ETCETERA / Chess

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One of the favourites in the Fide World Championship scores a fine win in the current eliminating matches in India.

White: Boris Gelfand

Black: Vladimir Kramnik

Sicilian Defence

One of the most disciplined characters near the top of world chess is Boris Gelfand.

Ignoring the PCA/Intel rival events to concentrate on the official Fide (International Chess Federation) championships, he eliminated England's Michael Adams in the previous round and is currently playing Kramnik for a place in the semi-finals.

This is their fourth game and the equalising win for Gelfand.

1. c4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. d4 d5 6. a3

White prepares dxc5 followed by b4. Black imitates with his next move, but the symmetry soon comes to an end.

6 . . . a6 7. b3 cxd4 8. exd4 Be7 9. c5 b6 10. cxb6 Nd7

Instead 10 . . . Qxb6 invites Na4, b4 and Nc5.

11. Bd3 a5?]

Preventing b4, but giving up the b5 square.

12. Nb5 Qxb6 13. Bf4 0-0 14. 0-0 Na7 15. Nc7] Rb8 16. b4]

White's knight on c7 looks threatening, but it is not clear how it will escape. White must keep the initiative and this move is part of the plan. 16 . . . axb4 17. axb4 Bxb4 runs into trouble against 18. Na6.

16 . . . Bb7 17. bxa5 Qxa5 18. Qe2 e5?]

The start of a long combination to exploit the knight on c7 which just fails.

19. Bxe5 Nxe5 20. Qxe5 Nc6 21. Qf4 Rbc8 22. Nb5 Ba6 23. a4 Nb4 24. Bf5] Rcd8 25. Rfe1 Bf6 26. Ne5]

The fight for the initiative continues. Now 26 . . . Bxb5 27. axb5 Qxb5 28. Ng4 is very dangerous. Now Black regains his pawn, but his problems are not over.

26 . . . Bxe5 27. dxe5 Bxb5 28. axb5 Qxb5 29. Ra3 Qc4 (see diagram)

Instead 29 . . . g6 would have invited 30. Rh3] with Qh6 to follow. Kramnik's move, offering an exchange of queens that would favour Black, provokes a crisis.

30. Bxh7+] Kxh7 31. Qf5+ Kg8 32. Rh3 Rfe8 33. Qh7+ Kf8 34. Qh8+ Ke7 35. Qxg7 d4

Now f7 is protected by the queen, but White's reply cuts off that line of communication.

36. e6 Kd6 37. e7 Rd7 38. Qe5+ Kc6 39. Rh6+ Kb7 40. Qa5 Rdxe7 41. Rxe7+ Rxe7

Now Black, whose king has been chased right across the board, threatens mate himself, but he just doesn't have the time to execute it.

42. Qb6+] resigns

42 . . . Kc8 43. Rh8+ Kd7 44. Rd8 is mate.

(Graphic omitted)

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