SANDS: Low-key chess GM Boris Gelfand enjoying a high-achieving year

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Kasparov here initially moved his knight to c5 and — according to a hard-to-find Spanish TV video of the game — ever so briefly removed his hand from the piece before quickly rethinking and playing 36…Nf8. Under the standard “touch move” rule, Black should have been forced to play 36…Nc5?!, and reams of subsequent analysis suggest things would have gotten mighty interesting on 37. Bc6! Qh4! 38. Bxe8 Nxe8 39. Qxe5 Nf6 40. Re2 Nd3.

Kasparov contends to this day he does not believe he let go of the knight, and the young Polgar was too abashed to challenge the move to arbiters right away. Once the Black knight found its proper square, the rest of the game was vintage Kasparov.

An understandably rattled White opens the floodgates with 40. Rf1? (Kg1 e4 41. Ba6 Rc6 42. Bb5 Qxd1 43. Rxd1 Rxb6 44. Bxe8 Rxb2 45. Re1 gives Polgar some chances to hold; just bad was 40. Re4?? Nf2+ 41. Qxf2 Qxe4 42. Bxe4 Rxf2) e4 41. Bd5 e3! 42. Bb3 Qe4! 43. Bxc2 Qxc2 (the simple threat of 44…e2 is very hard to meet) 44. Rd8 (Rde1 e2 45. Rf3 Qd2 46. Qg1 Ne3 47. Rf2 Nc2 48. Rb1 Qd3 and wins) Rxd8 45. Qxd8+ Kh7 46. Qe7 Qc4!, and White resigns facing 47. Re1 Qf4 48. Qh4 Nf2+ 49. Kg1 Qxh4.

Nakamura-Gelfand, Paris Grand Prix, October 2013

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 Ng4 7. Bc1 Nf6 8. Be3 Ng4 9. Bg5 h6 10. Bh4 g5 11. Bg3 Bg7 12. h3 Ne5 13. f3 Nbc6 14. Bf2 Be6 15. Qd2 Rc8 16. O-O-O Nxd4 17. Bxd4 Qa5 18. a3 O-O 19. h4 g4 20. Qf2 Rc6 21. f4 Rfc8 22. Qg3 Nd7 23. Bxg7 Kxg7 24. f5 Rxc3 25. bxc3 Qxa3+ 26. Kd2 Nf6 27. Qd3 Bc4 28. Qd4 d5 29. exd5 Bxd5 30. Rg1 Be4 31. Bd3 Qa5 32. Qb4 Qc7 33. Bxe4 a5 34. Qxb7 Qf4+ 35. Ke2 Rc7 36. Qb6 Nxe4 37. Qd4+ Kh7 38. c4 Rd7 39. Qe3 Ng3+ 40. Qxg3 Qxg3 41. Rxd7 Qe5+ White resigns.

Polgar-Kasparov, Linares, 1994

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f4 e6 7.Be2 Be7 8.O-O Qc7 9.Qe1 Nbd7 10.a4 b6 11.Bf3 Bb7 12.Kh1 Rd8 13.Be3 O-O 14.Qg3 Nc5 15.f5 e5 16.Bh6 Ne8 17.Nb3 Nd7 18.Rad1 Kh8 19.Be3 Nef6 20.Qf2 Rfe8 21.Rfe1 Bf8 22.Bg5 h6 23.Bh4 Rc8 24.Qf1 Be7 25.Nd2 Qc5 26.Nb3 Qb4 27.Be2 Bxe4 28.Nxe4 Nxe4 29.Bxe7 Rxe7 30.Bf3 Nef6 31.Qxa6 Ree8 32.Qe2 Kg8 33.Bb7 Rc4 34.Qd2 Qxa4 35.Qxd6 Rxc2 36.Nd2 Nf8 37.Ne4 N8d7 38.Nxf6+ Nxf6 39.Qxb6 Ng4 40.Rf1 e4 41.Bd5 e3 42.Bb3 Qe4 43.Bxc2 Qxc2 44.Rd8 Rxd8 45.Qxd8+ Kh7 46.Qe7 Qc4 White resigns.

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by email at

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About the Author
David R. Sands

David R. Sands

Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.

At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...

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