Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
IN 1963, Mikhail Moiseevich Botvinnik defended his world championship title for what turned out to be the last time. His stage-struck opponent, Tigran Petrosian, lost execrably in the first game but stabilised, won excellently in the fifth and ultimately ran out the convincing winner with five wins, two losses and 15 draws. Shorn of the right to a return match which he had exercised and won against both Smyslov and Tal, Botvinnik bowed out and Petrosian remained champion until Boris Spassky defeated him at the second attempt in 1969.

Both Botvinnik and Petrosian are now dead but the current (January 1999) rating list includes no fewer than four Botvinniks and seven Petrosians, of whom one Botvinnik and two Petrosians - Tigran and Tigran A, bear the first names of their illustrious forerunners. And indeed I believe that Mikhail Botvinnik from Belarus (born January 1983) recently played the Armenian Tigran Petrosian (born September 1984) in a youth tournament, though I can't for the life of me remember - or discover - more precise details.

It must be something of a burden to carry such a name. The said Mikhail Botvinnik recently played in the 15th memorial tournament in memory of the originally Polish Moshe Czerniak (1910-1984), which took place from 28 March to 8 April in Tel Aviv.

The category 10 tournament was won convincingly by the 23-year-old Dov Zifroni from Herzliya, who achieved his final Grandmaster norm and so becomes the newest Israeli Grandmaster.

Zifroni on 7/9 was a point clear of the 19-year-old Alik Gershon (also Israel as are all others if not specified) whose 6/9 was also enough for a GM norm. There followed Bykhovsky (Russia) 5.5, Greenfeld, Kantsler and Lutz (Germany) 5, Alterman 4.5, Tibor Karolyi (Hungary) 3 while Botvinnik (Belarus) and Blees (Holland) were last on 2.

That poor Botvinnik, who is rated 2,239, does not (yet) play like the "iron logician" Mikhail Moiseevich is evident from this attractive game.

In a French Defence White got a kingside attack and Lutz decided to "go for it" with the piece sacrifice 15 Qe3!? Perhaps Black should play 17 ...Bxg2 to control h1 since 18 Bxg6 fxg6 19 Qxe6+ Qf7 20 Rxg6+ Kh7 21 Rh6+ Kg8 is only a draw. 19 Rah4 defended the d pawn in preparation for 20 Rh7. If 21 ...Rd6 (to prepare flight starting ...Kd7) 22 Rh8 Qg7 23 R4h7 traps the queen. At the end it's mate in two.

White: Christopher Lutz

Black: Mikhail Botvinnik

French Defence

1 e4 e6

2 d4 d5

3 Nc3 Nc6

4 Nf3 Nf6

5 Bg5 dxe4

6 Nxe4 Be7

7 Bxf6 Bxf6

8 Bb5 0-0

9 Qd2 Bd7

10 0-0-0 Nb8

11 Bd3 Bc6

12 Nxf6+ Qxf6

13 Ng5 g6

14 h4 h6

15 Qe3!? hxg5

16 hxg5 Qg7

17 Rh6 Rd8

18 Rdh1 Kf8

19 R1h4 Ke7

20 Rh7 Qg8

21 c4 Na6

22 d5 Bd7

23 Qe5 Nc5

24 d6+! cxd6

25 Qf6+ Ke8

26 Rxf7 Nxd3+

27 Kb1 Qxf7

28 Rh8+ 1-0