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The Scotsman

Chess News February 2001

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AFTER three rounds, nine games and 370 moves, the tapas and tablas policy in the Linares supertorneo in Spain was (thankfully!) final broken in the fourth round by world number one, Garry Kasparov.

Kasparov wasted no time after the tournaments first rest day as he made short work of tournament debutante, Alexander Grischuk, to win in convincing style. The young Muskovite, playing in his first elite tournament, came under severe pressure in Kasparov's favourite Sicilian Defence and succumbed to a combination from the world number one that led to an easily won endgame.

Following Kasparov's win, the second victory of the tournament soon followed as the world's strongest female player, Judit Polgar, scored a big victory with an even more convincing win over the world number 7, Alexei Shirov.

Much has been made of the number of draws in the first three rounds of the tournament, but this is to be expected when six top players prepare in-depth for each other in this double round robin event, regarded as the "Wimbledon of Chess". Of course, Linares wasn't the worse offender for draws.

The Petrosian Memorial tournament of 1999 in Moscow found a fitting way to pay tribute to the memory and playing style of the 9th world champion, Tigran Petrosian, when the ten players competing managed a mind-boggling 42 draws from 45 games at an average of just 26.78 moves. Tigran would have approved!

At the start of the Linares tournament, the kasparovchess.com number cruncher, Jeff Sonas, revealed that with the aid of his abacus (He does live in California after all, and with all those power cuts, has been without the aid of his computer) he had worked out the odds against a completely drawn tournament (30 straight draws!) would have been 95-million-to-1. At the end of round three, however, he had revised the odds somewhat to 305,000-to-1 against!


Leader board: 1-2 G Kasparov (Russia), J Polgar (Hungary) 2.5/4; 3-4 P Leko (Hungary), A Karpov (Russia) 2; 5-6 A Shirov (Spain), A Grischuk (Russia) 1.5.


A Grischuk - G Kasparov
Linares (4), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 f3 Qb6 7 Nb3 e6 8 Qe2 Qc7 9 g4 b5 10 Be3 b4 11 Na4 Nbd7 12 Qc4 Qxc4 13 Bxc4 d5 14 exd5 Ne5 15 Be2 Nxd5 16 Bd4 Bd6 17 Bc5 Be7 18 a3 a5 19 Bd4 f6 20 Nac5 0-0 21 0-0 bxa3 22 Rxa3 Nf4 23 Bb5 Rb8 24 Bxe5 Nh3+ 25 Kg2 Rxb5 26 Bg3 Ng5 27 Bf2 Bb7 28 Bg1 Rc8 29 h4 Bxf3+! 30 Rxf3 Nxf3 31 Kxf3 Bxc5 32 Nxc5 Rbxc5 33 Bxc5 Rxc5 34 c3 h5 35 gxh5 Rxh5 36 b4 axb4 37 cxb4 Rxh4 0-1

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THE draw logjam at the Linares "supertourneo" in Spain continues, as all three rounds and nine games have proved indecisive - but not for the want of trying between two players at loggerheads with each other.

Just as in the recent Wijk aan Zee tournament, Garry Kasparov and Alexei Shirov again refused to shake hands at the start of the game, as is the custom in chess. Not only is Kasparov angered by the fact that Shirov "alleged" that his title match with Kramnik was fixed, but also there are persistent rumour of Kasparov and the legendary former Linares director, Luis Rentero, being served with a writ during the tournament from Shirov's Spanish lawyers due to his ill-fated World Chess Council title match against the former champion.

Kasparov, who has a massive +10 score against Shirov, was kicking himself after the game when he missed the best opportunity of the round to score the first win of the tournament. In a much better position, though in a difficult ending against Shirov, the world No.1 missed a golden opportunity to once again humiliate the lapsed Latvian.


Leader board: 1-6 A Grischuk (Russia), P Leko (Hungary), A Karpov (Russia), G Kasparov (Russia), J Polgar (Hungary), A Shirov (Spain) 1.5/3.


A Shirov - G Kasparov
Linares (3), Sicilian Scheveningen

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be2 e6 7 f4 Be7 8 Be3 0-0 9 g4 d5 10 e5 Ne4 11 Nxe4 dxe4 12 g5 Qb6 13 Nf5 Qa5+ 14 Bd2 Qc5 15 Nxe7+ Qxe7 16 c3 b5 17 Be3 Rd8 18 Qc2 Bb7 19 Kf2 Nd7 20 b4 Nf8 21 h4 Qc7 22 h5 Nd7 23 h6 g6 24 a4 Nb6 25 axb5 axb5 26 Kg3 Nc4 27 Rxa8 Rxa8 28 Bxc4 Qxc4 29 Rd1 Bd5 30 Rd4 Qf1 31 Qd1 Ra1 32 Qxf1 Rxf1 33 Kg4 Rf3 (33 ..Re1!? was a good try at winning - but White has resources in this ending.) 34 Bg1 Rxc3 35 Rd2 Kf8 36 Bc5+ Ke8 37 Re2 Rc1? (Kasparov missed his chance here. All he needed to play was 37 ..Kd7! 38 Re3 Rxc5! 39 bxc5 b4 and White can resign. The two passed pawns supported by the active bishop and king cannot be stopped.) 38 Kg3 Kd7 39 Kf2 Kc6 40 Be3 Rb1 41 Bc5 Rc1 42 Bd6 Rh1 43 Re3 Rh2+ 44 Kg3 Rc2 45 Bf8 Ra2 46 Bc5 Ra1 47 Kf2 Rc1 48 Bd6 draw.

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After 33 Nxe6!


IT'S not the most auspicious of starts to the Linares "supertourneo" in Spain. After two rounds, it's been a case of "seis partidas, seis tables" as the Spanish would say - All six games have been drawn.

It was left to the oldest and youngest players in the tournament to come the nearest to winning a game in the opening skirmishes. Anatoly Karpov, who will be 50 this year, has been widely tipped to finish last in the tournament. However, up against the world number seven, Alexei Shirov, his expertise in handling the nuances of the solid Caro-Kann Defence netted him an extra piece - and with it should have been a big win. Unfortunately for the former world champion, he squandered a won position as he battled with the clock, a blunder in serious time trouble allowing Shirov to escape with a draw.

Making his debut in an elite tournament, 17 year-old Alexander Grischuk nearly had a dream start. After surviving the worst of the game against the world's leading female player, Judit Polgar, he found a superb knight sacrifice that guaranteed the draw. However, rather than a forcing move, a simple king move could well have given him the chances of securing the full point - and the tournament lead!


