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What is the difference between a good idea and a bad idea? As every chessplayer knows, it is possible to have the most wonderful ideas that prove to have a small but fatal flaw, while one's opponents win games through second-rate ideas that happen, by pure chance, to lead to winning positions.

Anatoly Karpov must have been dwelling on such thoughts after his victory in Monaco last week. His play in the blindfold games seemed to be full of good ideas that didn't work, though none as striking as his 26th move against Ivanchuk.

The opening was an unremarkable Caro-Kann with White retaining a small advantage after 18.Ne5. Karpov's 18...Bb5 was an interesting idea, allowing the doubling of his b-pawns in exchange for the chance to establish his knight at d5 without having to worry about c4 chasing it back.

When he played 22...Nd5, however, it was probably an oversight (if, indeed, a blindfolded player can have an oversight). When 23.Nd7 forked queen and rook, Black had to give up a pawn to avoid greater loss. All the same, after 26.Ka2, White would still have had many technical problems in converting his advantage to a win, if Karpov had not had the brilliant idea of 26...Rxa3+.

After 27.Kxa3 Ra8, White is mated, while 27.bxa3 Nc3+ lets Black re-establish material equality. Unfortunately the combination left him with a lost endgame. Refusing to be bought off by the chance of playing 30.Rb8+ Kh7 31.Nf8+ Kg8 32.Nxe6+, Ivanchuk insisted on a rook exchange that left Black's knight too far away to stop the galloping a-pawn.

White: V. Ivanchuk

Black: A. Karpov

1 e4 c6 19 Bxb5+ axb5

2 d4 d5 20 Rd3 0-0

3 Nd2 dxe4 21 Rb3 Ra5

4 Nxe4 Nd7 22 Rd1 Nd5

5 Ng5 e6 23 Nd7 Qc4

6 Bd3 Be7 24 Qxc4 bxc4

7 N1f3 h6 25 Rxb7 Rc8

8 Ne4 Ngf6 26 Ka2 Rxa3+

9 Qe2 c5 27 bxa3 Nc3+

10 Nxf6+ Nxf6 28 Ka1 Nxd1

11 dxc5 Qa5+ 29 a4 Rc6

12 Bd2 Qxc5 30 Rb6 Rxb6

13 0-0-0 Bd7 31 Nxb6 Nc3

14 Kb1 a6 32 Kb2 Ne4

15 a3 Qb6 33 a5 c3+

16 Be3 Bc5 34 Kb3 Kf8

17 Bxc5 Qxc5 35 Kb4 resigns

18 Ne5 Bb5