Independent Pursuits: Chess

THE BUNDESLIGA met last weekend as usual at several different venues throughout Germany. Even in the absence of Michael Adams playing his match with Seirawan in Bermuda and Piket and Kasimdzhanov at Wijk aan Zee, my team, Solingen, were strong favourites both against Hamburg on Saturday and against Magdeburg on Sunday and duly kept our perfect score.

I had a fairly torrid time playing not particularly well in the middlegame but managing to gain a whole point in two endgames.

Jon Speelman (Black)

Thies Heinemann

(White to play)

Owing to the doubled g pawns, Black looks slightly worse. But:

34 f4!? h5! 35 Kh3?? d4! 36 cxd4? 36 Qxd4 Qf3+ 37 Kh2 hxg4 was possibly a better chance.

36 ...Qh1+ 37 Kg3 hxg4 38 Kxg4 Qg2+ 39 Qg3 Qxb2 40 Kh3?

40 d5 was the last chance since the plausible Qe2+? leads to a drawn pawn ending after 41 Qf3 Qxf3+ 42 Kxf3 exd5 43 Ke3 c3 44 Kd3 d4 45 a4 - my king can't advance without allowing his e pawn through.

40 ...Qxd4 41 Kg2

Or 41 Qxg6 Qd3+.

The rest was easy - it's important that if 45 Qe1 Qxe1+ 46 Kxe1 b5!.

41 ...Qd2+ 42 Kg1 Qc1+ 43 Kg2 Qc2+ 44 Kf1 Qb1+ 45 Kg2 Qxa2+ 46 Kg1 Qb1+ 47 Kh2 Qc2+ 48 Kg1 c3 49 f5 Qd1+ 50 Kg2 Qe2+ 51 Kh3 c2 52 Qxg6 Qf3+ 53 Kh2 Qf2+ 0-1

Holger Prohl (Black)

Jon Speelman (White to play

The outside passed pawn ought to be decisive - though if it were removed for the white knight 43 f4 would draw at once!

43 Ne3 a5 44 Nxf5 Bc5! 45 Nh4!

The only way back.

45 ...Bd4 (45 ...Bf2 46 Kg4 a4 47 Nf3 a3 48 Nd2 a2 49 Nb3 probably also won). 46 Nf5 Bf2!? 47 g4! a4 48 g5 hxg5 49 fxg5 a3 50 g6+ Kg8 51 Kh6 Bh4!!

(In the game, my opponent allowed a draw with 51 ...a2?? 52 Ne7+ Kf8 53 g7+ Kxe7 54 g8Q a1Q 55 Qg7+ Qxg7+ 56 Kxg7 1/2-1/2.)

52 Nd4 Bf6 53 Nc2 a2 54 Kh5 Kf8! 55 Kh6 Bh8 56 Kg5 Ke7 57 Kf5.

(If 57 Kh6 Kd6 58 g7 Bxg7+ 59 Kxg7 Kc5 wins by a tempo.)

57 ...Kd6 58 Ke4 Kc5 59 Kd3 Bg7 60 Kd2 Kc4 61 Kd1 Kb3 62 Kc1 Bh8 63 Kd1 Kb2 64 Kd2 Bg7 65 Kd1Bc3 etc.