The grand old man of world chess, Viktor Korchnoi, who died on Monday at the age of 85, was often reckoned to be the best player never to become World Champion. This was partly accounted for by his being an outspoken critic of the Soviet system, and consequently given fewer opportunities to travel. Even the Russians didn’t want to see him beating their younger, up-coming favourites like Karpov and Spassky. His battles against Karpov for the World title were noted more for the almost bizarre claims and counter-claims of off-the-board psychological warfare than the actual chess. He wrote several books including the autobiographical Chess Is My Life His great career was blighted by Cold War politics, but it was still great.
The recent Frome Congress was the second time that Jane Richmond had finished 2nd in the Open, and this was her last round win.
White: Jane Richmond (2123). Black: Roger de Coverley (2076).
Pirc Defence [B07]
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Qd2 Ng4 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 g5 8.Bg3 e5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.h4 Nbc6 11.hxg5 hxg5 12.Rxh8+ Bxh8 13.Nd5 Be6 14.0–0–0 Ng6 15.Ne2 Bxd5 16.exd5 Qf6 17.Qe3+ Nce7 18.Nd4 Kf8 The natural move would be 18…0–0–0 to keep the kings on the same side of the board. 19.Qb3 Rb8 20.c3 Nf4 21.Nb5 c6 22.Nxa7 cxd5 23.Nb5 Nc6 24.Kb1 d4 25.cxd4 Re8 26.a3 Rd8 27.Qf3 d5 28.Bxf4 gxf4 29.g3 fxg3 30.Qxf6 Bxf6 31.fxg3 Kg7 The king’s ready to join the fray and there now follows a period of cat & mouse, as both sides seek an advantage. 32.Kc2 Rh8 33.Kd3 Rh1 34.Ke3 Rh2 35.b4 Rb2 36.Bd3 Rg2 37.Kf3 Rh2 38.Bf5 Rb2 39.Bc8 Nd8 40.Re1 Rc2 41.Bf5 Rh2 42.Bd7 Ra2 43.Rc1 Rd2 44.Rc8 Rd3+ 45.Kf4 Nc6 46.Bxc6 bxc6 47.Rxc6 Bxd4 48.Nxd4 Rxd4+ 49.Ke3 From now on it’s a pure rook & pawn ending, in which White has the advantage of 2 connected pawns, but the kings have to play their full part. 49…Rd1 50.a4 d4+ 51.Ke2 Ra1 52.a5 Ra3 53.Rd6 Rxg3 54.a6 Ra3 It needs careful planning to work out who will succeed in queening a pawn. 55.b5 Ra5 56.Rd5 Kf6 57.Kd3 Ke6 58.Kxd4 f5 59.Re5+ Kf6 60.Rc5 Kg5 61.Kd5 Kg4 62.Kc6 f4 63.Kb6 Ra2 64.Rc4 Kg3 65.Kb7 f3 66.Rc3 As White cannot be prevented from queening, she has the luxury of being able to sacrifice the rook in order to prevent Black from doing likewise. 66…Kg2 67.Rxf3 Kxf3 68.a7 Ke4 69.a8=Q Rxa8 70.Kxa8 Kd5 71.b6 1–0
In last week’s position the Black queen was overstretched, trying to prevent mate on g7 while fighting off any incursion by White’s other pieces and it can’t be done, so White plays 1.Bb5 attacking the queen, and when it moves aside White has 2.BxR.
Studies are specially composed positions, but are slightly different from problems in that they usually more resemble an actual game and involve longer lines of play. Here is an example composed in 1905 by the Russian A. A. Troitsky (1866 – 1942). White to play and win.