Games: Chess

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The Independent Culture
LIKE OTHER forms of sport, (martial) art or (thankfully not quite mortal) combat, chess can in extremis lead either to excellence or collapse and suffering - especially the latter.

Take some of the events on Wednesday afternoon in the Emperor's Ballroom of Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, as six pairs of warriors battled it out in quickplay play-offs to reach the quarter-finals of the Fide world championship.

Topalov (to play)

vs Kramnik - Game 4

In their first play-off game, Topalov has blundered fatally in a rook ending he would never normally lose. A mixture of the sublime and the woeful occurred in what was to be their final game. After 37 d6 R8b5 38 Rc4 Kramnik came up with a superb resource: Rf3+!

a) Topalov now collapsed totally, with 39 Kg1?? Qxe2 40 Qd4 Rb2 0-1

b) If 39 exf3 is very bad - though not immediately losing - after Rb2+ 40 Kg1 Qxf3 41 Qc8+ Kh7 42 Qh3

c) But 39 Ke1! Rf1+ 40 Kxf1 Qh1+ 41 Kf2 Rxc5! 42 Rxh1 Rxc4 43 Rd1! Rc8 would have kept good winning chances.

Adams vs Dreev (to play) - Game 5

In the third play-off game, they were up to 15 minutes plus 10 seconds a move. Adams had been under pressure but bailed out to this ending where he is the exchange down but his good pawn structure renders Black's chances problematical.

However, to the bemusement of many "clickoteurs" on the Internet Chess Club (, unwilling to make concessions for the tension, the game continued 48 Kg3 Rc2 49 Bb5 Rc5 50 Be2 Na4 51 Nd4 Nc3?? 52 Ne6+ Ke7 53 Nxc5 Nxe2+ 54 Kf2, and Michael Adams showed good technique to win.

But much the most traumatic was this terrible blunder by a truly great player:

White: Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu

Black: Vassily Ivanchuk

Scotch Game

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1 e4 e5

2 Nf3 Nc6

3 d4 exd4

4 Nxd4 Bc5

5 Nxc6 Qf6

6 Qd2 dxc6

7 Nc3 Qe7

8 Be2 Nf6

9 0-0 Nxe4

10 Nxe4 Qxe4

11 Re1 0-0

12 Bd3 Qd5

13 b4 Bxf2+??

14 Qxf2 1-0