Chess

The game that finished off Valery Salov in the world championship semi-finals last week was a positional masterpiece by Gata Kamsky. Playing the same line of the Nimzo-Indian as had occurred in an earlier game, Kamsky went for immediate exchanges with 13...Ne4.

The result was a delicately balanced endgame: White had two bishops against bishop and knight, normally an advantage in an open position except when, as in this case, the pawn structure is symmetrical. On the other hand, all four rooks were still on the board, and rook and bishop co-operate better than rook and knight. But Black's rooks controlled the open b-file.

Then there was the question of the rook on b2 - was its occupation of the seventh rank a temporary irritation, or a real advantage? And which was more vulnerable, the pawn on c4 or its counterpart on c5?

Coming to an overall conclusion about such a position demands both precise analysis and an almost mystical positional sense. As the game showed, Kamsky's judgement that Black stood better was correct. The manner in which he converted that advantage to a win was most impressive.

With such judgement, determination and precision World championships are won. For a 20-year-old to be playing with such maturity is terrifying.

It would be interesting to know what Anatoly Karpov thinks of this game - which bears a remarkable resemblance to his best victory against Kasparov in 1984.

White: V. Salov

Black: G. Kamsky

1 d4 Nf6 40 Bd3 Rh8

2 c4 e6 41 Rcb1 Rbb8

3 Nc3 Bb4 42 Rxb8 Rxb8

4 Qc2 0-0 43 Rc1 Rb3

5 a3 Bxc3+ 44 Bc2 Ra3

6 Qxc3 b6 45 e4 fxe4

7 Bg5 c5 46 Bd1 Kf5

8 dxc5 bxc5 47 Be2 Ra2

9 e3 d6 48 Kf1 Ra4

10 Bd3 Nbd7 49 Rd1 Nxc4

11 Ne2 Rb8 50 Rc1 Bb5

12 0-0 h6 51 Kg1 a6

13 Bh4 Ne4 52 Kh2 Nb2

14 Bxd8 Nxc3 53 Rc2 Nd3

15 Be7 Nxe2+ 54 Bd2 Nxf2

16 Bxe2 Re8 55 Be3 Nd3

17 Bxd6 Rxb2 56 Kg3 Ra3

18 Rfe1 Ba6 57 Bxg4+ Kg6

19 Bf1 Rc8 58 Bd2 Nb4+

20 Bg3 Nb6 59 Rc3 Ra2

21 Rec1 Rd8 60 Bc1 c4

22 Be5 Rb3 61 Be6 Nd3

23 a4 f6 62 Bxc4 Bxc4

24 a5 Nc8 63 Rxc4 Kf5

25 Bc3 Nd6 64 Rc8 Ne1

26 Be1 Kf7 65 Rf8+ Ke6

27 Be2 Ke7 66 Re8+ Kd7

28 Kf1 Rdb8 67 Ra8 Rxg2+

29 h3 e5 68 Kh3 Rc2

30 Kg1 Rb2 69 Bh6 e3

31 Bd3 Ke6 70 Ra7+ Ke6

32 h4 g5 71 Bxe3 Rc3

33 hxg5 hxg5 72 Kg4 Rxe3

34 Bf1 g4 73 Rxa6+ Kd5

35 Bc3 R2b3 74 Ra8 Ke4

36 Be2 f5 75 a6 Ra3

37 Be1 Rb2 76 a7 Nf3

38 Bd3 R2b3 White resigns

39 Be2 Rb2

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