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Quite apart from being one of the most talented and successful players of today, Valery Salov is also one of the most interesting to watch. While most grandmasters spend much of their time honing the sharp edges of their favourite openings, for Salov the opening is just a way to reach a position in which his originality and delicate judgement can flourish.

The result is a deceptively gentle style, full of ideas to create imbalance in apparently dull positions. This game sees Salov in dynamic mood in the opening. Black's sacrifice of the exchange, however, had the firm positional basis of a white-square blockade that persisted into the endgame.

26...Rc4! is a move of particularly high principle, holding the bind instead of grabbing the pawn on c3 and letting White's rooks and bishop into the game.

White: Joel Lautier

Black: Valery Salov

Wijk aan Zee 1996

Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 22 Qf2 Qc7

2 c4 e6 23 Rfd1 a5

3 Nc3 Bb4 24 Qc5 Qxc5+

4 e3 0-0 25 Bxc5 Rc8

5 Bd3 d5 26 Bf2 Rc4

6 Nf3 c5 27 Be1 Kf7

7 0-0 cxd4 28 Rac1 Bc6

8 exd4 dxc4 29 Rxd5 Bxd5

9 Bxc4 a6 30 Rxb5 Bc6

10 Ne5 b5 31 Rxa5 Ra4

11 Qf3 Qxd4 32 Rxa4 Bxa4

12 Qxa8 Qxe5 33 Bf2 Bb5

13 Be2 Bxc3 34 Bc5 f5

14 bxc3 Qxe2 35 Kf2 Ke6

15 Qxb8 Qc4 36 Ke3 f4+

16 Ba3 Re8 37 Kf2 h5

17 Bb4 Nd5 38 h4 g6

18 a3 Qc6 39 g3 Kf5

19 Qe5 Bb7 40 gxf4 exf4

20 f3 f6 41 Be7 Ke5

21 Qd4 e5 42 Bg5 draw