ETCETERA / Chess

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The Independent Culture
Vassily Smyslov, at the age of 73, was still more than a match for the world's best women in Monaco.

First came the Waltzer tournament in Vienna, then the Tumbuin Aruba, Spain, and this year the Paladienne in Monte Carlo. Each year, the Dutch businessman Joop van Oosterom sponsors a match between the world's top women and an invited team of veteran grandmasters, always naming the event after a regional dance.

This time the women won a narrow 37-35 victory, but the highest individual score was made by the 1957 world champion, Vassily Smyslov, with 8 out of 12. The following game is an impressive example of his vigorous style.

White: Vassily Smyslov

Black: NanaJoseliani

Sicilian Defence

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+

Currently fashionable, but probably chosen by Smyslov to avoid the sharp theory of 3. d4.

3 . . . Bd7 4. Bxd7+ Nxd7 5. 0-0 Ngf6 6. Qe2 e6 7. c4

Having exchanged his bishop,Smyslov puts his pawns on white squares. The usual idea is to play d4 later, leading to the cramping 'Maroczy bind' formation.

7 . . . Be7 8. b3 0-0 9. Bb2 Re8 10. Nc3 a6 11. Kh1 Qc7 12. Rae1

Only now does it become clear that White might not be going to play d4 at all. After d4 and an exchange of pawns, Black's pieces are nicely crouched to prepare counter-action with b5 or d5. Now Joseliani finds it difficult to develop a coherent plan.

12 . . . Bf8 13. Ng5

Getting out of the way to enable an advance of the f-pawn. This move also tempts a weakness in the black K-side.

13 . . . h6 14. Nh3 Ne5 15. f4 Nc6 16. g4] (see diagram)

A splendidly energetic move, preparing an attack with g5 while clearing g2 for the queen in case Black's knight moves to d4.

16 . . . g6 17. Qg2 Bg7 18. g5 hxg5 19. Nxg5 Nd4

The knight finally reaches its intended square, but it might have done better to remain on c6, to keep a guard on e5.

20. e5] Nh7 21. Nxh7 Kxh7

22. Ne4] dxe5 23. dxe5 Nf5

Black loses her queen after 23 . . . Bxe5 24. Rxf7+ Qxf7 25. Ng5+. Now the knight on f5 blocks White's attack down the f- file, but Smyslov is happy to work round it.

24. Nf6+ Bxf6 25. exf6 Kg8 26. Be5

The winning plan is simple: Qg5, Rxf5, Qh6 and Qg7 mate. This bishop move prevents Black defending with Qd6 and Qf8.

26 . . . Qd7 27. Qg5 Rad8 28. Rxf5 Qxd2 29. Qxd2 Rxd2 Black resigned.

Even if he is in his seventies, you don't play on a piece down against Smyslov.

(Graphic omitted)

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