25 JUNE 1994, Page 44




Dream ticket

Raymond Keene

AFTER MUCH VACILLATION, the two British grandmasters, Nigel Short and Michael Adams, have both succeeded in penetrating to the semi-finals of the PCA/ Intel World Championship. After eight games the British matches in the quarter- finals in New York had ended in a parallel 4-4 deadlock. Only when the contests moved into quickplay overtime did the British triumph become manifest, Short finally landing a direct hit in game 11, with Adams duplicating this feat, but only at his 14th attempt. The score tables tell the full story:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Adams 1 1 0 0 1/2 1 0 1/2 1/2

1/2 1/2

1/2 Y2 1 71/2 Tiviakov 0 0 1 1 1/2 0 1 1/2 1/2

1/2 Y2 1/2 1/2

0 6% Short 1/2 0 1

1/2 1/2

1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2

1/2 1


61/2 Gulko 1/2 1 0 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 0 1/2


The semi-finals are currently set for Barce- lona or Linares, running from 28 Septem- ber to 10 October. Short will face Kamsky, who annihilated the teenage Russian grandmaster Kramnik in New York, while Adams will meet Anand, who performed a similar hatchet job on the veteran Roma- nishin.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Anand 1/2 1 1 1/2 1/2 1/2 1 5 Romanishin 1/2 0 0 1/2 lh 1/2 0 2 Kamsky 1 1

V2 1/2 1/2 1

Kramnik 0 0 1/2 1/2 1/2 0


Here is the game which clinched Nigel Short's qualification.

Short — Gulko: PCA/Intel World Chess Quarter-finals, New York, June 1994; Caro- Kann Defence.

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 Short's favourite system against the Caro-Kann. Cunningly, he avoided using it during the match, saving its complexities for the tie-breaking shootout. 3 . . . Bf5 4 N13 e6 5 c3 Ne7 In an earlier game from the tie-break Gulko had tried 5 . . . c5 6 a3 cxd4 7 cxd4 Ne7 8 Be3 Nec6 9 Bd3 Bxd3 10 Qxd3 Be?. However, he was presumably unhappy with the outcome of that opening and now opts for a more compli- cated alternative. 6 Nh4 Bxbl Surrendering the bishop pair in order to accelerate his attack against White's centre. 7 Rxbl c5 8 a3 Nbc6 9 Bet Ng6 10 Nxg6 hxg6 11 Be3 cxd4 12 cxd4 Bel 13 g3 Qd7 14 b4 An ambitious strategy to conquer extra space on the queen's flank. The problem, though, is that this move is time- consuming and permits Black to strike back on the opposite wing. 14 . . . f5 15 exf6 It is Short's trademark in such situations to capture en passant, opening up the game in the future hope of exploiting Black's pawn weakness. 15 . . . gxf6 16 h4 f5 17 Qd2 Bf6 18 Kfl Qg7 Gulko's plan is consistent and forceful. His long- intended attack against the remnant of White's centre, namely the pawn on d4, now obliges White to renounce his advantage of the two bishops. 19 Bb5 g5 20 Rcl Re8 21 Rgl gxh4 This gives some point to White's previous move by allowing the rook to enter play. Gulko's idea was, in compensation, to saddle White with an isolated pawn on the 'h' file. On the other hand, this pawn is also passed. 22 gxh4 Qf7 23 Bg5 a6 24 Bxc6+ Rxc6 25 Rxc6 bxc6 26 Qf4 Kd7 27 Bxf6 Qxf6 28 Rg5 Qh6 29 Qg3 Re8 30 Ke2 Qf6 31 Kd3 The positions are in relative balance. Both sides are saddled with weak pawns but they are all well protected at the moment and Black's central fortress seems quite compact. Mean- while, it is difficult for White to advance his 'h' pawn. (Diagram) 31 . . f4 The first sign that

Gulko is wilting under White's determined pressure. This deceptively energetic advance in fact allows White to fasten on Black's vulnerable pawn on e6. It also permits the white queen to take up a powerful station on g4, which supports

the important advance of the pawn to h5. 32 Qg4 Rh8 33 h5 Rf8 34 h6 Rf7 35 Rg6 The evil consequences of Black's erroneous 31st move are now obvious. Black has no choice but to transpose into a rook and pawn endgame where he is consistently struggling for air. 35 . . . Q15+ 36 Qxf5 RxfS 37 Rg7+ Kd6 38 h7 Rh5 39 Ke2 Rh3 40 Raj e5 41 Rxa6 In the race to harvest the respective pawn weaknesses Black always re- mains slightly behind. 41 . . . f3+ 42 Ke3 exd4+ 43 Kxd4 Rxh7 This seems like relief at last, but now White strikes on the other wing, exploiting the pin of Black's 'c' pawn. 44 b5 Rh4+ 45 Ke3 Kc5 46 bxc6 Kb5 47 c7 Rc4 48 Rd6 Rxc7 49 Rxd5+ Kc4 50 Rd4+ Kc5 51 Rf4 Rb7 52 Kxf3 Rb3+ 53 Kg4 Rxa3 54 Rf6 The smoke has cleared and White has emerged with a won rook and pawn endgame. The key to the successful advance of the white pawn is to cut off the black king from the promotion zone, either along the sixth rank, or by erecting a barrier across the `e' file. In the further course of the game, both these motifs come to the fore. 54 . . . Kd5 55 f4 Ral 56 Rb6 Ke4 57 Re6+ Kd5 58 f5 Rgl+ 59 Kh5 Rg2 60 Kh6 Rgl 61 Re2 Rfl 62 Kg6 Rgl+ 63 Kf7 Kd6 64 f6 Kd7 65 Kf8 Kd8 66 Rd2+ Kc7 6717 Kc8 68 Rd5 For any experienced player this position is a matter of technique but it is essential to play this particular rook move. Known as the Lucena position the key to White's rook advance is, as Nimzowitsch put it, to build a bridge so that the white king can escape from the black rook's checks without losing the T pawn. 68 . . . Kc7 69 Ke7 Rel+ 70 Kf6 Black resigns After 70 . . . Rfl+ 71 Rf5 the point of White's 68th move is revealed as, indeed, is the hopelessness of Black's situation. This whole game was a superb testament to Nigel Short's determination and strength of will in a most critical match position. Had he not beaten Gulko, Short would have found himself in the unfortunate quandary of being excluded from Fide events, while simultaneously elimin- ated from those of the PCA. Faced with this crisis, Short rose superbly to the occasion. His next task is to defeat Kamsky. Short's record against the American is splendid, but in recent months Kamsky has become a much improved player. The problem is not an easy one to crack.