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The Scotsman

Chess News October 2000

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WELL, hopefully it's a case of "don't come home too soon" as the strongest-ever Scottish squad takes part in the 34th Chess Olympiad, which got underway at the Istanbul Convention and Exhibition Centre in Turkey on Sunday.

Held every two years, the World Team Olympiad, with 127 nations competing, is the chess equivalent of the Olympics. However, it could be that this may be the last of the present format as the world chess federation, Fide, hope soon to be fully be accepted by the International Olympic Committee into future Winter Olympic Games.

Over the years there have been many memorable Scottish performances, with some Scots coming home with individual medals. With a line-up of GMs Jonathan Rowson, Paul Motwani, Colin McNab, and IMs John Shaw, Steve Mannion and Douglas Bryson, the Men's team will be looking to exceed their seeding.

And indeed in the first round they got off to a superb start by annihilating Sri Lanka 4-0, and now get top billing in round two with a top board encounter against the highly fancied Armenians.


Round 1 (Men's)
Scotland 4-0 Sri Lanka
1 GM P Motwani 1-0 G Wijesurija; 2 GM C McNab 1-0 N De Silva; 3 IM S Mannion 1-0 C Fonseka; 4 IM D Bryson 1-0 D Nirosh

Round 1 (Women's)
Scotland 0.5-2.5 Germany
1 WFM H Milligan 0-1 K Kachian-Gersenska; 2 WFM E Rutherford 0-1 E Pahtz; 3 C Wilman 0.5-0.5 A Koglin


S Mannion - C Fonseka
34th Chess Olympiad (1), Alekhine's Defence

1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 Nf3 Bg4 5 Be2 Nc6 6 c4 Nb6 7 exd6 exd6 8 0-0 Be7 9 d5 Bxf3 10 Bxf3 Ne5 11 Be2 0-0 12 Qc2 Bf6 13 Nd2 Re8 14 Ne4 Ng6 15 Bd3 Be5 16 f4 Bd4+ 17 Kh1 c6 18 dxc6 bxc6 19 Ng5 Qf6 20 Ne4 Qd8 21 Bd2 d5 22 cxd5 cxd5 23 Ng5 Qf6 24 Rab1 Rac8 25 Qd1 h6 26 Nf3 Bxb2 27 g4 Ba3 28 g5 Qd6 29 gxh6 gxh6 30 Nd4 Nc4 31 Nf5 Qf6 32 Nxh6+ Kf8 33 Ng4 Qd4 34 f5! Nxd2 (34 ..Nge5 35 Bh6+ Ke7 36 Bxc4 Qe4+ 37 Rf3 Qxf3+ [37 ..Nxf3 38 Bxd5!] 38 Qxf3 Nxf3 39 Bxd5 Nd4 40 f6+ Kd7 41 Bxf7 wins.) 35 Qxd2 Qxg4 36 fxg6 Qh5 37 Rb7 Re7 38 Rxe7 Kxe7 39 Qe3+ Kd6 40 gxf7 Rf8 41 Rf6+ 1-0

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THE King is dead. Long live the King! The chess world is gearing up for the coronation of Vladimir Kramnik as the new world champion of chess as Garry Kasparov has virtually conceded the crown to his young protegee.

Yet again, another short draw with White (14 moves) from Kasparov in game 13 of their Braingames World Championship match in London was a clear signal that something is either far wrong with the champion on a personal level, or his legendary home preparation has drastically failed at the hands of a determined challenger.


Kasparov,G (2884) - Kramnik,V (2770) [C67]
Braingames WCC London ENG (13), 10.2000

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 0-0 Nxe4 5 d4 Nd6 6 Bxc6 dxc6 7 dxe5 Nf5 8 Qxd8+ Kxd8 9 Nc3 h6 10 h3 Ke8 11 Ne4 c5 12 c3 b6 13 Re1 Be6 14 g4 ½-½


Now, with the score standing at 7.5-5.5 to Kramnik, he's tantalisingly close to the ultimate prize in the game: World Champion. He now only needs one more point from the remaining three games to become the fourteenth world champion in a long, illustrious line that stretches back to Willhelm Steinitz in 1886.

Ironically, as Kasparov's 15 year reign now draws to a close, the one record in the game that was left for him to achieve was Emanuel Lasker's 27 year reign as world champion from 1894-1921 before losing to Capablanca. Now, however, it looks as if the only Lasker record Kasparov is going to be associated with is that of them both being the only world champions to go through a title defence without winning a game!

For one brief moment in game 12, Kasparov finally looked as if he was at long last going to win a game. However, with both players in time trouble, he erred with the speculative 31 ..Na4?!, which let Kramnik of the hook.


V Kramnik - G Kasparov
Braingames World Ch. (12), Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nf3 c5 7 0-0 dxc4 8 Bxc4 Nbd7 9 a3 cxd4 10 axb4 dxc3 11 bxc3 Qc7 12 Be2 Qxc3 13 Ba3 Nd5 14 Qb1 Qf6 15 Bd3 h6 16 b5 Rd8 17 Bb2 Qe7 18 Ra4 Nc5 19 Bh7+ Kh8 20 Rh4 f6 21 Rc4 Bd7 22 Ba3 b6 23 Be4 a6 24 bxa6 Rxa6 25 Bxc5 bxc5 26 Rfc1 Ra5 27 Qb2 Rb5 28 Qa3 Nb6 29 R4c3 Rb4 30 Nd2! f5 31 Bf3 Na4?! (Too smart by half. Kasparov could have claimed some winning chance with the simple defence of 31 ..Rc8) 32 Rxc5! Rb2 33 Nc4 Qxc5 draw

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EVEN although the Kasparov-Kramnik match in London is overshadowing most chess events, as ever there was a high-level of competition in the Isle of Man as a strong field battled it out for the 9th Monarch Assurance Open held at the Cherry Orchard Hotel, Port Erin.

Despite the title going abroad over the last few years, this time the Leicestershire grandmaster Mark Hebden made all the running among a group of chasing Russians. Notwithstanding a penultimate round lose to Ruslan Sherbakov, Hebden managed to recover with a seventh win in the final round for a final score of 7.5/9, giving him the title and the first prize of 2,000.

The tournament also saw a much-welcomed return to top form for WGM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, of Georgia, who now lives in Edinburgh. Her score of 6/9 for equal fourth was based on some superb attacking play. Her final score could well have been higher had she managed to find the win - or even the draw! - when she dragged GM Sergei Volokov's king for a walk up the board in round seven.


Final scores: 1 GM M Hebden (Eng) 7.5/9; 2-3 GM R Sherbakov (Rus), GM E Sutovsky (Isr) 6.5; 4-7 IM A Cherniaev (Rus), GM S Volkov (Rus), WGM K Arakhamia-Grant (Geo), FM R Bergstrom (Swe) 6. Top Scots: 33 F McLeod 3.5, 38 M Shepherd 3.


