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The Scotsman

Chess News January 2001

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"I'VE lost the world championship, but hey, I'm still here!" This was the defiant message from Garry Kasparov at the press conference at end of the Corus Tournament in Wijk aan Zee when he celebrated a stunning hat-trick of victories in the top Dutch tournament.

Easily the strongest tournament of all time for its size, the tournament provided an ideal chess battleground for Kasparov, Anand and Kramnik, the three players who dominate the game today. And, true to form, their individual performances basically confirmed what we've all known: the reliability of the rating system for a true indication of playing strength. Kasparov finished a half point ahead of FIDE world champion Vishy Anand, and a full point clear of his nemesis, BGN world champion Vladimir Kramnik.

Despite Kramnik's victory over Kasparov, by far the most consistent player we have in the chess world today is Vishy Anand. After some indifferent form in 1999 and early 2000, the Indian ace now once again looks as if he's back to his brilliant best. He had a steady start in Wijk, though saved his best till last to finish on a high thanks to a perfect score in the "Dutch Open" - 3/3 against the local trio of Piket, Timman and Van Wely - to gain more Elo points.

Now, with the likelihood that the world chess federation will after all be rating the Kasparov-Kramnik match, we could see all three moving numerically closer to each other - and even the two new world champions joining Kasparov in the "2800 club" - perhaps the time is now right for all three to come together and finally sort out the mess within the chess world: Just who is the world champion?


V Anand - L Van Wely
Corus Tournament (13), Sicilan Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e5 7 Nb3 Be6 8 Qd2 Be7 9 f3 0-0 10 0-0-0 Qc7 11 g4 Rc8 12 Kb1 Nbd7 13 Qf2 b5 14 g5 Nh5 15 h4 b4 16 Nd5 Bxd5 17 Rxd5 a5 18 Bh3 a4 19 Nc1 Rcb8 20 Bg4 Nf4 21 Bxf4 exf4 22 Bxd7 Qxd7 23 Qd2 Rb5 24 Ne2 Rc8 25 Nxf4 b3 26 cxb3 axb3 27 a3 Rc2 28 Qd3 Rb8 29 Rd4 Bf8 30 Nd5 Rf2 31 Qe3 Rg2 32 Rd2 Rg3 33 Qf2 Rh3 34 Rhd1 1-0

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THEY may be able to take his world crown from him, but it looks like their going to have to wait much longer to replace him as the world's No.1.

Yet again it was case of 'Kasparov aan Zee' as Garry Kasparov secured a last round draw with England's Mickey Adams to secure first place and the winner's cheque of 20,000 NLG and the Corus Trophy.

Kasparov, 37, playing in his third Wijk tournament, also set a new record when he bettered the back to back wins of Bent Larsen in 1960-61, Nigel Short 1986-87 and Dr John Nunn 1990-91, to become the first player in the 63-year history of the tournament to win the title in three successive years.

However, the wins are getting harder. Kasaparov noted in his victory address that his first win in 1999, he scored 10/13, his second win in 2000, scoring 9.5/13, and now his latest, 2001, ending with a final tally of 9/13!

With two of the world's most entertaining players, Alexander Morozevich and Alexei Shirov, meeting in the final round, there was never really any doubt as to which game would take the attraction of the large Dutch audience for the final Spectators' Prize of the tournament. A superb battle by both players was fittingly rewarded with both sharing the prize.


Final placings: 1 G Kasparov (Russia) 9/13; 2 V Anand (India) 8.5; 3-4 V Ivanchuk (Ukraine), V Kramnik (Russia) 8; 5-7 M Adams (England), A Morozevich (Russia), A Shirov (Spain) 7.5; 8 P Leko (Hungary) 6.5; 9 V Topalov (Bulgaria) 5.5; 10-11 A Fedorov (Belarussia), L Van Wely (Netherlands) 5; 12-13 J Piket, S Tiviakov (both Netherlands) 4.5; 14 J Timman (Netherlands) 4


A Morozevich - A Shirov
Corus Tournament (13), Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nd4 4 Bc4 g6 5 Nf3 Bg7 6 Nxd4 cxd4 7 Qf3 Nh6 8 Ne2 0-0 9 h3 e6 10 d3 f5 11 Qg3 b5 12 Bb3 Bb7 13 f3 fxe4 14 dxe4 a5 15 a4 bxa4 16 Rxa4 Qb6 17 Qf2 Bxe4 18 Nxd4 Bc6 19 Nxc6 Qxc6 20 h4 Nf5 21 h5 Rab8 22 Rc4 Qb6 23 hxg6 hxg6 24 Rg4 Rfc8 25 Qd2 Qc7 26 Qd3 Rb4 27 Rxg6 Qe5+ 28 Kf1 Rd4 29 Qe2 Kf7 30 Rg5 Ng3+ 31 Rxg3 Qxg3 32 Be3 Rb4 33 Qd3 Rc7 34 Rh5 Qg6 35 Rf5+ Kg8 36 Qd6 Qxf5 37 Qxc7 a4 38 Bc4 Rxb2 39 Qxd7 Rb1+ 40 Kf2 Qxc2+ 41 Be2 Rb2 draw.

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SHOWING that it's "business as usual" after losing his world crown, Garry Kasparov is on the verge of setting a record by becoming the first player to win the Corus Tournament in Wijk aan Zee for three year's running.

Going into the final round, Kasparov, 37, has the advantage of one-point lead over the chasing pack of world champions Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik.

Kasparov also starred away from the board at the weekend with a "guest appearance" during the Super Bowl contest in Florida between the New York Giants' and the Baltimore Patriots. Fronting a major $5m commercial for Pepsi Cola, the former world champion accepts the Pepsi Challenge by taking on (and losing!) one of the soft-drink giants' vending machines at chess.

Unfortunately for Alexei Shirov, who was Kasparov's nearest rival in Wijk, he didn't fair any better during his "Linares" challenge. Facing Kasparov, Anand, Ivanchuk, Kramnik and Morovevich in the final rounds, he collapsed completely to allow Kasparov to take the sole lead.

Inexplicably, it looks as if the pressure was just too much for the former Latvian who now plays under the Spanish flag - particularly when he "blew a fuse" by playing into a well-known published bad line against Vassily Ivanchuk.


Leader board: 1 G Kasparov (Russia) 8.5/12; 2-3 V Anand (India), V Kramnik (Russia) 7.5; 4-7 M Adams (England), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine), A Morozevich (Russia), A Shirov (Spain) 7; 8 P Leko (Hungary) 6; 9-11 A Fedorov (Belarussia), V Topalov (Bulgaria), L Van Wely (Netherlands) 5; 12-13 J Piket, J Timman (both Netherlands) 4; 14 S Tiviakov (Netherlands) 3.5.


