Chess by Lubomir Kavalek for Oct. 26, 2009


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By Lubomir Kavalek
Monday, October 26, 2009; 8:57 AM

The Russian chess composer Alexander Galitsky (1863-1921) created some 1,850 problems. He liked composing miniatures in the elegant Bohemian style, preferring mostly light pieces on the board. In 1890, he published the following work (White: Kh2,Qa8,Rd1,Bc3,Bc4,P: b2,e6,f4,g3; Black: Ka1,Rb1,Bc1,P:a4,b5,h3), in which white mates in three moves. (Solution next week.)

Mastering the Zwischenzug

In the slow flow of the Argentine tango, the dancers suddenly stop and make a few violent moves before they slow down again and return to their unhurried glide. That's the essence of "zwischenzug" in chess. The German word describes an unexpected move, played instead of an obvious recapture or a retreat with an attacked piece. It could be a simple counterattack or the beginning of a spectacular combination. The American grandmaster Josh Friedel performed four zwischenzugs during his brilliant victory against the Dutch master Migchiel De Jong in the Open group of the 13th Unive tournament, played this month in the Dutch town of Hoogeveen. The English grandmaster Stewart Haslinger won the event, 7½ -1½. Friedel ended with six points. The other American GM, Jesse Kraai, finished with five points.

Remarkably, all games but one were drawn in the prestigious grandmaster Crown group. The Dutchman Sergei Tiviakov won the double round-robin event by defeating Hungary's Judit Polgar. Final standings: Tiviakov 3½ points in six games; Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine and the 15-year-old Dutch champion, Anish Giri, three points each; Polgar 2½ points.

Here is Friedel's splendid win in the Kan Sicilian.

Friedel-De Jong

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 b5 6.Bd3 Bb7 (In this line of the Kan Sicilian, black neglects the kingside and that can be dangerous.) 7.0-0 Nc6 8.Nxc6 Bxc6 9.Qe2 (A double-purpose move: White prepares to undermine black's queenside with a2-a4 and prepares the knight leap Nc3-d5.) 9...Bc5 (Developing the knight either with 9...Nf6 or with 9...Ne7 was preferable. Black has to be careful. His position can collapse quickly. For example, the game Karklins-Evans, El Paso 1973, continued 9...d6 10.a4 b4 11.Nd5! a5 12.Bb5 Rc8 13.c3 bxc3 14.Ra3! Ne7 15.Rxc3 exd5 16.Rxc6! Nxc6 17.Bxc6+ Rxc6 18.exd5+ Be7 19.dxc6 and white had a decisive advantage and won in 27 moves.) 10.Be3!? (Exchanging the dark bishops seems more logical than 10.a4.) 10...d6?! (The immediate 10...Bxe3, followed by 11.Qxe3 Ne7 12.e5 0-0, is better.) 11.a4! Bxe3? (Losing a pawn, but after 11...b4 12.Nd5! Bb7 13.Bxc5 dxc5 14.Ne3 Ne7 15.Rad1 white has the edge.) 12.axb5! axb5 13.Bxb5! (Black most likely overlooked white's last two zwischenzugs. After 13...Bxf2+? 14.Qxf2 white wins a piece because of the threat 15.Qxf7 mate.) 13...Bxb5 14.Qxb5+ Kf8 15.fxe3 Rb8 (Allowing a brilliant intermezzo, but after 15...Rxa1 16.Rxa1 g6 17.Qc6 Kg7 18.Nb5 the white pieces invade with force.)

16.Ra7! (A beautiful prelude to the final attack. Both white rooks attack the square f7.) 16...Nf6 (After 16...Rxb5 17.Raxf7+ Ke8 18.Rf8+ Kd7 19.Rxd8+ Kxd8 20.Nxb5 Ke7 21.Ra1 white should win.) 17.Rxf6!! (A decisive exchange sacrifice.) 17...gxf6 (After 17...Rxb5 18.Rfxf7+ Ke8 19.Nxb5 Qb6 20.Rae7+ Kd8 21.Rd7+ Kc8 22.Nxd6+ white wins.) 18.Qh5! Qe8 19.e5! (Freeing the square e4 for the knight.) 19...h6 (Denying the knight his landing on e4 does not work. Black is lost either after 19...d5 20.Qh6+ Kg8 21.exf6 Qf8 22.Qg5+ Qg7 23.Qxg7 mate; or after 19...f5 20.exd6, threatening 21.Re7. And 19...fxe5 20.Qh6+ Kg8 21.Ne4, followed by 22.Nf6+ is also hopeless.)

