Chess: Karpov's overtime victory

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The Independent Culture
ANOTHER virtuoso endgame performance by Anatoly Karpov won him first prize in the Interpolis tournament in Tilburg. His final against Vassily Ivanchuk had to be decided in quick-play overtime after two draws. After making no impression with White in the first rapid game, Karpov ground out a long win with Black in the second.

Just over a year ago, Karpov lost a string of games with Black against Nigel Short and seemed to have no defence to 1. e4. Since then he has almost given up 1 . . . e5 and turned his Caro-Kann, 1 . . . c6 into a formidable weapon. It did for Belyavsky in the semi-final, then squeezed Ivanchuk to death in the final.

Meanwhile, back in England, the inaugural season of the 4 Nations Chess League continued with two rounds at the Bolton Moat House Hotel. With most club chess in Britain played in unglamorous surroundings and poorly funded, particularly in comparison with the professional leagues in France and Germany, the 4 Nations Chess League is a bold attempt to raise its profile. Indeed, the very title might be accused of over-boldness: with all six teams coming from England, the Welsh, Scottish and Irish contributions to the 4 Nations are still awaited. But with 3 grandmasters and 21 masters of various descriptions competing over the weekend, the quest for quality is clearly succeeding. After four rounds, the lead is held by Invicta Knights of Maidstone, who are sponsored by Michael's Fine Crafts. With three wins and a draw, they are a point ahead of the favourites, the grandmaster- rich Barbican side.

The most attractive game was the draw on top board between Covent Garden and Slough. After a quiet opening, the game came to life when the former British champion Paul Littlewood played 18. Re5, allowing a little combination with Rxd4. White must have hoped that the isolated black e-pawn would be a target, but Black obtained a slight initiative which he put to use with the remarkable 21 . . . Qe3]

After 22. fxe3 Rxf1+ 23. Kxf1 Nxe3+ Black regains his queen with a pawn's interest. So Littlewood sold his own queen for a pawn to keep the game level. After 24. fxe3 Rxf1+ 25. Kxf2 Nxh2+ Black is certainly no worse.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: P Littlewood ----------------------------------------------------------------- Black: A Summerscale ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 d4 d5 13 Qxe4 Ba3 2 c4 c6 14 Rab1 Bxb2 3 Nf3 Nf6 15 Rxb2 Rad8 4 e3 Bf5 16 Re2 Nf6 5 Bd3 Bxd3 17 Qc2 Qc7 6 Qxd3 e6 18 Re5 Rxd4 7 0-0 Nbd7 19 Rxe6 fxe6 8 Nc3 Be7 20 Nxd4 Ng4 9 b3 0-0 21 g3 Qe5 10 Bb2 Qa5 22 Ne2 Qe3 11 e4 dxe4 23 Qxh7+ Kxh7 12 Nxe4 Nxe4 Draw agreed -----------------------------------------------------------------