K Arakhamia - S Volkov
Monarch Assurance Open (7), French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 Nce2 c5 6 c3 Nc6 7 f4 Qb6 8 Nf3 a5 9 a3 a4 10 h4 Ra7 11 f5 exf5 12 Nf4 cxd4 13 cxd4 Qa5+ 14 Bd2 Qd8 15 Bd3 Nb6 16 Qc2 g6 17 h5 g5 18 Ne2 f4 19 Bxh7 Nc4 20 Bf5 g4 21 Ng5 Qxg5 22 Bxc8 Nxd2 23 Bxb7 Ne7 24 Qc7 Rxb7 25 Qxb7 Nc4 26 Qa8+ (26 Qb8+! Kd7 27 Nxf4!) 26 ..Kd7 27 Qxa4+ Ke6 28 Qa6+ Kf5 29 Ng3+ fxg3 30 0-0+ Ke4 31 Rae1+? (31 Rfe1+! Kf5 [31 ..Ne3 32 Rad1! Kf5 33 Qd3+ Ke6 34 Qa6+=] 32 Rf1+ Ke4 33 Rfe1+ Kf5 34 Rf1+=) 31 ..Ne3 32 Qe2 Rxh5 33 Qc2+ Kxd4 34 Qc3+ Ke4 35 Qc2+ Kxe5 36 Qc7+ Ke6 37 Qxg3 Bh6 38 Qc7 f5 39 Qb6+ Kf7 40 Rf2 g3 0-1

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HEAVY is the head that wears the crown. Garry Kasparov's 15-year reign as world champion looks as if it's drawing to a close after he suffered a humiliating second defeat at the hands of his challenger and former pupil, Vladimir Kramnik.

"If I play the way I know I can play, I know I can get back into the match," was Garry Kasparov's bold assertion after Game 10. The world no.1 had just suffered the shortest defeat of his career with a truly hapless performance of rank amateur proportions to go two points behind in the $2m match being staged at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London.

Surprisingly, the Challenger didn't have to play particularly well to win game 10 - all that was required was to remember an analysis published in New in Chess Yearbook no 44 in 1997. The position after 21 Nd6 was already known to be clearly favourable to White. It is inexplicable that this yawning chasm could exist in Kasparov's famed opening knowledge.

From here on in Kasparov now has to gamble all in a do-or-die effort to hold onto the world crown he so covets. For the next few games he's going to have to employ a risky strategy (probably playing the Scotch in game 11) in an effort to somehow pull back the 2-0 deficit which will allow him to hold onto his title should the match be tied at 8-8.


V Kramnik - G Kasparov
Braingames World Ch. (10), Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d5 6 Nf3 c5 7 0-0 cxd4 8 exd4 dxc4 9 Bxc4 b6 10 Bg5 Bb7 11 Re1 Nbd7 12 Rc1 Rc8 13 Qb3! Be7? (13 ..Bxc3 14 Rxc3 h6 15 Bh4 Bd5! 16 Bxd5 Rxc3! 17 Qxc3 Nxd5!=) 14 Bxf6 Nxf6?! (14 ..Bxf6! 15 Nb5 Ra8 16 Nd6 Bxf3 17 Qxf3 White has an advantage - though not winning!) 15 Bxe6! fxe6 16 Qxe6+ Kh8 17 Qxe7 Bxf3 18 gxf3 Qxd4 19 Nb5 Qxb2 20 Rxc8 Rxc8 21 Nd6 Rb8 22 Nf7+ Kg8 23 Qe6 Rf8?? (23 ..h5! 24 Ng5+ Kh8 25 Qf5!! and White will eventually bust through with ideas like Re6, Rxf6 and Qg6.) 24 Nd8+ Kh8 25 Qe7 1-0

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WHILE those two well known Russians Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik battle it out in London for the Braingames World Championship, another Russian World Champion of the game, Alexander Khalifman, was in majestic form recently in the Netherlands.

Khalifman, the FIDE World Champion, dominated the field in the double-round Essent tournament in Hoogeveen to take first place with a remarkable winning score of 5.5/6 (!) - gaining not just 10,000 guilders for his efforts but also 20 Elo points.

In the Netherlands they seem to have a knack for knowing how to organise top-ranking tournaments, and Essent, much like Wijk aan Zee and Groningen, is no different. Over the years the players that make up the field have been selected for "interesting contrast". Judit Polgar is the strongest female player in the world against a field of men, Dutch stalwart Jan Timman is the local hero battling against the foreigners, Alexander Galkin is the former world junior champion against an experienced field, and Alexander Khalifman is simply the Fide world champion.

The win comes at an opportune moment with the release of a new book written by his personal trainer Gennady Nesis. Entitled "KHALIFMAN: life & games" (Everyman, 16.99), it covers the St Petersburg GMs chequered life both on and off the board from taking lifting the European Junior title to FIDE World Champion.


Final Standings: 1. A Khalifman (Russia) 5.5/6; 2. J Timman (Netherlands) 3; 3 A Galkin (Russia) 2; 4 J Polgar Hungary) 1.5.


J Polgar - A Khalifman
Essent Hoogeveen (3) French Winawer

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 c5 5 a3 Ba5 6 b4 cxd4 7 Qg4 Ne7 8 bxa5 dxc3 9 Qxg7 Rg8 10 Qxh7 Nbc6 11 Nf3 Qc7 12 Bf4 Bd7 13 Bd3 0-0-0 14 Bg3 Qxa5 15 0-0 Rh8 16 Qg7 d4 17 Qg4 Nf5 18 Rfb1 Nxg3 19 Qxg3 Qc7 20 Kf1 Rhg8 21 Qf4 f5 22 h3 Kb8 23 Re1 Bc8 24 Ng5 Rd5 25 Nf3 Ne7 26 Rab1 Ng6 27 Qh2 Qh7 28 Rb4 Nh4 29 Nxd4 Nxg2 30 Reb1 Qd7 31 Ne2 Rxd3 32 cxd3 Qxd3 33 Rc1 c2 34 Rd4 Qf3 35 Nf4 b6 36 Nxg2 Ba6+ 37 Kg1 Bb7 0-1

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WORLD CHAMPION Garry Kasparov is coming closer to pushing the panic button as yet again he fails to breakdown the wall of Vladimir Kramnik's Berlin Defence.

An assured challenger easily held Kasparov at bay again with another draw to retain a 5-4 lead in their $2 million Braingames World Championship match at the Riverside Studios in London, after yet another impressive performance from the young Russian.

