Chess: Recovering well

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The Independent Culture
THE STRANGEST tournament performance this year has been Michael Adams result in Las Palmas. In a nine-round event, packed with strong grandmasters, he lost his first three games then recovered magnificently to score four wins and two draws from the last six. His combative style tends to lead to decisive results, but it takes an unusually sanguine temperament to come back from a string of defeats so convincingly.

His loss in the second round to the Bulgarian teenager, Veselin Topalov, was typical of Adams at his scrappiest. A move such as 7 . . . g5 must either secure immediate gains or be very bad. After 8. Qa4] Adams seemed to be improvising. The trouble is that 8 . . . Bc5 is met by 9. d4 Bxd4 10. Bxg5. When 12. Bxe4] won a pawn, Black was clearly struggling.

Adams worked up some attacking chances on the K-side, but Topalov counter-attacked imaginatively. 31. Nc5+] was a neat trick, leaving White's queen attacked but creating the threat of c6+ after the knight exchange.

The finish was elegant. After 38. Rxe2] Qxe2, White has 39. Qh8+ Kb7 40. c6+ Kb6 41. Qd4+] Ka5 42. Bd2+ winning everything.

White: Topalov

Black: Adams

1 c4 Nf6

2 Nc3 e5

3 Nf3 Nc6

4 g3 Bb4

5 Nd5 e4

6 Nh4 d6

7 Bg2 g5

8 Qa4 Bd7

9 Nxb4 Nd4

10 Qd1 gxh4

11 Nc2 h3

12 Bxe4 Nxe4

13 Nxd4 Qf6

14 Nf3 Bc6

15 0-0 h6

16 d4 d5

17 c5 0-0-0

18 Ne5 Rhg8

19 a4 h5

20 Ra3 Qe6

21 b4 f6

22 Nd3 h4

23 Nf4 Qf5

24 b5 Be8

25 Qd3 Rd7

26 Qb3 Rg5

27 c6 Rdg7

28 cxb7+ Kxb7

29 Qf3 Qd7

30 Nd3 Bh5

31 Nc5+ Nxc5

32 dxc5 Kb8

33 Qxf6 Rf5

34 Qd4 Bxe2

35 Re1 hxg3

36 Rxg3 Rxg3+

37 fxg3 Qe8

38 Rxe2 1-0