Chess

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The Independent Online
During the Tilburg tournament last month, Garry Kasparov disparagingly described the Latvian grandmaster Alexei Shirov - who is ranked among the top 10 players in the world - as "a talented amateur". Shirov is currently sharing first place in the Belgrade tournament with those consummate professionals Ivanchuk and Anand, so perhaps Kasparov was using the word "amateur" in its literal sense, to mean a true lover of the game.

In the following encounter from Belgrade, Shirov displayed his love of tactics and complications, but found himself up against a man with similar inclinations. 7...b5 is Black's most violent reply to the Four Pawns' Attack in the King's Indian. Black gives up a pawn to deflect attention away from the centre. Lautier, however, was determined not to be distracted, and got back on course with 15.Qe1 and 16.e5, giving back the pawn to regain the initiative. After that, the game went totally out of control.

When Black played 21...Kh8 (21...Kg7 looks better) he may have missed the idea of Nf7+, followed by Nd8 and Nc6. It is difficult to tell whether his 24...Qg8 was inspiration or oversight. The alternative was 24...Rf6 25.Qe4 with a difficult game for Black, but after the exchange of queens and a pair of knights on d5 (see diagram) White's 27.b6! was just the sort of move to make Black regret ever playing 7...b5.

The result was an endgame in which White was the exchange ahead, but his 31.Re1+ looked wrong. At the end, 45...d2 leads to the drawn endgame of queen versus black pawn on c2.

White: Joel Lautier

Black: Alexei Shirov

1 d4 Nf6 24 Nc6 Qg8

2 c4 g6 25 Qxg8+ Kxg8

3 Nc3 Bg7 26 Nxd6 Nxd5

4 e4 d6 27 b6 Nxb6

5 f4 0-0 28 Nxe7+ Kf7

6 Nf3 c5 29 Nxf5 gxf5

7 d5 b5 30 Bc3 Ke6

8 cxb5 a6 31 Re1+ Kd5

9 a4 axb5 32 g4 fxg4

10 Bxb5 Ba6 33 f5 Nd7

11 Bd2 Bxb5 34 Re7 Nf6

12 axb5 Rxa1 35 Kg2 h5

13 Qxa1 Qb6 36 Kg3 Ne4+

14 0-0 Nbd7 37 Rxe4 Kxe4

15 Qe1 Qb7 38 f6 Bxf6

16 e5 Nxd5 39 Bxf6 d5

17 e6 N7b6 40 Kh4 d4

18 exf7+ Rxf7 41 Kxh5 Kf3

19 Ng5 Bd4+ 42 Kg5 d3

20 Kh1 Rf5 43 Bc3 c4

21 Qe6+ Kh8 44 Kf5 Ke3

22 Nf7+ Kg7 45 Kxg4

23 Nd8 Qa8

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