Now, with just seven games of their 16-game match left to be played, and Kasparov not coming anywhere near breaching Kramnik's defences yet, many people are now thinking the unthinkable: Garry Kasparov minus his world crown. This would be a sad blow for the man who has dominated the chess world for over 15-years. Having won every possible honour in the game, the one title that eludes him is Emanuel Lasker's record of 27-years as world champion from 1894-1921.

And, with Kasparov now having just three White's left in the match, he may have to risk everything with a Scotch game in order to break his prot,g,s resolve, in an all-out effort to retain the title he so covets.

Should he indeed manage to win one game, he would be able to retain his title if the scores reach 8-8 at the end of this intriguing match.


G Kasparov - V Kramnik
Braingames World Ch. (9), Berlin Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 0-0 Nxe4 5 d4 Nd6 6 Bxc6 dxc6 7 dxe5 Nf5 8 Qxd8+ Kxd8 9 Nc3 h6 10 Rd1+ Ke8 11 h3 a5 12 Bf4 Be6 13 g4 Ne7 14 Nd4 Nd5 15 Nce2 Bc5 16 Nxe6 fxe6 17 c4 Nb6 18 b3 a4 19 Bd2 Kf7 20 Bc3 Rhd8 21 Rxd8 Rxd8 22 Kg2 Rd3 23 Rc1 g5 24 Rc2 axb3 25 axb3 Nd7 26 Ra2 Be7 27 Ra7 (Critizised by Kasparov after the game. However, what does White play? 27 f3? b5! 28 cxb5 [28 Ra7 Re3] 28 ..cxb5 29 Rc2 [29 b4 Nb6!] 29 ..c5 30 Nc1 Rd5, and Black's much better; also 27 b4 Nb6! 28 Ra7 [28 c5 Nd5!] 28 ..Nxc4 29 Rxb7 Rd7 is equal) 27 ..Nc5 28 f3 Nxb3 29 Rxb7 Nc1 30 Nxc1 (Unbelievably, when calculating 27 Ra7, Kasparov missed 31 ..Nf4+ after 30 Rxc7 Nxe2 31 Bb4 Nf4+!) 30 ..Rxc3 draw

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A REJUVENATED and determined Garry Kasparov came out fighting for the first time in game eight to put pressure on challenger Vladimir Kramnik, but it was not enough to equalise the scores in their $2 million Braingames World Championship match.

This could be the turning point in the match as Kasparov, for the first time, managed to catch Kramnik out in the opening - an area of the game where the champion's preparation is regarded as legendary - when he changed from the Queen's Gambit Accepted to the Nimzo-Indian Defence. As the player's reach the halfway stage of their 16-game match at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, west London, Kramnik still retains a 4.5-3.5 lead over the champion.

A recent article by Jeff Sonas, the chief number cruncher at Kasparov's own website www.kasparovchess.com, highlighted that the one defence the champion had a good percentage record with against 1 d4, was the solid Nimzo-Indian Defence, which he has now adopted. In comparison, Kramnik's best record as white, with a strike rate approaching 90 per cent, was with the Queen's Gambit Accepted - a line that Kasparov dabbled with to near disaster in games four and six.

In the end, Kramnik was brave enough to exchange down to an opposite coloured bishop ending, despite being two pawns down, recognising instantly that the position is, in fact, nothing more than just a text draw.

Reading from the opposite coloured Bishp ending section with disconnected passed Pawns in Ruben Fine's classic "Basic Chess Endings", he states: "..there is a general rule which is applicable to all cases: If the Pawns are two or more files apart, they win; if they are only one file apart they draw. The reason is simple: if the Pawns are far apart, the Bishop must blockade one, while the King stops the other, so that the White King can support the Pawn held by the Bishop and win that piece. But if the Pawns are close together the Black King can cover the advance of both."


V Kramnik - G Kasparov
Braingames World Ch. (8), Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 b6 7 Bg5 Bb7 8 f3 h6 9 Bh4 d5 10 e3 Nbd7 11 cxd5 Nxd5 12 Bxd8 Nxc3 13 Bh4 Nd5 14 Bf2 c5 15 Bb5 Rfd8 16 e4 Nc7 17 Bxd7 Rxd7 18 dxc5 f5 19 cxb6 axb6 20 Ne2 (20 Bxb6 fxe4 21 Be3 [21 fxe4 Bxe4 22 Nf3 Nd5 23 Bc5 Rb7 24 b4 Nxb4!] 21 ..Rd3 gives Black lots of play.) 20 ..fxe4 21 fxe4 Bxe4 22 0-0 Rd2 23 Nc3 Bb7 24 b4 Rf8 25 Ra2 Rxa2 26 Nxa2 Nd5 27 Bd4 Ra8 28 Nc3 Nxc3 29 Bxc3 Rxa3 30 Bd4 b5 31 Rf4 Rd3 32 Rg4 g5 33 h4 Kf7 34 hxg5 hxg5 35 Kf2 Rd2+ 36 Ke3 Rxg2 37 Rxg2 Bxg2 38 Be5 draw.

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GAME seven of the Braingames World Championship match in London between Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik turned out to be one of the most mysterious ever in the 114-year history of world championship chess with a short, eleven-move draw.

After six hard-fought and intriguing games in this $2 million master vs. pupil battle at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, game seven ended abruptly, after: Kasparov - Kramnik. (7), 1 c4 c5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Nc3 e6 6 g3 Qc7 7 Qd3 Nc6 8 Nxc6 dxc6 9 Bg2 e5 10 0-0 Be6 11 Na4. Afterwards, at the press conference, Kasparov puzzlingly reacted to the short draw (probably also the shortest game of his career) by commenting: "It wasn't exactly the best day of my life today, but I had my reasons."

With the 16-game match now fast approaching the halfway stage, the challenger holds a 4-3 lead over Kasparov, and he'll also have the advantage of White in game eight on Saturday. So far the match has been all Kramnik, though Kasparov had his big chance to equalise in game three, where he nearly broke down the challengers solid Berlin Defence.