V Ivanchuk - A Shirov
Corus Tournament (11), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 Ng4 7 Bg5 h6 8 Bh4 g5 9 Bg3 Bg7 10 h3 Nf6 11 Bc4 Qb6 12 0-0 Nxe4? (12 ..0-0!) 13 Nxe4 Qxd4 14 Nxd6+! exd6 15 Qe2+ Be6 16 Bxe6 0-0 17 Rad1 Qf6 18 Bd5 Nc6 19 c3 Rad8 20 Rfe1 Qg6 21 a4 Kh7 22 Bxc6 bxc6 23 Qxa6 d5 24 a5 f5 25 Be5 Ra8 26 Qb6 Rf7 27 b4 f4 28 f3 h5 29 Qf2 Bh6 30 Bd4 g4 31 hxg4 hxg4 32 fxg4 f3 33 gxf3 Raf8 34 Kg2 Rxf3 35 Qxf3 Rxf3 36 Kxf3 Qc2 37 a6 Qh2 38 Be5 Qa2 39 Ra1 Qc2 40 a7 Qd3+ 41 Kf2 1-0

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"WELCOME to Linares, Alexei - Your tournament is just starting!" An outspoken Garry Kasparov stormed back to his brilliant best - both on and off the board - as he literally blew away the leader, Alexei Shirov, in their controversial ninth round meeting at the Corus Tournament in Wijk aan Zee.

As expected, Kasparov, for the first time in his career, breached the etiquette of the game when he declined to shake the hand of his opponent. The pre-game hostilities was due to the fact that he failed to receive an apology after Shirov had alleged in print that his title match against Kramnik had been "fixed".

There was also another reason for Kasparov to play in such a determined manner I game that won the Spectators' Prize for game of the round - it was played on the 30th anniversary of the death of his father, to whose memory he later dedicated the game.

Kasparov's Linares jibe in the press conference afterwards referred to the top-ranking Spanish tournament, where only the world's top six players compete - effectively Shirov's last five opponent's: Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, Ivanchuk and Morozevich!

With nearest rival and new world champion Vladimir Kramnik also sensationally losing to Alexander Morozevich, Kasparov is now the odds-on favourite to win as he faces the weaker opposition in the remaining four rounds.


Leader board: 1-2 G Kasparov (Russia), A Shirov (Spain) 6.5/9; 3-4 V Kramnik, A Morozevich (both Russia) 5.5; 5-7 M Adams (England), V Anand (India), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 5; 8-10 P Leko (Hungary), J Timman, L Van Wely (both Netherlands) 4; 11-12 A Fedorov (Belarussia), V Topalov (Bulgaria) 3.5; 13 J Piket (Netherlands) 3; 14 S Tiviakov (Netherlands) 2.


G Kasparov - A Shirov
Corus Tournament (9), Petroff Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nf3 Nxe4 5 d4 d5 6 Bd3 Bd6 7 0-0 0-0 8 c4 c6 9 Qc2 Na6 10 a3 Bg4 11 Ne5 Bh5 12 cxd5 cxd5 13 Nc3 Nxc3 14 bxc3 Kh8 15 f4 Bxe5 16 fxe5 Bg6 17 a4 Qd7 18 Ba3 Rfe8 19 Bxg6 fxg6 20 Qb3 b6 21 Bd6 Nc7 22 Rf3 Rac8 23 Raf1 h6 24 Qc2 Qg4 25 Rg3 Qh5 26 Rh3 Qg5 27 Rg3 Qh5 28 Bxc7 Rxc7 29 Rxg6 Qh4 30 h3 Qxd4+ 31 cxd4 Rxc2 32 Rf7 Rg8 33 Rd6 Rc4 34 Rxd5 Rxa4 35 Rdd7 Ra1+ 36 Kf2 Ra2+ 37 Kf3 Kh7 38 e6 Kg6 39 d5 Rc8 40 Rc7 Re8 41 g4 a5 42 Rxg7+ Kf6 43 Rgf7+ Ke5 44 Rf5+ Kd4 45 e7 1-0

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ONE of the many highlights of the Corus Tournament in Wijk aan Zee is the daily prize of 500 guilders (roughly 150 UK), awarded to the best game of the day in the Grandmaster "A" event.

Unlike other tournaments where either a single judge or even a panel of experts would decide this honour, in Wijk the tradition has been to let the very large (and appreciative) Dutch audience make the decision, by voting for their choice during the commentary session.

The spectators' prize is a daily intermezzo in which arbitrariness and capriciousness play prominent roles. They appreciate a game with total randomness, which is why player's such as Ivanchuk, Morozevich and Shirov come high on their pecking list.

In the past this has irked the likes of Garry Kasparov, who believing in perfectionism, certainly doesn't subscribe to the above view. In round seven, he was at odds with the organisers over the daily prize (which he lost out by 4 votes after beating Veselin Topalov) being awarded to Vladimir Kramnik - despite the fact that he was losing against Vassily Ivanchuk before turning the tables on his opponent, who had himself just 90 seconds for the last 20 moves!

As ever, the Dutch audience had the final say - they liked the total randomness of the epic battle between Ivanchuk and Kramnik.


Leader board: 1 A Shirov (Spain) 5.5/7; 2-3 G Kasparov, V Kramnik (both Russia) 5; 4 A Morozevich (Russia) 4; 5-6 M Adams (England), V Anand (India) 4; 7 V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 3.5; 8-10 P Leko (Hungary), J Timman, L Van Wely (both Netherlands) 3; 11-12 A Fedorov (Belarussia), V Topalov (Bulgaria) 2.5; 13 J Piket (Netherlands) 2; 14 S Tiviakov (Netherlands) 1.5.


V Ivanchuk - V Kramnik
Corus Turnament (7), Berlin Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 d3 Bc5 5 c3 0-0 6 Bxc6 bxc6 7 Nxe5 d5 8 Bg5 Re8 9 f4 dxe4 10 d4 Bb6 11 Nd2 c5 12 dxc5 Bxc5 13 Qe2 h6 14 Bh4 g5 15 fxg5 hxg5 16 Bg3 e3 17 Nb3 Bb6 18 Qf3 Be6 19 Rd1 g4 20 Qe2 Qe7 21 Nc6 Qf8 22 Nbd4 Qc5? (22 ..Qh6!) 23 Ne5 Nh5 24 Nxe6 Rxe6 25 Qxg4+ Ng7 26 Nxf7? (26 Qf3!) Rf8 27 Ng5 e2 28 Rd4 Rg6 29 h4 Qf5 30 Qxf5 Nxf5 31 Bf2 Nxd4 32 cxd4 Re8 33 a3 Rc6 34 Kd2 Rf6 35 Nf3 Rg6 36 Ng5 Rd6 37 Nf3 c5 38 Re1 Ba5+ 0-1

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ALEXEI Shirov is more than living up to the title of his best-selling book, "Fire On Board", as he set the Corus Tournament ablaze with a third successive victory in the tournament to lead the field ahead of the world no.1 and two world champions.

However, the one-point lead Shirov has built up is going to be needed in the final run in to the finishing post. After facing the "easier" opponents in the first week of the category.19 tournament in Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands, he now has the daunting task in the last five rounds of coming up against the mother of all opponents: Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik, Ivanchuk and Morozevich!

