Nigel Short is capable of winning strong international tournaments and doing it in style. Yesterday in Taiyuan, China, the English grandmaster assured his victory at the Sanjin Cup by defeating the top Chinese grandmaster Ye Jiangchuan in the Scheveningen Sicilian. In a fabulous display of offensive skills, Short carved through Ye's defenses with powerful strokes and created a classic for future attacking primers.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2 a6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Kh1 Be7 9.f4 d6 (Ending in the Scheveningen variation.) 10.Nxc6!? (In connection with the next four moves, this setup is not easy to counter for black.) 10...bxc6 11.Qd3 (The easiest road to the kingside.) 11...0-0 12.b3!? Bb7 13.Bb2 (The bishop is dangerously lurking on the long diagonal and will play a major role.) 13...c5 14.Rae1 (A classical way of playing through the center. Black has to be worried about a possible advance e4-e5. All Short's pieces are ready for action and he can concentrate them on the black king.) 14...Rae8? (Jamming his own pieces.)
15.Qh3! (Short does not waste time regrouping his forces and does not mind shedding a pawn.) 15...Nxe4?! (Accepting the pawn is dangerous, but after 15...d5 16.e5 Ne4 17.Bd3, black is in trouble.) 16.Bd3! Nf6 (After 16...d5 17.Nxe4 dxe4 18.Qg3 g6 19.Bxe4, white threatens to win with 20.Qc3.) 17.Re3 (With the rook lift white has too many pieces aimed at the black king. Ye has to watch the powerful threat 18.Nd5!, for example 18...Bxd5 19.Bxf6 g6 [19...h6 20.Bxg7!] 20.Qxh7+! Kxh7 21.Rh3+ mates.) 17...g6 18.Nd1! (Opening the long diagonal for the bishop, Short threatens 19.Qh4! with the idea 19...Nh5 20.Qxh5! gxh5 21.Rg3+; or 19...Nd7 20.Qxh7+! Kxh7 21.Rh3+, mating.) 18...c4 19.bxc4 Qc5 (Hoping to bring the queen to the kingside, but Short cuts off the access.)
20.f5! e5 (One gets a feeling that black can survive, but it is only an illusion and Short comes up with a second wave of his attack.) 21.Rg3 Be4 22.Ne3 Bxd3 23.cxd3 Kh8 24.Bc1 (Finding new life on a different diagonal.) 24...Rg8 25.fxg6 fxg6 (Black was reluctant to play 25...Rxg6, surrendering the square f5, but he makes his fate worse.) 26.Nd5! Nxd5? (This move gets beautifully punished, but after 26...Nh5 27.Rgf3 Bf8 28.g4 Nf4 29.Bxf4 exf4 30.Nf6, white should win anyway.) 27.Qxh7+!! (After 27...Kxh7 28.Rh3+ Kg7 29.Bh6+ Kh7 30.Bf8+ Bh4 31.Rxh4 mates.) Black resigned.
Publishers McFarland & Company have added two outstanding strategists, Englishman Amos Burn and American Reuben Fine, to their magnificent biographies of the past chess champions.
International Master Charles Forster, chess correspondent of the Neue Zurcher Zeitung, produced "Amos Burn: A Chess Biography."
It is a monumental look at a British master considered one of the world's 10 best players at the end of the 19th century. On the importance of this era, Victor Korchnoi says in a foreword to Forster's book, "Even Garry Kasparov, who used to be convinced that people's brains worked incomparably worse in the nineteenth-century than they do today, has started to contemplate the roots of chess play and has written series of books on his predecessors."
Burn was a pupil of Wilhelm Steinitz, the first official world champion. Amazingly, he began his serious tournament play at the relatively late age of 37. Along with Burn, Forster looks at other legendary players, tracing major chess developments from 1870 to 1914 and beyond. The book is almost 1,000 pages long with some 900 excellently annotated games. It is one of the best chess biographies ever produced and should not be missing from any serious chess library.
"Reuben Fine: A Comprehensive Record of an American Chess Career, 1929-1951" was painstakingly compiled by English author Aidan Woodger. Almost like Paul Morphy in 1858-1859, Fine swept most European tournaments in 1936-1937. His greatest success came in the famous AVRO tournament in Holland in 1938, where he shared first place with Estonian grandmaster Paul Keres. He was strong enough to become a world champion, but decided to leave chess while still in his prime. Woodger did great research, finding almost 850 of Fine's games, many annotated. This comprehensive collection is presented chronologically.
Fine was an outstanding and vigorous chess author. In the introduction to a Queen's Indian game against Salo Landau, played in Ostend, Belgium, in 1937, Fine said that his style has been usually described as more defensive than offensive, but "To my own way of thinking this has not been accurate; my chief objective was always precision, wherever that would take me."
Both books are marvelously produced with many lists and photographs. They can be obtained from McFarland & Co. (Box 611, Jefferson, N.C. 28640), calling 800-253-2187 or visiting www.mcfarlandpub.com. Solution to today's two-mover by G. Zakhodyakin (White: Kb1,Qd3,Rc4,Bb5; Black: Ka3,Bb3,P:b4): 1.Rc3! bxc3 2.Qd6 mate.