G Kasparov - V Kramnik
Braingames World Ch. (3), Berlin Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 0-0 Nxe4 5 d4 Nd6 6 Bxc6 dxc6 7 dxe5 Nf5 8 Qxd8+ Kxd8 9 Nc3 Bd7 10 b3 h6 11 Bb2 Kc8 12 Rad1 b6 13 Ne2 c5 14 c4 Bc6 15 Nf4 Kb7 16 Nd5 Ne7 17 Rfe1 Rg8 18 Nf4 g5 19 Nh5 Rg6 20 Nf6 Bg7 21 Rd3 Bxf3 22 Rxf3 Bxf6 23 exf6 Nc6 24 Rd3 Rf8 25 Re4 Kc8 26 f4?! (Kasparov - 26 h4! Nd4 [26 ..gxh4 27 Rxh4 Rfg8 28 g3] 27 Bxd4 cxd4 28 Rdxd4 is good) 26 ..gxf4 27 Rxf4 Re8 28 Bc3 Re2 29 Rf2 Re4 30 Rh3 a5 31 Rh5 a4 32 bxa4 Rxc4 33 Bd2 Rxa4 34 Rxh6 Rg8 35 Rh7 Rxa2 36 Rxf7 Ne5 37 Rg7 Rf8 38 h3 c4 39 Re7 Nd3 40 f7 Nxf2 41 Re8+ Kd7 42 Rxf8 Ke7 43 Rc8 Kxf7 44 Rxc7+ Ke6 45 Be3 Nd1 46Bxb6 c3 47 h4 Ra6 48 Bd4 Ra4 49 Bxc3 Nxc3 50 Rxc3 Rxh4 51 Rf3 Rh5 52 Kf2 Rg5 53 Rf8 Ke5 draw.

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YET again Garry Kasparov produce another astonishing escape act of Houdini proportions to deny the challenger, Vladimir Kramnik, from extending his lead in their $2 million Braingames at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London.

For his second Black in a row, the world champion had to dig deep into his wealth of experience in the game that he has dominated for over 15-years. Looking set for defeat, Kasparov's legendary never-say-die attitude came to the fore as he somehow salvaged another crucial half point to deny his former pupil of victory. After six games, Kramnik leads Kasparov by 3.5-2.5.

A clearly relieved Kasparov at the press conference after the game, admitted that he'd missed the clever point of 33 Qd2!, after which it was an uphill task to defend. In the end, there's no escape from Kasparov's ingenious defence of Nf7-e5-g4+, as 58 Qxa6 Qh7+ 59 Kg3 Qh4+ 60 Kf3 Qh5+ 61 Ke4 Qh7+ 62 Kd4 Qc2 63 Qxb5 Ne6+ 64 Kd5 Nc7+ wins for Black!


V Kramnik - G Kasparov
Braingames World Ch. (6), Queen's Gambit Accepted

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 e6 4 e3 c5 5 Bxc4 a6 6 0-0 Nf6 7 a4 Nc6 8 Qe2 cxd4 9 Rd1 Be7 10 exd4 0-0 11 Nc3 Nd5 12 Bb3 Re8 13 h4 Ncb4 14 h5 b6 15 Ne5 Bb7 16 a5 b5 17 h6 g6 18 Ne4 Nc7 19 Nc5 Bd5 20 Ra3 Nc6 21 Bxd5 Qxd5 22 Ncd7 Rad8 23 Nxc6 Rxd7 24 Nxe7+ Rexe7 25 Rc3 f6 26 Be3 Kf7 27 Rdc1 Qb7 28 Rc5 Nd5 29 Qf3 Nb4 30 Qe2 Rc7 31 Bf4 Rxc5 32 dxc5 e5 33 Qd2 Nc6 34 Qd5+ Kf8 35 Be3 Qd7 36 Qf3 Kf7 37 Rd1 e4 38 Qe2 Qf5 39 Rd6 Re6 40 Rd7+ Re7 41 Rd6 Re6 42 Qd1 g5 43 Qh5+ Ke7 44 Qd1 Kf7 45 Rd7+ Kg6 46 Rg7+ Kxh6 47 Qd7 Re5 48 Qf7 Rd5 49 Kh1 Nd8 50 Rxh7+ Qxh7 51 Qxd5 Kg6+ 52 Kg1 Qc7 53 Qg8+ Kf5 54 Qd5+ Kg6 55 Qxe4+ Kg7 56 Qa8 Qd7 57 Kh2 Qd3 58 g3 Nf7 59 Qb7 Kg6 60 Qxa6 Ne5 61 Qa8 Ng4+ 62 Kh3 Qf5 63 Qg8+ Kh6 64 Qh8+ Kg6 65 Qe8+ Kh6 66 Qh8+ draw.

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AS Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik battle it out for the $2 million Braingames World Championship in London, in Erevan, Armenia, a future generation of chess stars fought it out for another World title - the World Junior Championship for players below the age of 20.

Also an historic tournament in the chess calendar, in the past, players like Boris Spassky, Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov first came to the attention of the chess world by winning the world junior crown on their long road to achieving the ultimate accolade in the game by become "the" world champion. However, the title became a bit devalued as chess prodigies like Peter Leko and Etienne Bacrot decided to miss out completely in this competition, instead, preferring to go straight to the rough and tumble of the GM circuit.

The latest edition of the World Junior ended recently with Cuba's GM Lazaro Bruzon lifting the gold medal. Undefeated on 10/13, Bruzon's polished and mature strategic play was no match as he dominated a strong 60-player field, coming ahead of IM Kamil Milton, Poland (Silver) and GM Karen Asrian, Armenia (Bronze), both on 8.5.

Who knows what lies ahead for Bruzon. One day in the future he could well fulfil Fidel Castro's wish of finally finding a player who can fill the shows of the legendary Cuban world champion Jose Raoul Capablanca, who literally dominated the game in the 1920s and 1930s.


L Bruzon - E Ghaem Maghami
World Junior Ch. (10), Sicilian Kan

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Bd3 Nf6 6 0-0 d6 7 c4 Be7 8 Qe2 0-0 9 b3 b6 10 Bb2 Bb7 11 Kh1 Nbd7 12 Nc3 Rc8 13 f4 g6 14 e5 dxe5 15 fxe5 Nh5 16 Be4 Qc7 17 Rad1 Bxe4 18 Qxe4 Nc5 19 Qe3 Qb7 20 Rf3 Ng7 21 Ba3 Rcd8 22 Qh6 b5 23 Rh3 Nh5 24 Nd5 Rxd5 (24 ..exd5 25 Rxh5! gxh5 26 Nf5 wins) 25 cxd5 Qxd5 26 Qc1 Rd8 27 Rc3 Qe4 28 Bxc5 Bxc5 29 Nxe6 Rxd1+ 30 Qxd1 fxe6 31 Rxc5 1-0

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"IN a match played in London," jokingly commented Garry Kasparov at the press conference after game five of his Braingames World title defence against Vladimir Kramnik, "there should be at least one English Opening!"

The world champion wasn't just paying homage to the venue for his $2 million match against Kramnik, he was also paying his own little tribute to Howard Staunton (1810-1874), recognised by many as the de facto world champion of his day, whose name adorns the trophy both players are competing for.

