Independent Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
DURING HIS signal victory at Wijk aan Zee, Gary Kasparov won no fewer than eight of the 13 games. I've already focused twice on the masterpiece against Veselin Topalov but several of the others were also excellent, especially his win in the penultimate round against Peter Svidler, who before this game even had a plus score - a win and two draws - against him.

As Kasparov explained in the press conference after the game, he had reserved this novelty in a line which he has "...been analysing since 1995". especially for Svidler, preferring to play 1 e4 against his other potential Grunfeld customer, Loek Van Wely.

With 5 Qb3 he resuscitated a venerable variation, which before this game was somewhat in the doldrums but "is now back in business". 11 Be3 is a novelty instead of the usual 11 Qxe6+. "My 11th was a positional move. The idea is to respond to 11 ...Nf6 with 12 a4 and to 11 ... Nb6 with 12 h4."

Kasparov admitted that the excellent 15 Rd1! "was found by the computer".

"17 ...h6 was "the only reasonable move: 17 ...hxg6 "would have lost by force after 18 Qc2".

The cleanest I myself could find was 18 ...Qe8 19 Bd3 dxc3 20 Bxg6 Qf8 21 Bh7+ Kh8 22 Rd4! when a) 22 ...Bxd4 23 Bg8+ Kg7 24 Rg1+ Kf6 25 Qe4 Bxf2+ 26 Kxf2 Qh6 27 Qd4+ Kf5 28 Bh7+ Qxh7 29 Qe4+ Kf6 30 Qxh7 wins; b) 22 Rd4 e5 23 Rdh4 Qf6 24 bxc3!? Rb8 25 Qb3 e6 26 Rg4 Nd5 27 Be4+ Kg8 28 Rhg1 Rb7 29 Bxd5 exd5 30 Qxd5+ Kf8 31 Qc5+ etc.

18 Rh5!! was Kasparov's best move of the game: "Over the board I found 18 Rh5, which I think is very strong, because Black cannot put his Knight on the d5-square now. White has to push. If Black has time to get counterplay, he is all right. Co-ordination is the most important factor in this position. Now he is virtually forced to take the g6 pawn."

Instead of 21 ...Qf7: "If 21 ...Qf6, I take with the Rook on d4. This is very important. And after 21 ... Qf5, I can play 22 f4 and put my Queen on g3."

It seems that 26 ...Rc5? was the decisive error: "26 ...Nd5 was the right defence, after which there is no clear cut, direct win for White. But now, after 26 ...Rc5? 27 Ne2 both Svidler and I recognised that the game was over."

At the end, not only was Kasparov the exchange up, but he also had a withering attack. Svidler had had enough.

White: Gary Kasparov

Black: Peter Svidler

Wijk aan Zee (Round 12)

Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 g6

3 Nc3 d5

4 Nf3 Bg7

5 Qb3 dxc4

6 Qxc4 0-0

7 e4 a6

8 e5 b5

9 Qb3 Nfd7

10 e6 fxe6

11 Be3 Nb6

12 h4 Nc6

13 h5 Rxf3

14 gxf3 Nxd4

15 Rd1 c5

16 Bxd4 cxd4

17 hxg6 h6

18 Rh5!! Qe8

19 Ne2 Qxg6

20 Rh1 Kh8

21 Rg1 Qf7

22 Nxd4 Nd5

23 Qd3 Bd7

24 Qe4 Rc8

25 Bd3 Nf6

26 Qh4 Rc5?

27 Ne2 Nd5

28 Rg6 Qf8

29 Qe4 Qf7

30 Kd2! Nf6

31 Qe3 1-0