Leader board: 1-6 A Grischuk (Russia), P Leko (Hungary), A Karpov (Russia), G Kasparov (Russia), J Polgar (Hungary), A Shirov (Spain) 1/2.


A Grischuk - J Polgar
Linares (1), Sicilian Taimanov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 Be2 a6 7 0-0 Nf6 8 Kh1 Nxd4 9 Qxd4 Bc5 10 Qd3 b5 11 f4 Bb7 12 Bf3 0-0 19 Rad1 d6 20 Bd4 dxe5 21 Bxe5 Nf6 22 Qh3 h5 23 Nf3 Ng4 24 Nd4 Qc5 25 Qg3 Rad8 26 c3 bxc3 27 bxc3 Rd5 28 Rde1 Rc8 29 Rf3 Bf8 30 h3 Nxe5 31 fxe5 Bg7 32 Rfe3 Qa5 33 Nxe6! fxe6 34 Qxg6 Qb6 35 Rf3 Rf8 36 Rxf8+ Kxf8 37 Rf1+ Kg8 38 Qe8+ [38 Kh2! threatening Rf7, and Black has to find some very accurate moves to survive: 38 ..Qb7 39 Qxe6+ Kh8 40 Qe8+ Kh7 41 Qxh5+ Kg8 42 Qe8+ Kh7 43 Rf7 Rd8! 44 Qe6 Qe4! 45 Qf6 Rg8 46 Qg5 Qg6 47 Qh4+ Qh6 with some drawing chances] 38 ..Kh7 39 Qxh5+ Kg8 40 Qf7+ Kh7 41 Qh5+ Kg8 42 Rf4 Qb1+ 43 Kh2 Bxe5 44 Qf7+ draw.

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SPEAKING recently of the unexpected weak line-up for Linares, usually regarded as the world's strongest tournament, Garry Kasparov came up with the following wry observation: "Its not so much the Wimbledon of chess this year - more like an ATP Open!".

Instead of hoping for a couple of world champions in the line-up like the recent Corus extravaganza, the top Spanish tournament was left with two ex world champions as the new kids on the block, Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, declined invitations - Anand because he had commitments in India with his sponsors, and Kramnik because the organisers wouldn't pay him the going rate as world champion.

This left a serious weakened line-up for the tournament that starts today. However, if the kasparovchess.com chief number cruncher, Jeff Sonas, is to be believed, it's not really worth my while making the long trek there. He predicts that the results for the double round robin event is a forgone conclusion without Kramnik and Anand: 1 Garry Kasparov (Russia), 6.5/10; 2 Peter Leko (Hungary), 5.5, 3-4 A Shirov (Spain), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), 5; 5-6. Judit Polgar (Hungary), Anatoly Karpov (Russia) 4. Still, I think I'll make the pilgrimage to the Hotel Anibal, Jeff - just to make sure!

Only last month at the same venue, the Hotel Anibal, there was a warm-up for the "weak" real thing, the Anibal Open. This 11 round Swiss Open with a field of 161 saw Zurab Sturua (Georgia) and Etienne Bacrot (France) score 8.5/11, with Sturua winning on tie-break. They were ahead of a group of five players (Zhang Zhong, Robert Kempinski, Vitali Golod, Lenier Dominguez and Ildar Ibragimov) half a point behind on 8 points.


Z Sturua - S Del Rio Angelis
Anibal Open (5), Queen's Gambit

1 Nf3 c5 2 c4 Nf6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 d4 e6 6 e4 Nxc3 7 bxc3 cxd4 8 cxd4 Bb4+ 9 Bd2 Bxd2+ 10 Qxd2 0-0 11 Bc4 Nd7 12 0-0 b6 13 Rfe1 Bb7 14 a4 Qc7 15 Rac1 Qd8 16 h3 Rc8 17 Qf4 Qf6 18 Qg3 Qh6 19 Ng5 Nf6 20 Qe5 Nd7 21 Qg3 Qg6 22 Nxe6 fxe6 23 Qxg6 hxg6 24 Bxe6+ Kh7 25 Bxd7 Rxc1 26 Rxc1 Rd8 27 Rc7 Bxe4 28 Rxa7 Bf5 29 Bxf5 gxf5 30 a5 bxa5 31 Rxa5 Kg6 32 Ra4 f4 33 Kf1 Kf5 34 Ke2 Rb8 35 Ra2 Ke4 36 Rd2 Rd8 37 d5 Rd6 38 Rd1 Kf5 39 Kf3 Ke5 40 Rd2 Kf5 41 Rd4 1-0

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FIRST started in 1975 and used as a model of efficiency for other national leagues, the German Bundesliga - which used to only allow two "foreigners" in each team - became the first professional chess league.

However, with the far-reaching implications of the "Bosman" ruling in football, this subsequently opened up the competition to allow an unrestricted number of EU "foreigners" into the Bundesliga. With chequebook at the ready as this ruling gave European citizens the right to work in the whole of the European Union, this has now allowed the richest teams to go on a shopping-spree in an all-out effort to buy their way to success.

These European Team competitions are unquestionably an invaluable source of income for many chess pros, with some players literally more than living up to the title of mercenaries by signing for up to five different leagues: the German, Dutch, UK 4NCL, Belgian and the Spanish.

Last weekend the mercenaries were well and truly out in force in the German Bundesliga, with just two Germans (one of which, Artur Jusupov, a Muscovite, now playing under the German flag) taking part in the big showdown match so far of the competition in round nine.

Fielding a team of non-Germans, Lubeck SV's line-up of Alexei Shirov, Mickey Adams, Evgenny Bareev, Jon Speelman, Julian Hodgson, Simen Agdestein, Nick De Firmian and John Nunn, saw the Bundesliga newcomers (who just two seasons ago were promoted from Div 2) scoring a 4.5-3.5 victory over the former giants, SV Solingen, who had a line-up of Rustam Khazimdzhamov, Jeroen Piket, Artur Jussupov, Predrag Nikolic, Robert Huebner, Matthew Sadler, John Emms and Murray Chandler.

The result left Lubeck SV with a one-point lead at the top over nearest rivals SG Koln Porz, with both teams set to fight out the destination of the 2000-2001 title in the next round of the competition in three weeks time.

With six rounds to go, Lubeck, who are vying for their first Bundesliga title, are in the lead with 18/18 match points and 49/72 game points ahead of Porz from Cologne 17 (50.5), Godesberg 12 (41.5) and Werder Bremen 12 (37).

