ETCETERA / Chess

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The world champions of rival organisations met in the Linares tournament. The encounter produced a curious oversight.

White: Kasparov

Black: Karpov

This was the first game between the two since Kasparov split from Fide. With Karpov a point ahead, the PCA champion needed to win.

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Bc4 Ngf6 6. Ng5 e6 7. Qe2 Nb6 8. Bb3 h6 9. N5f3 a5

Two years earlier at Linares, Karpov had played 9 . . . c5 in this position against Kasparov. The game continued 10. Bf4 Bd6 11. Bg3 Qe7 12. dxc5 Bxc5 13. Ne5 with a more comfortable position for White, Kasparov won in 41 moves.

10. c3

A decade ago, Karpov himself played 10. a3 against Petrosian in this position, while earlier this year, Ivanchuk played 10. a4 against Karpov. Kasparov's move is a new idea, though quite what the idea was we have yet to discover.

10 . . . c5 11. a3 Qc7 12. Ne5?

A complete blunder - and only two moves out of theory. He seems to have missed the point of Karpov's Qc7 move. The odd thing is that Karpov missed it too.

12 . . . cxd4 13. cxd4 (see diagram)

Black can now win a pawn with 13 . . . Bxa3] since 14. Rxa3 loses to Qxc1+ while 14. bxa3 loses to Qc3+ and 14. Qb5+ Bd7 15. Nxd7 Bb4+ also doesn't help.

13 . . . a4?

How can a world champion miss such a thing? Karpov, unable to entertain the possibility that world champion Kasparov had blundered away a pawn, fails to find the right move. Now White wanted to play 14. Ba2, but could not risk giving Karpov another chance to play Bxa3]

14. Bc2 Bd7 15. Nxd7 Nbxd7 16. Qd1 Bd6 17. Ne2 Nd5 18. Bd2 b5 19. Nc3

White exchanges the knight on d5, but another soon replaces it.

19 . . . Nxc3 20. Bxc3 Nf6 21. Qd3 Nd5 22. Bd2 Ke7]

It is a measure of Black's grip that he can get away with this. The king is safe and his rooks are now connected.

23. Rc1 Qc4 24. Ke2 Rhb8 25. g3 Qxd3+ 26. Bxd3 b4 27. Ra1]

After 27. axb4 Bxb4, White's weaknesses on b2 and d4 become serious. Now he loses a pawn but simplifies to a draw.

27 . . . bxa3 28. bxa3 Rb3

29. Bc2 Rxa3 30. Rxa3 Bxa3

31. Ra1 Bb2 32. Rxa4 Rxa4

33. Bxa4 Bxd4

With all the pawns on the same side and the black bishop on the wrong colour to help promote the h-pawn, the game must be drawn.

34. f4 Kd6 35. Kf3 f5 36. h4 Bb2

37. g4 fxg4+ 38. Kxg4 Nf6+

39. Kf3 Nd5 40. Bc2 Bf6 41. h5 draw agreed.

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