The media spoltight however in round six was firmly focused on the new world order of Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, as the two new world champions met for the first time amidst seculation that they're set to met in a reconciliation match sometime in the future.

In a tense struggle, BGN champion Kramnik looked to have the better of Anand, the Fide world champion, but unfortunately missed the crucial winning manoeuvre of 27 Bd5 in deep time-trouble. With little clock time left and his advantage disappearing, Kramnik was forced to settle for a draw.


Leader board: 1 A Shirov (Spain) 5/6; 2-4 G Kasparov (Russia), V Kramnik (Russia), A Morozevich (Russia) 4; 5-7 M Adams (England), V Anand (India), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 3.5; 8 J Timman (Netherlands) 3; 9-10 P Leko (Hungary), V Topalov (Bulgaria) 2.5; 11-12 J Piket, L Van Wely (both Netherlands) 2; 13 A Fedorov (Belarussia) 1.5; 14 S Tiviakov (Netherlands) 1.


V Kramnik - V Anand
Corus Tournament (6), 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 Qb3 Nb6 13 Be2 e5 14 Ra5 Be6 15 Qc2 Nbd7 16 c4 b6 17 Ra6 Rfc8 18 Nd2 Nb8 19 Ra3 a5 20 Bb2 Nc6 21 b5 Ne7 22 f4 Nd7 23 Nf3 Bf5 24 Qc3 Ng6 25 Ng5 Nc5 26 Bf3 Ra7 27 e4? (27 Bd5!) 27 ..Bd7 28 fxe5 Be6 29 Bh5 h6 30 Nxe6 Nxe6 31 Qg3 Qc5+ 32 Kh1 Qxc4 33 Raf3 Qxb5 34 Bxg6 fxg6 35 Qxg6 Qe8 draw

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FOR the first time in five games with the ultra-solid Berlin Defence, signs of a crack appeared in the wall of world champion Vladimir Kramnik's defences as Garry Kasparov came close to beating him in the big showdown game of the fifth round at the Corus Tournament in Wijk aan Zee.

As widely expected, Kasparov came face-to-face with the same defence that so frustrated him and ultimately led to his defeat in their recent title match in London. However, this time the former champion looked as if he had done his homework as he quickly established the better position. At the crucial moment though, with Kramnik defending valiantly, Kasparov made an error that allowed the draw. In an animated post mortem afterwards, both players were in agreement that it would have been difficult for Black to survive the ensuing ending had Kasparov found the correct continuation: 40 f5!, which Kasparov rated as a "likely 70-30 win for White."

The top board shutout opened the way for the former Latvian Alexei Shirov to take the lead in the tournament for the first time. He made short work of the Dutch stalwart Jan Timman for his third win of the tournament, giving him the lenderest of leads over the Russian trio of Kasparov, Kramnik and Morozevich.


Leader board: 1 A Shirov (Spain) 4/5; 2-4 G Kasparov, V Kramnik & A Morozevich (all Russia) 3.5; 5-6 M Adams (England), V Anand (India) 3; 7-8 V Ivanchuk (Ukraine), J Timman (Netherlands) 2.5; 9-11 P Leko (Hungary), V Topalov (Bulgaria), L Van Wely (Netherlands) 2; 12-13 A Fedorov (Belarussia), J Piket (Netherlands) 1.5; 14 S Tiviakov (Netherlands) 0.5.


G Kasparov - V Kramnik
Corus Tournament (5), 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 Ke8 10 h3 Be7 11 Bg5 Bxg5 12 Nxg5 h6 13 Nge4 b6 14 Rfd1 Ne7 15 f4 Ng6 16 Rf1 h5 17 Rae1 Bf5 18 Ng3 Ne7 19 Nxf5 Nxf5 20 Kf2 Nd4 21 Rc1 Rd8 22 Rfd1 Ke7 23 Ne4 h4 24 b4 Rh5 25 Ng5 Rhh8 26 Rd3 Ne6 27 Nxe6 Kxe6 28 Rcd1 Rd5 29 c4 Rxd3 30 Rxd3 a5 31 bxa5 Ra8 32 Ra3 Kf5 33 Kf3 Ra6 34 c5 f6 35 Re3 Rxa5 36 e6 Ra8 37 e7 Re8 38 a4 Kg6 39 Re6 Kf7 40 Rxc6? (40 f5!) 40 ..Ra8 41 cxb6 cxb6 42 Rxb6 Rxa4 43 Re6 Ke8 44 Re4 Ra3+ 45 Re3 Rxe3+ 46 Kxe3 f5 draw

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IT was a case of "Back to the Future" in the fourth round of the 63rd Corus Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, as two of the oldest and most romantic gambits from a bygone era made a spirited comeback in the strongest tournament of the second millennium.

Fide world champion Vishy Anand had to thwart Alexander Fedorov's aggressive tendencies with his favourite King's Gambit, which he did so to easily hold the draw. First mentioned in the 16th Century manuscripts of Luis Lucena, the oldest gambit in chess was extremely popular in the game around the eighteenth century.

England's Michael Adams had better luck however when he secured the full point against Alexander Morozevich's Evans Gambit. Invented in 1824 by the Welsh naval captain William Evans whilst he was onboard his Royal Mail steam packet that sailed between Milford Haven and Waterford, the adventurous gambit soon took the imagination of the chess world when it was adopted to great effect on a regularly basis by the likes of McDonnell, Bourdonnais, Anderssen, Morphy, Chigorin and Steinitz.

However, despite being refuted, the gambit went out of fashion at the turn of the 19th Century - only coming back to life in 1995 after Garry Kasparov rehabilitated it to defeat Vishy Anand at the Tal Memorial.

Kasparov also used one of his old favourites of the Sicilian Defence in round four, the Scheviningen Variation, to draw with Vassily Ivanchuk. He now holds the joint lead in the tournament with Vladimir Kramnik and Alexei Shirov.


Leader board: 1-3 G Kasparov (Russia), A Shirov (Spain), V Kramnik (Russia) 3/4; 4-7 A Morozevich (Russia), V Anand (India), M Adams (England), J Timman (Netherlands) 2.5; 8-9 V Ivanchuk (Ukraine), P Leko (Hungary) 2; 10-11 A Fedorov (Belarussia), V Topalov (Bulgaria); 12 L Van Wely (Netherlands) 1; 13-14 J Piket, S Tiviakov (both Netherlands) 0.5.


A Morozevich - M Adams
Corus Tournament (4), Evans Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Ba5 6 d4 exd4 7 0-0 Nge7 8 Ng5 d5 9 exd5 Ne5 10 Bb3 0-0 11 cxd4 Ng4 12 Qf3 Nf6 13 Ba3 h6 14 Ne4 Nxe4 15 Qxe4 Re8 16 Bb2 Nf5 17 Qf4 Bb4 18 Na3 Bd6 19 Qd2 Qh4 20 g3 Qh3 21 Nc4 b5 22 Ne5 Bb7 23 Rae1 a5 24 a3 b4 25 axb4 Bxb4 26 Bc3 Bxc3 27 Qxc3 Nh4 0-1

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THE tension begins to mount at the 63rd Corus Tournament in Wijk aan Zee as the first big showdown of the tournament took place in round three with the meeting of minds over the board of the world No.1, Garry Kasparov, and world No.2, Vishy Anand.

