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The Independent Online
Garry Kasparov won a beautiful endgame in the second round of the Intel Grand Prix in New York. Playing White against the American grandmaster Nick de Firmian, he reached the diagram position nominally a pawn up but with the doubled g-pawns looking useless. His decision to play 1.Bxe6, reducing the game to a pure bishop and pawn endgame was remarkably far- sighted.

Play continued 1...Kxe6 2.Kf3 Kd6 (Black decides he cannot risk 2...Bc1 when 3.Ke2! Bxb2 4.Kd2 buries the bishop).

Now 3.Be3? Bxe3 4.Kxe3 f6 would lead to a totally drawn position. But if White cannot offer the exchange of bishops, what is his winning plan? Let's see how the game continued: 3.Ke2 Bc1 4.Kd3! Kc6 5.Be1 Bg5 6.Kc4. (Now the idea is to meet Bxb2 with 7.Bd2 and again the bishop is trapped.) 6...Be3 7.b4! (The only way to make progress.) 7...cxb4 8.cxb4 axb4 9.Bxb4 Bc1 10.Bf8 Bg5 11.Bg7! f6 12.Bh8!

The first stage of the plan is complete: Black must now move his king and let White into b5.

12...Kd6 13.Kb5 Kc7 14.Bg7 Kb7 15.Bf8 Kc7 16.Be7 Kd7 (16...Kb7 loses to 17.Bd8) 17.Bb4 Be3 and now comes the brilliant point of White's whole plan: 18.g5!!

Now 18...hxg5 lets the white h-pawn romp home after 19.h6, while 18...Bxg5 loses the b-pawn. It is important to note that if Black had played 17...Kc7 instead of Be3, then 18.Be1 (threatening Bf2) Be3 19.g5!! would have led to much the same conclusion in any case.

Back in the game, de Firmian met 18.g5 with 18...fxg5, when 19.g4! fixed the K-side pawns and left Black defenceless against the threat of Bf8.

The game finished 19...Ke6, hoping to stay in the fight after 20.Bf8 Kf7 21.Bxh6 Kg8, but Kasparov decided the issue with 20.Kc6! Bd4 21.Bd6 when Black resigned. He is helpless against Bc7 and Bxb6.

What is most impressive about this game is that the entire plan of bringing the king to c4, planing b4, and finally using the "useless" extra pawn with g5!! must have been in Kasparov's mind even before he exchanged bishop for knight in the diagram position.

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