Chess

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The Independent Online
It has been a busy weekend for chess. In Spain, the Linares tournament is under way with 14 of the world's best players, including Anatoly Karpov and Nigel Short, competing in a 13-round all-play-all. Not so long ago, it looked like being event stronger, but the re-opening of some old political wounds seem to have been responsible for the withdrawal of Garry Kasparov and a handful of other mega-grandmasters.

After three rounds, the pace-setters are Alexander Belyavsky (Ukraine) and Vesselin Topalov (Bulgaria), each with three wins. Karpov has started slowly, drawing all his games so far, Short began well with a steady draw as Black against Ivanchuk, but then stalled badly, losing to both Topalov and Belyavsky.

While there can be no complaints about the quality of play in Linares, anyone looking for quantity would have done better to drop in at the RAC in Pall Mall, when 10 past British champions played simultaneous displays against 10 teams from schools, clubland, industry and any other excuse to get a team together. (Though nobody ever explained why the "junior girls" team had no junior girls playing for it.)

Four hundred games were played in the afternoon. Jon Speelman won a prize for scoring 39 wins and conceding only one draw, and a healthy sum of money was raised for Save the Children.

Meanwhile, in another room at the RAC, Cambridge were demolishing Oxford in the 121st Varsity Chess Match, which was sponsored by the London law firm Watson, Farley & Williams. Scores in the series are now level at 48 victories each. After winning every match throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, the Cambridge side had a momentary aberration in the 1980s, losing a dozen contests without winning any. Now led by international masters Matthew Turner and Jonathan Parker, both in their first year, Cambridge must be looking forward to re-establishing their traditional dominance.

The following game won a prize as the best of the match. In an unusual line of the French Defence, Black had clearly come to the board prepared with the extraordinary 8...Nxd2 instead of the traditional 8...g6 or 8...Kf8. The idea worked beautifully as White's queen ate the pawns she was offered and Black used the time to beat a way through to White's displaced king. Black's idea looks too extravagant to be correct, but on this occasion the Cambridge player never found a way to defend. The moral is that with queens and rooks rampaging along open lines, king safety is more important than counting pawns. Black's 20...d3! was the most attractive move of the game, ensuring that White's king had no place to hide.

White: A Hon (Cambridge)

Black: B. Keohane (Oxford)

1 e4 e6 18 h4 d4

2 d4 d5 19 c4 Qb7

3 Nc3 Nf6 20 a3 d3

4 Bg5 Bb4 21 Nxc5 Qb2

5 e5 h6 22 Nxd3 Qxc2+

6 Bd2 Bxc3 23 Ke3 Rd8

7 bxc3 Ne4 24 Rhd1 Qc3

8 Qg4 Nxd2!? 25 Rac1 Qd4+

9 Qxg7 Rf8 26 Kf3 Bc6+

10 Kxd2 c5 27 Ke2 Qe4+

11 Nf3 cxd4 28 Kf1 Qxg2+

12 Nxd4 Nc6 29 Ke1 Qe4+

13 Bb5 Bd7 30 Kf1 Rxd3

14 Bxc6 bxc6 31 Rxd3 Qxd3+

15 Qxh6 c5 32 Ke1 Rg8

16 Nb3 Qc7 White resigns

17 Qf6 Ba4

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