Raymond Keene


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George Osborne is a supporter of chess. During the award ceremony at 11 Downing St for last year’s London Candidates’ tournament, he told me that as a teenager he attended the Kasparov v. Karpov world championship at London’s Park Lane Hotel in 1986, which I assisted in organising. Appropriately, the Tory party chairman Sir Jeremy Hanley had persuaded Margaret Thatcher to open the championship. ‘Why on earth should I want to open a chess match?’ she asked. ‘Because,’ Sir Jeremy replied, ‘they are crazy about chess in the USSR and you will be on the front pages of all their papers the day after.’ ‘So how can I resist?’ came the prime ministerial reply.

Magnus Carlsen, Viswanathan Anand and others v. Nigel Short, George Osborne and others: Consultation Game, Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, London 2012; Alekhine’s Defence

1 e4 Nf6 Alekhine’s defence is a favourite of Nigel Short. It is a provocative counterattack, difficult to face in a simultaneous display. 2 e5 Nd5 3 g3 Normal is 3 d4 as in numerous games with Nigel Short as Black, for example Smeets-Short, Staunton Memorial, London 2009 saw 3 d4 d6 4 Nf3 dxe5 5 Nxe5 c6 6 Be2 Bf5 7 0-0 Nd7 8 c4 N5f6 9 Bf4 Qb6 10 Nxd7 Nxd7 11 Qd2 e5 12 dxe5 0-0-0 and Black went on to win. 3 ... d6 4 Nf3 Bg4 5 exd6 exd6 6 Bg2 Qe7+ (see diagram 1) 7 Kf1 After 7 Qe2 Qxe2+ 8 Kxe2 Nc6 9 c3 Ne5 the game is likely to be a draw. As played White places the king in an awkward situation and hampers his own development. 7 ... Nc6 8 Nc3 Nxc3 9 bxc3 Qd7 Black has to reposition the queen in order to unblock the arteries of his own mobilisation. 10 Rb1 Rb8 11 h3 Be6 12 Rb2 Be7 13 Kg1 0-0 White’s manoeuvres are somewhat congested but despite this the chances continue to be balanced. 14 Kh2 d5 15 d4 Rfe8 16 Re1 f6 (see diagram 2) 17 c4 A bridge too far. This sacrifice fails to make any impact due to Black’s precise defence. 17 ... dxc4 18 Rxe6 Qxe6 Now all is clear. After 19 d5 Qd6 the pin against White’s d-pawn frustrates all of White’s attacking plans. 19 Bf4 Qd7 20 d5 Nd8 21 Qd4 b5 22 Rb1 Bd6 23 Qxa7 Nf7 24 Bxd6 Nxd6 25 h4 Ra8 26 Qc5 Ne4 27 Qxb5 Qxb5 28 Rxb5 Rxa2 White’s plight is now desperate and resistance is futile. 29 Nd4 Nxf2 30 Rc5 Ng4+ 31 Kh3 Ne3 32 Rxc7 Nxg2 33 Kxg2 Rd8 34 Rc5 Rd7 35 Kf3 h5 36 Ke4 Ra3 37 Rxc4 Rxg3 38 Rc8+ Kf7 39 c4 Rg4+ 40 Kd3 Rxh4 41 Ne6 Rg4 42 Nc5 Ra7 43 Kc3 Ra1 44 Ne6 Rc1+ 45 Kb4 f5 46 Kb5 Rb1+ 47 Kc5 Rxc4+ White resigns

The elite tournament at Zurich resulted in a win for Magnus Carlsen with 4/5, ahead of Lev Aronian 3; Fabiano Caruana 2½; Viswanathan Anand and Hikaru Nakamura 2; Boris Gelfand 1½.