Independent Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
AFTER JUST two rounds of the tournament at Dos Hermanas, near Seville, before the rest day on Thursday there was already a sole leader: Michael Adams.

This is an excellent news for the the England No 1, though the table will remain somewhat confused until the first round game Gelfand v Korchnoi, postponed while Gelfand was still flying in from Israel to replace the ill Alexander Morozevich, has been played - which won't happen until the third and final rest day on 15 April.

With that proviso, Michael was alone on 1.5/2 ahead of Korchnoi on 1/1 (Korchnoi defeated Judit Polgar in the second round in the fine game detailed below), Polgar, Kramnik, Karpov, Topalov and Illescas on 1/2, Gelfand on 0.5/1 and Svidler and Anand on 0.5/2.

As I showed on Thursday, in the first round Polgar had scored a signal victory against Anand with splendidly sustained violence. Korchnoi, though, was having none of it and worked hard in the opening to avoid both her preparation and overly tactical play.

The apparently modest 5.Bd2!?, a line at one time favoured by the ex- world champion Vassily Smyslov, had the great advantage of being fairly unusual, nowadays - when facing youth, older players should always try to roll back the theoretical decades!

In his excellent Understanding the Grunfeld (Gambit pounds 15.99), the Scottish international master Jonathan Rowson suggests that the knight should instead go 11...Ne5 and if 12.Qb3 c6 13.f4 Ned7 14.dxc6 bxc6 15.0-0-0 (though 15.Rd1 is also very possible ) 15...e6 to put the queen on e7 and then instigate play with ...Rfb8.

Nevertheless, I suspect that Black would be doing perfectly well after 12...e5, which White can't exploit with 13.Bxb6? cxb6 14.b4 since Rc8! saves the piece with an excellent game.

As played, White got potentially weak doubled "f pawns" but after 15.Nd1! and 16.Qc3! Black's need to defend the loose knight on a5 gave Korchnoi sufficient time to get in f4 and then f5 - perhaps she should have played 16...b6 to defend it, though that does invite Bb5 or Ba6 at some annoying moment, or consistently tried 20...b5!?

After 21.a3! preventing the exchange of queens and 23.Qb4! Polgar's queenside pieces were in a tangle so that she was prevented from initiating counterplay there.

The point of the desperate 26...g4 was that if at once 26...Ncb3 27.hxg5 hxg5? (or 27...fxg5 28.Qe7+ Rf7 29.Qxe5+ etc) 28.Qe7+ Rf7 29.Rh7+! forces mate. But Korchnoi still cleaned up easily.

White: Viktor Korchnoi

Black: Judit Polgar

Dos Hermanas 1999 (Round 2)

Grunfeld Defence

1.d4 Nf6

2.c4 g6

3.Nc3 d5

4.cxd5 Nxd5

5.Bd2!? Bg7

6.e4 Nb6

7.Be3 0-0

8.Be2 Nc6

9.Nf3 Bg4

10.d5 Bxf3

11.gxf3 Na5

12.Bd4 c5

13.Bxg7 Kxg7

14.Qc2 e5

15.Nd1 Nd7

16.Qc3 a6

17.f4 f6\

18.f5 g5

19.h4 h6

20.Ne3 Qb6

21.a3 c4

22.Rd1 Nc5

23.Qb4! Qb5

24.f3 Rac8

25.Kf2 b6

26.Kg2 g4

27.Nxg4 Ncb3

28.Rhg1 Qxb4

29.axb4 Nb7

30.Kf2 Kh7

31.Ne3 Nd6

32.Rg6 h5

33.Nf1 Nd4

34.Ng3 c3

35.bxc3 Rxc

36.Bd3 a5

37.bxa5 bxa5

38.Nxh5 Ne8

39.d6 Rf7

40.d7 Rxd

41.Bb5 Rc2+

42.Kf1 Rf7


Black resigns