Raymond Keene

Fischer favourite

Fischer favourite
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A favoured line of the great Bobby Fischer was to meet both the French Defence (1 e4 e6) and the Caro-Kann Defence (1 e4 c6) with 2 d3, introducing what is known as the King’s Indian Attack. Fischer won celebrated games with this line against such powerful opponents as the Argentine grandmaster Oscar Panno and World Championship candidate Boris Ivkov. This week’s puzzle shows a further coruscating finish by Fischer with the King’s Indian Attack from the Interzonal stage of the World Championship cycle which brought Fischer the supreme title.

Ever a good learner, the three-times British champion grandmaster Julian Hodgson put the King’s Indian Attack to good use in this week’s win against an illustrious opponent.

Hodgson-Seirawan: Wijk aan Zee 1986; French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d3 d5 3 Nd2 Nf6 4 Ngf3 c5 5 g3 b6 6 Bg2 Bb7 7 0-0 Nc6 8 Re1 Be7 9 c3 h6

(See diagram 1)

10 a3 Hodgson cleverly avoids advancing in the centre with e5 before Black has castled. I once committed the error of playing a premature e5 against the British master Michael Franklin only to realise that closing the centre too early permits Black to castle queenside and advance his kingside pawns. 10 ... a5 11 exd5 exd5 This recapture weakens the f5-square. I would prefer 11 ... Nxd5. 12 Nh4 0-0 13 Nf5 Re8 14 Qf3 Qc7 15 Nf1 Ne5 16 Qf4 Black must play 16 ... Bf8 to shore up his kingside defences. Doubtless he was deterred by the variation 17 Nxh6+ gxh6 18 Qxf6 but then 18 ... Nxd3 keeps Black well in the game. 16 ... Bd8

(See diagram 2)

17 Nxg7 Now this sacrifice on the undefended g7-square is murderous. 17 ... Kxg7 18 Qxh6+ Kg8 19 Bf4 Nfg4 20 Qh5 Re6 21 Ne3 Qd7 Giving up the ghost but 21 ... Nxe3 22 Rxe3 wins easily for White since Black cannot prevent an imminent d4. 22 Nxg4 Nxd3 23 Nh6+

(See diagram 3)

23 ... Kf8 23 ... Rxh6 24 Qxh6 Nxe1 25 Rxe1 is hopeless for Black. 24 Nf5 With the threat of mate on h8. 24 ... Bf6 25 Bh6+ Ke8 26 Bg7 An elegant stab from the rear. 26 ... Bxg7 27 Rxe6+ Black resigns If 27 ... Qxe6 28 Nxg7+ with carnage while 27 ... Kf8 28 Rh6 wins.