16 MARCH 1991, Page 51


Dark Blues

Raymond Keene

In the super-tournament in Linares, Spain, with just one round to go Vassily

Ivanchuk, the only unbeaten player, has maintained his lead with 9/11. Kasparov

has 81/2, Beliavsky 8, while our own Jon Speelman shares fourth place with 7. This IS a tremendous result for Speelman in what has been billed as the strongest chess

tournament ever organised. So far it is

undoubtedly Speelman's best ever tourna- ment performance. He lost to Yusupov in

the first round, but since then he has

beaten Kamsky, Karpov and Ehlvest. His win against Karpov is one of the very few British wins against a player who is virtual-

ly invincible.

Immediately after the game, Jon Speel-

man told me: 'After the opening I had an objectively very dubious position, but with excellent practical fighting chances. Kar- pov decided to win a pawn but in doing so gave me reasonable compensation in the form of a strong initiative. And in time trouble he allowed me to transform this compensation into an overwhelming posi-

tion. Despite the scrappy nature of the game, I was delighted since this is my first win against him whereas he had beaten me on a number of occasions.'

Speelman — Karpov: Linares 1991; Nimzo- Indian Defence.

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 a3 Bxc3+ 7 bxc3 dicc4 8 Bxc4 c5 9 Ne2 Nc6 10 0-0 e5 11 Rbl One would normally expect Speelman to be seen on the black side of this variation, since he is more a knight man than a bishop man. For example 11 Bb2 Qc7 12 Ba2 Rd8 13 Qc2 Bg4 14 Ng3 Qe7 15 dxe5 Nxe5 16 c4 Nd3 was Seirawan- Speelman, Phillips and Drew/GLC, London 1982, a game which resulted in a brilliant win for Speelman. Alternatively 11 Bb2 Re8 12 Ba2 Be6 13 c4 cxd4 14 exd4 Qb6 Chandler-Speelman, Hastings 1980/81. In fact Speelman's 11th move is not much of an improvement. 11 . . . Qc7 12 Ba2 Rd8 13 Qc2 b6 14 Ng3 exd4 15 cxd4 cxd4? Uncharacteristically, Karpov misses 15 . . . Ba6! 16 Rdl (16 Rd l loses a pawn for no compensation at all) 16 . . . cxd4 17 exd4 Nxd4 and Black wins since 18 Qxc7 fails to 18 . . . Ne2+ with mate to follow. 16 exd4 Be6 17 Bxe6 fxe6 18 Bg5 Rac8 19 Bxf6 girf6 20 Abel Rxd4 Now, in contradistinction to the variations which might have arisen after 15 . . . Ba6 16 Rd. White has distinct compensation for the loss of his d4 pawn. This comes in the shape of Black's shattered kingside pawn structure and the consequent exposure of his king. 21 Rfel Qf7 22 Qc3 Rdd8 23 NM e5 24 Qg3+ Kh8 25 Qh4 Nd4 If Black seeks to defend his f6 pawn with 25 . . . Kg7 there would come 26 Rc3 with the dreadful menace of Rg3+ . 26 Rxc8 Rxc8 27 Nxf6 White regains the pawn whilst retaining all of the advantages of his position. Added to Black's

Position after 32 Rd8!

problems is the insecurity of his e5 pawn, deprived of its protection from f6. Note that Speelman does not fall for 27 Nd6? 0g7 28 Nxc8 Nf3+ winning White's queen. 27. . . Qg6 28 Ng4 Ne2+ 29 Khl Nf4 30 h3 Re8 31 Rdl Qg7 32 Rd8! (Diagram) Really this is the last difficult move of the game. It must have been tempting to play for a further attack by keeping rooks on the board but Speelman correctly perceives that once the rooks have been eliminated the expo- sure of the black king will actually increase and Black—will be unable to defend his weak and scattered pawns from the manifold threats generated by the combined efforts of White's queen and knight. 32 . . . Rg8 33 Rxg8+ Qxg8 34 Qf6+ Qg7 35 Qd8+ Qg8 36 Qe7 Ng6 37 Qxa7 Qe6 38 Qb8+ Kg7 39 Qc7+ Kh8 40 Nh6 Qf6 41 Qc8+ Kg7 42 Nf5+ 1(17 43 Qd7+ Kf8 44 g3 h5 45 h4 Kg8 46 Kg2 Nf8 47 Qd5+ KV 48 Qb7+ Kg8 49 Ne7+ Kh8 50 Nd5 Qd6 51 Qf7 Ng6 52 Nf6 Black resigns Karpov quite rightly resigned since his king has no escape route from the mating threats.

Speelman, an Oxford old boy, will doubtless have drawn encouragement from Oxford's win last Saturday in the annual varsity match against Cambridge. This victory brought the overall score level at 55 wins each. As is traditional, the battle- ground was the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall while Watson, Farley and Wil- liams covered the costs of the match and provided the trophies.

Oxford Cambridge

David Norwood (Keble) 1-0 Jonathan Wilson (Trinity) James Cavendish (Magdalen) 1-0 Edward Holland (Queen's) Darren Wheeler (St. John's) 1-0 Jon Lee (Trinity) Matthew Piper (Wadham) 1-0 Alan Baker (Emmanuel) Frank van Hasselt

(New College) 1/2-1/2 Philip Cracker (Downing) Martin Hazelton (St. Anne's) 0-1 Steven Foister

(St. Catherine's) Tom Brown (Queen's) 1-0 Mark Thornton (Darwin) Lucy Martin (Somerville) 0-1 Natasha Regan (King's)