Chess: Herds of passed pawns do battle

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UNTIL recently, the international tournament in Tilburg in the Netherlands was an elite invitation event, restricted to a handful of the world's strongest grandmasters. Last year the format was changed to a knock-out tournament for 100 players, with two-game matches providing little margin for error and contributing a tension that all-play-all events lack.

One first-round casualty was David Bronstein, beaten 11 2 -1 2 by Rafael Vaganyan. Their draw in the first game showed that Bronstein is still full of ideas, even 42 years after he tied a memorable world championship match. The opening, 4. Ne2 against the Winawer variation of the French Defence, is an old Bronstein favourite, but his idea of exchanging queens with 7. d5 and 8. Qxd5 is an original attempt to secure an endgame advantage. After 10. Bf4] Black has the choice of which pawn to return, but in either case he remains with a slightly inferior position.

Vaganyan opted for active play, but seemed to stand worse before he found 31 . . . f4] and 32 . . . g6] After 33. hxg6 h5] White would have great difficulty stopping the passed pawn. After 30 moves the game became a race between herds of passed pawns, which ended in a dead heat.

White: Bronstein Black: Vaganyan

1 e4 e6 17 Bxc6 Rxc6 33 Kd2 gxh5

2 d4 d5 18 Kc1 f5 34 f3 exf3

3 Nc3 Bb4 19 Rd1 Kf7 35 Bxb6 h4

4 Ne2 dxe4 20 Ne2 Nc4 36 Bg1 h3

5 a3 Bxc3+ 21 Bf4 Rc8 37 Ke3 Bd5

6 Nxc3 Nc6 22 a4 h6 38 b3 Kf5

7 d5 exd5 23 h4 Kf6 39 c4 Bb7

8 Qxd5 Be6 24 h5 Ne5 40 b4 Nxf4

9 Qxd8+ Rxd8 25 Be3 Bc4 41 b5 Ng2+

10 Bf4 Nf6 26 Nc3 Nc6 42 Kf2 Nf4

11 Bxc7 Rd7 27 Rd7 b6 43 Nc6 Nd3+

12 Bf4 0-0 28 Nb5 Rd8 44 Kxf3 Ne5+

13 Bb5 Rc8 29 Rxd8 Nxd8 45 Kg3 Nxc6

14 Bg5 Ne8 30 Nxa7 Ne6 46 bxc6 Bxc6

15 Rd1 Rxd1+ 31 g3 f4 Draw agreed

16 Kxd1 Nd6 32 gxf4 g6