ETCETERA / Chess

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The international master Keith Arkell laments the one that got away from him in Paris.

White: S Rubovich

Black: K Arkell

Paris Championship 1994

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. cxd5 Nxd5 7. Qb3 Nxc3

Retreating the knight to b6 is more common. After 7 . . . Nxc3, White should play 8. Bc4] with an awkward threat against f7. My opponent seemed to have forgotten this little piece of theory.

8. bxc3 Bg7 9. Nf3 0-0 10. Be2 Nc6 11. 0-0 Qc7 12. Bg5 Be6

Thanks to his error at move eight, White already stands worse. Without any attack on the K-side, his backward c-pawn is a liability. 13. d5 now loses a pawn to Na5.

13. Qa3 Rfe8 14. Rac1 h6 15. Be3 Bd5 16. Rfd1 Rad8

The black rooks generally belong on c8 and d8 in such positions, but I was planning to strike in the centre with e5.

17. Ne1

With 17. c4 losing a pawn to Bxf3 and Nxd4, White is short of good moves. 17. Nd2 runs into 17 . . . e5] 18. c4 Bxg2] winning after 19. Kxg2 exd4 or 19. d5 Nd4.

After his move, I had a very long think. Simply 17 . . . Na5 keeps a big positional advantage, since 18. c4 Nxc4 19. Qb4 Rc8 is impossible for White. Nevertheless, I still wanted to play e5, even though 17 . . . e5 18. c4 Bxg2 no longer works because of 19. Nxg2 exd4 20. Bf4.

Then I was attracted by another idea.

17 . . . e5 18. c4 exd4 19. cxd5 dxe3 20. dxc6 Rd2]]

This made the temptation to play e5 irresistible. The threats are Rxe2, exf2+ and Bb2.

21. fxe3 (see diagram)

What now? I had rejected 21 . . . Rxe2 because of 22. Rd7 Qb6 23. Rxb7, but analysing the position with a friend later, we discovered 23 . . . Qd4]] Even enlisting the help of a computer, we were unable to find a defence for White after this surprising move. He cannot capture the queen: 24. exd4 Bxd4+ 25. Kf1 Rf2+ 26. Kg1 Rf3+ 27. Kh1 Rf1 mate, and most other moves are met by a rook capture on e3.

21 . . . Bb2?

Missing not only the beautiful combination, but White's next move too. After this, my position goes rapidly downhill in time-trouble.

22. cxb7] Qxb7 23. Qa4 Qe7 24. Rxd2 Bxc1 25. Rc2 Bxe3+ 26. Kf1 Rb8 27. Bf3 Qd6

My black-square threats are a nuisance, but not remotely enough for the piece.

28. Re2 Bb6 29. Re8+ Rxe8 30. Qxe8+ Kg7 31. g3 Qd4 32. Kg2 Qf2+ 33. Kh3 Qf1+ 34. Bg2 Qf5+ 35. g4 Qf6 36. Nf3 h5 37. Qe5 resigns.

(Graphic omitted)

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