Chess - The Scotsman 22/06/13

My son, Michael, enjoys earning a little pocket money, and he’s learning very positively to save it wisely for something important rather than just using quickly and then forgetting it was ever there. After a while, I could well be able to say, “Look, you now have real funds son.”

The final three words of the first paragraph can be rearranged to make the name of a certain Swedish grandmaster whose finest chess battles are so instructive that even the world’s top players can still learn from deep study of the games. Yes, at his best, Ulf Andersson manoeuvres so skilfully that there are always valuable long-lasting lessons to be learned from the way the Swedish maestro builds on little things to patiently convert them into something real and tangible.

Let’s now time-warp back about 10 years to see a beautiful win from Ulf Andersson against Poland’s GM Tomasz Markowski. My annotations today are necessarily light, but for a full analysis of the game I would warmly encourage you to invest in purchasing the wonderful New In Chess book Grandmaster Chess Strategy, What Amateurs Can Learn from Ulf Andersson’s Positional Masterpieces by German IM Guido Kern and FM Jurgen Kaufeld, and it can be obtained via

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White: U.Andersson; Black: T.Markowski. Opening: Modern Defence (by transposition)

1 Nf3 c5 2 c4 g6 3 d4 Bg7 4 e4 Qb6 5 dxc5 Qxc5 6 Be2 d6 7 0-0 Nc6 8 a3 “He overprotects the b4-square and also prepares the space-grabbing move b2-b4.”–Kaufeld & Kern. 8…Bg4 9 Be3 Qa5 10 Bd2 Qd8 If 10…Qb6 11 Nc3!, then 11…Qxb2?? loses to 12 Rb1 Qxa3 13 Nb5. 11 Nc3 Nf6 12 Be3 0-0 13 h3 Bxf3 14 Bxf3 Nd7 “Black wants to gain influence over the dark squares, but suffers from a constant disadvantage in space–a typical problem in the Maroczy System.”–K & K. 15 Rc1 Rc8 16 Be2! “A precautionary overprotection of c4 and preparation for the advance f4.”–K & K. 16…Nc5 17 b4 Ne6 18 Nd5 h5? Black weakens his kingside without gaining any compensating benefit. 19 Kh1! “A fine prophylactic move, the meaning of which only becomes clear four moves later.”–K & K. 19…b6 20 f4 Ned4 21 b5! White forces the ensuing liquidation, which leads to a great positional advantage. 21…Nxe2 22 Qxe2 Nd4 23 Bxd4 Bxd4 Thanks to 19 Kh1, the bishop on d4 is not delivering check, and so White can now proceed to launch an attack on the black king without any loss of tempo. 24 e5! Effectively cutting off Black’s bishop from defending the kingside. 24…e6 25 Nf6+ Kg7 26 Rcd1 Bc5 27 Rd3! Threatening 28 Nxh5+ gxh5 29 Rg3+ Kh6 30 Rg5. 27…Rh8 28 Ne4 d5 29 cxd5 exd5 30 f5 Qh4 A futile lunge in a lost position. 31 f6+ Kh7 32 Rxd5 Rhe8 33 Kh2! Black resigned, with his trapped queen helplessly facing 34 g3.