Valery Salov's victory at Wijk aan Zee was achieved by patience and great subtlety. His best games are long, delicate affairs with far- reaching positional decisions made early in the game reaping rewards much later. This game from Wijk aan Zee is a good example.

Van Wely's 10.Bxc6 was a claim that the vulnerable black c-pawns were more of a liability than his bishop pair could compensate for. Salov sensibly utilised the central control given by the c-pawns to occupy d4 and d5 with queen and bishop, both protecting the pawns and creating threats of their own. But when White forced an exchange of queens, one c-pawn had to die and Black's best hope seemed to be to obtain enough activity for a draw.

Salov, however, proved that the white K-side pawns (softened earlier by 20...h5 and 21...h4) were weak enough for the black rooks to create possibilities to win the game. Note that 30.R3c2 allows 30...Bxc5! but 30.R1c2 looks a better chance than the 30.Nd3 played. The final rook and pawn ending, with two pawns against one, is handled with great delicacy by Salov. Altogether a most impressive game.

White: Loek van Wely

Black: Valery Salov

1 c4 c5 36 Rc4 Rdd2

2 Nc3 Nf6 37 Rxb2 Rf2+

3 g3 d5 38 Kg1 Rxf3

4 cxd5 Nxd5 39 g4 Rxe3

5 Bg2 Nc7 40 Rf1 a5

6 Nf3 Nc6 41 Rb8+ Kf7

7 0-0 e5 42 Rb7+ Kg6

8 d3 Be7 43 Rf2 Ra3

9 Nd2 0-0 44 g5 Rexb3

10 Bxc6 bxc6 45 Rxb3 Rxb3

11 Nc4 f6 46 gxf6 gxf6

12 Be3 Bh3 47 Kg2 Rb4

13 Re1 Nd5 48 Ra2 Kg5

14 Rc1 Rb8 49 Ra3 f5

15 Qd2 Be6 50 Kf3 Re4

16 b3 Nxe3 51 Ra1 Rg4

17 Qxe3 Qd4 52 Kg3 Rb4

18 Na4 Bd5 53 Ra3 Kf6

19 Red1 Rfd8 54 Kf3 Ke5

20 Rc3 h5 55 Re3+ Re4

21 Rdc1 h4 56 Ra3 Kd5

22 Nd2 Rb5 57 Kf2 Kc4

23 Nf3 Qxe3 58 Rf3 f4

24 fxe3 hxg3 59 Ra3 Kb4

25 hxg3 e4 60 Ra1 Re3

26 dxe4 Bxe4 61 Rd1 Rc3

27 Nxc5 Bxf3 62 Re1 Kxa4

28 exf3 Rd2 63 Re4+ Kb3

29 a4 Rb8 64 Rxf4 a4

30 Nd3 Ba3 65 Rf8 a3

31 Rb1 Rd8 66 Ke2 a2

32 Nf2 c5 67 Rb8+ Kc2

33 Kf1 Ra2 68 Ra8 Kb2

34 Nd3 Bb4 69 Kd2 Rb3

35 Nxb4 cxb4 White resigned