The decisive game of the Lubeck-Solingen encounter was the terrific top-board tussle between the world number seven, Alexei Shirov, who defeated Rustam Kazhimdzanov, ranked 16, when he bamboozled his opponent in typical, Planet Shirov style.


R Kasimdzhanov - A Shirov
Bundesliga 2000-1 (9), Sicilian Richter Rauzer

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd3 Nc6 8 0-0-0 Bd7 9 f4 Rc8 10 f5 Nb4 11 Qh3 Qa5 12 Bxf6 gxf6 13 a3 Rxc3! 14 bxc3 Qxa3+ 15 Kd2 Na2 16 fxe6 fxe6 17 Nxe6? [According to Jon Speelman in his column in "The Independent", in the post mortem Shirov had analysed out White's best reply to a draw - Unfortunately, Kasimdzhanov thought the king was escaping to a1: 17 Nb3! Qb2 18 Rb1! Qxb1 19 Bb5! Bh6+! (19 ..Qxh1 20 Qxe6+ Be7 21 Qxd7+ Kf7 22 Bc4+=) 20 Qxh6 Qxh1 21 Bxd7+ Kxd7 22 Qg7+ Kc6 23 Na5+!= Kb6 24 Qxb7+ Kxa5 25 Qc7+ Kb5 26 Qb7+ Ka5 27 Qc7+ Ka4 28 Qc4+ Ka5 (28 ..Ka3?? 29 Qb3#!) 29 Qc7+=] 17 ..Ke7 18 Bc4 Bh6+ 19 Ke1 Qxc3+ 20 Qxc3 Nxc3 21 Rd3 Rc8! 22 Rxc3 Bxe6 23 Bxe6 Rxc3 24 Bb3 Re3+ 25 Kf2 Rxe4 26 Bd5 Rf4+ 27 Kg3 Rb4 28 Bg8 Bf4+ 29 Kf3 Be5 30 Bxh7 a5 31 Bg8 a4 32 Re1 b5 0-1

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DESPITE their "friendly rivalry", the two top tournaments in Ireland, Kilkenny and Bunratty, have got much in common with each other. Both have a castle and river (the Noble in Kilkenny, the Shannon in Bunratty) as a picturesque backdrop for their tournaments, and both are equally famed for the legendary Irish hospitality that makes their tournaments so popular.

Up till now, the only thing that separated them was the timing of the events: Kilkenny the last weekend in November, Bunratty in mid February. Now, with a record entry of 288 participants over four sections (Masters, Challengers, Major and Minor) last weekend, Bunratty have stolen a march over their rivals by becoming the largest tournament ever held in the Emerald Isle.

The top Masters section featured a strong international line-up, including GMs Jonathan Parker, Bogdan Lalic, Mark Hebden, Alexander Baburin, Jon Levitt, and IMs Brian Kelly, Matthew Turner, Mark Ferguson, Mark Orr and Irish Champion Mark Heidenfeld amongst the 44-player field.

With the undefeated trio of Hebden, Lalic and Turner sharing the spoils with a final score of 4.5/6, a blitz play-off was needed to find the overall winner, which went to Lalic who defeated Hebden to take the 2001 Bunratty title and trophy. According to the winner, his best game of the weekend was his penultimate round victory over the Irish No.1, Alexander Baburin.


Final standings
Masters: 1=3 GM Mark Hebden (England), GM Bogdan Lalic (Croatia), IM Matthew Turner (England) 4.5/6; 4=9 GM Alexander Baburin (Ireland), IM Brian Kelly (Ireland), GM Jonathan Parker (England), IM Mark Ferguson (England), Joe Ryan (Ireland), Phil Short (Ireland) 4.
Challengers: 1 Paul Kiely 5.5/6; 2=7 Jonathan Kaye, Simon Jeffares, David Salter, Patrick Rea, Niall McDonnell, Brian Fitzpatrick 5.
Major: 1=2. Tony Parker, Colin Byford 5.5/6; 3=5 John Knightson, William Gill, Maurice Coveney 5;
Minor: 1 Patrick Prendiville 6/6; 2 Sandor Brito 5.5; 3=7 David McCarthy, Walter Fitzgibbon, Keith Wicks, Rory Delaney, Eamonn Keane 5.


B Lalic - A Baburin
Bunratty Open (5), English Opening

1 c4 e5 2 g3 Nf6 3 Bg2 c6 4 d4 exd4 5 Qxd4 d5 6 Nf3 dxc4 7 Qxc4 Be7 8 0-0 0-0 9 Qc2 Na6 10 a3 Qa5 11 Nc3 Qh5 12 b4 Nc7 13 Bb2 a5 14 bxa5 Rxa5 15 h4 Rc5 16 a4 Ncd5 17 Qb3 Re8 18 Rac1 Bf8 19 Rfd1 Ra5 20 Nxd5 Nxd5 21 Rd2 Bc5 22 Ng5 Rxe2 23 Rxd5 cxd5 24 Qc3 [24 Bf3! Rxb2 25 Qxd5 Bxf2+ 26 Kh1] 24 ..Rxb2 25 Qxa5 b6? [25 ..Rc2! 26 Rxc2 Qd1+ 27 Bf1 Qxc2 28 Qd8+ Bf8 29 Qxd5 Qf5 30 Bc4!] 26 Rxc5!! Qg4 27 Qa7! 1-0 [If 27 ..Qf5 28 Qxf7+!! Qxf7 29 Rxc8+ Qf8 30 Bxd5+ wins]

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Mate in 6


If the hurly-burly of tournament play emphasises the sporting aspect of chess, and the cool calculation of postal play the scientific, then the artistic element of the game is undoubtedly found in the world of chess composition - the art of problem solving.

Earlier last year, in this column, we published the Starter Problem for the 2000-2001 British Championships, which was specially composed by one of the UK's leading composers, John Rice. The first round of the UK-wide competition attracted a total of 483 solvers - 284 of whom got the solution correct to progress to the postal rounds.

Three Scot's, Colin McNab, Roddy McKay and John Gemmell (plus Edinburgh-based Oliver Penrose) were part of the 24 who made it through to the finals at the weekend at Oakham School in Rutland. The finalist had just 160 minutes to solve ten problems in all: three Mates in 2, a Mate in 3, a Mate in 6, an Endgame Study, two Selfmates and two Helpmates.

Defending champion GM Jonathan Mestel, from Cambridge, one of the few players in the world with the distinction of holding the grandmaster title in both over-the-board-play and problem solving, yet again showed his mastery at the subtle art of problem solving when he breezed through the competition to score a maximum 60/60 (using just 91 minutes of the allotted time!) to retain his title. Part of Mestel's prize is a guaranteed place in the 2001 British Solving Team for the World Championship later this year in Wageningen in the Netherlands.

