30 DECEMBER 1995, Page 44


Ups and downs

Raymond Keene

THE SPANISH grandmaster Miguel Illescas has qualified for the next stage of the world championship, known as the Interzonal, from the preliminary Western European Zonal tournament held in Linares. Quite what this means is still open to interpretation. There had been plans to amalgamate both the Professional Chess Association (PCA) and World Chess Federation (Fide) qualifying bouts, but the current status of this reunification strategy has been thrown into doubt by the unex- pected events at the Fide congress in Paris last month. Nevertheless, congratulations are still in order for Illescas, who bounced back from a disaster against the British champion Matthew Sadler and eventually unseated Britain's Tony Miles from his early grip on the lead. This week I give Sadler's record-breaking miniature win against Illescas, as well as the Spaniard's brilliant revenge against Miles.

Illescas—Sadler: Linares Zonal, Spain, November 1995; Queen's Gambit Accepted.

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 e4 Nc6 A strange-looking idea, which has recently become fashionable. Traditionally Black has always played 3 ...e5. Ever since the days of the great 19th-century teacher Dr Tarrasch and the first world champi- on Wilhelm Stcinitz, there has been a natural reluctance on the part of strategically inclined players to block the 'c' pawn with a knight in queenside openings. What this game reveals is that such a ploy can still have a firm tactical jus- tification. 4 Be3 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 d5 Na5 7 Nf3 Bd6 Earlier games had seen 7 ... a6 8 Nxe5 b5, giving up the black `e' pawn to secure Black's queenside pawn majority. Sadler's 7th move had been frowned on, but he now proves that it is playable. 8 Qa4+ Bd7:1 An amazing riposte. It had been thought that it was necessary to play 8 ...c6 in this position when 9 dxc6 Nxc6 10 Bxc4

• gives White a clear and comfortable edge. Sadler's innovation rests on a diabolical plot to ensnare the white queen in a thicket of black queenside pawns. 9 Qxa5 a6 Black's plan is sud-

denly clear. White's queen is short of squares and the threat of b6 becomes deadly. White's immediate priority is to secure an avenue of retreat for his queen. 10 Nbl If 10 b4 b6 11 Qa3 a5 when White's position collapses. A more ambitious try is 10 Na4, as suggested by interna- tional master Byron Jacobs, planning to meet 10 ...b6 with the counter-sacrifice 11 Nxb6. In that case Black should probably continue with 11 ... 0-0 12 Nd2 Ng4 13 Bc5 b6 with interesting com- plications. However, these could not be worse for White than the game, so 10 Na4 will be the focus of future investigation. 10 ... Nxe4 11 Kdl Once again making a refuge for the white queen, this time on el, but Black has one further shot in his arsenal. 11 ... c.3 (Diagram) White resigns

The only way White can stagger on is by means of 12 b4 b6 13 Qa3 a5 14 Qcl axb4, but with Black having three pawns for a piece and White's forces paralysed and disorganised, Illes- cas had clearly had enough.

Illescas—Miles: Linares Zonal, 1995; Nim- zowitsch Defence.

1 e4 Nc6 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 Nf6 4 Nc3 Bg4 5 Be3 e6 6 h3 Bh5 7 d5 A vigorous thrust which Illescas had prepared specially for this game. 7 ...Ne7 8 Bb5+ c6 9 dxc6 bxc6 10 Ba4 Qc7 11 Qe2 Nd7 After this Black's position becomes congested and virtually incapable of development. It would have been better to preface this with ...Bid3. 12 g4 Bg6 13 0-0-0 e5 14 Qc4 Rc8 15 Nh4 Nb6 16 Bxb6 Although this means giving up the bishop pair it is more important to eliminate one of Black's few developed pieces. 16 ...axb6 17 Rd3 d5 If 17 ...b5 18 Nxb5 cxb5 19 Qxb5+ gives White a murderous attack. The text appears to free Black's position but White sacrifices rook for bishop to maintain his grip. 18 exd5 Bxd3 19 Qxd3 Rd8 20 Rdl g6 21 d6 Bh6+ 22 Kbl Qb8 23 Ne4 b5 24 Nf6+ KIN 25 dxe7+ Kxe7 26 Nd7 bxa4 (Diagram) If now 27 Nxb8 Rxd3 28 Nxc6+ Position after 26 . . bxa4

Kd6 29 Rxd3+ 1Cxc6 when Black has chances to survive. Instead White finds a brilliant finish which exposes all of the weak points in Black's king's field. 27 Nf5+ gxf5 28 Qa3+ Ke6 The horrible point is that 28 ...Ke8 allows a snap checkmate by 29 Nf6. 29 gxf5+ KxfS 30 Qf3+ Black resigns After 30 ...Kg6 31 Rgl + Bg5 32 Qf6+ mate is imminent, or 30 ...Bf4 31 Qg4+ Ke4 32 Nc5 mate.

Matthew Sadler, Tony Miles, Jon Speel- man and Julian Hodgson are competing in the powerful Hastings Centenary tourna- ment which is currently underway. Although Miles, Hodgson and Sadler all failed to qualify in Linares, British hopes were maintained by Peter Wells, who will join Illescas in the Interzonal stage.