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The Independent Online
Anatoly Karpov seems to be heading for first place in the Melody Amber Rapidplay and Blindfold tournament in Monaco despite a loss to Jeroen Piket in the penultimate round. With two games left to play, Karpov is a point ahead of Viswanathan Anand.

While he has scored only 50 per cent in the blindfold games, Karpov has amassed a huge score in the 25-minute games with 8 wins, 2 draws and no loss. He gave a good demonstration of perfect quickplay technique in the fifth round, when he faced Gata Kamsky, who will shortly be challenging him for the Fide world title.

Playing Black, Karpov won a pawn soon after the opening. After the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3 Bb7 5.Nc3 d5 6.cxd5 Nxd5 7.Bd2 Nd7 8.Qc2 c5 9.e4 Nxc3 10.Bxc3 cxd4 11.Bxd4 Rc8 12.Bc3 a6 13.Bd3 Be7 14.0-0 Bf6, Kamsky blundered with 15.e5?

The game continued 15...Nxe5 16.Nxe5 Bxe5 17.Bxa6 and, if Kamsky was relying on 17...Bxa6 18.Qa4+ , he must have been disappointed when Karpov played 17...Bxh2+! 18.Kxh2 Qh4+ 19.Kg1 Bxa6, when the black queen prevents the check on a4, leaving Black a sound pawn ahead.

After 40 moves, they reached the diagram position with Karpov still a pawn ahead.

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, ,hn ,

, ,g,q,h

N C , ,

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To retain winning chances, Black must avoid any exchange of rooks leading to a drawn, opposite-coloured bishop ending. His first task, therefore, is to extract himself from the pin on the d-file.

Play continued 41.Rh8 Kg6 42.Rd8 Kf7 43.g3 e5 44.Bc5 Ke6 45.Rh8 Bb5! Remarkably, Black gives up his extra pawn to initiate an attack.The point became clear after 46.Rxh5 Rd3+ 47.Kf2 Rd2+ 48.Kg1 (not 48.Ke3 Re2 mate) Rd1+ 49.Kf2 Rd2+ 50.Kg1 Bc6! and White must again lose a pawn.

The best move of the game, however, came later: 51.f4 Rg2+ 52.Kf1 Rxg3 53.fxe5 and now, instead of the routine recapture, Karpov played the far superior 53...f5!! The final moves were 54.Kf2 f4 55.Rh4 Rg2+ 56.Kf1 Kxe5 57.Rh5+ g5 58.Be7 Kf5 59.b5 Bd5 60.b6 f3 61.Bc5 Bc4+ 62.Ke1 Re2+ 63.Kd1 Bb3+ 64.Kc1 Rc2+ 65.Kb1 Rxc5 and White resigned.