Independent Pursuits; Chess

ONE OF the problems of assembling a truly world class tournament, as compared to one of mixed strength, is that all of the competitors are extremely hard to beat. So it was that after three rounds of the super grandmaster tournament at Linares and Wednesday's rest day there had been just two decisive games: Michael Adams's excellent first-round victory against Peter Leko, and Gary Kasparov's win against Vassily Ivanchuk in round two.

In the third round, on Tuesday, all four games were drawn. Not that they were remotely boring. True, Kramnik vs Ivanchuk took just 25 moves but Leko vs Topalov and Adams vs Svidler went 53 and 71 respectively. The fourth game featured a clash between the two highest-rated and, it's generally agreed, best players on the planet.

Anand persisted with the Queen's Gambit Accepted with which, after a theoretical novelty, he had made an impressively easy draw against Kasparov a few weeks earlier at Wijk aan Zee.

This time, Kasparov moved the discussion on to 3 e4 (he had played 3 Nf3 in Wijk) but again Anand produced a novelty - 8 ...Qd6 instead of the previously played 8 ...Nge7. True to himself, Kasparov chose a critical response and since 13 Ne4 Bb6 14 Qb3 Na5 15 Bxe6 Nxb3 16 Bxd7+ Rxd7 17 axb3 Re7 is fairly comfortable for Black, he threw in a second pawn with 13 b4 to force the deflection of a minor piece.

13 ...Nxb4 must be right - if 13 ...Bxb4 14 Qb3 Re8 15 Rb1 b6 16 Ne4 is very threatening; and 17 ...Kb8 is also correct for if 17 ...cxd6 18 Bxd5 exd5 19 Qxb6 dxe5 20 Qa7 Ne7 21 Bd2 Nc6 22 Rfc1 Qc7 23 Bxa5! Nxa7 24 Rxc7+ Kb8 25 Rb1! is most unpleasant.

In the diagram, Black must avoid the disastrous 21 ...e4?? 22 f5! e3 23 Be1 Ne7 24 Bg3+ Kc8 25 Qxa5 Qc6 26 Rac1. At the end, Kasparov's draw offer was slightly surprising since if 29 ...Kc7 30 Rxd3 Ng8 31 Rxd5 Nxe7 32 Re5 Kd7 33 Kf2 Nc6 34 Rxe8 Kxe8 35 Bc3 White is a little better - the bishop is better than the knight - but maybe Black can try 30 ...Kc6!? intending 31 ...Ng8 next move.

White: Gary Kasparov

Black: Viswanathan Anand

Queen's Gambit Accepted