21 MARCH 1992, Page 52



Raymond Keene

Linares o,o, this great tournament in Linares, undoubtedly one of the very strongest in the entire history of chess, has ended in a superb triumph for the world champion Gary Kasparov. He finished a clear two points ahead of the field and was the only unbeaten player. Over the past year, Kas- parov's form has been somewhat uncer- tain, with just one first prize at Tilburg, and three events — Linares last year, Amsterdam in the summer and Reggio Emilia earlier this year — when the cham- pion was squeezed out of the lead, albeit by half a point in each case. The recently concluded Linares tournament has seen him restore his reputation, in particular against his four world semi-final aspirants, whom he swept away by the score of 4-0. This was a particularly satisfying nuance for Kasparov to his overall victory.

Of the rest of the field only Jan Timman, who is to face Yusupov in the semi-final due to start in Linares on 11 April, truly advanced his reputation. The Dutch grand- master shared second prize and en route gained the award for the most combative player, reducing his draw total to just two. A similar accolade, unfortunately, could not be bestowed on the English pair, Nigel Short and Jon Speelman. In recent events Jon seems to be struggling creatively and finds it difficult to win games. Indeed, in Linares he was the only player not to win a single game. Nigel's result, his poorest for many years, does not augur well for his semi-final match against Karpov, also set for Linares in a couple of weeks. I put Linares Tournament, Feb-Mar 1992

12345678901234 1 Kasparov • 11/211/211/21/21/21111/2110

2 Timman 0'1/2101/201011111 8 3 Ivanchuk 144' 4'21/2101/2 1/2111/211/2 8

4 Karpov 001/2 * Vz 1/21011/2111/21 71/2 5 Anand 1/211/21/2 • 1/21/21/21011/21/20 7

6 Gelfand 01/201/21/2'1101/211/21/21 7

7 Salov 1/21101/20•01/21/21/211/21 7

8 Bareev 1/201/211/201•1/2101/21/21/2 61/2 9 Beliaysky 1/2111/20011/21/2•01/201/21 6

10 Yusupov 0001/211/21/201'01/211 6

11 Illescas 0000001/211/21 • 111/2 51/2

12 Ljubojevic 001/201/21/201/211/20 • 10 41/2 13 Speelman 1/2001/21/21/21/21/21/2000 * 1/2 4 14 Short 001/201001/2001/211/2* 4

Nigel's disaster down to two causes: the shattering blow to his morale caused by the blunder against Beliaysky which I documented last week, and the desire to shield his preparation and true strength from Karpov's gaze before their forthcom- ing match. Perhaps Nigel went too far in this. I hope he recovers his poise before that all-important test. The evidence of Linares is bleak but Nigel has great powers of recuperation.

Kasparov — Karpov: Linares 1992; Caro-Kann Defence. 1 e4 c6 2 d4 dS 3 Nd2 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7 5 Ng5 Ngf6 6 Bc4 e6 7 Qe2 Nb6 8 Bb3 h6 9 N5f3 c5 10 Bf4 Bd6 This is passive and should be replaced by 10 . . . Nbd5 11 Be5 Qa5+ 12 Nd2 b5 with vigorous counterplay as in three games by Speelman against Sax, Nunn and Short from 1988. 11 Bg3 Qe7 12 dxc5 BxcS 13 Ne5 Bd7 14 Ngf3 Nh5 15 0-0-0 Nxg3 16 hxg3 0-0-0 Black's king is not entirely safe on the queenside where he is missing the shelter of the 'e pawn, but with an open 'h' file it would clearly be too dangerous

Position after 17 Rh5

to castle on the other wing. 17 Rh5 (Diagram) An original way to activate his rook which is actually straining to reach the queen's flank. 17 . . . Be8 18 Rxd8+ Kxd8 19 Qd2+ Bd6 20 Nd3 Qc7 21 g4 Kc8 22 g5 Bf8 23 Rh4 Kb8 24 a4 Be7 25 aS Nd5 26 Kbl Bd8 Karpov seems afflicted by terrible lassitude in this game, whereby he consistently evades facing up to the sharpest decisions. Here, for example, he must play 26 . . . a6 to block the advance of White's 'a pawn. 27 a6 Qa5 28 Qe2 Nb6 29 axb7 With Karpov having failed to prevent the advance of this pawn, it now rips away the last vestiges of defence around the black king. 29 . . . Bxg5 30 NxgS QxgS 31 Rh5 Qf6 32 Ra5 Bc6 33 Nc5 Threatening Rxa7 followed by Qa6+. 33 . . . Bxb7 34 Nxb7 Kxb7 35 Qa6+ Kc6 36 Ba4+ Kd6 37 Qd3+ Black's case is hopeless. White could win a piece in a number of ways hereabouts but prefers to play for mate. 37 . . . Nd5 38 Qg3+ Qe5 39 Qa3+ Kc7 40 QcS+ Kd8 41 Rxa7 Black resigns.

Kasparov — Short: Linares 1992; Scotch Game. 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Bc5 5 Be3 Qf6 6 c3 Nge7 7 Bc4 0-0 8 0-0 Bb6 9 Nc2 d6 10 Bxb6 axb6 11 f4 Once again Kasparov has wheeled out his favourite replacement to the Ruy Lopez, the Scotch Game. White enjoys more space and Nigel tries to break this gnp by radical means. 11 . . . g5 A controversial concept. Black gains control of dark squares but undermines his own defences. 12 f5 Ne5 13 Bet Bd7 14 c4 g4 A rash advance which runs counter to his previous strategy and positively invites a white sacrifice on g4. More subtle and correct is 14 . . . Ba4. 15 Nc3 h5 16 Qd2 KM 17 Qf4 Bc6 18 Ne3 Nd7 19 Bxg4 The long-awaited sacrifice. 19 . . . hxg4 20

Position after 21 . . . Ng6

Nxg4 Qh4 21 Rf3 Ng6 (Diagram) An ingenious defence for if 22 fxg6 fxg6 and White's attack grinds to a halt. 22 Qe3 Qxg4 23 Qh6+ Kg8 24 Rh3 A slip which prolongs the game. Correct is 24 Rg3 Qxg3 25 hxg3 and if necessary White will soon decide the game by means of Kf2 and Rhl. 24 . . . Qxh3 25 gxh3 NgeS 26 f6 Nxf6 27 Qtriii Rae8 28 Khl Ng6 29 h4 Re6 30 Qg5 Rfe8 31 h5 Re5 32 Qh6 Rxe4 33 Nxe4 Rxe4 34 Kgl Ne5 35 QgS+ Kh7 36 QfS+ Kh6 37 Rfl Reg 38 Qf6+ Kh7 39 Qg5 Be4 40 h6 Bg6 41 h4 As played, Kasparov has maintained a fairly easily winning position but he has had to clinch matters by weight of material advantage rather than by a mating attack. 41 . . . Re4 42 h5 Rg4+ 43 Qxg4 Nxg4 44 hxg6+ fxg6 45 Rf7+ Kxh6 46 Rxc7 Ne5 47 Rxb7 Nxc4 48 b3 Black resigns.