Pursuits: Chess

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ON TUESDAY I analysed the extraordinary game between David Norwood and John Emms in the Four Nations Chess League last weekend. Since then I've spoken to John, who worked on it both himself and with Frans Morsch's Fritz program.

It turns out that even after his incautious 41st move, Emms is still winning, and since it's such an amazing position I'm correcting my original thoughts now.

John Emms (Black to move)

David Norwood (White)

As I said on Tuesday, Black could now have won fairly easily with 41... Kf6 42 Ra6+ Kg5. Instead, unsure whether he'd made the time control, he bashed out

41... a2?

which considerably complicated matters.

42 d6!

Now, he'd originally thought that at worst he could bail out with 42... Qf6? 43 Rxa2 Qxd6 missing that after 43 d7! the pawn is indirectly protected by the knight fork on e5. As a result he has to take a draw with 43... Qe6+ 44 Kc5! (44 Kc3 Qc6+ 45 Kb2 Qd5! 46 Kc2 Kf6 is good for Black) 44... Qd6+ 45 Kc4 Qe6+ 46 Kc5 with a repetition.

The game ended in a spectacular repetition: 42... Ke8 43 d7+ Kd8 44 Nc5 Qf1+ 45 Kd5 Qd1+ 46 Kc6 Qd6+ 47 Kb5 Qb8+ 48 Kc6 Qd6+ 1/2-1/.

But the right line was 42... Qb1!! 43 d7 Qc2+ 44 Kd4 e5+!! when:

a) If 45 Nxe5+ Ke7 with the king controlling the pawn's queening square and Nc6+ prevented by the queen, White is helpless. The very best he can do is 46 Nf7 (if 46 Nd3 Qb1!) when 46... Qd2+ 47 Kc4 Qxd7! 48 Rxa2 Kxf7 is a simple win.

b) While if 45 Kxe5 Qc3+ 46 Kf4 Qd4+ forces mate in three more moves: 47 Kg5 Qg4+ (or 47 Kf3 Qe4 mate) 48 Kh6 Qh5 mate!

I've just got room for a miniature from the same match. It's most unusual for an international master to lose in just a dozen moves, the more so as White, and without having committed any gross tactical blunders. But Ali Mortazavi's 6 h4 was exceedingly optimistic and after the excellent retort 6... c5 - the classical recipe of meeting a flank attack with central play - his position started to unravel.

10... Qd5! turned out to be exceptionally strong. Resignation wasn't premature, since after 13 b3 Black can choose between 13... Qxc5 14 f3 Nb4! and 13... a6 14 Nxd4 Nxd4 15 e3 Nxc2 16 Kxc2 Qxc5+

White: Ali Mortazavi

Black: Jonathan Levitt



1 d4 Nf6

2 Bg5 g6

3 Nc3 d5

4 Qd2 Bg7

5 Bh6 0-0

6 h4 c5

7 Bxg7 Kxg7

8 dxc5 d4

9 0-0-0 Nc6

10 Nb5 Qd5!

11 Kb1 Ne4

12 Qe1 Be6 0-1