A packed De Moriaan Centre in the little Dutch seaside resort, heaving with chess fans eager to witness these two old foes in action, certainly weren't disappointed as they saw Kasparov's opening streak of two successive wins stopped in it's tracks by some enterprising play by the newly-crowned FIDE champion, as the game ended peacefully in an interesting draw. During the press conference after the game, Anand felt he was a little better in the game - though by not much - and criticised his 17th move c4, calling it an unnecessary sacrifice that let Kasparov back in.

Kasparov is now joined in the top spot by fellow Russian Alexander Morozevich, who wasted no time in capitalising on a serious opening error by the reigning Dutch champion Loek Van Wely, to easily convert for the full point – and, in the process, taking his first Audience Daily Prize of 500NLG (about 150UK) for the best game of the round.


Leader board: 1-2 G Kasparov (Russia), A Morozevich (Russia) 2.5/3; 3-6 V Kramnik (Russia), V Anand (India), J Timman (Netherlands) 2; 7-9 M Adams (England), P Leko (Hungary), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 1.5; 10 V Topalov 1; 11-13 A Fedorov (Belarussia), L Van Wely (Netherlands), S Tiviakov (Netherlands) 0.5; 14 J Piket (Netherlands) 0.


G Kasparov – V Anand
Corus Tournament (3), Ruy Lopez Moeller Variation.

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0–0 Bc5 6 c3 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 a4 Bg4 9 h3 Bxf3 10 Qxf3 0–0 11 a5 Rb8 12 d3 Nd7 13 Be3 Kh8 14 Nd2 Ne7 15 Bc2 Bxe3 16 fxe3 c5 17 Bb3 c4 18 dxc4 Nc5 19 cxb5 Nxb3 20 Nxb3 Rxb5 21 Qd1 Qc7 22 Ra4 Nc6 23 Nd2 Nxa5 24 b4 Nb7 25 Qc2 h6 26 Qd3 Rb6 27 Rfa1 Rc6 28 R1a3 a5 29 Kh2 d5 30 Qb5 d4 31 bxa5 dxc3 32 Nb3 Nc5 33 Rc4 Rb8 34 Qxc6 Qxc6 35 Nxc5 Qb5 36 Rcxc3 Qe2 37 Nd7 Rb2 draw

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NO ONE has ever won three-in-a-row at Wijk aan Zee. On the eve of the 63rd Corus Tournament, in an effort to show that he is far from finished after losing his world title, Garry Kasparov boldly announced, "OK, let's see what we can do about that!"

Looking to set the record, a determined Kasparov seems to have got back to his old winning ways at Wijk. Two games with Black, and we now have two victories to give Kasparov a perfect score to lead the field. Ominously, though, he's got an even more determined chasing pack on his tail as he fights to hold onto his world No.1 spot: Anand, Kramnik, Shirov and Morozevich.

After defeating Kasparov in their title match, Vladimir Kramnik's first book about his life and games came out in Russian under the apt title "The Breakthrough." It describes not only Kramnik's success, but also a favoured theme from his games. One such theme has to be his handling of the White side of the Gruenfeld Defence that so scared Kasparov in their BGN match that he only dared to play it once - losing horribly!

Since that match, Peter Leko has also fallen to left over preparation from that BGN match, and now, from round two, the Dutch champion Loek Van Wely has become the latest victim in a game that saw Kramnik take the "Audience Prize" for the best game of the day.


Leader board: 1 G Kasparov (Russia) 2; 2-5 A Shirov (Spain), V Kramnik (Russia), V Anand (India), A Morozevich (Russia) 1.5; 6-10 J Timman (Netherlands), M Adams (England), P Leko (Hungary), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine), V Topalov (Bulgaria) 1; 11-12 A Fedorov (Belarussia), L Van Wely (Netherlands) 0.5; 13-14 J Piket (Netherlands), S Tiviakov (Netherlands) 0.


V Kramnik - L Van Wely
Gruenfeld Defence, Corus Tournament (2)

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 Nc6 10 Rc1 cxd4 11 cxd4 Qxd2+ 12 Kxd2 0-0 13 d5 Rd8 14 Ke1 Na5 15 Bg5 Bd7 16 Bd3 Rdc8 17 Ke2 e6 18 Be3 exd5 19 exd5 b6 20 Ba6 Rd8 21 Rhd1 Bc8 22 Bxc8 Raxc8 23 Rxc8 Rxc8 24 Nd4 Bf8 25 Nb5 a6 26 d6!! Rc2+ (26 ..axb5 27 d7 Rd8 28 Bxb6 Nb7 29 Bxd8 Nxd8 30 Rd5!) 27 Kd3 Rxa2 28 d7 Nb7 29 Nc3 Rb2 30 Nd5 Rb5 31 Kc2 Bc5 32 Bh6 f6 33 Nc7 1-0

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THE 63rd Corus Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, got underway on Saturday after an elaborate opening ceremony hosted by group company director Mr Franswillem Briet. Describing last year as "a difficult period" for the recently merged companies of Hoogovens and British Steel, he stressed, however, that they were proud to continue the tradition of staging one of the worlds' most important chess tournament.

Much like the troubled Corus group, last year also proved to be a difficult period for former world champion Garry Kasparov. Now without his trademark world title after he dramatically lost to Vladimir Kramnik, his world No.1 spot is now also coming under pressure due to Vishy Anand's superb run culminating in the Fide world title.

All three face each other during the category 19 tournament, which, with an average rating of 2713, makes it the strongest tournaments ever to take place in the Netherlands. Of the three, Kasparov had the easier start as he defeated last year's qualifier from the "B" tournament, Sergei Tiviakov. Not only did Kasparov get off to a good start as he seeks to become the first player to win three-in-a-row at Wijk, he also took the first of the spectators daily best game prizes.


Leader board: 1-3 G Kasparov (Russia), A Morozevich (Russia), A Shirov (Spain) 1/1; 4-11 M Adams (England), V Anand (India), A Fedorov (Belarussia), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine), V Kramnik (Russia), P Leko (Hungary), J Timman (Netherlands), L Van Wely (Netherlands) 0.5; 12-14 J Piket (Netherlands), S Tivakov (Netherlands), V Topalov (Bulgaria) 0.


