ETCETERA / Chess: THE International Master Andrew Martin shows that 19th-century openings can still claim grandmaster scalps
Journalist and novelist Andrew Martin is the author of the 'Jim Stringer' series of novels based around railways. He has written for the Independent on Sunday, the Evening Standard, the Sunday Times and the New Statesman among others.
Sunday 05 July 1992
Black: Michael Adams
Eastman Cup Final, London 1992.
1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4]? exf4 4. d4]?
An all-or-nothing opening. Wilhelm Steinitz, the first world champion, loved this gambit.
4 . . . Qh4+ 5. Ke2 b6?
5 . . . d6 and 5 . . . d5 are the critical moves.
6. Nb5] Ba6
Exchanging queens with 6 . . . Qh5+ 7. Ke1 Qxd1+ 8. Kxd1 makes no sense. White regains the pawn with a fine game.
7. a4 0-0-0
We were both unaware of the dangerous alternative 7 . . . Qe7]
8. Nf3 Qe7 9. Kf2]
Attending to the threat of Qxe4+ and setting up 10. Nxa7+.
9 . . . Bb7 10. Bxf4 Qxe4 11. Qd2 Nf6 12. Bd3 Qh5 13. Rhe1]
Capturing on c7 was always in my mind, but I did not want to permit a glimmer of counterplay. The opening has gone beautifully; why spoil it?
13 . . . d6 (diagram) 14. a5
This is based on the neat variation 14 . . . Nxa5 15. Rxa5] bxa5 16. Qxa5 Rd7 17. c4 Qh5 18. Re8+] Nxe8 19. Nxa7+ Kb8 20. Qxh5 Kxa7 21. Qa5+ Kb8 22. d5] and Nd4-c6 cannot be stopped. I was discomfited when some Hampshire juniors at a training session found 14. Bg5] cutting the queen's escape and winning simply: 14 . . . Ng4+ (or 14 . . . Na5 15. b4 Nc4 16. Qc3) 15. Kg3 f6 16. c4 Qf7 17. Kxg4 fxg5 18. Nxg5 Qf6 19. Re6.
14 . . . Qh5 15. axb6 axb6 16. c4 Be7?
This passive move told me that Michael Adams was disgusted with his position. The only hope was 16 . . . g5 17. Bxg5 Bg7.
17. Kg1 Rhe8 18. d5 Ne5 19. Nfd4]
The threat is 20. Na7+ Kb8 21. Bxe5 and 22. Ndc6+.
19 . . . Kb8 20. Be2
My opponent pointed out that 20. Na7 would have been quicker.
20 . . . Nxc4
Now 21. Bxc4 Nxd5 gives Black some hope of resistance, but White has better.
21. Bxh5 Nxd2 22. Bxf7 Nde4 23. Bxe8 Rxe8 24. Nc6+ Kc8 25. Rac1 Bf8 26. Nb4 Nc5 27. Rxe8+ Nxe8 28. Bg5]
White threatens Rf1, which is also the reply to h6.
28 . . . Nf6 29. Bxf6 gxf6 30. Re1 Kd7 31. Nd4 Na4 32. Nbc6 Nxb2 33. Nb8+]
This forces mate or decisive material gain.
33 . . . Kd8 34. Ne6+ Kc8 35. Nc6 Bh6 36. Nc5] dxc5 37. Re8+ resigns.
It is mate next move. One up for Steinitz.
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