Independent Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
WHEN HE was young, the other American juniors used to feel that

Yasser Seirawan would become absolutely world class were it not for the need to protect his king, a duty

which he carried out with extraordinary blitheness.

Despite this vexatious burden, Yasser has been well in the top hundred for many years and is 33rd on 2,643 in the current January '99 list - well below Michael Adams, though, who is sixth on 2,716.

The two are currently half-way through a 10-game match at the far-from- unpleasant sounding Mermaid Beach Club Hotel in Bermuda. But match play is by its very nature tough, however delightful the surroundings - because of both the extensive preparation entailed and the heightened psychological struggle against a single opponent.

I played Yasser in a Candidates match in St John, New Brunswick, in 1988 and, though he outplayed me for large tracts of several games, I won by a clear margin owing to better nerves in time trouble. So although a friendly match is hardly analogous, I imagined that Michael would dominate.

This appeared likely after Adams, as Black, recovered from a bad position in the first game on 21 January to trap Seirawan's rook in time trouble and win. But after the next two were drawn, Seirawan struck back with a good win as Black himself in a Caro Kann. The fifth was drawn, leaving a good contest ahead in the second half which continues till 1 February.

The most interesting game of all was the bloodthirsty draw in game three. Yasser likes this Queen's Indian/ Nimzo-Indian hybrid and played it in his first three Whites. In game 1, Michael tried 9 ...Bxc3+ 10 bxc3 Qe7 which didn't turn out well, despite his ultimate victory.

8 ...0-0 may look innocent, but in the fifth game Adams took on d4 at once - 8 ...cxd4! and after 9 Nxd4 0-0 10 Qc2 Bxc3+ 11 Qxc3 d5 12 cxd5 Bxd5 13 f3 h6 14 Bh4 Nbd7 15 Bb5 Rc8 16 Qd2 Nc5 17 Rd1 Nb3 18 Nxb3 Bxb3 19 Qxd8 Rfxd8 20 Rxd8+ Rxd8 21 Ke2 Rc8 they agreed a draw.

As played, White was able to recapture with the rook instituting a most dangerous attack. 13 Bxh6 gxf6 14 Bxf8 Qxf8 was conceivable, winning a pawn for compensation, but Yasser's choice, 13 Bh4, was much more fun. I've also looked at 15 Qc2 but even 15 ...dxc4!? 16 Ng5!? hxg5 17 h4 Qd6 18 hxg5 Ng6 19 Rh6 Rfd8 20 Rxg6+ fxg6 21 Qxg6+ Kf8 seems winning for Black.

Later, 18 Qh5 looks strong but runs into Qxa3 19 Qxh6 Qxc3+ 20 Ke2 Qb2+ 21 Kf3? Nxe5+ 22 Kg3 Qxf2+! winning. At the end neither side could vary from the perpetual.

White: Yasser Seirawan

Black: Michael Adams

Queen's Indian Defence

g, , ba,

nd, ,h,

n ,hCfn

, ,hV ,

,H, ,S,

x N N ,

, , NHN

, , ZD,G

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 e6

3 Nf3 b6

4 Nc3 Bb4

5 Qb3 c5

6 a3 Ba5

7 Bg5 Bb7

8 e3 0-0

9 Rd1 cxd4

10 Rxd4 Nc6

11 Rf4 Ne7

12 Rxf6 h6

13 Bh4 gxf6

14 Bxf6 d5

15 Qd1 Bxc3+

16 bxc3 Qd6

17 Ne5 Ng6

18 Qg4 Qxa3 (see diagram)

19 Bd3 Qxc3+

20 Kd1 Qa1+

21 Kc2 Qa2+

22 Kc1 Qa1+

23 Kd2 Qb2+

24 Kd1 Qa1+

25 Kd2 1/2-1/2