Magazine article The Spectator

Dr Short

Magazine article The Spectator

Dr Short

Article excerpt

As the British Championship nears its close I hear that Nigel Short has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bolton, his home town. Photos of Nigel in impressively mediaeval attire can now be seen on the chessbase site www.chessbase.com. Nigel now joins that select group of doctor chess grandmasters which includes Doctor Alekhine, Doctor Tarrasch and Doctor Tartakower. This week a game to celebrate Nigel's elevation to the doctorate and a puzzle from the British Championship where Michael Adams dominates as I write.

Short-Kramnik; Novgorod 1997; Sicilian Defence 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 h3 g6 Against White's unusual system Kramnik decides to transpose into a Dragon variation.

7 Be3 Bg7 8 Bc4 0-0 9 Bb3 Na5 10 Qd2 Bd7 11 Bh6 With Black's queen's knight having migrated away from c6, thus lessening Black's counter-pressure against the centre, White can take the opportunity to trade off Black's valuable fianchettoed bishop.

11 . . . Rc8 12 Bxg7 Kxg7 13 Qd3 This looks like loss of tempo, but White wishes to avoid a black knight settling on the outpost square c4.

13 . . . a6 14 f4 e5 (diagram 1, below left) This appears to me to be too weakening, particularly of the black pawn on d6. By playing instead 14 . . .

Qc7 Black could hold up White's intended e5, whilst renewing his own threat to invade with . . . Nc4.

15 Nde2 Qb6 16 0-0-0 Bb5 Black has to resort to tactical trickery to defend his pawn on d6. If now 17 Qxd6 Qxd6 18 Rxd6 Bxe2 19 Nxe2 Nxe4 when Black is fine. …

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