Independent Pursuits: Chess

WHEN BOBBY Fischer was young, he once made a comment implying that Black held the advantage in symmetrical positions. It is Black, after all, who has the choice of when to stop copying his opponent. Today's game, which was played in the Smith & Williamson British Championship in Torquay, confirms Fischer's wisdom. The first four moves saw perfect symmetry, but Black diverged on move five and White only lasted another 22 moves.

White's first dubious adventure was 7.h4. When you have weakened the d4 square as White has with c4 and e4, it is wise not to sacrifice it entirely. 7.Nge2 is a better idea, not to let Black play Nd4 and Nec6 so easily. I do not like 10.f4 much either. With neither e5 nor f5 likely to be playable soon, the move's main effect is to loosen White's position.

The fun really began, however, with 13...g5!? sidestepping White's ambitions down the h-file. Black gained a good initiative for his pawn, but both 18.Nxd4 and 19.Nc6 fell in with Black's plans.

White's 23.Nc6 was to counter the threat of 23...fxg2+ 24.Qxg2 Qxd3+ 25.Kf2 Bd4+, but the bishop found another way in, and White had no defence. At the end, 28.Kh4 Bg5+ 29.Kxg4 Bh6+ (or even the flashy 29...Bc1+) is fatal.

White: S. Williams

Black: K. Arkell

Torquay 1998

1 c4 c5 15 Bf4 b4

2 Nc3 Nc6 16 Ne2 b3

3 g3 g6 17 a3 e5

4 Bg2 Bg7 18 Nxd4 exf4

5 d3 e6 19 Nc6 Qxg5

6 e4 Nge7 20 Nxb8 Qxg3+

7 h4 Nd4 21 Kf1 Bg4

8 h5 Nec6 22 Qd2 f3

9 Nge2 d6 23 Nc6 Bh6

10 Rb1 Rb8 24 Qf2 fxg2+

11 f4 a6 25 Qxg2 Qxd3+

12 Nxd4 Nxd4 26 Kf2 Be3+

13 Kf2 g5 27 Kg3 Rg8

14 fxg5 b5 White resigned

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