Chess: Flexibility and patience hold the key

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The Independent Culture
FLEXIBILITY is the true mark of good chess. Primers on strategy may advise the formulation and execution of plans, but in reality a plan only takes shape after the opponent has made the minor error of committing himself. The most interesting, and frequently decisive phase of a top-class game is the middle- game manoeuvring as both sides keep their options open.

In today's game, the 19-year- old Gata Kamsky beat the veteran grandmaster Bent Larsen thanks to some profound waiting play in the middle-game. When Black played 17 . . . d5 and 18 . . . Ne4, he must have felt he was seizing the initiative. With 20 . . . Bb5, he even planned a deep queen sacrifice: 21. Nxb5 axb5 22. Bb6 Rxd1 23. Bxc7 Rxf1+ 24. Qxf1 Rxc7 25. Qxb5 Rxc2 gives more than enough compensation. But Kamsky had judged the position better. His 23. Bc5] forced an exchange of bishops, leaving the d6 square in White's control.

From move 25, White's attack grew with remarkable impetus. Pausing only to avoid potential back-rank mates with 31. h3 (when 31 . . . Nd5 loses to 32. Rxd5] exd5 33. f6] gxf6 34. Nf5), Kamsky quickly put his opponent's position under intolerable pressure. With 31 . . . Nc6, Larsen hoped for 32. fxe6 fxe6 33. Nxb5 Qxc5] when Black escapes, but he overlooked a combination, winning rook for knight. After 32. Rb6, White quickly picks up the b- pawn, with an easy win.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Kamsky Black: Larsen ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 e4 c5 20 Qf2 Bb5 2 Nf3 e6 21 Rxd8 Qxd8 3 d4 cxd4 22 Rd1 Qe8 4 Nxd4 Nc6 23 Bc5 Bxc5 5 Nc3 d6 24 Nxc5 e3 6 Be2 Nf6 25 Qxe3 Nxc2 7 0-0 Be7 26 Qf2 Nb4 8 Be3 0-0 27 N3e4 Rb8 9 f4 Bd7 28 Qg3 Kh8 10 Qd3 a6 29 Nd6 Qe7 11 Rad1 Rc8 30 f5 Rf8 12 a3 Qc7 31 h3 Nc6 13 Nb3 Rfd8 32 f6 gxf6 14 Kh1 b5 33 exf6 Qxf6 15 Bf3 b4 34 Nd7 Qg7 16 axb4 Nxb4 35 Qxg7+ Kxg7 17 Qd2 d5 36 Nxf8 Kxf8 18 e5 Ne4 37 Nxb5 axb5 19 Bxe4 dxe4 38 Rd6 1-0 -----------------------------------------------------------------

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