Nigel Short has the chance of his life in the Barcelona World Cup. Kasparov has been off form, and with a burst of four wins at the midway stage, Short is poised to contest the lead with Ljubojevic. Should Nigel succeed, it will be the first of the World Cup series to fall to neither Karpov nor Kasparov, the two great Russians. There follow two of his best wins so far: Short — Ribli: Sicilian Defence.
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 13 b5 8 g4 116 9 h4 64 10 Nce2 e5 11 Nb3 d5 12 Ng3 d4 The opening of this game is weird. White never succeeds in castling, Black castles late, and hardly bothers to develop any of his pieces. 12 . . . dxe4 must be the serious test of Short's opening play. 13 Bf2 Be6 14 Bd3 h5 15 g5 Nfd7 16 f4 Bg4 17 Be2 exf4 18 NxhS Bxe2 19 Qxe2 d3 20 cxd3 13 21 Qxf3 Ne5 22 Qe2 Nxd3+ 23 Kn Nxf2 24 Kxf2 Nc6 25 Kg2 Qb8 26 Racl Ne5 27 Nf4 Bd6 28 Nd4 0-0 29 Nd5 Re8 30 Nf5 Ng6 White has consolidated and now shifts over to the attack. 31 Rcfl Nf4+ 32 Nxf4 Bxf4 33 Qf3 Be5 34 Nxg7 Black resigned. If 34 . . . Kxg7 35 Qxf7+ Kh8 36 Qh5+ Kg8 37 Rf7 Bg7 38 g6 and Qh7 mate cannot be parried. Alternatively, 34 . . . Bxg7 35 Qxf7+ Kh7 36 Qh5+ Kg8 37 g6 with the same effect. Finally, Black could struggle on grimly with 34 . . . Rf8 but then 35 Nh5 13, xb2 36 Nf6+ is deadly. Yusupov — Short: Queen's Gambit Declined.
1 Nf3 d5 2 d4 Nf6 3 c4 e6 4 Nc3 Be7 5 Bg5 h6 6 Bxf6 Bxf6 7 e3 0-0 8 Qb3 c6 9 Rdl Nd7 10 Bd3 b6 11 0-0 Bb7 12 Rfel Re8 13 Bbl Rc8 14 cxd5 exd5 15 e4 N18 16 e5 Be7 17 Qc2 Rc7 18 a3 Bc8 19 113 g6 20 Qd2 Kg7 21 Nh2 Ne6 22 Ne2 Tempting is 22 f4 but it fails to 22 . . Nxd4 23 Qxd4 Bc5. 22 . . . Ba6 23 Nf4 Nxf4 24 Qxf4 c5 25 Nf3 Bc8 26 dxc5 bxc5 27 Ba2 Be6 28 Re2 Rd7 !! An ambush, encouraging White into a fatally tempting man- oeuvre. 29 Bb3 Qa5 This prevents the tempting 30 Ba4, skewering Black's rooks, on account of 30 . . . g5, which drives away White's queen from the protection of his bishop. 30 Qa4 Qb6 Yusupov now plays what must have been the point of his otherwise artificial-looking man- oeuvre with his queen. After White's next move Black appears to have lost a pawn since 31 RxdS RxdS 32 Bxd5 leaves Black's rook on e8 under attack. Similarly, 31 Rxd5 Bxd5 32 Qxd7 wins for White. In spite of this, Nigel has set a diabolical trap. 31 Rxd5 RedS!! White resigned. Yusupov suddenly realises that he must lose a piece after 32 Rxd7 Bxd7 33 Qc4 Be6. One of the most ingenious snares 1 have ever seen.
Speelman began badly with three losses out of three games. Fortunately, he picked up and returned to a good score, with wins against Nogueiras and Illescas.
Speelman — Illescas: Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch Defence.
1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 c5 4 cxd5 exd5 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 Bf4 Nf6 7 e3 cxd4 Starting a premature attack. More annoying for White is 7 . . . c4. 8 Nxd4 Bb4 9 Be2 Ne4 10 Rcl 0-0 11 0-0 Bxc3 12 bxc3 Qa5 13 c4 dxc4 14 Bxc4 Nxd4 15 Qxd4 Nd2 16 Bd6 Bh3 Of course, Speelman does not now fall for the transparent 17 gxh3 Nf3+. 17 Rfdl Nxc4 18 Bxf8 Rxf8 19 Rxc4 Qg5 20 Qe4 Black resigned.
On Sunday 30 April at 3.00 pm, Nigel Short will be in action at London's Strand Palace Hotel, raising money for The Medical Foundation (Care for Victims of Torture). Nigel will be taking on all com- ers, including many celebrities from the stage, television and chess worlds. Specta- tors and players are most welcome. Those interested in playing should contact chief organiser Fiona Lawson on 01 935 2565 or 935 7873 as soon as possible, since the remaining playing opportunities are bound to be snapped up quickly.