like this one, Adams seems to be making all the moves while his opponent just sits there.

Borrowing the 6. Qe2 variation from Nigel Short's repertoire, Polgar never looked comfortable in the early middlegame. Allowing Black to establish pawns at d5 and e5, White counts on a favourable resolution of the central position later, but her 14. exd5 did not work out well. After 16. Bxf4 exf4, the pawn on f4 is a considerable strength. For the rest of the game, White is never allowed even a glimpse of activity.

With 19 . . . Ne5] Adams exchanged White's important knight on f3. The struggle then centred on White's attempts to replace it with the other one. After 22. Qb1, threatening Nf3, Adams gained time with Qc6, attacking c3, to bring the queen to b6. This allowed 24 . . . g5] when 25. Nf3 g4 26. Ne5 loses to R8xe5 followed by Qxf2+. With 26 . . . Qf6, Adams prevented Qf5 while preparing the idea of 27. Nf3 g4 28. hxg4 hxg4 29. Ne5 Qh4. White was probably already lost, and Adams finished efficiently with 31 . . . Qh4 threatening Qxf2+. After 32. g3 Qh3, White cannot prevent mate.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: J Polgar ----------------------------------------------------------------- Black: M Adams ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 e4 e5 17 Bxe6 Rxe6 2 Nf3 Nc6 18 Qc2 Rae8 3 Bb5 a6 19 b4 Ne5 4 Ba4 Nf6 20 Nxe5 Rxe5 5 0-0 Be7 21 Nd2 Re2 6 Qe2 b5 22 Qb1 Qc6 7 Bb3 0-0 23 Qc1 Qb6 8 c3 d5 24 d4 g5 9 d3 Re8 25 h3 h5 10 Nbd2 Bf8 26 Qb1 Qf6 11 a3 h6 27 Nf1 g4 12 Ba2 Be6 28 hxg4 hxg4 13 Rd1 Qd7 29 Qd3 Bd6 14 exd5 Nxd5 30 Rd2 f3 15 Ne4 Nf4 31 Rad1 Qh4 16 Bxf4 exf4 White resigns -----------------------------------------------------------------