The runner-up was Colin McNab, whose chances of winning the title floundered when he lost a valuable 3-points to Mestel trying to find the mate in 6 from today's diagram. With a time limit of 50 minutes for two positions from this section, McNab was obviously flummoxed by this problem as he used his full allocation compared to just 21 minutes by Mestel. Without looking at the solution, can you do better and find the mate in 6 in around 25 minutes for a maximum 6/6?


Final standings: 1 GM J Mestel (Cambridge) 60/60; 2 Dr C McNab (Dundee) 52; 3 M McDowell 45; 4 G Lee (Oakham) 43; 5 I Watson 38; 6 R McKay (Cathcart) 36; 7-8 S Taylor, D Friedgood (London) 29; 9 N Sutherland 28; 10 P Cumbers 27; 11 O Penrose (Edinburgh) 24; 12 B Clark 17; 13 R Webb 16; 14-15 J Gemmell (Glasgow), J Taylor 15; 16 G Jellis 14; 17 J Franks 10; 18 G Enslin 8; 19 J Craig 7; 20 S Edwards 6; 21 M Hill 5; 22-24 C Doidge, J Cock, Q Thwaites 4.


Just to show that he's still just as proficient in O.T.B competition, here's one of Mestel's latest games from the January's 4NCL weekend in Birmingham.


J Mestel - M Deveraux
4NCL (5), English Opening

1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 cxd5 Nxd5 4 Nf3 g6 5 g3 Bg7 6 Bg2 Nxc3 7 bxc3 0-0 8 0-0 c5 9 Rb1 Nc6 10 d3 Qa5 11 a4 a6 12 Nd2 Bxc3 13 Nc4 Qd8 14 Bh6 Bg7 15 Bxg7 Kxg7 16 Qd2 Qd4 17 Rfc1 Rd8 18 Nb6 Rb8 19 Rc4 Qd6 20 Qc3+ Qf6 21 Qxf6+ Kxf6 22 Rxc5 Nd4 23 e3 Ne6 24 Rc3 Kg7 25 d4 Bd7 26 d5 Nf8 27 Rc7 e6 28 Bh3 Kf6 29 f4 Be8 30 e4 exd5 31 exd5 g5 32 Rf1 gxf4 33 Rxf4+ Kg7 34 a5 Rd6 35 Re4 Ng6 36 Nc8 Rxc8 37 Bxc8 Bb5 38 Bxb7 Rf6 39 Re1 h5 40 Rc6 Rf5 41 Bxa6 1-0

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Avenir Popandopulo, 2nd Prize RSFSR 1963

1 Be8! (threat of 2 Bxd7#) 1 ..Bh3 2 Nf7 (now 3 Nd8#) 2 ..Bh4 3 Bf6 Bxf6 4 Rg4 (again 5 Bxd7#) 4 ..Bxg4 (4 ..c4 5 Bxd7+ Kc5 6 Na6#) 5 c4 and Black can't stop the dual threat of either 6 cxb5# or cxd5# 1-0


THE growth and popularity of chess in India continues in the wake of the recent superb feats of Vishy Anand, as the country gains her sixth Grandmaster title - and on target to be in double figures by the end of the year.

Now looking to be on the verge of an emerging chess "superpower", India's GB Prakash follows in the footsteps of Anand, Barua, Thipsay, Kunte and Sasikiran by gaining his third and final norm at the annual Goodricke International in Calcutta.

Held at its perennial venue, the Gorky Sadan, home of the Indo-Russian Friendship Society, Goodricke is the premier annual international open in the whole of Asia, which was conceived 12 years ago with the sole idea of giving the raw Indian talent an opportunity to play in an international open with some of the world's top GMs.

This year's event, with a field of 70 headed by the former world junior champion and Russian champion Andrei Kharlov, included 14 grandmasters, three WGMs and 25 International Masters (14 of which were Indians in the hunt for GM norms) spanning across 19 countries. Unfortunately for India, their young 14-year-old prodigy Penteala Harikrishna just missed out on his final norm.

Switzerland's Joe Gallagher (formerly of the UK) turned in the performance of his career at Goodricke to take the title on tiebreak ahead of leader Kharlov, who paid the price in the final round after agreeing a six-move draw to finish on 8/11. The "GM draw" backfired as Gallagher outplayed the Uzbekistan GM Alexei Barsov, with a devastating mating attack to edge out the Russian top seed on tiebreak.


Final placings: 1-2 GM J Gallagher (Switzerland), GM A Kharlov (Russia) 8/11; 3-7 GM E Vladimirov (Khazakhstan), IM E Ghaem Maghami (Iran), GM M Sorokin (Argentina), IM C Sandipan (India), IM Z Rahman (Bangladesh) 7.5; 8-10 GM B Villamayor (Philippines), N Wajim (India), IM GB Prakash (India) 7.


A Barsov - J Gallagher
12th Goodricke Open (11), King's Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 h3 e5 7 d5 a5 8 Bg5 Na6 9 g4 Nc5 10 Nd2 h6 11 Be3 c6 12 Be2 Bd7 13 0-0 h5 14 Kg2 cxd5 15 exd5 hxg4 16 hxg4 Nh7 17 Nde4 Nxe4 18 Nxe4 f5 19 Nxd6 b6 20 f3 f4 21 Bf2 Bxg4 22 fxg4 Qxd6 23 Bf3 Ng5 24 Bh4 Nxf3 25 Qxf3 e4! 26 Qxe4 Rae8 27 Qf3 Re3 28 Qf2 f3+ 29 Kh3 Re2 30 Bg3 Be5 31 c5 Qf6 32 Bxe5 Qxe5 33 Rh1 0-1

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THE mountainside venue of the Aosta Valley in St Vincent, Italy, proved to be the inspiring scenic backdrop for the annual International Open there, held 3-11 February.

The ninth edition of this popular international attracted a powerful field of 130, including 29 Grandmasters, 20 IMs and 5 Women Grandmasters - all battling it out for the 1.5m Lira first prize.

And, in a tough battle between the GMs, Russian IM Dmitri Jakovenko came through the field with some inspired play with the White pieces - 5/5, including wins over GMs Milov, Rogers and Miso Cebalo - to take the 2001 title on tiebreak ahead of the former world junior champion, GM Walter Arencibia, as both ended the Swiss tournament on 7/9 to share first equal. Apart from taking the title on tiebreak, 18-year-old Jakovenko also secured his second Grandmaster norm for his performance.

The girls proved to be on top during the tournament also, with two of the "big names" in the game, Almira Skripchenko-Lautier (achieving a full GM norm performance) and Edinburgh-based Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant scoring well on 6/9 to finish equal ninth alongside the likes of Epishin, Timoscenko and Romanishin, and finishing ahead of a pack of assorted grandmasters.


1-2 IM D Jakovenko (RUS), GM W Arencibia (CUB) 7/9; 3-8 GM I Rogers (AUS), GM T Polak (CZE), GM D Sermek (SLO), GM V Milov (SUI), GM S Lputian (ARM), GM V Einghorn (UKR) 6.5.


D Jakovenko - M Cebalo
9th Aosta Valley (7), Sicilian Dragon

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 6 Be3 Bg7 7 f3 0-0 8 Bc4 Nc6 9 Qd2 Bd7 10 Bb3 Qa5 11 0-0-0 Rfc8 12 h4 Ne5 13 g4 b5 14 h5 Nc4 15 Bxc4 bxc4 16 Bh6 Bh8 17 Kb1 Qb6 18 hxg6 fxg6 19 Qh2 Rab8 20 Bc1 Bg7 21 Nd5 Nxd5 22 exd5 h6 23 c3 Rf8 24 Qc2 g5 25 Ka1 Rf7 26 f4 Bxg4 27 Rdg1 Bxd4 28 Rxg4 Bg7 29 fxg5 Rf2 30 Qxf2! Qxf2 31 gxh6 Qf3 32 Rxg7+ Kh8 33 Rhg1 Rf8 34 h7 Rf7 35 Rg8+ Kxh7 36 R8g3 Qh5 37 a3 a5 38 Ka2 a4 39 Be3 Qh4 40 R1g2 Qh5 41 Bd4 Qh6 42 Rg8 Rf6 43 R2g4 Qd2 44 Bxf6 exf6 45 R4g7+ Kh6 46 Rg2 1-0

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BUILD as the "Chess Summit Match" in Seattle from March 14-18, the stage is set for perhaps one of the most intriguing matches seen in the chess world since the famous USSR vs. The Rest of the World encounters of 1970 and 1984, the USA vs. China.

Organised by the Seattle Chess Foundation (the same group that so efficiently organised - and salvaged - the US Championships), the match will be contested over four-rounds featuring the top six players from each country, plus two top women and two top juniors. The Chinese and US Chess Federations plan to hold four such events in the next few years, alternating between the US and China.

The US team, with an average Elo rating of 2475, and captained by Nick de Firmian, includes: B Gulko (2622), Y Seirawan (2640), G Kaidanov (2607), A Shabalov (2609), A. Ivanov (2582), L Christiansen (2566). Reserve: J Benjamin (2581). Women: I Krush (2380), C Baginskaite (2306). Reserve: E Groberman (2106). Juniors: V Bhat (2415), D Schneider (2404). Reserve: H Nakamura (2364).

The China team, with an average Elo rating of 2557, and captained by Lin Feng, includes: Ye Jiangchuan (2671), Xu Jun (2655), Peng Xiaomin (2648), Zhang Zhong (2607), Xie Jun (2557), Yin Hao (2576). Reserve: Zhu Chen (2538). Women: Xu Yuhua (2500), Qin Kanying (2489). Reserve: Wang Lei (2473). Junior: Bu Xiangzhi (2558), Ni Hua (2534). Reserve: Wang Yue (2439).

For further information on the match, go to the official site at:

It's only in the last few decades that chess has made inroads behind the Bamboo Curtain, where it's seen as the poorer cousin of a more popular equivalent, Chinese Chess.

China it seems now has ambitious plans to dominate word chess by 2010 in much the same style as the 1950s Soviet Union. However, to date they have had more success in the women's game where they hold the Olympiad gold medal, and in Xie Jun and Xu Yuhua, they also hold the women's world championship title and world cup title.

Now, things look as if they are also starting to improve for the men also - and this match could well be the turning point for them to make the big breakthrough.

Last year, Bu Xiangzhi became the world's youngest grandmaster of the game at 13 years, 10 months and 13 days. Nowadays they dominate the world-rating list for juniors as a massive generation of Chinese children, trained by masters from primary school age, look for further glory in the game.

The Chinese first burst on to the chess map when they competed in their first Olympiad in 1978 in Buenos Aires, when one of their players, Liu Wenzhe, rated just 2200, defeated in spectacular style with a stunning queen sacrifice a top western grandmaster, the hapless Jan Hein Donner of The Netherlands, in just 20-moves.


Liu Wenzhe - J Donner
Buenos Aires Olympiad 1978, Pirc Defence

1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 Be2 Bg7 5 g4 h6 6 h3 c5 7 d5 0-0 8 h4 e6 9 g5 hxg5 10 hxg5 Ne8 11 Qd3 exd5 12 Nxd5 Nc6 13 Qg3 Be6 14 Qh4 f5 15 Qh7+ Kf7 16 Qxg6+ Kxg6 17 Bh5+ Kh7 18 Bf7+ Bh6 19 g6+ Kg7 20 Bxh6+ 1-0

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THE American humorist Mark Twain once rightly observed that: "Sometimes a dose of Bermuda is just what the doctor ordered." And who could argue with that, particularly if you are lucky enough to take part in the annual Bermuda Chess Festival on the tropical paradise island?

Organised as efficiently as ever by the Bermuda Chess Association in the guise of two ex-pat tax exiles from the City, Nick Faulks and Nigel Freeman (motto: "Life's a beach and then you play some chess"), the Festival was staged in the grandiose surroundings this year of the Elbow Beach Club Hotel and featured two Grandmaster groups, a blitz tournament and, bolstered by an influx of players jetting in from the USA, culminating with a Weekend Open.

The main Grandmaster A event, a six-player double round category 13 (ave: 2566) was won by the young Pole Bartlomiej Macieja, who continued his good form from the recent FIDE World Championship where, after defeating Speelman, Krasenkow and Beliavsky, he went out at the hands of the winner, Vishy Anand. His final tally of 7/10 gave him outright first ahead of a determined challenge from Brazil's Giovanni Vescovi, just a half point behind. The 12-player category 9 (ave: 2454) Grandmaster B tournament ended in victory for the 21-year-old Yugoslav IM Bojan Vuckovic on 8/11 (who also secured a GM norm with his performance), ahead of Fabian Doettling (Germany) and Gregory Shahade (USA) on 7.

