Saturday 25 May 1996
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Here's a good test of your technique. You're Black in the diagram position against Garry Kasparov, and he plays 1.Qe7, offering an exchange of queens. What do you do?
The position comes from Kasparov-Kamsky, played in the first round of the current tournament in Seville. Despite its apparent simplicity, Black must tread very carefully. After 1.Qe7 Qxe7, he would be in some difficulty: 2...Kg8 is met by 3.Ra7, and 2...f5 3.Re6! Ra8 (his pawns are too weak after 3...Rf6 4.Rxf6 gxf6 5.Kf1) 4.Rb6 Kg8 5.Rb7 leaves Black totally passive while the white king can prepare to invade on either wing.
Kamsky solved his problems with 1...Rd8! 2.Qxf6 gxf6 (the pawns may look weak, but as long as rooks stay on the board there is no way White can do them any damage) 3.Re7 Kg7 4.Ra7 Rd6.
Now with the rook defending the pawn laterally, it can keep White's king at bay from e6. Kasparov tried 5.g4, hoping to squeeze his king to f5, then apply pressure with f4, h4 and g5, but Kamsky steered the game to a comfortable draw after 5...f5! 6.gxf5 Rd3! 7.Rxa6 Rxh3 8.Ra5 Kf6 9.Kg2 Rd3 10.Rxb5 Rxa3 11.f3 Rb3 12.Kg3 Kg5. In such end-games, rook and king mobility is paramount.
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