The Ultimate [slay Malt.
AS promised, as we approach the Kasparov–Kramnik World Championship match in London I will continue to give a selection of some of the greatest and most artistic games ever played. This week's game, featuring an extraordinary queen sacrifice, sees the defeat of Alexei Shirov, another candidate for a crack at Kasparov's throne. This week's puzzle is another gem from the chess archives, the more so when one considers that the winner was playing without sight of the board.
Ivanchuk–Shirov: Wijk aan Zee 1996; Semi-Slav Defence
1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nf3 e6 5 Bg5 dxc4 6 e4 b5 7 e5 Apparently winning a piece as a result of the pin against Black's knight on f6. However, Black has a resource which staves off immediate material loss. 7 ... h6 8 BM g5 9 NxgS This tem- porary piece sacrifice is obligatory, since 9 Bg3 is a feeble retreat. With the knight offer, White is guaranteed to win back his material, since he re- establishes the pin against Black's king's knight. White also decimates the black kingside, but in compensation Black gains numerous open files, a mass of mobile queenside pawns, and usually manages to castle his king into relative safety on the queenside. 9 ... hxg5 10 BxgS Nbd7 11 exf6 Bb7 12 g3 e5 13 d5 Qb6 Botvirmik introduced this variation about half a century ago. 14 Bg2 0- 0-0 15 0-0 b4 16 Na4 Qb5 17 a3 exd5 18 axb4 cxb4 19 Be3 Nc5 20 Qg4+ The players have reached a key position from this system. Now 20 Kb8 21 Qd4 Nxa4 22 Qxa7+ Kc7 23 Rxa4 Ra8 24 Qxa8 Bxa8 25 Rxa8 has been known to be good for White since the game between the Russian Grandmaster Agzamov and Murray Chandler, played in the USSR in 1982. 20 ...Rd7 21 Qg7!! (Diagram) Ivanchuk discovers an extraordinary move, sacrificing his queen on one wing to deplete Black's defensive resources on the other. 21 ... Bxg7 22 fxg7 Rg8 23 NxcS d4 The best try. If 23 ... Rxg7 24 Bh3 Bch 25 Rxa7 or 23 ... Rc7 24 Nxb7 Rxb7 and now 25 Bd4 gives White a powerful initiative, despite having only two pieces for the queen. 24 Bxb7+ Rxb7 25
Nxb7 Qb6 26 Bxd4 Qxd4 27 Rfdl Qxb2 28 Nd6+ Kb8 29 Rdbl Qxg7 Now Black is clearly losing. The best try was 29 ... Qe5 30 Rxb4+ Kc7 when one possibility is for White to force a favourable rook endgame with 31 Rb7+ Kxd6 32 Ra6+ Kd5 33 Rb5+ Kd4 34 Rxe5 Kxe5 35 Rxa7 Rxg7 36 Rc7 but Black still has drawing chances. 30 Rxb4+ Kc7 31 Ra6 Another finesse, closing in on the black king. To prevent 32 Rb7+ Black must jettison material. 31 ... Rb8 32 Rxa7+ Kxd6 33 RxbS Qg4 34 Rd8+ Kc6 35 Ral Black resigns White intends Ra and Rd2-c2, cleaning up the c-pawn, a plan against which Black has no reasonable defence.
World Championship The Kasparov v. Kramnik World Championship, with $2 million at stake, starts on Sunday 8 October. There will be daily coverage, with the moves and grandmaster commentary from Nigel Short, Michael Adams, Daniel King and Jon Speelman, on the website www.braingames.net. All 16 games will be played starting on the Sunday and going through to Saturday 4 November. Playing days are Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays with the games starting at 3 p.m.
In addition to the prize fund in the World Championship, the Staunton Trophy will be offered to the winner. This year's annual commemoration of Howard Staunton (the only British player who could ever claim to be world champion), including a celebrato- ry dinner, will be held at the Chelsea Arts Club on the evening of Friday 13 October. Those wishing to attend should contact Barry Martin on 020 8744 2868.
Ardbeg Malt Whisky Puzzle No. 47 White to play and win — first move only required. This week's puzzle is taken from the game Pillsbury–Howell, Brooklyn 1900. White is a piece down and Black is also threatening to effect mass exchanges. What is the only way to keep his attack alive?
Answers to me at The Spectator by Tuesday 2 October or via email to email@example.com or by fax on 020 7242 0603. The winner will be the first cor- rect answer drawn out of a hat, and each week I shall be offering a prize of a bottle of Ardbeg Malt Whisky.
Last week's solution: Qx16 Last week's winner: R.A. England, London.