25 APRIL 1992, Page 52


Linares log

Raymond Keene

Nigel Short's challenge in his world championship semi-final match against Karpov in Linares did not seem to get off to a particularly splendid start. In game 1 Nigel wheeled out one of those surprises he had been keeping in store for the ex-world champion, the Budapest Defence. This is virtually unplayed in grandmaster chess, and is considered somewhat dubious. Kar- pov overcame his shock to win one of his best web-spinning games. With the white pieces for game 2 Nigel's supporters looked forward to greater things. He suc- ceeded in inveigling Karpov into the Adv- ance Variation of the Caro-Kann, a line in which Short is the World's all-time vir- tuoso. Nevertheless, the former champion defended solidly and only had to avoid a devilish trick (which he did) to secure half

a point.

Karpov — Short: Candidates Semi-Final, Li- nares (Game 1) 1992; Budapest Defence.

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e5 3 dxe5 Ng4 4 Bf4 Nc6 5 N13 Bb4+ 6 Nbd2 Qe7 7 e3 Ngxe5 8 NxeS NxeS 9 Bet 0-0 10 0-0 d6 Normally Black would capture on d2 at this juncture, but Nigel has a new idea in mind. 11 Nb3 b6 12 a3 Bc5 13 Nxc5 bxc5 14 b4 Nd7 15 Bg4 This move is peculiarly Karpovian. Most grandmasters would play to keep the advantage of the two bishops in this position. Instead Karpov deliberately steers for a situa- tion where there are opposite-coloured bishops, hence apparently increasing the chances for a draw. The ex-world champion, though, has decided that in this way he can reduce Black's counterplay and also leave him with weak pawns. 15 . . . a5 16 Bxd7 Bxd7 17 bxc5 dxe5 18 Qd5 Ra6 19 Qe5 Re6 Black could exchange queens and rely on reduced material for salva- tion but ultimately he would still have to defend an endgame one pawn down. 20 Qxc7 Rc8 21 Qb7 Qe8 22 Rabl h5 2313 Bc6 24 Qb2 h4 25 h3 f5 26 Qc2 Qg6 27 Qc3 a4 28 Rf2 Rce8 29 Rdl Qh5 30 Qc2 Qg6 31 Khl Qf6 32 Qb2 Qe7 33 Rfd2 g5 Black has launched a fierce counter-attack but the advance of his kingside pawns has also undermined the safety of his own king. 34 Bd6 (117 35 BxcS g4 36 fxg4 fxg4 37 Rf2 Qh5 38 Qe2!! (Diagram) A brilliant move and one which Nigel may have underestimated or overlooked. The Position after 38 Qe2!!

pin against Black's g4 pawn brings his attack to a complete standstill and if he captures the piece with 38 . . . Qxc5 then 39 Qxg4+ followed by Rf5 is devastating. 38 . . . Rg6 39 Rd6 Re4 40 Rd8+ Kh7 41 RV+ Rg7 42 Rxg7+ Kxg7 43 Qb2+ Black resigns.

Karpov – Short: Candidates Semi-Final, Linares (Game 3) 1992; Queen's Gambit accepted.

Position after 61 Nc3+ For game 3, Nigel once again essayed a rare defence in a quite obscure line of the Queen's Gambit Accepted. After 19 moves Black's position looked somewhat rickety but Short expertly liquidated into an endgame where, it rapidly transpired, Karpov was devoid of any positive plan. Nigel seized control of the only open file and in due course he started to garner Karpov's weak pawns on the `e' and 'h' files. After 61 moves the game was ad- journed with Nigel a pawn ahead and enjoying every prospect of victory.

61 . . . Ke5 62 Kfl Rh6 63 Rel + Kf5 64 Re8 Nxf3 65 Ne2 Nh2+ 66 Kgl 13 67 RIB+ Ke5 68 Ng3 Rh7 69 Kf2 c3 70 Rc8 Kd4 71 Rd8+ Kc4 72 Nf5 Rc7 73 Ne3+ Kb5 74 Rdl Ka4 75 Rcl Rd7 76 Rxc3 Rd2+ 77 Kg3 f2 78 Rc4+ Ka3 79 Rf4 fIN+ 80 Nxfl Nxfl+ 81 Rxfl a5 82 Rf5 a4 83 Rf4 Rxa2 84 R13+ Kb4 85 Rf4+ Kc3 86 Rf3+ Kd4 87 Rf4+ Ke5 88 Rb4 a3 89 Rb3 Ke4 90 Kh3 Kd4 91 Rg3 Ral 92 Kh2 Ke4 93 Rb3 a2 Ra3 Draw agreed.

Although Nigel adjourned with what looked like a decisive advantage, extra pawn and better position, and even ex- tended this to two pawns more in the second session, he ultimately failed to penetrate Karpov's adroit defence. So, after three games the score was 2-1 in Karpov's favour.

In spite of his relative setback in failing to win game 3, Nigel bounced back to score his first direct hit in the fourth game. This was an up-and-down struggle in which Karpov perhaps overpressed. Nigel started game 5, even though he had Black, as though he was going to sweep Karpov from the board, but, a pawn ahead in an endgame, victory once again eluded him. It seems to me that Nigel's strategy in this match has been to involve Karpov in lengthy adjournments. This strategy paid off. In game 6 Karpov stumbled into the worst blunder of his career and, having lost his queen, resigned on move 28. So, for the

first time, Nigel led, by the score of 3V2 to 21/2.