Chess

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It is one of the great paradoxes of chess that as players get older and wiser it takes them longer and longer to win their games. In his youth, Anatoly Karpov used to open 1.e4, play the sharpest attacking lines and wipe his opponents from the board. Gradually, however, he learnt the incorrectness of such an approach. White's advantage is not sufficient to expect to win by direct attack. The right way to play is to nurture the advantage of the first move, using it to gain a little space, or keep a slight initiative - just enough to apply pressure in the endgame.

One side effect of this perfectionist approach is a large number of draws, but when the wins do come - after 60 or 70 moves usually, they are generally positional gems. Try this game, for example, from the current tournament in Dortmund. White achieves next to nothing from the opening, but when Yusupov fights for a little more space on the Q-side with 18...a5, Karpov sees his chance. The position revolves around what happens to the pawns on d4 and c5. White does not want to play dxc5, which will bring the black knight to a good square. But Black fears that ...cxd4 will be met by Nxd4, with the knight later jumping in to b5 or c6. After 18...a5, White has another option, which he brings into play with 23.d5! and 27.a4!

The result is to leave White with a good K-side majority, while Black's pawns on the Q-side are blocked. The rest, for Karpov, was just technique. At the end 63...Nxe7 64.Kxe7 Kb4 65.Nd2 Kc3 66.Kd6 wins by one move.

White: Anatoly Karpov

Black: Artur Yusupov

1 d4 Nf6 33 f3 Ke7

2 c4 e6 34 Ke2 Qe6

3 Nf3 d5 35 Qc3 Nf6

4 Nc3 Be7 36 Kf2 Kd7

5 Bg5 h6 37 g4 Kc6

6 Bh4 0-0 38 Qe5 Qxe5

7 e3 Ne4 39 Nxe5 Kd5

8 Bxe7 Qxe7 40 Nc4 fxg4

9 Rc1 c6 41 Nxb6 Kc6

10 Bd3 Nxc3 42 Nc4 gxf3

11 Rxc3 dxc4 43 Kxf3 Kd5

12 Bxc4 Nd7 44 Nxa5 g5

13 0-0 b6 45 Nc4 h5

14 Bd3 c5 46 Nd2 Ke5

15 Be4 Rb8 47 e4 Ne8

16 Qa4 Bb7 48 Ke3 Nc7

17 Bxb7 Rxb7 49 Nc4+ Kf6

18 Qc2 a5 50 Kf2 Na6

19 a3 Re8 51 Kg3 Nb4

20 Rd1 Rbb8 52 h4 Nc6

21 h3 Rbd8 53 a5 Nb4

22 Rcd3 Rc8 54 Nd2 Nc6

23 d5 exd5 55 a6 gxh4+

24 Rxd5 Nf6 56 Kxh4 Ke6

25 Re5 Qc7 57 Kxh5 Kd7

26 Rxe8 Rxe8 58 Kg6 Kc7

27 a4 Rd8 59 Nc4 Kb8

28 Rxd8 Qxd8 60 Kf6 Ka7

29 Ne5 Qd5 61 e5 Kxa6

30 Nc4 Nd7 62 e6 Kb5

31 b3 f5 63 e7 resigns

32 Kf1 Kf7

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