The English Opening, 1 c4, was rarely tried until 1843; then became the centre of attention after Staunton played it six times in his match against Pierre de Saint-Amant. When both the Champions of England and France met in the Great Hall of the Café de la Regenge in a 21-game match (Staunton winning 13-8), it was universally dubbed as "The World Championship Match", the first time a chess match had been such named. Last year Staunton became the first chess-player to be immortalised by English Heritage when a blue plaque was unveiled in his honour at his former dwelling, 117 Lansdowne Road, London.

And. Likewise, he's being honoured by the chess fraternity with both Kasparov and Kramnik competing not just for the prize-money, but more importantly for ownership of the Howard Staunton Memorial Trophy, specially commissioned and designed by the royal jewellers, Aspreys, which will be awarded to the winner.

As the match reaches the end of its intriguing first week with game five being drawn, the challenger, Vladimir Kramnik, leads Garry Kasparov 3-2, with 11-games left to play.


G Kasparov - V Kramnik
Braingames World Ch. (5), English Opening

1 c4 c5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 g3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 Bg2 Nc6 6 Nc3 g6 7 0-0 Bg7 8 Qa4 Nb6 9 Qb5 Nd7 10 d3 0-0 11 Be3 Nd4 12 Bxd4 cxd4 13 Ne4 Qb6 14 a4 a6! (14 ..Qxb5 15 axb5 Nb6 16 Ra5! , and White has good hopes with active queenside play.) 15 Qxb6 Nxb6 16 a5 Nd5 17 Nc5 Rd8 18 Nd2 Rb8 19 Nc4 e6 20 Rfc1 Bh6 21 Rcb1 Bf8 22 Nb3 Bg7 23 Bxd5 Rxd5 24 Nbd2 (24 Nb6?! Rb5 25 Nd2 e5 26 b4 Bf8 27 Ra4 Bg4 28 f3 Be6 29 Ndc4 Bc5!, and Black's better.) 24 ..e5 draw.

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World Champion Garry Kasparov has found himself embroiled in the fight of his life to retain the world crown that he so covets as his former pupil, Vladimir Kramnik, seems determined to topple his former master.

Kramnik is proving to be one of the toughest opponents Kasparov has ever faced in a match since his epic four world title duals with archrival Anatoly Karpov, between 1984-1990. The young pretender almost had Kasparov on the verge of resignation after nearly six-hours of play in game four, a result that would have given Kramnik a 2-0 lead after the first week of their $2 million, 16-game Braingames World Championship match at the Riverside Studios in London.

However, when most players would simply have given up and resigned, Kasparov worked "miracles" to produce one of the saves of the 114-year history of world championship chess, to thwart Kramnik taking a 2-0 lead.

Going into the end of the first week, Kramnik leads Kasparov 2.5-1.5, with twelve games still to be played.


V Kramnik - G Kasparov
Braingames WCC (4), Queen's Gambit Accepted

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 e6 4 e3 c5 5 Bxc4 a6 6 0-0 Nf6 7 dxc5 Qxd1 8 Rxd1 Bxc5 9 Nbd2 Nbd7 10 Be2 b6 11 Nb3 Be7 12 Nfd4 Bb7 13 f3 0-0 14 e4 Rfc8 15 Be3 Kf8 16 Nd2 Ne5 17 N4b3 Rc6 18 Rac1 Rac8 19 Rxc6 Rxc6 20 g4 h6 21 h4 Bc8 22 g5 hxg5 23 hxg5 Nfd7 24 f4 Ng6 25 Nf3 Rc2 26 Bxa6 Bxa6 27 Rxd7 Rxb2 28 Ra7 Bb5 29 f5 exf5 30 exf5 Re2 31 Nfd4 Re1+ 32 Kf2 Rf1+ 33 Kg2 Nh4+ 34 Kh3 Rh1+ 35 Kg4 Be8 36 Bf2 Ng2 37 Ra8 Rf1 38 Kf3 Nh4+ 39 Ke2 Rh1 40 Nb5 Bxg5 41 Nc7 Ke7 42 Nxe8 Nxf5 43 Bxb6 Kd7 44 a4 Rh3 45 Nc5+ Kc6 46 a5 Re3+ 47 Kd1 Re7 48 Rc8+ Kb5 49 Ne4 Rxe4 50 Rc5+ Ka6 51 Nc7+ Kb7 52 Rxf5 Be3 53 Bxe3 Rxe3 54 Rxf7 Re5 55 a6+ Kb6 56 Rxg7 Ra5 57 Kd2 Ra1 58 Kc2 Rh1 59 Kb2 Rh8 60 Kb3 Rc8 61 a7 Kxa7 62 Kb4 Kb6 63 Nd5+ Ka6 64 Rg6+ Kb7 65 Kb5 Rc1 66 Rg2 Kc8 67 Rg7 Kd8 68 Nf6 Rc7 69 Rg5 Rf7 70 Nd5 Kd7 71 Rg6 Rf1 72 Kc5 draw.

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GARRY KASPAROV'S 15-year hegemony could be in jeopardy as his former pupil and challenger, fellow Russian Vladimir Kramnik, comprehensively outplayed the champion to win the second game of their $2 million Braingames World Championship match in London.

After making a comfortable draw in game one, the challenger has now got off to the best of possible starts and leads his former master 1.5-0.5 in the 16-game title match. However, not to be complacent, after the game the challenger commented, "Although pleased that he had won, the match was far from over and still had a long way to go."

Kasparov was under pressure from the opening when the challenger decided to take the champion head-on in his favourite Gruenfeld Defence with the new idea of 10 Rb1 and 11 Rxb7. In the Press Room, the general consensus was that, instead of 17 ..Nd4, Kasparov should have played 17 Rac8. Also of interest was the idea of 16 ..Qxd2 17 Bxd2 Rfc8.

Instead, Kramnik went a pawn ahead as Kasparov looked uncomfortable defending a very difficult endgame. Under pressure, Kasparov snapped just before the time-control with the blunder 39 ..Ke7?, which lost a piece. After the game, both players had differing views on what the final outcome would have been before the blunder. Kasparov thought that, although difficult, he felt he could have held for the draw if he had opted instead for 39 ..Kg7. However, Kramnik was adamant that "...he would have won this position also."


