ETCETERA / Chess

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
GRANDMASTER Norwood delves into the past year in search of the worst grandmaster game.

One game stands out below all others as the true horror of 1992: Boris Gelfand's loss to Michael Adams in the final of the Tilburg tournament. For a player in the world's top five to flout elementary principles in decentralising his men was bad enough, but the fact that it cost him dollars 60,000 makes it exquisitely painful.

White: Gelfand

Black: Adams

This was the play-off for first and second places at Tilburg (dollars 100,000 and dollars 40,000) played at a rate of 30 minutes for each player. Particularly at that speed, one should not be lured into the temptation to break elementary rules.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. f3

Not a bad move, but Michael Adams says that if White really wants to get anywhere against the Benko Gambit, he must accept the pawn.

5 . . . axb5 6. e4 Qa5+ 7. Bd2 b4 8. Na3 d6 9. Nc4 Qc7 10. a3 bxa3 11. Rxa3

Taking with the pawn is better. This is the start of White's over-ambition.

11 . . . Rxa3 12. Nxa3 g6 13. Nb5 Qb7 14. Qa4 Nbd7 15. Ba5 (See diagram)

You cannot do things like this when so under-developed. The plan of Ba5 and Nc7+ is entirely superficial, leaving White's men completely offside. Instead 15. Bc4 Bg7 16. e5]? dxe5 17. d6 would have been interesting.

15 . . . Bh6] 16. Nc7+ Kf8 17. b3

17. Ba6 Qxb2 18. Bxc8 Qxg2 wins for Black. If White was determined not to reject 15. Ba5 on instinct, he should have calculated that far, then played something else. Black stands much better.

17 . . . Kg7 18. Be2 Ne5 19. Qb5 Qa7 20. Qb6 Qxb6 21. Bxb6 Bd7 22. Ba5 Rb8

With his bishop back on the same rotten square and the knight on c7, once so beautiful on c4, now having no future at all, White's edge-hogging tactics are heading for the usual punishment: he is squashed in the centre of the board.

23. Bd1 Nd3+ 24. Kf1 Nc1 25. Ne2 Nxb3 26. Bc3 Be3 27. g4 Nd4 28. Kg2 Rb7 29. Na8

Very sad, but 29. Na6 Bb5 just loses the beast.

29 . . . Ne8 30. Bc2 f6 31. Bxd4 cxd4 32. Rb1 Rxb1 33. Bxb1 Bb5 34. Ng3 d3 35. Nf1 Bc5 36. f4 f5 37. gxf5 gxf5 38. e5 Bc4 39. Ng3 d2 40. Bc2 Bxd5+ 41. Kf1 Bf3

Not even bothering to pick up the body of the dead horse on a8. The ref should have stopped the fight here to save White from further punishment, but Gelfand struggled on before resigning at move 65.

Comments