Independent Pursuits: Chess
Wednesday 11 November 1998
Forty players, including no fewer than 25 grandmasters, are competing for six places in the forthcoming Fide world championship in Las Vegas - originally scheduled for next month but following various alarums and excursions probably destined to end up being a year later.
If you're in a hurry - to choose a restaurant, for example - you should avoid negotiations with chess players. who will probably have slightly more opinions than bodies. The players' meeting at 11 pm on Thursday was therefore no formality. True, the seeding order was slightly wrong, so the pairings had to redone: and the provisions for tie-breaking are somewhat confused. I'm sure that if it comes to it there will be renegotiations, but as things stand at the moment if more than six tie than there will be a knockout - as Tony Miles pointed out, seven for three places would be particularly outstanding.
Battle got under way on Friday with most of the top seeds - a serious bunch starting with Van Wely, Lautier, Mikhail Gurevich, Illescas, Piket, myself, Hebden, Miles, Dorfman and Emms - putting their opponents away.
I was the exception in an up-and-down game where I got a good opening, blundered a pawn for some compensation, established a huge bind in the ending and then allowed my opponent to escape with half-a-point which I doubled with one glorious blunder: the sort of thing that makes one temporarily murderous. Of course, in real life you shake hands, attempt a smile and then foist it on your readership as an act of catharsis.
Jon Speelman (Black to play)
Christian Bauer (White)
Despite the pawn deficit, the target on b2 gives Black a wonderful game.
50... h4! is even better, though White can get some play after 51 Rd1! Rg7! 52 f4 Bxb2 53 Rd6+.
56... Rxe2 57 Kxe2 Kd4 58 h4 e4 59 f4 e3 60 f5 Ke5 61 Kxe3 Kxf5 62 Kf3 would be a draw.
I'd missed this, seeing only 57 Re4.
Play continued 57... Kxe5 58 Kxc4 h4 59 Kb4 Kf4 60 Kxa4 Kg3 61 f4! Kxh3 62 f5 Kg4 63 f6 h3 64 f7 h2 65 f8Q h1Q, and White won 10 moves later.
Leaders after four rounds are Tony Miles and Luis Comas (Spain) with 31/2 points.
51 Kd3 Rg2
52 Nc3! Bxc3
53 Kxc3 Rc2+
54 Kd3 Kxc5
55 Re1 Kd5
56 Re2! Rc4??
Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
- 3 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 4 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
- 5 Chinese theme park sets up 'death simulator' where volunteers can experience being cremated
Penny Dreadful, series 2 episode 1, review: It is still gloriously silly
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to replace Jeremy Clarkson and co
Eurovision 2015: What date and time is the song contest and who are the favourites to win?
How the Other Half Eat, Channel 4 - TV review: Swapping food trolleys shows how food and class are closely connected
Noel Gallagher 'cannot wait' to hear Oasis-inspired One Direction album but rants about 'pointless' Tidal and Spotify
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils