Nigel Short faces the greatest test yet
also the greatest opportunity of his career when his qualifying match against Anatoly Karpov gets under way in the Spanish town of Linares on 11 April. The match is for the best of ten games and a 300,000 Swiss franc prize. At the same time and in the same place the Dutch grandmaster Jan Timman meets Artur Yusupov, the Russian now resident in Germany. One of these four will go on to meet Gary Kasparov in the world championship final set for Los Angeles 1993.
Nigel's supporters will have been dis- heartened by his poor showing in the Linares tournament last month. Neverthe- less, if he can eradicate this memory from his mind I still think he has very good chances to win. In particular, Nigel took the opportunity while he was in Linares to do some serious analytical work with Kas- parov for his forthcoming match, and if anyone has learnt the secret of beating Karpov it is the reigning world champion. Here is one game which shows that Nigel can do it if he puts his mind to it.
Short — Karpov: Linares 1989; Ruy Lopez, 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Bel 6 Rel b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 0g4 This sortie with the bishop is highly unusual. Black runs the risk that this piece may be driven out of play on the king's wing. 9 d3 0-0 10 Nbd2 Na5 11 Bc2 c5 12 Nfl Ne8?! I find this move difficult to understand. Surely Black is not trying to prepare . . . f5? Meanwhile, the knight retreat weakens Black's grip over the vitally important strategic square d5. It must be more logical to play 12 . . . Nc6 or 12 . . . Nd7. 13 Ne3 Bh5 Instead, especially with Black's knight languishing on e8, 13 . . . Bxf3 14 Qxf3 looks utterly feeble, since White's knight Supreme challenge
on c3 dominates both 15 and d5. Now, however, Black's queen's bishop is hunted out of play. 14 Position after 15 d4!
g4 Bg6 15 d4! (Diagram) Excellent play by White, exploiting the scattered and passive nature of Black's minor pieces. Karpov, rather than surrendering the centre as he now does, should have considered grim defence by means of 15 . . . Nc6, though 16 d5 keeps White on top. 16 d5 maintains the theme of shutting Black's bishops (especially the one on g6) and knights out of active participation in the game. 15 . . . exd4 16 cxd4 h5 Overlooking White's coming manoeuvre, which throws a harsh searchlight onto the awkward stationing of Black's bishop on g6. 17 dxc5 dxc5 If 17 . . . hxg4 18 Nd4 dxc5 19 N4f5, followed by Qxg4 with powerful attacking chances. White's next move puts the finger on Black's exposed bishop. 18 Ne5 Qxdl 19 Rxdl hxg4 20 Bd2 Nb7? The last chance to stay in the game was 20 . . . Nc4! 21 N3xc4 bxc4 22 Nxg6 fxg6 23 e5, which somewhat restricts White's advantage. 21 Nxg6 fxg6 22 e5! (Dia- gram) All is now clear. Black's pawn structure is Position after 22e5!
a wreck and his minor pieces virtually without useful moves. Short now plays to capture the g6 pawn, after which Karpov's position would dissolve into rubble. 22 . . . Kh7 23 Nd5 Bd8 24 Nf4 Rf5 Giving up the exchange in this fashion is a counsel of despair. Unfortunately, however, it is Black's best chance of surviving — a remote one, though, since White's rooks still dominate the central files. 25 BxfS gxf5 26 Be3 Bc7 27 Rd5 Na5 28 BxcS Nc4 29 Nd3 Nd2 30 Kg2 Ne4 31 Rcl Bd8 32 Be3 Nc7 33 Rd7 Ne6 34 Nf4 Nf8 White could now win with 35 Rf7 Kg8 36 RxfS g6 37 Rxf8+ Kxf8 38 Nxg6+. There is, though, nothing wrong with what he plays, but 35 . . . Kg8 (instead of 35 . . . Bg5) would have represented somewhat more resilient defence. 35 Rb7 BO 36 Rcc7 Bxf4 37 Rxg7+ Kh8 38 Bxf4 Ne6 39 Rh7+ Kg8 40 Bh6 f4 Setting a trap, namely 41 f3 gxf3+ 42 Kxf3 N4g5+ , which Short rightly avoids. 41 Rhe7 (3+ 42 Kn N4c5 43 Rb6 Rd8 44 Rd6 Black resigns A tremendously powerful exploitation by Short of Karpov's suspect opening, and a historic win against a great opponent.
*The notes to the above game are based on those in the new book Nigel Short: World Chess Challenger by Raymond Keene, with a foreword by Dominic Lawson (Batsford, £10.99).