Pursuits: Chess

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AS CHRISTMAS and the winter solstice approach, so too comes the force of nature that is Gary Kasparov. Hurricane Gazza will sweep through London next week with a simultaneous display for the Kisharon School for special needs children at 6.15 at the Berkeley Hotel in London on Wednesday evening. A very few boards are still available for this event at the not inconsiderable price of pounds 5,000 for five people, from David Rosenberg - 0171-631-1303.

Kasparov will also be launching an Internet-based service, Play Games Now! for the BT games network Wireplay on Thursday, and can be seen from 1.30pm onwards at http://www.wireplay.co.uk/chess/.

Although he has shined in side-shows - particularly the 7-1 demolition of the Israeli national team in two clock simultaneouses in May - 1998 has not been a particularly good year for Kasparov.

In Linares in March he was only third equal with Kramnik, behind both Anand and Shirov. At the start of May he did have one magnificent result with a comprehensive 4-0 victory against Veselin Topalov in a quickplay match in Sofia. But their rematch in Leon in Spain in June in so-called (by Kasparov) "Advanced Chess", in which both had the aid of computers, went right to the wire. And in the Frankfurt quickplay a week later he narrowly avoided the indignity of last place.

Since then, Kasparov has appeared only in the 4-2 match victory against Jan Timman in Prague in September, where he was effective but not scintillating; and his 24-game workout against Vladimir Kramnik earlier this month, even if only at blitz, certainly showed some "match fitness".

The scarcity of play is certainly not all Kasparov's fault, since only the collapse of the World Chess Council scuppered the projected match against Alexei Shirov in October for his Professional Chessplayers Association world championship title. Nevertheless, he still needs to show something soon. Some more like this - his only win in Linares - would do wonders.

Anand tried a new idea in the opening - 11... Rg8 inviting complications after 12 Bxh6 Nf6 13 Qg5 but Kasparov ignored him. In his notes, Kasparov implies that Anand should have tried 16... Bxb2!? Anand's position deteriorated rapidly after several inaccuracies, especially the weakening 19... g5? At the end, Anand lost on time, though it would be hopeless anyway after 3...Qg5 36 Qxg5 hxg5 37 h6.

White: Gary Kasparov

Black: Viswanathan Anand

Caro Kann Defence

1 e4 c6

2 d4 d5

3 Nd2 dxe4

4 Nxe4 Nd7

5 Ng5 Ngf6

6 Bd3 e6

7 N1f3 Bd6

8 Qe2 h6

9 Ne4 Nxe4

10 Qxe4 Qc7

11 Qg4 Rg8

12 Nd2 Nf6

13 Qf3 e5

14 dxe5 Bxe5

15 Nc4 Be6

16 Bd2 0-0-0

17 0-0-0 Nd7

18 Rhe1 Rge8

19 Kb1 g5?

20 h4 Bf4

21 Bxf4 gxf4

22 Bf5 Nf8

23 Qh5 Kb8

24 Bxe6 Nxe6

25 a4 Qe7

26 Qe5+ Qc7

27 Qh5 Qe7

28 b3 Qf6

29 Ne5 Re7

30 Ng4 Rxd1+

31 Rxd1 Qg7

32 f3 Re8

33 Qf5 Ka8

34 h5 Rf8

35 Rd7 1-0