Independent Pursuits: Chess

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USUALLY WHEN a player nudges a knight's pawn one square forwards, it is a preparation for developing his bishop on the long diagonal. Sometimes (as in various ...b6 systems in the Queen's Gambit Declined) the primary idea is to support a later advance of the neighbouring bishop's pawn. Often, (as in the King's Indian, where g6 looks forward to both an immediate Bg7 and a later e5 and f5) both ideas are combined.

When Anand played b6 in the game that won him the Frankfurt Chess Classic, however, it was not his bishop or pawns, but his knight he was thinking about. In the diagram position, shortly after the opening, Anand seemed to be suffering for his willingness to part with the black-squared bishop. His attack against the doubled c-pawns is getting nowhere, and he faces a threatened attack with Bh6 followed, perhaps, by such moves as h4, h5, Bd3, Re1 and Qf3.

Anand found the perfect plan: his knight must return to aid the defence, so her played 13...b6! followed by Nb7, Nd6, f6 and Nf7. When the bishop had been driven away from h6, Black gradually took over the initiative. When 24...Bg4 came, with its threat of a rook invasion on e1, White's fell apart with surprising rapidity. An interesting game and a rare knight fianchetto.

White: V Kramnik

Black: V Anand

Five-minute play-off

Frankfurt Chess Classic 1998

English Opening

1 Nf3 c5 20 dxe6 Bxe6

2 c4 Nc6 21 Qxd8 Raxd8

3 Nc3 g6 22 Rad1 Rxd1

4 e3 Bg7 23 Rxd1 g5

5 d4 d6 24 Bc1 Bg4

6 d5 Bxc3+ 25 f3 Bxf3

7 bxc3 Na5 26 Rd2 Re1

8 e4 Nf6 27 Bb2 Ne5

9 e5 dxe5 28 Kf2 Rb1

10 Nxe5 0-0 29 h3 h5

11 Be2 Nd7 30 a4 a5

12 Nxd7 Bxd7 31 Ba3 Kf7

13 0-0 b6 32 Rb2 Ra1

14 Bh6 Re8 33 Rb3 Bd1

15 Qd2 Nb7 34 Bb2 Bxb3

16 Rfe1 Nd6 35 Bxa1 Bxa4

17 Bf1 f6 36 Bg2 Bc6

18 Bf4 Nf7 37 Bf1 Bd7

19 g3 e5 White resigned