13 NOVEMBER 1999, Page 82

XRd b

The Ultimate Islay Malt. XRd b www.ardbes.com


Awesome Wells Raymond Keene GRANDMASTER Peter Wells is one of the polymaths of chess. Over the board, he is A powerful competitor, having, for exam- ple, shared second prize in this year's Smith & Williamson British Chess Championship. As an author, he has written a number of authoritative and deeply researched books on critical areas of modem opening theory, such as the Richter-Rauzer, the Semi-Slav and the Scotch, the last two being great favourites with Garry Kasparov (from the white side). Now Peter has added to his accomplishments by being named captain of the British Chess Federation Women's Team which will take part in the European Women's Team Championship set for Georgia later this month. The team, by the way, consists of Harriet Hunt, Jovanka Houska and Ingrid Lauterbach.

This week's game and puzzle celebrate Peter's achievements.

Miiller-Wells: Bundesliga 1998; Scotch

1 e4 e5 2 NB Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nxc6 bxc6 6 eS Qe7 7 Qe2 NdS 8 c4 Nb6 9 Nd2 d61? This hitherto neglected move is due for a signifi- cant revival. The idea is by now a familiar one Black has some structural problems, and a potentially poorly placed knight on b6. To com- pensate for these defects in his position he seeks counterplay through rapid mobilisation. The text is not really primarily concerned with solving structural problems since, as we shall see, the pawn formation a7, c6 and d6 has its own long- term drawbacks. It is simply the most direct way to develop and, once Black realises that his ini- tiative can withstand the exchange of queens, the move comes into its own. 10 exd6 White's prob- lem is that it is very difficult to maintain the pawn on e5, and so he is left really with a choice of this exchange, or some sort of not very con- vincing pawn sacrifice, for example 10 Nf371 is well met by 10 ...Bg4! If White now exchanges on d6 he will also be obliged to exchange queens on e7 to avoid sickly f-pawns. Black will then be well ahead in development. 10 ...c,xd6 11 b3

Bg4I Aimed at 'forcing White to take on e7 and/or to severely weaken the e3-square; this move is central to Black's whole strategy. 12 Qxe7+ Since active piece play is essentially the core of Black's plan, it looks logical to exchange queens. Nonetheless, 12 f3 is an important alter- native, e.g. 12 ...Be6 13 Bb2 d5 14 cxd5 Nxd51 15 Qe4 Rd8 16 a3 Nf4 17 Qe4 Bd5 18 Qxe7+ Bxe7 with sufficient counterplay in

Aldunilovskaya-Madl, Manila Women's Olympiad 1992. 12 ...Bxe7 13 Bb2 0.0 14 Bd3 The natural try to bring 'positional' factors to the fore is 14 Be2, but this is again met by 14 ...Rfe8115 Bxg4 Bf6+ 16 Kdl Bxb2 17 Rbl Bd4 when the active bishop on d4 secures at least equal chances. 14 ... d51 15 1371 This weakening of the e3-square is bad for White but the problem is that 15 0-0 is strongly countered by 15 ...Bb4! and 15 cxd5 Bb4!? is also embarrassing, e.g. 16 t3 Rad8I? 17 bcg4 Rfe8+ 18 Kdl NxdS 19 a3 Bxd2 20 Kxd2 Nf4 with good play for Black in both cases. White should try 15 h31? Bh5, but after 16 g4 Bg6 17 Bxg6 Black should add the f-file to his arsenal by 17 ...fxg6! when 18 cxd5 can be met even by 18 ...Bb4!? Again the overall suspicion is that Black has sufficient counter-chances. 15 ...Be6 16 0-0 Rfd8 17 Rfdl a5!? An attempt to play for more than the comfortable but rather drawish 17 ...Bb4 18 cxd5 NxdS 19 Nc4 Nc3 20 Bxc3 Bxc3 21 Racl Bd4+. 18 Bfl a4 19 cxd5 Bei-120 Khl cxd5 21 Bd3 Be3 22 Nfl d4 23 Be4 Rac8 24 Rd3? 24 Nxe3! dxe3 25 Bel! gave some drawing chances. 24 ...t5 25 Bb7 Rc2 26 Nxe3 Rxb2 27 Ndl Rc2 28 f4 h6 29 Kgl Re8 30 Nfl Bd5 Doubled rooks on the seventh rank will give Black a great advantage. 31 Ban? Rxa2: 32 Rbl axb3 33 Rddl?? 1Rxa6 34 Nd3 Ra4 35 Nc5 Rb4 36 Nd3 Rb5 37 Ne5 Nc4 White resigns

The above notes are based on those by Peter Wells in his book, The Scotch Game (Batsford, £14.99).

Ardbeg Malt Whisky Puzzle No. 3 White to play and win — first move only required. This position is from the game Wells-Cladouras, Bad Worishofen 1997. Despite the level material, White has an immediate win. Can you see it?

Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 16 November or via e-mail to vanessa@spectator.co.uk or by fax on 0171 242 0603. The winner will be the first cor- rect answer drawn out of a hat, and each week I shall be offering a prize of a bottle of Ardbeg Malt Whisky.

Last week's solution: OW+.

Last week's winner: Dr David Hamilton, North Yorkshire.