Joel Benjamin - Nigel Short [A61]

Exhibition Match/London 1983


During the London candidates matches of 1983 (featuring Kasparov - Kortchnoi), the organizers decided to stage a US-Britain youth match between Nigel Short and Joel Benjamin. Benjamin had to take temporary incompletes in his courses at Yale, but the 5.5-1.5 result certainly justified the risk to his G.P.A. Ironically, it was Short who went on to challenge for the World Championship a decade later while Benjamin never succeeded in landing a title shot. Perhaps if Benjamin had instead dropped out of school and become a chess professional, history would have been different.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Nd2 Nbd7 8. e4 Bg7 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O Re8 11. a4 Ne5 12. Qc2 g5 13. Re1 g4 14. Nf1 Nh5 15. Bd2 Qf6 16. Ng3 Nf4

16... Nxg3 17. hxg3 Qg6

 

17. Nf5!

17. Bxf4 Qxf4 18. Nb5 Rd8 19. Nh5 Qg5 20. Nxg7 Nf3+ 21. Bxf3 gxf3 22. g3 Qxg7 23. Ra3 Bg4 24. h3 Bh5 25. Rae3

 

17... Nxe2+

17... Bxf5! 18. exf5 (18. Bxf4?! Bxe4 19. Nxe4 Qxf4 20. Nxd6 Nf3+ 21. Bxf3 (21. gxf3? Be5) 21... gxf3) 18... Bh6! offers Black more than the game line.

 

18. Nxe2 Bxf5 19. exf5 Qh4 20. Ng3 c4 21. Bc3 Rac8










At first glance, this position looks promising for Black, who has secured the d3 square for his Knight and has good development. But Benjamin has understood the position better -- especially the power of the e4 square.

 

22. Re4! a6 23. f6! Qxf6?!

a) 23... Bxf6? 24. Nf5 Qg5 25. Nxd6

b) 23... Bf8 24. f3! Kh8 (24... h5? 25. f4! Nd7 26. Rxe8 Rxe8 27. Nf5) (24... Qh6 25. Nf5! Qxf6 (25... Qh5 26. Bxe5 Qxf5 27. Rxg4+) 26. Rxg4+ Kh8 27. f4) 25. Rae1 Red8 holds out longest, but Black's task is hopeless.

 

24. Rxg4! Nxg4

Short elec ts to surrender his Queen since the alternatives also cost him significant material.

a) 24... Qd8 25. Bxe5 Rxe5 26. Nf5

b) 24... Kf8 25. Nh5 Qh6 26. Qf5! Bh8 27. Rg3 Ng6 28. Bxh8 Nxh8 29. Nf6 Ng6 30. Nxe8

 

25. Bxf6 Nxf6 26. Nf5 Bf8 27. Qd2 Kh8 28. f4

28. Qc3! Re5 29. f4 Rxf5 30. Qh3!

 

28... Kg8 29. Ra3 h6 30. Rg3+ Kh7 31. Qd4 Nh5 32. Rh3 Kg6










33. Rxh5!

33. g4 Nf6 34. Nh4+ Kg7 35. g5

 

33... Kxh5?

After this, Black is mated by force.

 

34. Qf6 Kg4 35. Kf2 Kxf4 36. Ng3+ 1-0

Game in PGN

Copyright © 2008 by Michael Goeller