Chess: Mortazavi the master

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The Independent Culture
ALI MORTAZAVI has been the surprising success of the Cafe Baroque International at Simpson's- in-the-Strand over the past week, securing his second International Master norm with a round to spare, writes William Hartston. Three such norms in the space of five years are needed to qualify for the title, which leaves Mortazavi another six months for his final qualifying result, since his February 1988 norm will then pass its sell-by date.

With a naturally aggressive style, Motazavi has been picking up his points with incisive attacking games, such as the following effort against Conor O'Shaughnessy. When White plays c3 against the Sicilian, Black's natural response is d5 and Qxd5, since White's knight can no longer gain time by attacking the queen from c3. With 6. Na3, White plans Nb5 which is prevented by 6 . . . a6 at the cost of leaving a weakness on b6. After 9 . . . b5 Black's pawn structure is rationalised again. With 10. Ne3, White finally managed to expel the queen, but his 10. Kf1? is over-optimistic.

After 13. a4, White must have thought he was getting somewhere, since 13 . . . b4 is met by 14. Nc4, but the pawn sacrifice 13 . . . Bb7] was a fine solution to Black's problems. After 15 . . . 0-0 Black has active pieces, a safe king, and a useful lead in development. By the time White had established some sort of coordination with 23. f3 and 24. Kf2, Black was ready to open another front or his attack with 24 . . . e5] The finish was neat, with the bishop, after 27 . . . Bb6+, having immunity from capture thanks to a knight fork on d5. In the final position, after 29. Kg3 Nh5+ 30. Kh3 Nf4+ Black wins the bishop on e2 with check.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: O'Shaughnessy Black: Mortazavi ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 e4 c5 16 Be2 Bc7 2 Nf3 e6 17 Rxa8 Rxa8 3 c3 d5 18 Bd2 Rd8 4 exd5 Qxd5 19 Bc3 Ne4 5 d4 Nf6 20 Nd2 Nxc3 6 Na3 a6 21 bxc3 Qa3 7 Nc4 Nbd7 22 Nb1 Qa1 8 Be2 cxd4 23 f3 Nf6 9 cxd4 b5 24 Kf2 e5 10 Ne3 Bb4+ 25 Qb3 exd4 11 Kf1 Qd6 26 Qxb7 dxe3+ 12 a3 Ba5 27 Kxe3 Bb6+ 13 a4 Bb7 28 Kf4 Qa4+ 14 axb5 axb5 White resigns 15 Bxb5 0-0 -----------------------------------------------------------------

In the fourth round, Neil McDonald declined an early offer of a draw against Mortazavi, but must soon have regretted it. When White's queen did not win the game on the g-file, it switched direction, finally reaching its goal via c2, c8 and e6.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: A Mortazavi Black: N McDonald ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 d4 Nf6 23 Nxc1 Qc4 2 c4 g6 24 Qd2 Bb5 3 Nc3 Bg7 25 b3 Qc5 4 e4 d6 26 Nd3 Qb6 5 Be2 0-0 27 Nf2 Bd7 6 Bg5 Na6 28 Ng4 Bxg4 7 Qd2 e5 29 fxg4 Rh8 8 d5 c6 30 Kf1 Qd4 9 f3 cxd5 31 Qc2 Bd8 10 cxd5 Bd7 32 Kg2 Qb6 11 g4 Qa5 33 Qc8 Qc7 12 h4 h5 34 Qe6 Rf8 13 Bxf6 Bxf6 35 Qxg6+ Kh8 14 gxh5 Kg7 36 Qh6+ Kg8 15 hxg6 fxg6 37 Rc1 Qe7 16 h5 Rh8 38 Nf5 Qg5 17 Bxa6 Qxa6 39 Qxg5+ Bxg5 18 Qg2 Rh6 40 Rc6 a5 19 Nge2 b5 41 Rxd6 Bf4 20 Ng3 b4 42 g5 a4 21 Nce2 Rc8 43 g6 1-0 22 Rc1 Rxc1+ -----------------------------------------------------------------

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