Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
AFTER TWO rounds of the Hastings Premier, Russian Sergei Shipov was already the sole leader with 2/2 after beating me in the first round and an even harsher victory against Tony Miles in the second.

First my defeat - I can only hope that I generally play better in the New Year. Sergei Shipov (Black), Jon Speelman (White to play). Since Black has the positional threat of ...Nd6, I really had to play 21.b5.

If 26.Rxd5 Qxc1+ 27.Qf1 Qxf1+ 28.Kxf1 Nxg5 29.Rxg5 f5! traps the rook. After he refused a draw offer with 32....Kf8 I went wrong: 33.Ne1 Ke8 (if 33....e5? 34.Bd5!) 34.Nd3 or three moves later 35.Bc6! were still reasonable. Instead, I got horribly squeezed and at the end the Black pawn will run home.

In Tony's game, 7....b6 is rather unusual. If then 8....Nxe4 9.d5! is dangerous but 8....Bb7 was possible to provoke 9.e5 - 9.d5 is speculative here. Instead, Black allowed the White queen to f4 where it exerted considerable pressure. One way to oppose this is to bring the Black queen to the kingside. But during the post-mortem, Jim Plaskett found the extraordinary 12....Qd3 13.Rd1 Qg6 14.Nh4 Qh5 15.Rd8+!! Kxd8 16.Bd1 trapping her.

12....Nxb3 looks nice but the open a file and weakness on b6 are serious. If 14....0-0 15.Bh6! but the king is awful on f8. If 15....Qe8 16.Bg5 but 16.Ra4! was one attacker too many. Later if 21....Nxe5 22.Qe3 Qc6 23.f3 etc. At the end if 23....exf4 24.Qd6+! or 23....Qb8 24.Qc4!

Sergei Shipov v Tony Miles

Hastings 1998 (2nd round)

Queen's Gambit Accepted

21.b5 cxb5

22.Rxb5 Qe6

23.Bg2 Rec8

24.Ng5 Rxc1+

25.Bxc1 Qc6

26.Bxe4 Qxc1+

27.Kg2 Bc4

28.Rc5 Bxe2

29.Rxc1 Rb8

30.Rc2 Ba6

31.Rc7 Bf6

32.Nf3 Kf8

33.Rc5 b6

34.Rc7 Bb5

35.Ne1? e5

36.Nf3 exd4

37.Nxd4 Bxd4

38.exd4 Rd8

39.d5 Rd7

40.Rc8+ Ke7

41.Ra8 Kd6

42.Bc2 Bc4

43.Rxa4 b5

44.Ra3 Bxd5+

45.Kf1 Bc4+

46.Ke1 Kc5

47.g4 Kb4

48.Rh3 Bxa2

49.Rxh7 Rd4

50.Bd1 Be6

51.h4 Kc3

52.h5 gxh5

53.gxh5 Rh4

54.Bf3 b4 0-1

1 d4 d5

2 c4 dxc4

3 Nf3 Nf6

4 e3 e6

5 Bxc4 c5

6 0-0 a6

7 Bb3 b6!?

8 e4 cxd4

9 e5 Nfd7

10 Qxd4 Bb7

11 Qf4 Nc5

12 Nc3 Nxb3

13 axb3 Be7

14 Qg3 Kf8

15 Rd1 Nd7

16 Ra4! Qe8

17 Rg4 g6

18 Bh6+ Kg8

19 Ng5 Bf8

20 Bxf8 Kxf8

21 Rf4 f5

22 exf6 e5

23 Qd3 1-0