Independent Pursuits: Chess Jon Speelman

GARY KASPAROV, the Professional Chess Association (PCA) world champion will tomorrow begin a six-game match against the top Dutchman, Jan Timman, at the Divadlo Archa Theatre, in Prague. They will play the series in bursts of two games with rest days inbetween.

The contest was originally billed as a warm-up before Kasparov's "title defence" against Alexei Shirov. This was originally due to be held in Spain in October, but it ran into difficulties when the organiser, Luis Rentero Suares, was deprived of half of his funding - a cool one million dollars - following a political row. It is rumoured that the Kasparov/ Shorov match will now move across the Atlantic; and Kasparov is due to hold a press conference today to clarify the matter.

From tomorrow onwards, however, he will be turning his attention to Timman, against whom he has the splendid record of 18 wins, 22 draws and three losses, but who will still be a dangerous opponent, at least at the start.

The problem with playing Kasparov is that not only is he a wonderful opening theorist, blistering tactician and fine strategist: even when you get a good position against him, he still has a superlative "swindle mode", or knack for stirring up uncontrollable complications.

I witnessed this game between the two from one of the Linares tournaments and talked to Jan later. He was convinced that he had had a plus. A man of principle, he rightly hit the Black knight with 13.b4 and pressed on with 15.Nxb5!. But 20.g4 was very risky - 20.Bxe4! would have kept an edge. In the diagram, the obvious knight sacrifice is extremely dangerous. But 23.Bxd3? was a mistake - 23.Kb1! was correct with massive complications. The final position was slaughter since if 26.Nf6 Rxf6! or 26.Nc3 Qa4!.

White: Jan Timman

Black: Gary Kasparov

King's Indian defence

Linares 1992

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 g6

3 Nc3 Bg7

4 e4 d6

5 f3 0-0

6 Be3 e5

7 d5 Nh5

8 Qd2 f5

9 0-0-0 Nd7

10 Bd3 Nc5

11 Bc2 a6

12 Nge2 b5

13 b4! Nd7

14 cxb5 axb5

15 Ne3 Bc5

16 Nec3 Ra8

17 Kb2 Ndf6

18 Na7 fxe4

19 Nc6 Qd7

20 g4?! Nf4

21 g5 (see

diagram) N6xd5!

22 Nxd5 Nd3+!

23 Bxd3? exd3

24 .Nce7+ Kh8

25 Nxc8 e4+

Timman resigns