Independent Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
EVEN IN these days of huge computer databases, the arrival of the latest edition of Chess Informant is still an event of some importance for professional chess players.

Produced by Chess Informant of Belgrade, the first volume came out as long ago as 1966, since when it has appeared initially twice and latterly three times yearly. Each edition contains round about 650 or 700 games from the relevant period.

As always, I turned first to the results of the panel of the (supposedly) great and good, myself among them: as to the best games of the previous volume. In fact, there are two panels, one for best games which I've been a member of for nearly 30 volumes; and one for the best theoretical novelty consisting of gentlemen considerably more theoretically knowledgeable than myself. The members are sent a short list of 30 from which to choose. My top selection came just seventh: though like the winning entry, it was also conducted by the incomparable Vassily Ivanchuk.

In this manically theoretical line, the first new move was Svidler's 20...h5 - 20...Nc6 had been played before. In his notes, Ivanchuk suggests that 22...Qa3 is an improvement and criticises 30...f5? suggesting 30...a6 or 30...Bc6.

The very strong 31.d5! broke up Black's structure but the result remained in doubt even after Ivanchuk won material with 38.Rxg7+!. Black could have provided more resistance with 39...a4 though after 40.Bxb7 Rb8 41.Ba6 a3 42.Bc4 Kf7 43.Bc5 Rc8 44.Bxe6+ Kxe6 45.Bxa3 White must have excellent winning chances. Ivanchuk won cleanly in the queen ending after both sides promoted.

Vassily Ivanchuk v Peter Svidler

Linares 1998

Grunfeld Defence

1.d4 Nf6

2.c4 g6

3.Nc3 d5

4.cxd5 Nxd5

5.e4 Nxc3

6.bxc3 Bg7

7.Nf3 c5

8.Rb1 0-0

9.Be2 cxd4

10.cxd4 Qa5+

11.Bd2 Qxa2

12.0-0 b6

13.Qc1 Bb7

14.Bc4 Qa4

15.Bb5 Qa2

16.Bc4 Qa4

17.Bb5 Qa2

18.Re1 Rc8

19.Qd1 e6

20.h4 h5

21.Qe2 Nc6

22.Bc4 Qa4

23.Ra1 Qc2

24.Bd3 Qb2

25.Ra4 b5

26.Bxb5 Rd8

27.Bg5 Qxe2

28.Bxe2 Rd7

29.Rb1 Nd8

30.Bd3 f5?

31.d5! fxe4

32.Bxe4 Bxd5

33.Bxg6 Rb7

34.Rxb7 Nxb7

35.Be3 a5

36.Bxh5 Bc6

37.Rg4 Bxf3


39.Bxf3 Rb8

40.Bf4 Rd8

41.Bxb7 a4

42.Be5+ Kg8

43.h5 Rd1+

44.Kh2 Re1

45.f4 Rxe5

46.fxe5 a3

47.Bc8 Kf7

48.h6 a2

49.Bxe6+ Kxe6

50.h7 a1Q

51.h8Q Kd5

52.Qg8+ Ke4

53.Qg6+ Kd5

54.Qf7+ Ke4

55.Qg6+ Kd5

56.Qf7+ Ke4

57.e6 Qh8+

58.Kg3 1-0