Chess: Changing attack

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The Independent Culture
WHILE John Nunn was defending himself against everything Mikhail Krasenkov could throw in their critical last-round game at Hastings, the other players were providing some excellent supporting acts.

The British champion, Michael Hennigan, won a good game against Dibyendu Barua; Ketevan Arakhamia and Ian Rogers had a complex tussle ending in a draw by stalemate; and Matthew Sadler accepted all Ilya Gurevich's sacrifices to emerge a rook ahead with an easy win. That left Hennigan, Sadler and Sadler sharing third place, but it was the also-rans who produced the most remarkable game.

Mikhail Sherbakov, who had been having a rotten tournament, played a piece sacrifice against Mark Hebden that looked like a piece of bravado from the man in last place. A whole knight seemed a high price just to wrest the initiative from Black, but Hebden's men never found any co-ordination.

When Black played 19 . . . fxg3 and 20 . . . g4, he must have been optimistic. After the g-pawn is exchanged, Black's queen will come to g5, the knight can move to f6 and g4, and every piece is well-placed for an attack on the king.

Sherbakov's 21. f4] was an inspired solution to the problem. After the loss of his knight and exchange of bishops on d4, White's control of the f-file cuts Black's game in two. Objectively, it is unlikely that the whole idea will stand up to detailed analysis, but in practical terms it was undoubtedly the right thing to do. An unexpected and sudden shift from attack to defence is something that can upset the best players. Here it seemed to reduce Hebden to confusion, until his game fell apart after 35. Qxc5]

White: Sherbakov

Black: Hebden

1 d4 Nf6

2 Nf3 g6

3 c4 Bg7

4 Nc3 0-0

5 e4 d6

6 Be2 e5

7 0-0 Nc6

8 d5 Ne7

9 Nd2 Ne8

10 b4 f5

11 c5 Kh8

12 a4 Ng8

13 a5 f4

14 Ba3 Nh6

15 b5 g5

16 f3 Rf6

17 Nc4 dxc5

18 Bxc5 Rg6

19 g4 fxg3

20 hxg3 g4

21 f4 exf4

22 Rxf4 Bxc3

23 Bd4+ Bxd4+

24 Qxd4+ Kg8

25 Raf1 Nd6

26 Qf2 Bd7

27 Ne5 Rg7

28 Nxd7 Rxd7

29 e5 Ndf7

30 Qe3 Qe7

31 e6 Ng5

32 Rf6 Rxd5

33 Bc4 Rc5

34 Kh1 Rd8

35 Qxc5 Qxc5

36 e7+ Kg7

37 exd8=Q Nf3

38 R6xf3 gxf3

39 Qd7+ Kg6

40 Bd3+ Kg5

41 Qd8+ 1-0