S Tiviakov - G Kasparov
Corus Tournament (1), Sicilian Grand Prix Attack

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 d6 3 f4 g6 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Bc4 Nc6 6 0-0 e6 7 d3 Nge7 8 Qe1 0-0 9 Bb3 Na5 10 Be3 b6 11 Bf2 Bb7 12 Bh4 Nxb3 13 axb3 Qd7 14 Qg3 f5 15 Rae1 Nc6 16 exf5 gxf5 17 Re2 Rae8 18 Rfe1 Kh8 19 Qh3 Nd4 20 Nxd4 Bxd4+ 21 Kh1 Rg8 22 Nd1 Rg6 23 c3 Bg7 24 Ne3 Rf8 25 Bg5 h6 26 Bh4 b5 27 Nf1 b4 28 cxb4 cxb4 29 Ne3 Rg8 30 Bg3 Bd4 31 Nc4 R8g7 32 Qh5 Kh7 33 Ne3 Qb5 34 Rd2 a6 35 Qh3 h5 36 Ree2 h4 37 Be1 Bxe3 38 Qxe3 Qc6 39 Qh3 Qc1 40 Qxh4+ Rh6 41 Rc2 Qd1 42 Rcd2 Qb1 43 Qf2 Rxg2 44 Qxg2 Bxg2+ 45 Kxg2 Qa2 46 Rc2 Rg6+ 47 Bg3 Qxb3 48 Red2 a5 49 Kf2 a4 50 Rc6 a3 51 bxa3 bxa3 52 Ke2 e5 53 fxe5 f4 0-1

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IT SOUNDS more like the premise for a good sci-fi film by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke: The year is 2001, and onboard the stricken spacecraft there's a talkative chess-playing computer about to meet its doom.

No, not the cult movie "2001: A Space Odyssey", where the doomed spacecraft was controlled by HAL, who was more than a match for the astronaut's over the chessboard. Whilst HAL was fictitious, remarkably, the description above is for none other than that of the world's top chess-playing software programme, Fritz 6, from the ChessBase stable.

Last year Fritz became the first chess computer to officially play in space when it was sent on a scientific mission to the Mir Space Station by the Russian's in an effort to stimulate the mind of cosmonaut Sergei Avdeev, who has spent longer in space than anyone else. Mission control therefore decided to send chess-mad Avdeev a state-of-the-art Siemens Scenic notebook computer along with a copy of Fritz 6.

While Avdeev is now safely back on terra firma, the future doesn't look all that bright for his chess-playing partner. After spending 15 years in space, the Russian's are now planning to crash Mir it into the Pacific Ocean next month - with Fritz and the computer still left onboard!

There was, however, better news for Fritz as it has yet again topped the influential Swedish rating list ahead of its silicon rivals. With an Elo rating of 2629, Fritz tops the SSDF computer-rating list - 40-points ahead of its arch-rival Junior 6 on 2589.

The latest incarnation of Fritz, Deep Fritz, will be one of the attractions at the forthcoming Cadaques Computer Tournament in Spain. Organised by the well-known computer chess expert, Prof. Enrique Irazoqui of Spain, the event, dubbed "the computer Linares", sees the strongest programs in the world in action in which is now a highly competitive market.

This year the programs are playing on a dual Pentium-III 933 MHz with 768 MB of RAM. Time controls are 40 moves in 40 minutes. Each participant plays 20 game matches against all other participants, for a total of 300 games, with the winner regarded as the strongest chess program in the world.

Other programmes on view will be the latest "tweaked" versions of Gambit Tiger, Gandalf 4.32g, Junior 6a, Nimzo 7.32 and Shredder 5.


Crafty - Fritz
WMCCC (9), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 e6 7 f4 Be7 8 Qf3 Qc7 9 0-0-0 Nbd7 10 g4 b5 11 Bxf6 Nxf6 12 g5 Nd7 13 f5 Nc5 14 f6 gxf6 15 gxf6 Bf8 16 a3 h5 17 Rg1 Bd7 18 Kb1 Rb8 19 b4 h4 20 bxc5 dxc5 21 Nde2 b4 22 axb4 Rxb4+ 23 Ka1 Qxh2 24 Qd3 Qc7 25 Bh3 Bb5 26 Nxb5 Rxb5 27 Nc3 c4 28 Qd4 Bc5 29 Qxc4 Rb4 30 Qxa6 Bxg1 31 Nb5 Qe5+ 32 c3 0-0 33 Rxg1+ Kh8 34 Qa3 Qc5 35 cxb4 Qxg1+ 36 Ka2 Qh2+ 37 Ka1 Rg8 38 Nc3 Qxh3 39 Qc1 Kh7 40 e5 Rg2 41 Qb1+ Kg8 42 Qc1 Qf3 0-1

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THERE was a four-way tie for first place in the Hastings Challengers' between Petr Kiriakov (Russia), Mark Hebden (England), Alexei Barsov (Uzbekistan) and 19-year-old Nick Pert (England), who in the process secured his final GM norm, and now only needs a 2500 rating to claim the title.

As is the convention in the Challengers, the top two players get the honour of being promoted with an invitation to the following year's Premier event. Since Kiriakov and Hebden led the tournament from start to finish, they therefore both qualify due to having the superior tie-breaking score of the four.

Despite only losing one game to co-winner Hebden, Scottish champion John Shaw put in another valiant performance in the tournament to become the lead Scot. Missing out by the narrowest of margins to be among the winners (and a possible first GM norm), he had to settle for equal fifth with IM Andrew Martin - just a half point behind the winning group.

However, there was better news for Shaw at the Weekend tournament that traditionally rounds off the Hastings Congress. Finishing on 4/5, he shared first equal alongside a tough trio of GM Keith Arkell, GM Bogdan Lalic and IM Matthew Turner.


Challengers: 1-4 GM P Kiriakov (Russia), GM M Hebden (England), GM A Barsov (Uzbekistan), IM N Pert (England) 7/9; 5-6 IM A Martin (England), IM J Shaw (Scotland) 6.5; 13 GM C McNab (Scotland) 6; 78 D McGowan (Scotland) 3.5; 98 J MacRae (Scotland) 0.5.
Weekend Open: 1-4 GM K Arkell (England), GM B Lalic (Croatia), IM J Shaw (Scotland), IM M Turner (England) 4/5.


J Shaw - A Cherniaev
Hastings Weekend Open (4), Sicilian Rossolimo

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 0-0 Nge7 5 b3 a6 6 Bxc6 Nxc6 7 Bb2 b5 8 a4 b4 9 d4 cxd4 10 Nxd4 Qf6 11 Ra2! Nxd4 12 Bxd4 Qg6 13 Nd2 Bb7 14 f3 d5 15 e5 Be7 16 f4 a5 17 Rf3 0-0 18 Nf1 Rfc8 19 f5 exf5 20 Ne3 Bf8 21 Nxf5 Bc6 22 c3 bxc3 23 e6! fxe6 24 Nxg7! Bxg7 25 Bxg7 Kxg7 26 Rg3 Be8 27 Rc2 Qxg3 28 hxg3 Bg6 29 Qd4+ Kg8 30 Rxc3 Rxc3 31 Qxc3 Rb8 32 Qxa5 Rxb3 33 Qd8+ Kf7 34 a5 Ra3 35 Qd7+ Kf6 36 Qb5 d4 37 Qb4 Ra1+ 38 Kh2 Ke5 39 Qb5+ Ke4 40 a6 d3 41 Qc4+ Ke3 42 Qf4+ 1-0

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AS the worlds top players ready themselves for the big battle which starts next week at the Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee, two of the competitors, Vladimir Kramnik and Peter Leko, got in some early practise with a twelve-game rapidplay match in Budapest, sponsored by the German Gas company, RWE.