V Kramnik - G Kasparov
Braingames World Ch. (2), Gruenfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 e4 Nxc3 6 bxc3 Bg7 7 Nf3 c5 8 Be3 Qa5 9 Qd2 Bg4 10 Rb1 a6 11 Rxb7 Bxf3 12 gxf3 Nc6 13 Bc4 0-0 14 0-0 cxd4 15 cxd4 Bxd4 16 Bd5 Bc3 17 Qc1 Nd4 18 Bxd4 Bxd4 19 Rxe7 Ra7 20 Rxa7 Bxa7 21 f4 Qd8 22 Qc3 Bb8 23 Qf3 Qh4 24 e5 g5 25 Re1 Qxf4 26 Qxf4 gxf4 27 e6 fxe6 28 Rxe6 Kg7 29 Rxa6 Rf5 30 Be4 Re5 31 f3 Re7 32 a4 Ra7 33 Rb6 Be5 34 Rb4 Rd7 35 Kg2 Rd2+ 36 Kh3 h5 37 Rb5 Kf6 38 a5 Ra2 39 Rb6+ Ke7 40 Bd5 1-0

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SCOTTISH CHAMPION John Shaw hit top form at the weekend as he dominated the field for an unbeaten winning score of 4.5/5 in the top Championship section of the 23rd Perth Congress.

The decisive moment for the Kilmarnock-based IM came in the third round of the tournament at Perth High School as he comprehensively outplayed last year's winner, GM Colin McNab, with the black pieces in a very instructional game.

Yet again, however, the Friday night session in a Scottish congress more resembled a "ghost town" with the growing trend for competitors to stay at home by opting for a half-point bye. With rents eating into the profit (or non as the case may be) margins for cash-strapped tournaments, one solution recently suggested by Scotland's chief number cruncher, Grader Douglas Bryson, is that organisers should seriously investigate doing away altogether with the Friday session.

Much like the system that's proved popular with organisers and players alike in the hectic US circuit (which now appears to be catching on in England), the traditional five-round weekend tournament could be replaced with three rounds on the Saturday at a faster time-limit - saving the key Sunday games for a more normal time-control as the top players meet to determine the winners.


Championship: 1 IM J Shaw (Kilmarnock) 4.5/5; IM D Bryson (Shettleston), IM S Mannion (Cathcart) 4. Major: 1 J Warren (Perth) 4.5/5; 2-4 B Harrold (Oban), W Clinton (Livingston), A De Visser (Inverness) 4; Minor: 1-2 E Rooney (Holy Cross), D Logue (Inverclyde) 4.5/5; 3-6 N Thompson (Holy Cross), D Cubitt (Edinburgh), B Chalmers (Giffnock), P Girdwood (Livingston) 4


C McNab - J Shaw
Perth Championship (3), English Opening

1 c4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 a3 g6 5 g3 Bg7 6 Bg2 a5 7 d4 exd4 8 Nxd4 Nxd4 9 Qxd4 0-0 10 Qh4 Re8 11 Bg5 Re6 12 0-0 Qf8 13 Bd5 h6 14 Bxf6 Rxf6 15 Bg2 c6 16 Rad1 Re6 17 Na4 d6 18 e4 Re8 19 Qf4 Be6 20 Rfe1 Rad8 21 Rc1 h5 22 Qd2 Ra8 23 c5 Red8 24 Qc2 Bd4 25 cxd6 Qxd6 26 e5 Qe7 27 Be4 Kg7 28 Kg2 h4 29 f4 hxg3 30 hxg3 Qd7 31 Rh1 (If 31 Nc5 Bh3+ 32 Kh1 Rh8! 33 Nxd7 Bf1+ 34 Qh2 Rxh2+ 35 Kxh2 Rh8#) 31 ..Rh8 0-1

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A visibly nervous Garry Kasparov made a tentative start to the first defence of his world title in five years, as he was comfortable held to a 25-move draw by his challenger, and former pupil, fellow Russian Vladimir Kramnik, in the first game of their 16-game London title match.

Sponsored by a new dot.com provider of Internet game-playing services, the Braingames Network, the $2 million match is being staged at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, with play starting at 3.00pm on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays until November 4.

The challenge could be a defining moment for the game as Kasparov, who has dominated the chess world since becoming the youngest ever world champion in 1985, comes up against perhaps his toughest opponent in recent years. And indeed the world No.1 has himself in the past recognised that his former protege had the "right stuff" to succeed him as the fourteenth world champion.

Unlike Kasparov's previous challengers in the past, Nigel Short and Vishy Anand, Kramnik has a near-even score against the champion and certainly looks psychologically tougher than both Short and Anand. However, perhaps the significant statistic between the two players in this war of attrition for the world crown is Kasparov's impressive match record. Compared to Kramnik, who has lost every match he's played in, the world champion, in stark comparison, has never been defeated in a match by a human; his only loss being to IBM's Deep Blue in 1997.

Still, it's hard to imagine the chessworld without the familiar figure of numero uno Garry Kasparov as the undisputed world champion. And, as usual, the deck is heavily stacked in his favour. Kasparov, as is the prerogative of previous champions, will have the significant advantage of that he keeps his world crown if the score is tied at 8-8.

In game one, Kramnik (and to a certain extent Kasparov himself) sprang an early surprise with his opening choice. Departing from his usual repertoire of the Sicilian and Petroff Defence - which are virtually certain to appear at a later stage - for now, the challenger opted to answer 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3, with 2 ..Nc6. However, perhaps fearing a well-prepared counter to his favourite Scotch Opening, the world champion likewise differed with the Ruy Lopez, with Kramnik opting for what must surely have been a one-off super-solid Berlin Defence.


G Kasparov - V Kramnik
Braingames World Ch. (1), Berlin Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 0-0 Nxe4 5 d4 Nd6 6 Bxc6 dxc6 7 dxe5 Nf5 8 Qxd8+ Kxd8 9 Nc3 Bd7 10 b3 h6 11 Bb2 Kc8 12 h3 b6 13 Rad1 Ne7 14 Ne2 Ng6 15 Ne1 h5 16 Nd3 c5 17 c4 a5 18 a4 h4 19 Nc3 Be6 20 Nd5 Kb7 21 Ne3 Rh5 22 Bc3 Re8 23 Rd2 Kc8 24 f4 Ne7 25 Nf2 Nf5 draw.

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AN exciting last round finish to the Seattle Chess Foundation sponsored and organised US Championships resulted in both titles and prize money being shared among five players.

In the overall championship, a final round victory over defending champion Boris Gulko allowed local player Yasser Seirawan to share first equal with Joel Benjamin and Alexander Shabalov, on a final score of 6.5/11, with each winning $8,500. With Russian émigrés Dmitry Gurevich and Gregory Kaidanov sharing fourth place and $5,500, these five will now qualify for the 2001 Fide world championship as the event also doubled as the US zonal.

In a hotly contested women's championship, 17-year-old Elina Groberman proved to be the surprise package, as she held her own against some strong players to gain the Women's International Master title as she shared first place with WIM Camilla Baginskaite. Both finished equal first on 6.5/9 to share the title and $7,250 each.

With both titles and the prize-money shared, the five title winners will play a series of speed playoff games to determine who has the honour of wearing the specially commissioned silver winner's rings.


