Chess

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The Russian Championship, which finished a couple of days ago, was eventually decided by the biggest blunder of the entire event. The unusual knock-out format resulted in a final between Yevgeny Bareyev and Peter Svidler. Bareyev won the first game as White with a convincing display against Svidler's King's Indian Defence. Svidler equalised with a commanding win against Bareyev's French Defence.

With the match tied, they then moved on to a rapid play-off in which each man had 25 minutes for each game. Bareyev again won with White - this time in a Queen's Gambit Accepted. Then he tried another variation of the French which Svidler crushed as convincingly as last time.

Another tie, and on to the five-minute games. This time, Svidler had White in the first game, and squashed his third French Defence of the match. Bareyev equalised again by beating his second King's Indian. Six games, six wins for White. The sequence was finally broken in game seven.

After 32 moves each, they had reached the diagram position, with Bareyev playing White. He was a pawn behind, but his active pieces gave fair compensation.

Play continued 33.Rc1 Be7 34.Nb7 a5 35.Rc3 a4 36.Bc1 g5 37.Ba3 Ra6 38.Rc7.

White has reorganised his men well to combine blockade of the a-pawn with pressure against d6. Black finds it difficult to untangle - a task that is always time-consuming in a quick-play game.

38...Kf8 39.Rc8+ Kg7 40.Rc7 Kf6 41.g3! Rb6 42.f4!

White tries to tempt the pawn away from e5 in order to play Bb2+. Black is in deep trouble.

42...gxf4 43.gxf4 Bf8 44.fxe5+ Kxe5 45.Rxf7 Kxe4!

After 45...h5 46.Nd8 Bh6 47.Re7+ White stands better.

46.Nd8 Bc4 47.Rxf8 Rb3 48.Bxd6 Rxh3 49.Nb7 Bxd5

The endgame should now be a draw, of course, but ...

50.Nc5+ Kd4 51.Nxa4 Rf3 52.Rh8 Ra6 53.Nb2 Ra1+ 54.Kh2?? Rh1 mate.

Svidler's fourth win against the French then gave him the title.

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