ETCETERA / Chess

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GRANDMASTER Norwood selects the most striking games of the year. Today, the best games, next week, the worst.

In 1992, the Iron Curtain melted away to unleash a flood of ex-Soviet grandmasters on to Western tournaments, making life hell for anyone trying to pick up a few decent prizes, but it also saw the top ex-Soviets losing their cloak of invulnerability. For 1992 was the year that Kasparov and Karpov came down to earth. The games that follow are evidence of the much diminished gap betwen the K's and the rest of the world.

White: Anand / Black: Kasparov

Tilburg 1992

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f4 e6 7. Bd3 Nbd7 8. 0- 0 Qb6]? 9. Be3 Qxb2 10. Ndb5]

In the bad old days, no-one would have dared play such a sacrifice against Kasparov. Perhaps he is losing the ability to intimidate his opponents.

10 . . . axb5 11. Nxb5 Ra5 12. Rb1 Rxb5

12 . . . Qxa2 loses the queen after 13. Nc3 Qa3 14. Rb3.

13. Rxb2 Rxb2 14. Qa1] Rb6

Necessary, since 14 . . . Rb4 loses to 15. Qc3.

15. Bxb6 Nxb6 16. Qc3 Be7 17. Rb1 Nfd7 18. Qxg7 Bf6 19. Qh6 Ke7 20. Bb5 Rg8 21. Rd1 e5? 22. f5 Nc5

With three pieces for the queen, Black was still in the game but these moves wreck everything.

23. Rxd6] Bg5

Taking the rook loses to 24. Qxf6+ Kc7 25. Qxe5+.

24. Qxh7 Nxe4 25. Rxb6 Rd8 26. Bd3 Be3+ 27. Kf1 Bxb6 28. Bxe4 Rd4 29. c3 resigns.

29 . . . Rxe4 loses to 30. f6+. Kasparov never used to lose such games; the next is the sort of game that Karpov never used to lose.

White: Short Black: Karpov

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 Be7 8. 0-0-0 0-0 9. Nb3 a6 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. h4 Kh8 12. g4 b5 13. g5 b4 14. Na4 Rg8 15. f4 Rb8 16. Kb1 Bf8 17. Be2 e5 18. f5 fxg5 19. hxg5 Rxg5 20. Qe3] Qf6 21. Nb6 Ne7 22. Nxc8?

Missing an immediate win with 22. Bxa6] Bxa6 23. Nd7] Now Karpov fights back but offers his opponent another bite later.

22 . . . Rxc8 23. Bxa6 Rd8 24. Qb6 Ng8] 25. Na5 d5] 26. Nc6 Rd6 27. exd5 Ne7 28. Qxb4 Nxd5

28 . . . Nxc6 would have been met by 29. Qh4]

29. Rxd5 (see diagram) Qg7??

After the game Karpov pointed out 29 . . . Rxd5] 30. Qxf8+ Rg8 31. Qe7] Qh6]] which he had seen but rejected, because he couldn't bring himself to believe it.

30. Rxd6 Rg1+ 31. Rd1 Rxd1+ 32. Rxd1 Bxb4 33. Nxb4 Qg4 34. Rd8+ Kg7 35. a3 Qxf5 36. Rd1 h5 37. Re1 Qe6 38. Bb7 f5 39. Bd5 Qf6 40. c4 e4 41. c5 1-0.

(Graphic omitted)

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