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After a year of poor results follow-ing his disappointing world title challenge in 1993, Nigel Short returned to form in the current tournament in the Netherlands. The following game earned him a semi-final place.

White: Sergei Tiviakov Black: Nigel Short

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.Qe2

A cheeky move to play against Short, who was responsible for bringing it back into fashion in his match against Karpov in 1992.

5...b5 6.Bb3 d6 7.c3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Rd1

One of the main points of the Qe2 system: the rook prepares the d4 advance, after which the black queen is embarrassed on d8.

9...Bg4 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Qxf3 Na5 12.Bc2 c5 13.d3

After 13.d4 cxd4 14.cxd4 Qc7 Black has an easy game. White hopes to complete his development before opening the game for his bishops.

13...Nd7 14.Qg3 Kh8 15.Be3 Bh4 16.Qg4 g6 17.f4 f5 18.exf5 gxf5 19.Qf3

With the knight on a5 completely out of squares and the f-pawn vulnerable, Black's position looks rickety, but Short has realised that Black can seize, and keep, the initiative.

19...Rg8! Now 20.fxe5 is met by Rg3 when the white queen has to maintain protection of the bishop.

20.Nd2 Rg3 21.Qe2 Qe7 22.Bf2 Rg7 23.Kh1 Rag8 24.Rg1 Bxf2 25.Qxf2

With the K-side apparently secured, White seems ready to exploit his latent advantages with Rae1 and fxe5, but the Black attack is by no means over.

25...Nf6! 26.fxe5 Nh5! 27.exd6 (see diagram) Qe5!! A move of brilliant audacity where most players would not have thought twice before playing Qxd6. The point is that after 27...Qxd6 28.g4 fxg4 White gains a vital breating space with 29.Ne4, attacking the queen and defending against the threat of Ng3+.


After 28.Rae1 Ng3+ 29.Kh2 Nf1+ White is mated.

28...Nf4 29.Re1 Nxh3!! 30.Qh4

30.Rxe5 Nxf2+ 31.Kh2 Ng4+ loses the white rook.

30...Qxd6 31.Qxh3 Rg6

The point of the combination. White is close to helpless against the threat of Rh6.

32. Bd1 Rh6 33. Bh5 RG5 34. g4 Qc6+! Avoiding 34...fxg4 35.Re8+ Kg7 36.Rxg4 when White escapes. After the move played, White is forced into an endgame a pawn down, with Black still holding a strong initiative.

35.Qg2 fxg4 36.Qxc6 Rgxh5+ 37.Kg2 Nxc6 38.Re8+ Kg7 39.Kg3 Ne5 40.Ne3 Kf7 41.Rd8 Rh3+ 42.Kf4 Rf6+ 43.Nf5 Rxd3 44.Rxd3 Nxd3+ 45.Kg5 Rg6+ 46.Kh5 Nxb2 47.Rb1 Nd3 48.a4 g3 49.axb5 axb5 White resigns.