ETCETERA: CHESS

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The Independent Culture
When Wilhelm Steinitz played Mikhail Chigorin for the world championship in Havana a century ago, the Austrian sipped champagne during the games, while the Russian drank brandy. To steady his nerves, he said. Which is, of course, the way the game ought to be enjoyed. So fill your glass and sample this magnificent effort from the first-round of the Martell Trophy - the tournament for the cognac-swilling classes of London's clubland.

White: Ali Mortazavi (Simpsons)

Black: Roger Smolski (RAC)

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d6

The regulars at the RAC Chess Circle take a justified pride in their ignorance of theory, which makes it unsporting of Mr Mortazavi to have played a sharp Vienna Game. Black foils him by securing a comfortable disadvantage with this move.

4.Nf3 Nc6 5.Bc4 Be7 6.0-0 Bg4 7.h3 Bd7

Inconsistent with his previous move, but, as Emerson said: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds".

8.a3 h6 9.d3 0-0 10.f5 Nh7 11.Qe1 Kh8 12.Be3 Bf6 13.Nd5 Ne7 14.Nxf6 Nxf6 15.Qh4 Neg8 16.g4 Nh7 17.g5 g6

Having exploited his space advantage and well, White can now play 18.fxg6 fxg6 19.Bxg8 or 18.Bxf7 Rxf7 20.fxg6. Instead, perhaps hav ing sipped at the sponsor's table once too often, he sacrifices a piece.

18.d4?! gxf5 19.dxe5 fxe4 20.exd6?! exf3 21.Bd4+ f6 22.gxh6?

Brandy blur, surely. 22.gxf6 would have given better value for the piece.

22...Bc6 23.Rad1 Qxd6 24.Bc3 Qc5+ 25.Kh2 Qg5

Hereabouts, Black overstepped the time limit. But in keeping with the spirit of the occasion, the game continued.

26. Qxg5 Nxg5 27.h4 Nh7 28.Rg1 Nxh6 29.Rg6 Rg8!? 30.Rxh6

30.Bxg8 Nxg8 offered few prospects but this is worse.

30...Rg2+ 31.Kh3 Kg7! 32.Rh5 Kg6! 33.Rc5 Ng5+!! (see diagram)

Excellent! 34.hxg5 Rgh8 is mate, while 34.Rxg5+ fxg5 is hopeless. But remember that Black had lost on time a few moves earlier, the players reached the correct decision. Agreed draw!!

Fill 'em up, bartender!

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