16 NOVEMBER 1996, Page 74






Champagne victory

Raymond Keene

AT THE highest levels chess is no longer what it used to be. Now, it is a fiercely com- petitive sport, with high prizes and no holds barred. In the 19th century, games, even between the top masters, had a social atmosphere to them which it would no longer be wise to replicate. In one of their world championship matches, for example, Steinitz was supplied with free champagne during the games, while his Russian chal- lenger Chigorin had access to an unlimited supply of brandy to oil his cogitation.

The games too sometimes resembled the chivalric clash of feudal knights, with one side offering material for the attack, and the other accepting everything, almost as a matter of honour. This week's game is a beautiful example of this style of chess. To enjoy it to the maximum, dine well and then, retire with a glass of champagne or port and a good cigar and relish the won- derful world of the imagination which this game conjures up.

Anderssen–Zukertort: Barmen, 1869; Evans Gambit.

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 The Evans Gambit, introduced with this move, was all the rage in the latter half of the 19th century. From the mid-1890s onwards, though, good defensive methods were found and it lay more or less neglected until Kasparov himself revived it in two buccaneering games against Arland and Piket last year. 4 ...Bxh4 5 c3 Ba5 6 d4 exd4 7 0- 0

Bb6 Modern investigation centres on 6 ... Nge7 7 cxd4 d5 8 exd5 Nxd5. Although Black's king is temporarily stuck in the centre, his posi- tion is solid enough to withstand White's assault. In view of that, White might prefer the specula- tion 6 ...Nge7 7 Ng5 Ne5 8 Nxf7 Nxf7 9 Bxf7+ Kxf7 10 Qh5+ g6 11 Qxa5, with an obscure situ- ation to compensate for Black's extra pawn. 8 cxd4 d6 9 d5 Na5 10 Bb2 Ne7 Not 10 ...Nxc4 allowing 11 Bxg7, transfixing Black's rook in the corner. 11 Bd3 Now 11 Bxg7 Rg8 is less happy for White. 11 ...0-0 12 Nc3 Ng6 13 Net c5 14 Qd2 f6 The game has crystallised into a race between Black's giant superiority in pawns on the queen's flank, and White's slow but massive build up of pieces on the other wing. Black's last move is designed to blunt the power of White's queen's bishop operating on the long diagonal. 15 KM The start of a deep attacking plan. White

needs the square g1 for his rook. 15 Bc7 16 Raci Rb8 17 Ng3 b5 18 N15 (Diagram) Two days

later, in the very same tournament Anderssen, now playing with the black pieces, reached sub- stantially the same position against the German master Louis Paulsen. In the later game Anderssen improved Black's play with the imme- diate 18 ...c4, which gains a vital tempo to acti- vate Black's pawns by attacking White's bishop. Anderssen, in fact, went on to win that game too. 18 ...b4 19 Rgl Bb6 20 g4 Now we see the full point of White's king retreat on move 15. White's 'g' pawn acts as a battering ram, while its advance also creates the space for White to dou- ble his rooks on the 'g' file. 20 ... Ne5 21 BxeS It is better to trade this piece for Black's valuable knight on e5. White needs all of his forces in the vicinity of Black's king to stay at their posts. 21 dxe5 If 21 ... fxe5 White can consider both 22 g5 and 22 Ng5. With the recapture in the text, Black hopes to strike directly at White's centre with his newly liberated queen. 22 Rg3 Rf7 23 g5 Bxf5 24 exf5 QxdS 25 gxf6 White avoids the tempting 25 Bc4 Qxd2 26 Bxf7+ Kxf7 27 Nxd2, when White's attack has vanished and Black's dangerous pawns are more than sufficient com- pensation for the loss of the exchange. 25 ... Rd8 Black would like to play 25 ... Rxf6, to eliminate the dangerous white pawn, but then 26 Bc4 does not just win the exchange, it picks off the black queen. 26 Rcgl A brilliant move planning to meet 26 ... Qxd3 with 27 Qh6 Qxf5 28 Rxg7+ Kh8 29 Ng5, exploiting the full murderous con- centration of white force in the 'g' file. 26 ... Kh8 27 fxg7+ Kg8 28 Qh6 Already threatening 29 Qxh7+ Kxh7 30 Rh3+ Kg8 31 Rh8 checkmate.

28 Qd6 (Diagram) Black hoped with his last

move to avoid the queen sacrifice, but now it comes in even more coruscating form. Here Anderssen announced mate in five moves with 29 Qxh7+ Kxh7 30 f6+ Kg8 If 30 Qxd3 31 Rh3+. 31 Bh7+ Kxh7 32 Rh3+ Kg8 33 Rh8 checkmate A sensational finale.