Chess: Good knight mate

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The Independent Culture
THERE is a meta-strategy for winning positional games that goes like this: block the pawn structure by putting all your pawns on the same colour squares, exchange your good bishop (the one not hampered by your pawns) for a knight, organise an exchange of the other pair of bishops, then win the endgame with your good knight against your opponent's bad bishop.

This is exactly what Black is playing at in the French Defence with 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4, when he continues Bxc3+ and a later b6 and Ba6. The long-term position strategy has the medium-term danger of succumbing to a mating attack on the black squares, but you cannot have everything.

Today's game, from the Smith & Williamson Young Masters tournament, sees the same idea in a Queen's Gambit. With his pawns on white squares, Black plays Bb4 and Bxc3, then 15 . . . Nb6 completes the strategic plan by forcing the other bishops off.

White's passive 12. Rfc1 cannot have been the best move, but he was not doing badly until he pushed forward too quickly with 25. h5. At that stage, he must have intended 27. Qxf5, but changed his mind on seeing Nd3+ or even Ne4+] in reply. 29. a4? was a final error, underestimating Black's initiative on the other wing. At the end White sets a fiendish trap, with 37. Ke2 inviting 37 . . . Qxf2+ 38. Kxf2 Rxb1, 39. c6] and the pawn cannot be stopped. When this was simply avoided White had to give up.

The winner, Milos Jirovsky, is one of two players from the Czech Republic who have dominated the early play. After four rounds, Tomas Polak led with 31 2 points; Jirovsky was second on 3.

White: J Poulton

Black: M Jirovsky

1 d4 Nf6 20 f3 a6

2 Nf3 d5 21 Qc2 f5

3 c4 e6 22 h4 Rc6

4 cxd5 exd5 23 Kf2 Qd8

5 Nc3 Nbd7 24 Rh1 Rce6

6 Bg5 Bb4 25 h5 g5

7 e3 c5 26 Be5 Nc5

8 Bd3 Qa5 27 Rhd1 Rf8

9 Qc2 0-0 28 dxc5 Rxe5

10 0-0 c4 29 a4 g4

11 Bf5 Re8 30 Rd4 Qh4+

12 Rfc1 g6 31 Kg1 f4

13 Bh3 Bxc3 32 exf4 Rxh5

14 bxc3 Ne4 33 fxg4 Qh2+

15 Bf4 Nb6 34 Kf1 Rxf4+

16 Bxc8 Raxc8 35 Rxf4 Qxf4+

17 Nd2 Nxd2 36 Qf2 Rh1+

18 Qxd2 Na4 37 Ke2 Qe4+

19 Rab1 b5 White resigns

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