20.exf6?! (White slips and almost falls. After the precise 20.Ne4! Ra8 21.Nxf6 Rxa7 22.Nxe8 Kxe8 23.exd6 black is without chances.) 20...Rh7 21.Ne4 Qd8? (Losing with flair. After the counterattacking 21...Qc6! 22.Ng5 Qxc2! black avoids the immediate disaster, since 23.Rxf7+ Kg8 24.Rxh7 allows 24...Qc1+ 25.Kf2 Rxb2+ 26.Kg3 Qxe3+ 27.Qf3 Qxg5+ 28.Kh3 Kxh7 29.f7 Rb8 30.f8Q Rxf8 31.Qxf8 Qf5+ and black wins. However, white gets a clear advantage after 23.Nxh7+ Qxh7 24.h3.) 22.Ng5! hxg5 23.Rxf7+! (After 23...Rxf7 24.Qh8 mates.) Black resigned.

The Greatest

"Fischer is the greatest chess player ever," concludes GM Karsten Müller in his book "Bobby Fischer: The Career and Complete Games of the American World Chess Champion," recently published by Russell Enterprises. The 408-page book is a wonderful collection of 736 annotated games, crosstables, photographs and documents. GM Larry Evans, who helped Fischer write articles and his classic "My 60 Memorable Games," crafted a beautiful foreword, "From Prodigy to Superstar." GM Andy Soltis, the author of the book "Fischer Revisited," skillfully surveys Fischer's opening play. The book would be a gem in any chess library.

The German grandmaster argues that Fischer was far ahead of his contemporaries and had the greatest impact on chess history. I was reporting on the 1972 world championship match between Fischer and Boris Spassky for the Voice of America from Reykjavik. An estimated audience of 300 million listeners followed the match. No other player was able to generate such high interest in chess. "Fischer, who had taken the highest crown almost singlehandedly from the mighty, almost invincible Soviet chess empire, shook the whole world, not only the chess world, to its core. He started a chess boom not only in the United States and in the Western hemisphere, but worldwide," Müller writes. Fischer was a great fighter. He drew only 33 percent of his games and was hard to beat. Since the 1962-63 U.S. championship, Fischer lost only 7.4 percent of the games, winning all five matches and 11 out of 13 tournaments (twice finishing second).

Annotating all 736 games was a difficult task and Müller had to be brief, often including just one or two remarks per game. Finding a critical point in a game is not easy. "Even Bobby sometimes missed it," Spassky once told me. Müller does a decent job in highlighting these moments. He also includes notes of other great commentators such as Garry Kasparov and Robert Hübner.

IM John Donaldson, a Fischer scholar, points out some problems with a few names in the book. Müller also lists 29 game scores still missing in Fischer's collection. They may never be found. Among them are three games from the 1958 match against Milan Matulovic. The controversial Yugoslav grandmaster did not have any interest in preserving history. Once, against a different player, he refused to write down his opponent's moves, explaining, "He plays so badly that his moves don't deserve to be recorded."

Solution to Last Week's Puzzle

White wins by Johann Sehwers (White: Kc4,Rb3,Ne2,P:a2,g2; Black: Kf5,Qg7,P:d6,e7):

1.Nd4+! Kf6 (Or 1...Kg4 2.Rg3+! wins.) 2.Rf3+ Ke5 3.Re3+ Kf6! (Or 3...Kf4 4.Ne6+ wins.) 4.Re6+ Kg5! (Or 4...Kf7 5.Rxe7+! wins.) 5.Re5+!! Kg4! (Or 5...Qxe5 6.Nf3+ wins.) 6.Re4+ Kh5 7.Rh4+!! Kxh4 (Or 7...Kg5 8.Ne6+ wins.) 8.Nf5+ white wins.


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