After getting off to a sparkling start with a two game lead, Kramnik's hold in the match was pulled back by some resilient play from Leko, who at one stage levelled the match at 4-4. However, some determined play from Kramnik in the last quarter of the match once again saw the world champion reassert his authority, as he went on to beat Leko 7-5.

On the eve of the Corus tournament, FIDE have just released their January Rating list. As expected, FIDE considered the Brain Games match of last year to be an "unofficial" world championship match, so therefore the ratings of Garry Kasparov and Kramnik remain unchanged. However, Vishy Anand's rating didn't, as expected, break the 2800 barrier; perhaps because there wasn't enough time to input the results from New Delhi and Tehran for the new list.


World top 12: 1 G Kasparov (Rus) 2849; 2 V Anand (Ind) 2790; 3 V Kramnik (Rus) 2772; 4 M Adams (Eng) 2746; 5 P Leko (Hun) 2745; 6 A Morozevich (Rus) 2745; 7 A Shirov (Esp) 2718; 8 V Topalov (Bul) 2718; 9 V Ivanchuk (Ukr) 2717; 10 B Gelfand (Isr) 2712; 11 E Bareev (Rus) 2709; 12 P Svidler (Rus) 2695.


V Kramnik - P Leko
RWE Gas Match (9), Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 c5 5 Nge2 cxd4 6 exd4 0-0 7 a3 Be7 8 Nf4 d5 9 cxd5 Nxd5 10 Ncxd5 exd5 11 Bd3 Nc6 12 0-0 Bg5 13 Re1 Bxf4 14 Bxf4 Qf6 15 Be5 Nxe5 16 Rxe5 Be6 17 Qd2 Rad8 18 Rae1 h6 19 R1e3 Bd7 20 h3 Qd6 21 Qa5 Qb6 22 Qxb6 axb6 23 Be2 Be6 24 f4 g6 25 Bd3 Bc8 26 Re7 Kg7 27 Bb5 Kf6 28 Rc7 Rd6 29 Rec3 Rdd8 30 Re3 Rd6 31 a4 Rdd8 32 Kf2 Rd6 33 g4 Rdd8 34 Kg3 g5 35 f5 h5 36 Ree7 hxg4 37 hxg4 Kg7 38 Kf3 Kf6 39 Ke3 Kg7 40 Kd3 Kf6 41 Kc3 Kg7 42 Kb4 Kf6 43 Ka3 Kg7 44 b4 Kf6 45 a5 bxa5 46 bxa5 Kg7 47 Kb4 Kf6 48 Kc5 Kg7 49 Be2 Rde8 50 Rxe8 Rxe8 51 Bf3 1-0

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TO many people, Hastings is synonymous with a historicclash of arms in 1066. However, this was the turning pointfor chess as the Norman Conquest introduced the game to these shores.

William the Conqueror was noted as a chessplayer, and was once reputed to have broken a chessboard over the head of his nephew, Louis the Fat, having accused him of cheating during a game. Over the years, many more famous battles over the chessboard has taken place in Hastings, which, since 1895, has established itself as the world's longest-running international tournament.

The latest edition, the 76th Hastings Premier, featured yet another "Conquest" as the English GM, Stuart Conquest, had to win a marathon 90-move Queen and pawn ending in the final round to catch up and tie for first equal with the young Indian GM, Krishanan Sasikiran, both on 6/9.

World champions from Steinitz through to Karpov, and all leading UK players, in the past have made the annual pilgrimage to the Sussex coast. Though Hastings no longer attracts the very top GMs (not to mention former and future world champions), the tournament still holds its mystique.

A success this year in it's new surrounding's of the (UK) 4.5m Horntyre Park Sports complex, next year's Premier is by no means guaranteed. Hastings Council will decide on the survival of this venerable tournament in early spring. Let's hope they keep the tradition going further into its third century.


Final placings: 1-2 GM S Conquest (England), GM K Sasikiran (India) 6/9; 3-4 GM L Ftachnik (Slovakia), IM M Turner (England) 5.5; 5 GM L Aronian (Armenia) 5; 6-7 GM J Speelman (England), IM D Gormally (England) 4.5; 8 GM K Bischoff (Germany) 3; 9-10 GM J Plaskett (England), GM S Beshukov 2.5.


S Conquest - K Bischoff
Hastings Premier (2), Advanced French

1 d4 e6 2 e4 d5 3 e5 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nf3 Bd7 6 Be2 Nge7 7 0-0 cxd4 8 cxd4 Nc8 9 Nc3 Be7 10 Bd3 a6 11 Re1 Nb6 12 Nd2 Qc7 13 Nb3 Nb4 14 Bb1 Nc4 15 Qf3 Nc6 16 Qg3 Kf8 17 h4 h6 18 Ne2 Qd8 19 Nf4 Bxh4 20 Qf3 Kg8 21 Nh5 Be7 22 Qg4 g5 23 f4 Qb6 24 fxg5 N6xe5 25 Qg3 Ng6 26 gxh6 Kh7 27 Bg5 Qd8 28 Qf2 f5 29 Bxe7 Qxe7 30 Bxf5 Raf8 31 Bxg6+ Kxg6 32 Nf4+ Kxh6 33 Nc5 e5 34 dxe5 Qg5 35 g3 Qg4 36 e6 Bc8 37 e7 Rfg8 38 Kg2 Nd6 39 Nce6 1-0

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WELL, here's a coincidence if ever there was one. I received last year two books for review in the same post by two different publishers, though both penned by the same author, 'Gentleman' Jim Plaskett.

The first, published by Everyman, was a more than competent openings reference book, entitled "The Grand Prix Attack". The second? Something completely different!

Entitled "Coincidences", and published by Tamworth Press, Plaskett gives us 250-pages of events and "strange happenings" from his daily diary (stretching back to April 1984) that by coincidence have been linked - even going as far as devoting two pages on a telephone conversation with yours truly and this paper. Taken with a pinch of salt, the book is, however, mildly entertaining.

Scotsman readers may also remember the wonderful half-page "Exclusive" in August 1999 that revelled that Plaskett had skipped the British championships of that year in favour of a Jules Verne-like adventure in the notorious waters of the Bermuda Triangle with Peter Benchley, the author of "Jaws", in search of a giant, 200ft octopus.

One of the more flamboyant and entertaining GMs on the scene, Plaskett has tried to make his fortune not once, but on two memorable occasions on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?"; failing miserably at the qualification stage twice. Over the Christmas period, Mr Plaskett also had the misfortune to fail miserably on a new Channel Four quiz, hosted by 'Nasty' Nick Bateman of 'Big Brother' fame, called 'Trust Me'.

