Chess

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The Independent Online
The bare moves of a game never tell you one of the most important things: what the loser was thinking just before the roof fell in on him. Just look at the diagram position, White to play, from the game Illescas- Yermolinsky, played this week in Madrid. Black has just played 34...Qxb3 and his thoughts might well have been any of the following:

a) I've got the guy on the ropes: I have bishop and three pawns for a rook, I have four passed pawns, everything's defended and I'm even attacking his knight on e3.

b) Everything looks OK as far as I can see; I hope he doesn't have any trick I've missed.

c) Please God don't let him find 35.g6.

I suspect that Black's true thoughts were more b) than the others. When he played 21...Bd7 and 22...g6, Black probably missed the idea of 25.b3 followed by Bxe5 and Rxd7 - it's not the sort of thing you allow your opponent to do if it is avoidable. After that, Black's play was led mainly by tactical necessity and improvisation until the diagram position was reached. But if Black had seen 35.g6, he would probably not have captured on b3.

After 35.g6! Black cannot take with the f-pawn because of mate on h7. After 35...hxg6 36.Rg1! Black has no time to take on e3 because of the threat of 37.Rxg6+! That is not an easy threat to meet, and 36...Bg7 had an air of desperation about it.

Rather than enter the obscurity of a position with a rook for five pawns after 37.fxg7 Kxg7, Illescas played 37.Rxg6! anyway, and once he had avoided the trap of 38.Rg1? Qxg1+ 39.Kxg1 Nf3+, the game was decided.

White: Miguel Illescas

Black: Alex Yermolinsky

1 e4 c5 23 Qh4 Bg7

2 Nc3 e6 24 f6 Bf8

3 Nf3 d6 25 b3 Nxa3

4 d4 cxd4 26 Bxe5 dxe5

5 Nxd4 Nf6 27 Nf5 exf5

6 Ne2 Be7 28 Rxd7 Qe6

7 0-0 Nc6 29 Rfd1 Nxc2

8 Be3 Bd7 30 exf5 gxf5

9 Nb3 a6 31 Rc7 Rad8

10 f4 b5 32 Bd5 Rxd5

11 a3 0-0 33 Nxd5 Nd4

12 Bf3 Qc7 34 Ne3 Qxb3

13 g4 Bc8 35 g6 hxg6

14 g5 Nd7 36 Rg1 Bg7

15 Bg2 Nb6 37 Rxg6 Qb1+

16 f5 Nc4 38 Kg2 Ne6

17 Bc1 Re8 39 Rxg7+ Nxg7

18 Qh5 N6e5 40 fxg7 Kxg7

19 Kh1 Qb6 41 Qg5+ Kf8

20 Bf4 Bf8 42 Qh6+ Kg8

21 Rad1 Bd7 43 Qg5+ Kf8

22 Nd4 g6 44 Qh5 resigns

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