CHESS

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The Independent Online
The black pieces had a fine day in the semi-finals at Wijk aan Zee with Yevgeny Bareyev beating Alexander Khalifman and Alexei Dreyev winning against Nigel Short. Khalifman had spent several hours trying to exploit a weak black pawn and an advantage in space against Bareyev when they reached the diagram position after White's 48th move.

,fbs, z ,h,g, n n n n n n , nH,H H,H, , , CH,GNHN , B Z , , , , ,S With an apparently total grip on the position, White must have been looking forward to squeezing Black to death with e4, g4, Qd1, Rd5, Rb5, R2d5, Bc1, Be3 and Qd2. Rather than wait for this to happen, Bareyev decided it was time to break free. The game continued 48...b5!? 49.axb5 a4! 50.g4 axb3 51.Qd1 b2 52.Rxb2 Nb6 53.Qb3 Rc8 54.Rc2 Qg8.

At the cost of a pawn, Black has rejoined the game and it had a disorientating effect on Khalifman. There followed 55.Rxd6 Rxd6 56.Bxd6 Nxc4 57.Bb4 Qd5 58.Be1 e4! and White was in difficulty. After 59.Rc1 (59.fxe4 Qxe4 or 59.f4 Qd1 offer no joy) exf3 60.Rd1 Qe5 61.Kxf3 Qh2 62.Bg3 (otherwise Ne5+ is too strong) Nd2+ 63.Rxd2 Qxd2 Black's advantage was enough to win.

Short gained nothing against a strange line of the French. After 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Be7!? 4.Bd3 dxe4 5.Nxe4 Nf6 6.Nf3 Nbd7 7.c3 c5 8.Nxc5 Bxc5! 9.dxc5 Nxc5 the game was equal. Short tangled his pieces trying to extract some advantage, stumbled into difficulties, lost a pawn, ran short of time and exceeded the time-limit on move 40, when still having some chances to save the game.

Both Short and Khalifman now have to win with Black if they are to stay in the competition.

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