The on-form Meceija also lifted the blitz title, with the Icelandic GM Hannes Stefannsson taking clear first in the Open with 4.5/5 to take the $1,000 first prize plus a free return airfare and hotel accommodation for next year's Open.


Grandmaster A: 1 GM B Maceija (Poland) 7/10; 2 GM G Visconi (Brazil) 6.5; 3-4 GM A Shabalov (USA), GM H Stefansson (Iceland) 5; 5 GM A Gershon (Israel) 3.5; 6 GM A Lesiege (Canada) 3.


B Macieja - A Lesiege
Elbow Beach Club GM A (7), Stonewall Dutch

1 d4 e6 2 c4 f5 3 g3 Nf6 4 Bg2 c6 5 Nf3 d5 6 Bf4 Be7 7 0-0 0-0 8 Nbd2 b6 9 Qc2 Bb7 10 Rac1 Ne4 11 Ne5 Nd7 12 cxd5 Nxe5 13 d6 Nxd6 14 dxe5 Nb5 15 Nb3 g5 16 a4 Rc8 17 Rfd1 Qe8 18 Bd2 Nc7 19 Bxc6 Bxc6 20 Qxc6 Kf7 21 Nd4 h6 22 Qb7 Nd5 23 Nxf5 Rxc1 24 Bxc1 Kg6 25 Rxd5 Rxf5 26 Rd7 Bc5 27 Rg7+ Kh5 28 g4+ 1-0

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IN much the same vein as yesterday's column, today we have another player who also had success outside chess: footballer Simen Agdestein.

In 1982 at the age of 15, Agdestein became the youngest Norwegian chess champion. In 1984 he was the runner-up (behind Salov) in the European Junior Championship and also made his debut as a pro footballer with his local team, Lyn; in 1985 he became Norway's first grandmaster (the youngest in the world at the time), and in 1986 he shared first equal in the World Junior Championship with Cuba's Arencibia, ahead of Bareev, Anand and Piket, going on in the same year to make his full international debut for Norway at football against Italy.

It was during this period in the mid-Eighties that there has been a popular misconception that he turned down a signing offer from Sir Alex Ferguson. After spending a few days at Aberdeen Football Club in Scotland at the invitation of the then manager Alex Smith (Fergie left the season before to become manager of Manchester United), Agdestein was asked to sign on at Pittodrie but turned them down on the grounds that the local (chess) opposition would be too weak for him (this was at the time before the likes of Jonathan Rowson!).

By 1989 when he was the world No.16 and playing in the Interpolis Tournament (turning down in the process a lucrative offer to play for the top Turkish team, Besiktas), alongside the likes of Kasparov and Korchnoi, he had had eight caps for Norway, and went on to play for them in the World Cup. At the time, Kasparov described him as: "The strongest amateur among the top grandmasters."

Sadly, a serious footballing injury (ruptured knee ligaments) in 1992 cut short his professional career when he was on the verge of signing for one of the top German Bundesliga teams. Being out of football with such a serious injury not only affected him physically but also psychologically, and resulted in a big dip in his chess rating.

There followed a couple of unhappy years when he lost the Norweigen No.1 spot and fell out of the world-top 200. The lull in his career lasted until 1999 when he came back with vengeance after winning the Cappelle la Grande Open ahead of 104 grandmasters with a TPR of 2789.

Apart fro playing chess, Agdestein, 33, now runs a school for talented chess players in Oslo, as well as being a chess columnist for the top Norwegian newspaper, "VG".

He was in action at the weekend when he took on one of the world's top players Alexei Shirov; in the highly entertaining four-game Radisson speed challenge (15 min per game) in Bergen. After shocking the world No.4 by winning the first game, Agdestein eventually lost the match 2.5-1.5.


S Agdestein - A Shirov
Radisson SAS Challenge (1), Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 e3 Bf5 5 Qb3 Qb6 6 Nh4 Be4 7 Nc3 e6 8 f3 Bg6 9 Bd2 Qxb3 10 axb3 Bc2 11 cxd5 exd5 12 b4 g5 13 Rc1 gxh4 14 Rxc2 Bxb4 15 e4 dxe4 16 fxe4 Bxc3 17 bxc3 Nxe4 18 Bh6 Nd7 19 Bd3 Nd6 20 Re2+ Kd8 21 Bg5+ Kc7 22 Bxh4 Rae8 23 Rf1 Rxe2+ 24 Kxe2 c5 25 Bg3 f6 26 Bf5 Re8+ 27 Kd3 c4+ 28 Kd2 Re7 29 Bc2 a5 30 Rf5 Kc6 31 Ba4+ Kc7 32 Rc5+ Nxc5 33 dxc5 Rg7 34 cxd6+ Kd8 35 Ke3 Rg5 36 Bh4 Re5+ 37 Kd4 Re6 38 Kc5 b6+ 39 Kd5 Re5+ 40 Kc6 Rf5 41 g4 Rf4 42 d7 Rf3 43 g5 Rf4 44 Bg3 fxg5 45 Kxb6 Rf6+ 46 Kb7 Rf4 47 Kb6 Rf6+ 48 Kb7 Rf4 49 Bxf4 gxf4 50 Bc6 1-0

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IT'S difficult enough being gifted in chess, music or mathematics. But, for the former world candidate and world senior champion Mark Taimanov, he was equally gifted in two of these fields.

For those that aren't aware, Taimanov, who celebrated his 75th birthday at the weekend, didn't just have a glittering career at the board; he was also blessed by being a highly gifted pianist who celebrated international triumphs in the concert halls with his first wife, Lyubov Bruk.

Last year Philips introduced the music series "Great Pianists of the 20th Century", volume 15 (456 736-2) of which featured a double album of the piano duets of Bruk (who died in 1996) and Taimanov, in recordings from when they were at their height between 1959 and 1968, featuring the works of Rachmaninov, Mozart, Chopin, Arensky, Busoni, Poulenc and Milhaud.

Sadly, the partnership both personally and professionally split in the early seventies, just prior to their debut in the West. It's argued that this may have been due to the enormous pressures placed upon Taimanov, who at the time had to play Bobby Fischer in the Candidates quarterfinals in Vancouver, Canada.

Taimanov soon fell from favour from the Soviet authorities following his 6-0 drubbing at the hands of a rampant Fischer, who went on to take the world crown from the Soviets in 1972. "At least I still have my music," he said at the time when they removed his chess privileges that barred him from playing outside the USSR.

Today's game features Taimanov using his own variation of the Sicilian in the last round of the 1969 USSR championships, which he needed to win to qualify for that ill-fated match with Fischer.


