Pursuits: Chess

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FOLLOWING JAN Timman's fine performance as Black in the first game against Gary Kasparov, as detailed yesterday, we might have hoped that he would be able to keep up the good work with the white pieces. But it was not to be.

Generally, Kasparov plays the King's Indian against Timman but this time he surprised the Dutchman with the Slav Defence. In an echo of yesterday's game, Black again snatched a pawn for some compensation. Again White's compensation turned out to be inadequate, but this time grossly so, and Kasparov was able not only to keep his material but also to seize both space and a burgeoning initiative which quickly gathered the whole point. This defeat as White leaves Timman and his seconds, Ulf Andersson and Ivan Sokolov, with plenty of work to do: though in a short match of just six games, I wouldn't be too surprised if Kasparov (who has Yuri Dokhoian as his second) presents a moving target, rather than repeating the Slav in his next Black.

In the opening, 5 a4 is more usual to prevent... b5. With 8 Qc2, White's idea is to lure the black pawns forward, after which if he can capture the c4 pawn then he will have a structural advantage. He has to grant Black a temporary initiative: but in Kasparov's hands this became permanent.

15 Bf3? was bad, but the alternative, 15 Nd6+ Bxd6 16 Bxa6 Qxe5 17 f4 Qc5 18 Bxc8 dxe3 19 Kh1 0-0, leaves Black with massive compensation for the exchange. After the excellent self-pin, 15...Ne4, Black seems already to be winning

In the diagram, White is scuppered by a back rank mate: if 24 Bxb2 dxe1Q+ 25 Qxe1 Bb4! 26 Qxb4 Qd1+. Timman showed his aesthetic sense by resigning, immediately after his opponent castled.

White: Jan Timman

Black: Gary Kasparov

Prague (Game 2) 1998

Slav Defence

1 d4 d5

2 c4 c6

3 Nf3 Nf6

4 Nc3 dxc4

5 e3 b5

6 a4 b4

7 Nb1 Ba6

8 Qc2 b3

9 Qd1 e6

10 Be2 c5

11 0-0 Nc6

12 Ne5 Rc8

13 Na3 13...cxd4

14 Naxc4 Qd5

15 Bf3? Ne4

16 Nxc6 Rxc6

17 Nd2 f5

18 Re1 d3

19 Nxb3 e5

20 Bd2 Rb6

21 Bxe4 fxe4

22 Nc1 Rxb2

23 Bc3 d2!

24 Rf1 Bxf1 (see diagram)

25 Bxb2 Bc4

26 Ne2 Bb3

27 Nc3 Bxd1

28 Nxd5 Bb3

29 Nc3 Bb4

30 Nd1 0-0 0-1