Chess: Kasparov's deceptive sacrifice

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IN ENGLAND during the war, they say, there were two laboratories on opposite sides of a corridor, one devising shells to pierce armour plating, the other devising armour plating to resist shells. Meanwhile, in Russia, Mikhail Botvinnik had been granted exemption from his engineering work in the military service in order to work on chess.

In the long run, it came to much the same thing. You start with the basic armour-plating of the Meran system of the Slav Defence: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6, when play conventionally continued 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4. This was pierced by the anti-Meran gambit, 5. Bg5 dxc4 6. e4, then strengthened by Botvinnik's anti-anti-Meran, 6 . . . b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5. Black castles behind his advanced Q-side pawns and the game explodes in tactics.

Today's game was played in Madrid earlier this month. The position after 16 moves was known in Botvinnik's day, but recently 17. a3] was added to the white armoury by Kasparov. Salov's 19. Qd4] was probably home preparation, preparing the queen sacrifice that followed. After 22. Be3, any rook retreat is met by Bxa7, but the game continuation revealed the real depth of the conception with the further sacrifice 23. Nc3]]

After 23 . . . bxc3 24. bxc3, Black's rook had to move and 24 . . . Rd8 loses to 25. Rfb1 followed by Bxa7. Illescas tried the clever 24 . . . Rd6, counting on 25. Rfb1 Ra6] 26. Rxb5 Rxa1+ 27. Bf1 Bd6, but Salov's clever 25. Rab1] maximised his advantages. A queen for bishop ahead, Black was quite lost. At the end, White picks off as many pawns as he wants, regains rook for bishop and wins easily.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Salov Black: Illescas ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 d4 d5 17 a3 Nb8 2 c4 c6 18 axb4 cxb4 3 Nf3 Nf6 19 Qd4 Nc6 4 Nc3 e6 20 dxc6 Rxd4 5 Bg5 dxc4 21 cxb7+ Kc7 6 e4 b5 22 Be3 e5 7 e5 h6 23 Nc3 bxc3 8 Bh4 g5 24 bxc3 Rd6 9 Nxg5 hxg5 25 Rab1 a6 10 Bxg5 Nbd7 26 Rxb5 axb5 11 exf6 Bb7 27 Ra1 Rd8 12 g3 Qb6 28 h4 Bh6 13 Bg2 0-0-0 29 Bc5 Bf8 14 0-0 c5 30 Ba7 Bh6 15 d5 b4 31 Ra6 Rb8 16 Na4 Qb5 32 Rb6 1-0. -----------------------------------------------------------------