Now having a miserable time of it (is this all a coincidence, Jim?) by being firmly rooted at the bottom of the Hastings Premier, Plaskett at least brought the tournament to life with one of his brilliant, virtuoso, sacrificial performances in round eight over Klaus Bischoff.


J Plaskett - K Bischoff
Hastings Premier (8), Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 e6 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 Bb5 Nge7 5 0-0 a6 6 Bxc6 Nxc6 7 d4 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Qc7 9 Re1 Nxd4 10 Qxd4 f6 11 e5 f5 12 Bg5 b5 13 Rad1 Bb7 14 Rd3 b4 15 Ne2 Be4 16 Rdd1 Bc5 17 Qd2 Qb7 18 Nf4 Rc8 19 Nh5 Rg8 20 Rxe4! fxe4 21 Qf4 Ba7 22 Bh4 h6 23 Qg4 Kf7 24 Ng3 Rc4 25 Nf5! Bc5 (25 ..exf5 26 Qxf5+ Ke8 27 Qg6+ Kf8 28 e6 dxe6 29 Rd8#) 26 Qh5+ Kf8 27 Rd6! exf5 28 Qxf5+ Ke8 29 e6 Bxf2+ 30 Bxf2 1-0

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ICH bin ein Berliner. Using the same special weapon that he used to such good effect against Garry Kasparov in their title match last year, Vladimir Kramnik continues to show the same, world-beating form he used to crush the former world champion.

Currently embroiled in a 12-game rapid chess match, sponsored by RWE Gas in Budapest against Hungary's Peter Leko, Kramnik has now extended his overnight lead to 3-1. Leko fell victim in game four to Kramnik's deft handling of the super-solid Berlin Defense that so bewildered and confused Kasparov.

Kramnik has also hit out at suggestions from the FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov that he had no claims to the title of world champion. In an in-depth interview on the KasparovChess.com site, Kramnik believes that his position as world champion is even more legitimate than that of India's Vishy Anand, though added that it was his hope that both could play soon in a match in an effort to reunify both titles.

Also, in a sign of the new era on the chess scene following Kramnik and Anand's title wins, Kramnik, like Anand, has now announced his withdrawal from the forthcoming Linares Supertournament in Spain, following a disagreement with the organisers with regard to his appearance fee and status as world champion.


P Leko - V Kramnik
RWE Gas Match (4), 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 Rd1 Kc8 11 Ng5 Be8 12 Nge4 b6 13 b3 c5 14 Bb2 Nd4 15 Rd2 Kb7 16 Nd5 Rd8 17 c4 Bc6 18 Bxd4 cxd4 19 Rxd4 Ba3 20 Rd2 Rhe8 21 Re1 f6 22 exf6 Bb4 23 f7 Rxe4 24 Rxe4 Bxd2 25 Re7 Bxd5 26 Re8 Bxf7 27 Rxd8 Bc3 28 Rd3 Bf6 29 f4 Bg6 30 Rd1 h5 31 Kf2 Bc2 32 Rd2 Bb1 33 Kf3 a5 34 g3 Bc3 35 Re2 Bf5 36 Re7 Kc6 37 Ke2 Bf6 38 Re3 Kc5 39 Kd2 Kb4 40 Kc1 Ka3 41 Re2 a4 42 bxa4 Kxa4 43 Re8 Kb4 44 Rh8 g6 45 Rh7 c6 46 Rc7 Be4 47 h3 Kxc4 48 g4 hxg4 49 hxg4 c5 50 Kd2 b5 51 Rf7 Bc3+ 52 Ke3 Bb1 53 f5 gxf5 54 g5 b4 55 g6 f4+ 56 Rxf4+ Bd4+ 0-1

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CONTROVERSY is still rumbling within the chess world as to who exactly is the world champion: India's Vishy Anand or Russia's Vladimir Kramnik?

According to the former head of the Russian chess federation, Andrei Makarov, the 'genuine' champion is Kramnik due to the fact that he beat the 'world' champion Garry Kasparov, whereas Anand, despite his superb feats of late, is nothing more than just a FIDE champion. In defence of Anand's case, the FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov believes his man to be the rightful owner of the crown.

These argument can be directly traced to the 1993 split in the chess world, when Kasparov and his challenger, Nigel Short, broke away from FIDE to set-up the Professional Chess Association. Though the PCA only survived for about 4 years, Kasparov never returned to the FIDE fold, instead preferring to find private companies like Intel and Brain Games Network to sponsor his title defences.

However, the only thing that perhaps everyone can agree upon is that the chances of there finally being one undisputed world champion in chess have improved greatly with the recent wins of Kramnik and Anand. Even Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has ventured as far as suggesting the possibility of a 'World Prestige Match' between the two.

The New Year saw the return to competitive chess of Kramnik following his London win in early November over Kasparov. He takes on world No.6 Peter Leko in a 12-game rapidplay match (25 min) in Budapest (2-8 Jan), backed by Leko's sponsor, RWE Gas. After the first day of play, Kramnik leads 1.5-0.5 after this impressive win in game one.


V Kramnik - P Leko
RWE Gas Match (1), Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 cxd5 Nxd5 6 e4 Nxc3 7 bxc3 c5 8 Be3 Qa5 9 Qd2 Nc6 10 Rc1 cxd4 11 cxd4 Qxd2+ 12 Kxd2 0-0 13 d5 Rd8 14 Ke1 Ne5 15 Nxe5 Bxe5 16 f4 Bd6 17 Kf2 e5 18 Bc5 Bxc5+ 19 Rxc5 exf4 20 Kf3 Bd7 21 Bd3 Rac8 22 Rhc1 g5 23 Rc7 Rxc7 24 Rxc7 Ba4 25 Kg4 h6 26 Rxb7 Rd7 27 Rb4 Bd1+ 28 Kf5 Kg7 29 h4 f6 30 hxg5 hxg5 31 e5 fxe5 32 Kxe5 f3 33 gxf3 Bxf3 34 d6 Rd8 35 Bf5 Bc6 36 d7 Rf8 37 Rd4 1-0

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IT seems that the world is not enough for India's Vishy Anand as it now looks as if he's going after Garry Kasparov's coveted No.1 spot.

Following the phenomenal success that saw the Indian ace lift the world blitz title in Poland, the unofficial world rapidplay title at the Frankfurt Giants, the Fide World Cup in Shenyang and the Fide World championship in Tehran, he's now on the brink of becoming just the second player to breach the 2800 Elo barrier.

With the Fide rating list now published quarterly, Anand overtook Vladimir Kramnik in the October list to take the No.2 spot with a rating of 2774. However, with the January list due any day now from the world chess federation, Anand is believed to have collected an additional 30 Elo-points from his World Cup and World Championship wins to give him a new rating of 2804 - hot on the tail of Kasparov.

