Chess

Presidential panic

14 April 2017

11:00 PM

14 April 2017

11:00 PM

This month, watch out for unidentified fleeing presidents. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, president of Fidé, the World Chess Federation, and a self-confessed alien abductee, seems to have a revolution on his hands. Several of his closest lieutenants, such as Giorgios Makropolous and Nigel Freeman from the Athens HQ, are insisting that Kirsan has resigned, while Kirsan himself is insisting that something has been lost in translation.
 
We shall know more about whether the president has been blasted into outer space after a board meeting which is due to take place soon.
 
This week’s game and puzzle feature Dr Max Euwe, Fidé president from 1974-1978. Oh for the days when the Fidé president was a widely respected former world champion, with no personal axes to grind or enterprises to promote.
 
Euwe-Capablanca: AVRO Netherlands 1938; Queen’s Indian Defence
 
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Be7 6 0-0 0-0 7 Nc3 d5 8 Ne5 The pin on the d5-pawn is now unpleasant for Black. 8 … Ne4 9 cxd5 exd5 10 Nxe4 dxe4 11 Qc2 Black is obliged to play the weakening move … f5. 11 … f5 12 Be3 Na6 This has never been repeated, with 12 … Bd5 and 12 … Bf6 being preferred. 13 Rac1 Qd5 14 Nc6 It is vital to prevent Black from playing … c5 when he would have nothing to complain about. 14 … Bxc6 15 Qxc6 Qxc6 16 Rxc6 (see diagram 1) The bishop pair gives White a small advantage but he is only likely to be able to exploit this if he can arrange to break the f5-e4 pawn chain in an effective manner. 16 … Rf6 17 Rfc1 Rxc6 18 Rxc6 Bd6 19 a3 Re8 Preventing both 20 f3 and 20 f4. 20 Bf4 Bxf4 21 gxf4 Kf7 22 e3 Re6 (see diagram 2) 23 Rc4 A mistake. White should play 23 Rc3 in order to meet 23 … c5 with 24 Bf1. 23 … b5 Missing his chance. 23 … c5 led to an equal position. 24 Rc3 c6 25 f3 After this classic undermining move, Black is in terrible trouble as his pawns are so weak. 25 … g6 26 fxe4 fxe4 27 a4 bxa4 28 Rc4 Kf6 29 Rxa4 c5 30 Bf1 cxd4 Desperation but by now everything is hopeless. 31 Rxa6 dxe3 32 Rxe6+ Kxe6 33 Bh3+ Kd5 34 Kf1 Kc4 35 Ke2 Kb3 36 Be6+ Kxb2 37 Bg8 a5 38 Bxh7 a4 39 Bxg6 Black resigns
 
This was a famous game played by two world champions at a major competition, where the world’s top grandmasters all had an opinion. It is revealing to what extent modern computer analysis, which I have consulted, revises the opinions of the greats of the day.

Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator Australia for less – just $20 for 10 issues


Show comments
Close