Chess: In the end, black pawns move faster

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BLACK pawns go faster that White ones in endgames. This empirical law seems to be borne out in practice, though the physics behind it is unclear, unless it is something to do with gravity and the way chess boards are printed. Anyway, it is clearly something Jan Timman forgot while playing Viktor Korchnoi at the Dortmund international last week, writes William Hartston.

ch28out-harts-nws In the diagram position, after 30 moves, Timman, playing White, stood better. His K-side pawns are potentially powerful and the bishop is stronger than the knight. Here's what happened: 31. Kg3 Nb8 32. Kh4 Nd7 33. e5?] (a dubious plan, cutting off the bishop from the Q-side) 33 . . . c5 34. Kxh5 Kc7 35. h4 c4 36. Kh6 b5 37. Kh7 Ra8 38. Rd2 c3 39. Rc2 b4 40. Be7 Rxa2]] 41. Rxa2 b3.

Remarkably, there is no good way to stop the pawns. 42. Ra7+ Kc6 (better than 42 . . . Kb6 43. Ra3]) leaves Whites helpless after either 43. Ra3 c2 or 44. Ba3 b2. The game continued 42. Rc2]? bxc2 43. Ba3 but after 43 . . . Nxe5 44. h5 Nd3 45. g6 fxg6 46. hxg6 Nb2, White resigned. Black wins easily after 47. g7 c1=Q 48. g8=Q Qh1+ 49. Kg7 Qg1+ 50. Kf7 Qxg8+ 51. Kxg8 Nd3.

Latest news from Sanghi Nagar: the second games of the Kamsky- Anand and Gelfand-Kramnik matches were both drawn, leaving both matches still level. Kamsky brilliantly salvaged a draw from a lost endgame. Nearer home, the Smith & Williamson Young Masters was won by Matthew Turner with 81 2 points. James Poulton and Ketevan Arakhamia shared second place on 7.