Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
PLAY GOT under way in the supergrandmaster tournament in Linares on Sunday in a round that saw three draws and Michael Adams's sensational win below. The second round, too, had a single winner - Kasparov as Black in a splendidly thematic victory in his beloved Sicilian Najdorf against Vassily Ivanchuk; so after two of the 14 rounds Kasparov and Adams had 1.5/2, Anand, Kramnik, Svidler and Topalov 1, Ivanchuk and Leko 0.5.

Black used invariably to stop 8 Ne5 with 7 ...Nd7 in this variation but recently it was discovered that he can allow the knight in when the obvious 9 Bc4 e6 10 Qe2 Nd5! (against 11 Nxf7) is quite playable. The apparently more modest 9 Bd3 then came into fashion.

11 Bd2! is an improvement on 11 Bf4 when Qa5+ 12 c3 Qa6! is annoying indeed Leko won a fine game with this against Veselin Topalov at Tilburg last October.

12 f4! supported the knight and the excellent 14 Qe2! uncluttered the d file in readiness for Black's thematic 14 ...c5.

After 17 f5, Adams already had a dangerous attack though presumably Black should be able to defend perhaps starting with 17 ...Nd5!? Instinctively, I dislike 17 ...exf5 since it invites the horse in with tempo and 18 ...Rfe8 was wrong because it weakens f7. But the most appealing move, 18 ...Nce4, allows a long line 19 Rd7 Nxc3 20 Nxe7+ Kh8 21 N5g6+ fxg6 22 Nxg6+ Kh7 23 Nxf8+ Kh8 24 Rxc7 Nxe2+ 25 Kd1 Ng3 26 Ng6+ Kh7 27 Rh3 when Black has the initiative, and if he wishes can regain the exchange immediately with 27 ...Nfe4, but White should emerge a pawn up with good winning chances.

In the diagram, Black seems already to be lost, though he could have fought with 19 ....Nce4 20 Rd7! (this is also played against 19 ...Ne6) when:

a) 20...Nxd7 21 Nxh6+ Kh8 22 Nexf7+ Kh7 23 Qxe4+ g6 24 h5 leads to mate.

b) But 20 ...Qxc3! 21 Nxe7+ Rxe7 at least causes some confusion - White must choose between 22 bxc3 Rxe5 and 22 Qxc3!? Nxd7 23 Qc7 Rxe5 24 Qxd7 with less material advantage but better pawns.

19 ...Bf8? lost immediately but the star move was not 20 Nxh6+ but the follow-up 21 Ng4!!. At the end, it's mate after 26 ...Kf5 27 Qf6+ Kg4 (or 27 ...Ke4 28 Rhe1 mate) 28 Qf3+ Kg5 29 Bf6.

White: Michael Adams

Black: Peter Leko

Caro Kann Defence

1 e4 c6

2 d4 d5

3 Nd2 dxe4

4 Nxe4 Bf5

5 Ng3 Bg6

6 h4 h6

7 Nf3 Nf6

8 Ne5 Bh7

9 Bd3 Bxd3

10 Qxd3 e6

11 Bd2! Nbd7

12 f4! Be7

13 0-0-0 0-0

14 Qe2 c5

15 dxc5 Nxc5

16 Bc3 Qc7

17 f5 exf5?

18 Nxf5 Rfe8?

19 Qf3! (see diagram) Bf8?

20 Nxh6+! gxh6

21 Ng4!! Nxg4

22 Qxg4+ Kh7

23 Qf5+ Kg8

24 Qf6 Kh7

25 Qh8+ Kg6

26 h5+ 1-0