Games: Chess

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The Independent Online
You are Black in the diagram position and it's your move. Two pawns ahead, you clearly have good winning prospects, but the opposite- coloured bishops give White hopes of salvation. After routine play such as 1...a3 2.Kf2 a2 3.Ke3 Black will be hard-pressed ever to make progress. Equally, after 1...Be4 2.Kf2 f5 3.g3 Kd6 4.Ke3, White is able to set up a black-square blockade of the passed pawns.

The position arose at the end of the Topalov-Shirov game in the 10th round at Linares and Shirov found a remarkable way to force a victory. Just take a moment to think about possible plans for Black in the diagram, then compare your ideas with the way Shirov handled it.

He began with 1...Bh3!! Even if Black does have other ways to win, this is certainly the classy way to do it. The idea is to attack the pawn on g2 without blocking the black king's path to f5 and e4. The game continued 2.gxh3 (2.g3 Kf5 3.Kf2 Ke4 is no better) 2...Kf5 3.Kf2 Ke4! 4.Bxf6 d4 (The point: the bishop is cut off from defending a1) 5.Be7 Kd3! 6.Bc5 Kc4 7.Be7 Kb3 and White resigned. After 8.Ke1 Kc2 9.Bc5 d3 10.Bb4 a3 he cannot stop both pawns.

Here are the full moves. Black's opening play was not totally convincing, but he took advantage of White's decision to push forward too quickly on the K-side. 24...Nb6 followed by Nd5 and Nb4 may have looked odd, as it rerouted the knight from an apparently good square, but it was the right way to take the sting out of White's attack.

White: Veselin Topalov

Black: Alexei Shirov

1 d4 Nf6 28 Qxa2 Bxe5

2 c4 g6 29 fxg6 hxg6

3 Nc3 d5 30 Bg5 Rd5

4 cxd5 Nxd5 31 Re3 Qd6

5 e4 Nxc3 32 Qe2 Bd7

6 bxc3 Bg7 33 c4 Bxd4

7 Bb5+ c6 34 cxd5 Bxe3

8 Ba4 0-0 35 Qxe3 Re8

9 Ne2 Nd7 36 Qc3 Qxd5

10 0-0 e5 37 Bh6 Re5

11 f3 Qe7 38 Rf3 Qc5

12 Be3 Rd8 39 Qa1 Bf5

13 Qc2 Nb6 40 Re3 f6

14 Bb3 Be6 41 Rxe5 Qxe5

15 Rad1 Nc4 42 Qa2+ Qd5

16 Bc1 b5 43 Qxd5+ cxd5

17 f4 exd4 44 Bd2 a4

18 Nxd4 Bg4 45 Bc3 Kf7

19 Rde1 Qc5 46 h4 Ke6

20 Kh1 a5 47 Kg1 Bh3

21 h3 Bd7 48 gxh3 Kf5

22 a4 bxa4 49 Kf2 Ke4

23 Ba2 Be8 50 Bxf6 d4

24 e5 Nb6 51 Be7 Kd3

25 f5 Nd5 52 Bc5 Kc4

26 Bd2 Nb4 53 Be7 Kb3

27 Qxa4 Nxa2 White resigned