Chess: Flexibility the key to opening

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The Independent Culture
IN TODAY'S game from the recent Interzonal, everything in the opening is determined by considerations of flexibility, writes William Hartston. In a typical King's Indian, Black's knight lurks on a6, waiting to see how the central position is resolved. Whether White plays dxe5, or blocks with d5, or Black captures exd4, the knight will have a good square on c5. Maintaining the tension with 8. Be3, White invites a time-wasting dance between the bishop and Black's knight. When White's Q-side pawn advance stifles the knight on a6, it is re-routed to head for d4. Meanwhile, White's bishop changes direction, and his knight, with nothing to do on c3, wanders off towards d6.

The critical moment comes with 22 . . . b6. Since Black has an automatic K-side attacking plan by advancing g- and h- pawns, White must ensure that the centre of gravity of play remains on the other wing so plays an interesting pawn sacrifice to open lines. 31. Qxd7] is a fine queen sacrifice. The real point comes with 34. Nxe5] Instead 34. Rcc7? Bxe2 35. Rxg7+ Qxg7 36. Rxg7+ Kxg7 37. gxf3 Rb8 leaves White struggling to save the ending. As play went, Black was unable to defend the mate threat of Rxg7+ and Nxg6.

White: Piket

Black: Smirin

1 d4 Nf6 19 Nb1 Ne6 2 c4 g6 20 Nbd2 Nd4 3 Nc3 Bg7 21 Nc4 Nxe2+ 4 e4 d6 22 Qxe2 b6 5 Nf3 0-0 23 Nd6 Qe6 6 Be2 e5 24 Rfd1 bxc5 7 0-0 Na6 25 Rac1 cxb4 8 Be3 Ng4 26 Rxc6 bxa3 9 Bg5 Qe8 27 Bxa3 Rd8 10 dxe5 dxe5 28 Rdc1 Qg8 11 h3 h6 29 Rc7 a5 12 Bd2 Nf6 30 Qb5 Ba6 13 Be3 Nd7 31 Qxd7 Rxd7 14 a3 f5 32 Rxd7 Rd8 15 b4 c6 33 Re7 Be2 16 c5 f4 34 Nxe5 Qa2 17 Bc1 Kh7 35 Rcc7 Rg8 18 Bb2 Nc7 36 Ne8 1-0

In the British Championship in Dundee, the three grandmasters, Julian Hodgson, Mark Hebden and Colin McNab, have all won their first two games. The tournament continues until the end of next week.

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