In the land where cricket is king, Anand and chess seems to be making a big name for themselves in India. The Indian Information & Technology Minister, Mr Pramod Mahajan, described Anand's victory in Tehran as more important than India's World Cup triumph in 1983. It therefore came as no surprise when Anand was declared "The Sportsperson Of The Millennium" by India's No.1 sports weekly, "The Sportstar".

It seems that Indian chess on a whole is doing remarkably well. A young Indian team minus Anand came a very creditable eighth place in the recent Istanbul Olympiad - just a half-point off a medal placing. With a score of 7/12 on top board, the team was led by their 19-year-old Commonwealth champion, Krishanan Sasikiran, whose starring at this year's Hastings Premier.


J Plaskett - K Sasikiran
Hastings Premier (3), Ruy Lopez

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Bxc6 dxc6 7 Qe1 Be6 8 b3 Nd7 9 Bb2 f6 10 d4 Bd6 11 Nbd2 0-0 12 Qe2 b5 13 c4 Bg4 14 h3 Bh5 15 c5 Be7 16 b4 exd4 17 g4 Bf7 18 Nxd4 Ne5 19 f4 Nc4 20 N2b3 a5 21 a3 Qd7 22 Bc3 Rfe8 23 bxa5 Nxa5 24 Nxa5 Rxa5 25 Rfd1 Bxc5 26 Bxa5 Bxd4+ 27 Kh2 c5 28 Bc3 Qd6 29 Qf3 Bg6 30 Bxd4 cxd4 31 Re1 c5 32 h4 c4 33 h5 Bf7 34 Rab1 Qc6 35 Kg3 d3 36 Qe3 h6 37 e5 fxe5 38 fxe5 Qd5 0-1

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FIRST started as far back as 1895 and once regarded as one of the world's most prestigious tournament, the Hastings International Chess Congress has now got underway.

Now into its third century, the world's longest running international tournament has reached it's 76th edition and, despite suffering in status due to a lack of sponsorship and unsuitable venues in the past, they now have a luxurious new home: the (UK)4.5 million Horntyle Park Sports complex, opened just last month by Princess Anne, in an effort to revive its former glory.

As ever, there's a full range of tournaments on offer, including the Premier, the Challengers' and Minor events - though crucially, for the first time in 20 years, all under the same roof. All eyes will, however, be on the 10-player Premier, consisting of five English players led by Jon Speelman and a very strong foreign contingent, led by the very experienced Lubomir Ftacnik, and including two of the world's top young players, India's 19-year-old Commonwealth champion Krishanan Sasikiran and the 18-year-old Armenian Levon Aronian.


Leader board: 1 GM L Ftacnik (Slovakia) 2.5/3; 2-4 GM S Conquest (England), GM K Sasikiran (India), GM L Aronian (Armenia) 2; 5-8 GM J Speelman (England), IM D Gormally (England), GM K Bischoff (Germany), IM M Turner (England) 1.5; 9 GM J Plaskett 0.5, 10 GM S Beshukov (Russia) 0.


L Ftacnik - D Gormally
Hastings Premier (3), Semi-Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nc3 e6 4 e3 Nf6 5 Nf3 Nbd7 6 Qc2 Bd6 7 Be2 0-0 8 0-0 Qe7 9 Rd1 b6 10 e4 dxe4 11 Nxe4 Nxe4 12 Qxe4 Bb7 13 Bf4 Bxf4 14 Qxf4 Nf6 15 Ne5 c5 16 Bf3 Bxf3 17 Qxf3 Rac8 18 Rd3 Qc7 19 Qe3 Rfd8 20 Rad1 Nd7 21 Nxd7 Rxd7 22 dxc5 Rxd3 23 Rxd3 bxc5 24 Qd2 h6 25 Rd7 Qe5 26 h3 Rc7 27 Rd8+ Kh7 28 b3 Rb7 29 g3 g6 30 Qd6 Qe1+ 31 Kg2 Qe4+ 32 Kh2 Qf5 33 Qd2 Qe5 34 Rc8 Rc7 35 Rxc7 Qxc7 36 b4 cxb4 37 Qxb4 e5 38 Qb5 Kg7 39 Qd5 Kf6 40 c5 Ke7 41 Kg2 f6 42 g4 g5 43 Kf3 Qd7 44 Ke4 Qa4+ 45 Kf3 Qd7 46 Qxd7+ Kxd7 47 Ke4 Kc6 48 Kf5 Kxc5 49 Kxf6 Kd4 50 Kg6 Ke4 51 Kxh6 Kf4 52 Kg6 1-0

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2001 starts with a chess odyssey, as a veritable galaxy of stars are lined-up to take part in the first major event of the New Year, the Corus Chess Tournament, to be held 12-28 January in the Dutch seaside resort of Wijk aan Zee.

With an average rating of 2713, making the tournament a category 19, the top-class field of 14 includes no less than nine of the world's top nine players. The full line-up being Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Vishy Anand, Alexander Morozevich, Michael Adams, Alexei Shirov, Peter Leko, Vassily Ivanchuk, Veselin Topalov, Jeroen Piket, Alexei Fedorov, Loek van Wely, Jan Timman and Sergei Tiviakov.

This will be Kasparov's third appearance at the tournament, and such was his domination of the first two in 1999 and 2000, the event was nicknamed "Kasparov aan Zee". However, the former world champion hasn't exactly had it all his own way after he sensationally lost his world crown to Vladimir Kramnik. The tournament could prove to be make-or-break time for Kasparov following the strong showing in the second half of last year of not only his nemesis, Kramnik, but also the Indian ace Vishy Anand, fresh from his superb performance to win the recent Fide World Championship.

With both now making serious inroads in an attempt to become the second player to breach the 2800 barrier, both stand a good chance of stripping Kasparov of the only title he can now lay claim to: world number one. Then again, this could just be the spur that an angry Kasparov needs to once again dominate Wik aan Zee.


A Shirov-V Anand
FIDE WCh Final (3), Sicilian Taimanov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Qc7 5 Nc3 e6 6 Be2 a6 7 0-0 Nf6 8 Be3 Bb4 9 Na4 Bd6 10 g3 b5 11 Nb6 Rb8 12 Nxc8 Rxc8 13 a4 Nxd4 14 Bxd4 e5 15 Be3 Bc5 16 axb5 Bxe3 17 fxe3 axb5 18 Bxb5 0-0 19 Rxf6 gxf6 20 Bxd7 Ra8 21 Qg4+ Kh8 22 Rf1 Rg8 23 Qh3 Qc5 24 Bf5 Qxe3+ 25 Kg2 h6 26 Qh5 Kg7 27 Qg4+ Qg5 28 Qf3 Rgd8 29 h4 Qd2+ 30 Kh3 Rd6 31 Rf2 Qd1 32 Kg4 Ra2 33 Qxd1 Rxd1 34 c4 Rb1 35 Rd2 Raxb2 36 Rd7 Rb7 37 Rd6 Rc7 38 Kh5 Rc1 39 g4 R7xc4 40 Rd7 Rc7 41 Rd8 Rh1 0-1

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