Final placing: 1-3 J Benjamin, A Shabalov, Y Seirawan 6.5/11; 4-5 D Gurevich, G Kaidanov 6; 6-8 N de Firmian, L Christiansen, A Ivanov 5.5; 9-12 B Gulko, G Serper, J Fedorowicz, A Yermolinsky 4.5.


Y Seirawan - B Gulko
US Championships (11), English Opening

1 Nf3 c5 2 c4 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e6 5 Nb5 d6 6 Bf4 e5 7 Bg3 Nh6 8 Nd2 Be7 9 e3 0-0 10 Be2 f5 11 f3 f4 12 exf4 exf4 13 Bf2 Bh4 14 0-0 Bxf2+ 15 Rxf2 a6 16 Nc3 Nf5 17 Nde4 Be6 18 Qd2 Qh4 19 Nd5 Bxd5 20 Qxd5+ Kh8 21 Bf1 Rad8 22 Rd2 Qe7 23 Rc1 Ne3 24 Qg5 Qc7 25 Qh4 h6 26 Nc3 Qa5 27 Qf2 Rfe8 28 b3 Nb4 29 g3 Qf5 30 a3 fxg3 31 hxg3 Nxf1 32 Rxf1 Nd3 33 g4 Qg6 34 Qg3 Ne5 35 Nd5 Rf8 36 Rg2 b5 37 f4 Qf7 38 Rff2 bxc4 39 bxc4 Nxc4 40 Qd3 Rc8 41 g5 Rc5 42 gxh6 gxh6 43 Qh3 h5 44 Nc3 Re8 45 f5 Ne3 46 Rg5 Rg8 47 Qxe3 Rxg5+ 48 Qxg5 Rxc3 49 Rg2 Kh7 50 f6 Rc4 51 Qf5+ Kh6 52 Qg5+ Kh7 53 Rh2 Rc5 54 Rxh5+ 1-0

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LOCAL hero Yasser Seirawan has once again regained the sole lead in the Seattle Chess Foundation sponsored and organised US Championships as a ninth round victory, over New Yorker John "the Fed" Fedorowicz, gives the Seattle-based former champion a crucial half-point lead over a chasing pack of five.

The win not only puts Seirawan in line for the $10,000 first prize and his fourth national title, but also virtually guarantees the US No.2 a lucrative place in the 2001 Fide World Championships as the national championships in the US doubles as a zonal tournament.

However, with a total prize fund of $60,000 on offer, not only will the chasing pack of five - de Firmian, Gurevich, Kaidanov, Shabalov and Benjamin - be fighting their hardest to try and catch the leader in the final two rounds, they'll also have to battle it out for the remaining four US zonal places as there are only five places on offer to the USA.

The zonals are based on the 21 zones which governing body Fide has neatly packaged the chess world into for administrative purposes. Of its 158 members just five have their own zone that's decided by their national championships: the USA, Canada, China, the Ukraine and Russia.


Leader board: 1 Y Seirawan 5.5/9; 2-6 N de Firmian, D Gurevich, G Kaidanov, A Shabalov, J Benjamin 5; 7 L Christansen 4.5; 8 A Ivanov, J Fedorowicz, B Gulko 4; 11-12 G Serper, A Yermolinsky 3.5.


Y Seirawan - J Fedorowicz
US Championships (9), King's Indian Defence

1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 g6 3 e4 d6 4 d4 Bg7 5 Bd3 a6 6 h3 c5 7 d5 b5 8 Nf3 0-0 9 0-0 bxc4 10 Bxc4 Nfd7 11 Bf4 Nb6 12 Bd3 N8d7 13 Re1 c4 14 Bf1 Nc5 15 Nd2 Rb8 16 Rc1 a5 17 b3 cxb3 18 Nxb3 Nxb3 19 axb3 Bb7 20 Be3 Nd7 21 Nb5 Ra8 22 Re2 Ba6 23 Rec2 Bxb5 24 Bxb5 Nc5 25 Bxc5 dxc5 26 Rxc5 Qd6 27 R1c4 h5 28 h4 Ra7 29 g3 Rb8 30 Kg2 Rab7 31 Qd3 Kh7 32 Ba4 Rb4 33 f4 Rxc4 34 Rxc4 Qa3 35 Qc2 Rd8 36 Rc7 Qb4 37 Rc4 Qe1 38 Qf2 Qa1 39 Qd2 Rb8 40 e5 Rd8 41 Rc7 Qb1 42 Kh2 Qe4 43 Bc6 Bf8 44 d6 Qb1 45 Bd5 1-0

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THE US Championships is heading for an exciting finish as a logjam of five players are in contention for the $10,000 first prize with just three rounds left to play in Seattle.

Overnight leader Yasser Seirawan, playing against Alexander Shabalov, was again involved in another epic encounter when he lost in an enthralling encounter. With all the other five games being drawn, this allowed Seirawan to be joined in first place by Nick de Firmian, Gregory Kaidanov, Dmitry Gurevich and Joel Benjamin - all on a score of plus one with 4.5/8.

Latvian-born Shabalov, who moved to the US in 1992, is regarded as something of an "open warrior" on the chess circuit and a player who certainly takes no prisoners at the board. From his aggresive style of play, it comes as no surprise that Shabalov, the former junior champion of the Soviet Union, had among his teachers the legendary Riga magician, Mikhail Tal.

His game against Seirawan looks likely to be one of the leading contenders for the $800 Best Game prize, which will be judged by the veteran GM, Arthur Bisguier, a former US Champion and member of the US Chess Hall of Fame.


Leader board: 1 N de Firmian, G Kaidanov, Y Seirawan, D Gurevich, J Benjamin 4.5/8; 6-9 L Christiansen, B Gulko, A Shabalov, J Fedorowicz 4; 10-11 G Serper, A Ivanov 3.5; 12 A Yermolinsky 2.5.


