Independent Pursuits: Chess

AFTER HIS dream start in Linares where he won well against Leko in

the first round and then moved to "plus two" with a lucky win against Ivanchuk on time, Michael Adams has unfortunately fallen back into the pack with successive defeats as White against Gary Kasparov and Black against Vladimir Kramnik.

Following the Sunday rest day, the scores were Kasparov 4/6, Kramnik and Anand 3.5, Svidler, Topalov and Adams 3, Leko 2.5 and Ivanchuk just 1.5. After a tentative start, this left Kasparov in excellent shape as they neared the end of the first cycle, though there's still a long way to go. This is how he took the lead.

To avoid a theoretical battle, Adams opted for the Closed Sicilian but still got hit by a novelty, the temporary pawn sacrifice 9 ...b5!? Adams built up a dangerous-looking kingside attack but Kasparov, buoyed up by the powerful e5 knight, ploughed ahead on the queenside.

Not 26 ...Bxh6? 27 Nd5 Bxd5 28 Bxh6. Adams might have tried 29 Rxf7!? Nxf7 and now either 30 Be6 Bf6 31 Bxf7+ Kh8 32 Rxb1 Rxb1+ 33 Kg2 with some play for the exchange or possibly 30 Rxf7 Qxf7 31 Nxf7 Rb1 32 Bc1 Bb2 33 Kh2 Rxc1 34 Qg4 when owing to the h6 pawn combined with the ineffectiveness of the a8 bishop his queen may give him enough play to get a draw.

Not 30 Bxe5? Qxe5 preventing 31 Rxf6 Qxg3+. 32 ...f5 looks risky but pursued the laudable aim of reactivating the white-squared bishop. Adams got play with 34 g4! but still ended up in an unpleasant endgame. He found some counterplay with 41.e5 but in the end the a pawn ran through.

White: Michael Adams

Black: Gary Kasparov

Closed Sicilian

1 e4 c5

2 Nc3 d6

3 g3 Nc6

4 Bg2 g6

5 d3 Bg7

6 Be3 Nf6

7 Nge2 0-0

8 h3 e5

9 0-0 b5!?

10 Nxb5 Rb8

11 a4 a6

12 Na3 Rxb2

13 Nc4 Rb8

14 f4 exf4

15 Nxf4 Na5

16 Nd2 Bd7

17 Ra2 Bc6

18 Nf3 Ba8

19 c4 Nd7

20 Raf2 Nb3

21 h4 Nd4

22 Bh3 Nxf3+

23 Qxf3 Ne5

24 Qd1 Qe7

25 h5 Rb4

26 h6 Bh8

27 Ne6 Rfb8

28 Ng5 Rb2

29 Bf4 Bf6

30 Nf3 Bc6

31 Nxe5 Bxe5

32 Qf3 f5!?

33 Bxe5 Qxe5

34 g4! Rxf2

35 Rxf2 Rb1+

36 Bf1 Rb2

37 Rxb2 Qxb2

38 gxf5 Qd4+

39 Kh1 Bxa4

40 fxg6 hxg6

41 e5 Qxe5

42 Qb7 Be8

43 Bg2 Qh5+

44 Kg1 Qxh6

45 Qe7 Qc1+

46 Bf1 Bf7

47 Qxd6 Qe3+

48 Kh1 a5

49 Qd8+ Be8

50 Bg2 Qe1+

51 Kh2 Qe5+

52 Kh3 Kg7

53 Bd5 a4

54 Qb6 Bd7+

55 Kg2 Qe2+

56 Kg1 a3

57 Qxc5 Qe1+

58 Kg2 a2

59 Qd4+ Kh7