A Lutikov - M Taimanov
USSR ch, 1969, Sicilian Taimanov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e6 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 Be3 a6 7 Bd3 b5 8 Nxc6 Qxc6 9 Bd4 Bb7 10 Qe2 Ne7 11 f4 b4 12 Nb1 Ng6 13 Qf2 Bd6 14 Be3 0-0 15 Nd2 Rac8 16 h4 Qc7 17 e5 Bc5 18 h5 Bxe3 19 Qxe3 Ne7 20 Nc4 Nf5 21 Qd2 Bd5 22 Ne3 Nxe3 23 Qxe3 Qc5 24 Qg3 h6 25 Rh4 Qg1+ 26 Kd2 Qd4 27 f5 Rxc2+!! 28 Kxc2 b3+ 29 Kd1 Qg1+ 30 Qe1 Qxg2 31 Qf1 Bf3+ 32 Ke1 Qxb2 33 Rb1 Qxe5+ 34 Kf2 bxa2 35 Re1 Qf6 36 Kg3 Bg2! 37 Qg1 exf5 38 Qd4 Qg5+ 39 Kh2 Be4 40 Rhxe4 fxe4 41 Qxe4 Qxh5+ 0-1

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IF you can't beat 'em, join them! As development and research in chess computers grow at an alarming rate, and the world governing body FIDE ban them from competing in rateable tournaments with humans, there's one event in Spain that combines both the talents of the human player and the analytical brute force of the silicon beast: the Advanced Chess Tournament.

The latest edition of this unique event will take place yet again in the Spanish city of Leon (8-11 June), and will combine the collective talents of some of the world's best chess programmes (no doubt Deep Fritz will be a key player here!) with four of the world's top players, Vishy Anand (India), Alexei Shirov (Spain), Peter Leko (Hungary) and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria).

Originally an idea of Garry Kasparov (who competed in the inaugural event with Topalov in 1998), the event allows the players to consult databases and an analytical programme during their games.

Computer chess enthusiasts can get all the latest developments within the silicon game in the excellent computer chess magazine, "Selective Search". The bi-monthly independent magazine costs just 3.75 (UK) per issue, and is available directly from its editor, the British chess computing expert Eric Hallsworth, at The Red House, 46 High St, Wilburton, Cambs CB6 3RA.


Shredder 5 - Deep Fritz
Cadaques 2001, Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 dxc4 5 e4 b5 6 e5 Nd5 7 a4 e6 8 Ng5 h6 9 Nf3 Qd7 10 Ne4 Be7 11 Be2 0-0 12 0-0 Nb6 13 b3 cxb3 14 axb5 cxb5 15 Qxb3 b4 16 Nc5 Bxc5 17 dxc5 Nd5 18 Nd4 Bb7 19 Qg3 Kh8 20 Qh3 Rc8 21 Bxh6! Kg8 (21 ..gxh6 22 Qxh6+ Kg8 23 Bd3! f6 24 exf6 Nc7 25 Qg6+ Kf8 26 Qh5) 22 Qg3 g6 23 Bb5 Qe7 24 Bd3 Nd7 25 c6 Bxc6 26 h4 Nc5 27 h5 Nxd3 28 hxg6 Nxe5 29 gxf7+ Kxf7 30 f4 Nf3+ 31 Nxf3 Ke8 32 Ne5 Qc5+ 33 Kh1 Kd8 34 Qg7 Rc7 35 Qg8+ Be8 36 Rfd1 Qd6 37 Ra5 Rd7 38 Nxd7 Kc7 39 Nc5 Qe7 40 Nxe6+ Kb6 41 Raxd5 Bc6 42 Rd8 1-0

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THE German chess software giants ChessBase GMBH are celebrating today after their flagship programme, Deep Fritz, created by the Dutch programmer Frans Morsch, won the silicon shoot-out ahead of five of its main rivals in the super-strong Cadaques tournament in Spain.

Each year Prof. Enrique Irazoqui, one of the world's leading computer experts, organises what is widely regarded as the computer version of "Linares", by inviting six of the top commercial chess programmes to compete in his tournament. Whilst normal computer tournaments, even world championships, last seven or nine rounds, this event is a true scientific test of their abilities as each programme had to play 100-games in the gruelling, month-long, 20x round robin, with each computer playing on the same dual Pentium-III 933 MHz with 768 MB of RAM.

With Deep Fritz drawing its matches 10-10 with Shredder 5 and Junior 6, the turning point in the tournament was its 11-9 victory over its nearest rival, Gambit Tiger 1.0 - an epic encounter that over the 20-games had an average of 87 moves per game! Now firmly established as the No.1 software programme, Deep Fritz will now be looking to take the world software title away from Stefan Meyer-Kahlen's Shredder 5, who for the last two year's has held the title.

Deep Fritz can be purchased for your home PC for just 69.99UK from Chess Suppliers (Scotland), 15 Hope St, Glasgow, Tel: 0141-248-2887.


Final placings: 1 Deep Fritz 57/100; 2 Gambit Tiger 1.0 53.5; 3 Shredder 5 53; 4 Junior 6 49.5; 5 Nimzo 8 48; 6 Gandalf 4.32g 39.


Deep Fritz - Shredder 5
Cadaques 2001 (13), Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 c5 5 g3 0-0 6 Bg2 d6 7 0-0 Bxc3 8 bxc3 Qe7 9 Nd2 e5 10 Re1 Nbd7 11 Qc2 Rb8 12 Qd3 b6 13 Rb1 Bb7 14 d5 Ng4 15 e4 Rfc8 16 Nf3 h6 17 Nh4 Ra8 18 Nf5 Qf8 19 Rb2 Ngf6 20 Bh3 Re8 21 Be3 Ba6 22 Reb1 Rac8 23 g4 Rc7 24 g5 hxg5 25 Bxg5 Nh5 26 Qf3 Nf4 27 Kh1! (27 ..Nxh3 28 Qxh3 f6 29 Bh6!) 27 ..Ng6 28 Rg1 Bc8 29 Bg4 Ba6 30 h4 Nb8 31 h5 Nf4 32 Bxf4 exf4 33 Qxf4 Rce7 34 Bf3 f6 35 Rg6 Bc8 36 Nxd6 Rd8 37 h6 Bh3 38 Rb1 Rc7 39 hxg7 Rxg7 40 Rbg1 Rdd7 41 Qh6 1-0

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IN all games, a popular pastime among followers is the 'Who was the finest never to...' debate. Chess is no exception. Estonia's Paul Keres (1915-75) was, perhaps, the greatest player never to have won (or played in for that matter) the World Championship. He was seen as the natural heir to Alekhine but due to a mixture of World War II and Soviet politics that saw his small country annexed by the USSR, he never managed to earn a match for the title despite coming within half a point of it on more than one occasion.