A Shabalov - Y Seirawan
US Championships (8), Caro-Kann Defence

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 Bf5 4 Nc3 h6 5 g4 Bd7 6 Bg2 Qc8 7 h3 h5 8 gxh5 Bf5 9 Be3 e6 10 Nge2 Nh6 11 Ng3 Bh7 12 Nce2 Nd7 13 0-0 Nb6 14 b3 Qd7 15 a4 Nc8 16 c4 Ne7 17 a5 Nef5 18 a6 Be7 19 Nf4 0-0 20 b4 b5 21 cxb5 Nxe3 22 fxe3 Rab8 23 bxc6 Qxc6 24 e4 dxe4 25 d5 Qc3 26 d6 Bg5 27 Nfe2 Qxe5 28 Ra5 Be3+ 29 Kh1 Qb2 30 d7 f5 31 Qd6 Qxb4 32 Qxe6+ Kh8 33 Qe5 Rbd8 34 Rd5 Qa4 35 Qc3 f4 36 Ra1 Qxa1+ 37 Qxa1 f3 38 Qc3 fxg2+ 39 Kxg2 Rf2+ 40 Kh1 Bb6 41 Nd4 e3 42 Ne6 Rf6 43 Re5 Rg8 44 Nxg7 Kxg7 45 Re7+ Nf7 46 Qe5 Bg6 47 h6+ Kxh6 48 Qxf6 Ng5 49 Rg7 Rxg7 50 Nf5+ Kh5 51 Nxg7+ Kh4 52 Qxg6 e2 53 Nf5+ Kxh3 54 Qh5# 1-0

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THE US Championships in Seattle suddenly sprung to life in round seven as the former US No.1, Yasser Seirawan, defeated the tournament leader, Dmitry Gurevich, in a truly remarkable game to himself take the sole lead.

Remarkably, Seirawan, the man credited with rescuing and securing the tournament for the next ten year's with the formation of his Seattle Chess Foundation, now finds himself in the funny position of taking the lead in his "own" tournament. A former World Junior champion and three-time US Champion, Seirawan has always had to live in the shadows of the American chess icon Bobby Fischer, and became the first American contender for the world title since Fischer's retirement in 1975.

After the fireworks had died down, Gurevich, who had three minor pieces for the queen, all but had the game won when he blundered at the crucial moment. Instead of the insipid 45 Nf3?, the remarkable 45 Nh7+ Ke7 46 Nc8+ Kxe6 47 Ng5+, forks Black's queen.


Leader board: 1 Y Seirawan 4.5/7; 2-5 N de Firmian, G Kaidanov, J Benjamin, D Gurevich 4; 6-8 L Christiansen, B Gulko, J Fedorowicz 3.5; 9-11 G Serper, A Ivanov, A Shabalov 3; 12 A Yermolinsky 2.


D Gurevich - Y Seirawan
US Championships (7), Bogo-Indian Def

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3 Bb4+ 4 Nd2 d5 5 Bg2 0-0 6 Ngf3 c6 7 0-0 b6 8 Qc2 Bb7 9 Rd1 a5 10 e4 Be7 11 e5 Nfd7 12 Nf1 Na6 13 a3 Nc7 14 h4 h6 15 Ne3 Re8 16 b3 c5 17 Bb2 Qc8 18 dxc5 Nxc5 19 Nd4 dxc4 20 Nxc4 Bxg2 21 Kxg2 Qb7+ 22 Kg1 Red8 23 b4 axb4 24 axb4 N5a6 25 b5 Nb4 26 Qe2 Ncd5 27 Qg4 Bc5 28 Nd6 Qd7 29 Rxa8 Rxa8 30 N4f5 g6 31 Nxh6+ Kg7 32 Nhxf7 Rf8 33 Ng5 Rxf2 34 Bd4 Ne3 35 Bxc5 Rg2+ 36 Kh1 Rh2+ 37 Kg1 Rg2+ 38 Kh1 Rh2+ 39 Kxh2 Nxg4+ 40 Kh3 Nd5 41 Rxd5 exd5 42 e6 Qa7 43 Bd4+ Kf8 44 Kxg4 Qa4 45 Nf3 Qb4 46 e7+ Kxe7 47 Nc8+ Kd8 48 Na7 Ke8 49 Nc6 Qf8 50 Bf6 Qxf6 51 Ncd4 Qh8 52 Kf4 Ke7 53 g4 Qf6+ 54 Ke3 Kd6 55 Nc6 Kc5 56 Ncd4 Kb4 57 g5 Qe7+ 58 Kf4 Qe4+ 59 Kg3 Ka4 60 Kf2 Qg4 61 Ke3 Kb4 62 Kf2 Qe4 63 Ne2 Qe8 64 Ned4 Kc4 65 h5 gxh5 66 g6 Kc5 67 g7 Qg8 68 Nf5 Qh7 69 Ke3 Kxb5 70 N3d4+ Ka4 71 Kf3 b5 72 Kf4 b4 73 Nc6 b3 0-1

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DESPITE having last played in the US Championships in 1966, chess icon Bobby Fischer still to this day holds all the major US Championship records.

The erratic genius first came to world prominence in 1957 when he made his debut in the national championships in New York. The fourteen-year-old rank-outsider was the shock winner that year to become (and still is) the youngest title winner.

In 1964, he exceeded Sammy Reshevsky's record of five titles in impressive style as he notched up the most extraordinary record ever achieved in a modern, national competition: He won all eleven games, most of which were against top grandmaster-level opponents. By 1966 when he played in his eighth and final US Championships, Fischer set yet another record: Winning the title on every appearance - played eight, won eight!

Despite Fischer having a near pathological dislike of Russians, whom he believed were always "out to get him", many of their grandmasters are now an integral part of the US scene; and ironically are heavily involved in coaching any potential new "Fischer's". Seven Russian emigres are among the field this year in Seattle, and one, Dmitry Gurevich, vying for his first title, now holds the sole lead at the halfway stage after beating another, Alexander Shabalov, in round six.


Leader board: 1 D Gurevich 4/6; 2-5 N de Firmian, J Fedorowicz, B Gulko, Y Seirawan 3.5; 6-9 L Christiansen, J Benjamin, G Kaidanov, A Ivanov 3; 10-11 G Serper, A Shabalov 2.5; 12 A Yermolinsky 1


A Shabalov - D Gurevich
US Championships (6), Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 Bg5 Bd7 7 Nb3 e6 8 Be2 a6 9 0-0 b5 10 a3 Be7 11 Qd2 Qc7 12 Rad1 Ne5 13 f4 Nc4 14 Bxc4 bxc4 15 Nd4 h6 16 Bh4 Nxe4 17 Nxe4 Bxh4 18 f5 d5 19 fxe6 fxe6 20 Nf5 exf5 21 Qxd5 Qa7+ 22 Kh1 Be7 23 Nd6+ Bxd6 24 Qxd6 0-0-0 25 Rd5 Kb7 26 Rfd1? (26 Qxd7+! Rxd7 27 Rxd7+ Kb8 28 Rxa7 Kxa7 29 Rxf5 Rb8 30 b3 cxb3 31 Rf7+ Ka8 32 cxb3 Rxb3=) 26 ..Qe3 27 Re5 Qb6 28 Qe7 Qc7 29 Qb4+ Bb5 30 Rde1 Qd6 31 Rxb5+ axb5 32 Qxb5+ Kc8 33 h3 Rd7 34 Qxc4+ Rc7 35 Qa4 Qc6 36 Qa5 g6 37 Re3 Rd8 0-1

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