By Lubomir Kavalek
Monday, June 25, 2007

At 56, Anatoly Karpov has a hectic traveling schedule, but chess still plays a big role in his life. In the last few years, the former world champion could fit in only simultaneous exhibitions and rapid tournaments. It has been a while since he played chess at the slow, classical pace. This month, however, he took part at the Gorenje tournament in the Serbian town of Valjevo. He finished third with a 5 1/2 -3 1/2 score, one point behind the winners, Michael Roiz of Israel and Suat Atalik of Turkey.

Fort Knox Robbery

Karpov reinvented his old self in a game against Serbian IM Mihajlo Stojanovic. After years of dwelling in the closed openings, Karpov suddenly opened the game with his king pawn. He thoroughly destroyed a variation of the French defense that goes under the nickname Fort Knox because it is very solid and hard to crack. Combining attacking skills with his boa constrictor style, Karpov created an instructive masterpiece, reminiscent of his successful past.


1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bd7 (The Fort Knox variation is Stojanovic's main defense against 1.e4. But Karpov used to play it, too.) 5.Nf3 Bc6 6.Bd3 Nd7 (Challenging the white knight immediately with 6...Nf6 can lead to a pretty trap after 7.Nxf6+ Qxf6? 8.Bg5! Bxf3 9.Qd2!, winning the black queen after 9...Qxd4 10.Bb5+.) 7.0-0 Ngf6 8.Ng3!? (Black is gasping for space and exchanging the light pieces on e4, after 8.Qe2, for example, makes it easy for him. Attacking buffs such as GM Mikhail Golubev would play 8.Neg5 with the idea to sacrifice the knight somewhere.) 8...Be7 9.Re1 0-0 10.Qe2 b6 (Black wants to preserve his bishop, but he weakens the light squares on the diagonal a8-h1. Still, 10...Bxf3 11.Qxf3 c5 offers a chance to equalize.)

11.Ba6!? (Karpov freezes black's queenside.) 11...Rb8 12.c4 Bb7 (After 12...Ba8 13.Bf4 black can hardly move, but the exchange of the light bishops leaves black with a gaping hole on c6.) 13.Bxb7 Rxb7 14.Ne5 (Karpov prefers a positional solution over the tactical advance 14.d5.) 14...Qc8? (Black probably didn't like 14...Nxe5 15.dxe5 Nd7 16.Nh5! with a strong pressure, but it was a better alternative.) 15.Nc6!

(What a dominant horse!) 15...Re8 16.Bg5! (Threatening to dismantle black's kingside pawn structure with 17.Nh5.) 16...Bf8 17.Bxf6 Nxf6 18.Nh5! Nd7 (After 18...Nxh5 19.Qxh5 Qd7 20.Qf3 the knight on c6 creates an unpleasant cage for the black rook on b7.) 19.Qg4! (The black king is left without many defenders.) 19...Kh8 20.Re3 (White's attack is gathering strength. For example, after 20...g6 21.Rh3! gxh5 22.Qxh5 h6 23.Qxf7 Bg7 24.Rg3 Rg8 25.Ne7 black is in dire straits.) 20...Nb8 (Finally challenging the pesky knight, but it is too late.) 21.Rg3! f5 (After 21...Nxc6 22.Nxg7 the white pieces outmuscle the lone defender on f8. After 21...g6 22.Ne5 c6 23.Nf6 Bg7 24.Qh4 Bxf6 25.Qxf6+ Kg8 26.Ng4 white threatens to win with 27.Nh6+.) 22.Qh4! Nxc6 (White now mates in three.) 23.Nf6! h6 24.Qxh6+! gxh6 25.Rg8 mate.

Engaging Book

You may know Howard Goldowsky's writings from articles in Chess Life, Chess Cafe and other magazines. He combined them recently into a self-published book called "Engaging Pieces," adding postscripts and a bibliography of contemporary chess fiction. It makes for fascinating reading, and you shouldn't be turned off by seeing the name Hikaru Nakamura misspelled on the cover.

Solution to today's three mover by S. Gold (White: Kc4,Qb3,Rc5,Bg1,Ne5,P:a6,d4; Black: Kd6,Qg8,Rh5,Ba5,Ne8,Nf5,P:d7,e6,e7): 1.Qg3! Nxg3 (1...Qxg3 2.Nf7 mate.) 2.Kb3!! Nc7 (2...Rxe5 3.dxe5 mate.) 3.Nc4 mate.

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