Over the years, the conspiracy theorists pointed to the presence of the KGB, who they alleged, "influenced" Keres to under perform against the ranks of the great Soviet grandmasters, since Stalin saw chess as a means of establishing communism as the superior intellect. Whether Keres did a deal with the devil in order to save his career (and perhaps his life) because of political pressures, is still open to question to this day. When asked once, while visiting Estonia, why Paul Keres had never won the world championship, his friend, Boris Spassky replied cryptically: "He was unlucky - like his country."

Playing in the Vancouver Open in Canada in 1975, Keres died tragically of a heart attack after winning the tournament. Each year, both Vancouver and Estonia remember the fallen giant by staging a memorial tournament - the first player to have memorials in two countries! Following his death, Keres, who was hailed as a national hero in Estonia, received a state funeral in the country's capital, Tallin. In a further honour fro Estonia, Keres also became the first (and only) chess player to be immortalised on a bank note.

Fittingly, his last elite tournament was also staged in his homeland of Tallin in 1973 where he finished third equal in a field full of greats that also included Tal (who won the tournament), Polugaievsky, Spassky & Bronstein. Dutch stalwart Jan Timman also played in the same tournament 28 years ago when as a young IM of 22, he had a creditable 50 per cent score against this illustrious field. He faired better on his return to Tallin recently where he was competing in the 11th Keres Memorial, which this year comemorated the 85th anniversarry of Keres' birth.

Playing alongside Peter Svidler, Judit Polgar and Jaan Ehlvest, Timman was the clear winner of the special eight-player all-play-all rapidplay, scoring 5.5/7, a full point ahead of Svidler.


J Timman - P Svidler
Keres Memorial (4), English Opening

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Qa4+ Bd7 5 Qb3 dxc4 6 Qxc4 Nc6 7 d4 a6 8 Bg5 h6 9 Bxf6 exf6 10 Rd1 Bg7 11 g3 0-0 12 Bg2 Ne7 13 Qb3 Rb8 14 0-0 c6 15 Qa3 f5 16 Ne5 Be6 17 Nd3 Nd5 18 Bxd5 Bxd5 19 Nf4 Be4 20 f3 Bd5 21 Ncxd5 cxd5 22 Qb3 Re8 23 e3 b5 24 Nxd5 Rc8 25 Nf4 Rc4 26 Kg2 Qe7 27 Rfe1 Rec8 28 Re2 g5 29 Nh5 Bxd4 30 Qd3 Be5 31 Qxf5 Qe6 32 Qxe6 fxe6 33 f4 Bh8 34 b3 Rc2 35 Rdd2 Rxd2 36 Rxd2 Kf7 37 g4 Ke7 38 Kf3 Rc1 39 h4 gxh4 40 Rh2 b4 41 Ke4 a5 42 f5 Ra1 43 Nf4 exf5+ 44 gxf5 Kf7 45 Rxh4 Rxa2 46 Rxh6 Ba1 47 Rh7+ 1-0

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A couple of years ago at the Nova Gorcia tournament in Slovenia, there was the strange tale reported of the top player who wished to be simply known as "GM 2595".

GM 2595 turned out to be the Russian GM Evgeny Sveshnikov who took the radical stance of trying to change his name as he was fed up with seeing all his games appearing on chess databases, thus making it easier for his weaker opponents to prepare against him in the large European Opens he had to compete in to earn a living following the demise of the Soviet Union.

Of course, his 'anonymity' didn't last long as the organisers typed in all the Russian's games using his correct name. This didn't deter Sveshnikov from competing on the tough European circuit, but what it did do was force him to rethink his opening strategy. Sveshnikov was back at Nova Gorcia for the latest edition of the tournament where he shared equal first with Pavasovic, Sax and Kozul who all top-scored with 7/9.

More than 30 years ago Sveshnikov pioneered his famous system 4 ..Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Nbd5 d6, which was rightly named the "Sveshnikov system". But, due to the popularity of the system and those databases with millions of games, it's inventor switched to another similar system: the "Kalashnikov Sicilian", regarded as the blood brother of the Sveshnikov.


J Borisek - E Sveshnikov
Nova Gorcia (7), Sicilian Kalashnikov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5 5 Nb5 d6 6 Be3 Nf6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Bxf6 gxf6 9 N5c3 Be6 10 Nd5 Rc8 11 c3 Bg7 12 Na3 f5 13 exf5 Bxf5 14 Nc4 0-0 15 Nde3 Bg6 16 h4 h5 17 Qxd6 b5 18 Qxd8 Rcxd8 19 Nb6 Ne7 20 a4 Rd6 21 a5 Rfd8 22 Rd1 Nc6 23 Rxd6 Rxd6 24 b4 e4 25 Ned5 e3 26 Rh3 Be4 27 c4 Nxb4 28 Nxb4 Bc3+ 29 Ke2 Bxb4 30 Rg3+ Kf8 31 Kxe3 Bc6 32 Nd5 Bc5+ 33 Ke4 Bxf2 34 Rg5 Re6+ 35 Kf3 Bxh4 36 Rxh5 Rf6+ 37 Ke2 Rf2+ 38 Ke1 Rf4+ 39 Ke2 Rxc4 40 Ke3 Rg4 41 Be2 Rxg2 42 Nb4 Bf2+ 43 Kd2 Bb7 44 Rh8+ Rg8 45 Rh7 Bc5 46 Nd3 Bd6 47 Bh5 Rg7 48 Rh8+ Ke7 49 Kc3 Rg5 50 Rh7 Bd5 51 Nb4 Bc4 52 Nxa6 Rg3+ 53 Kd4 Rd3+ 54 Ke4 Rh3 55 Kd4 Rh4+ 56 Kc3 Be5+ 57 Kd2 0-1

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OLD chess players never die...they just lose their mating ability. The exception to this rule, of course, being none other than Viktor Korchnoi, who seems to be on the chess equivalent of Viagra.

On the eve of his 70th birthday, the indefatigable veteran decided to take on one of the world's leading teenagers, seventeen-year-old Ukrainian star, Ruslan Ponomariov, in a tough, eight game training match held recently in Donetsk, Ukraine.

Korchnoi, having played nearly 4,000 internationally rated games since his debut in 1945, is one of the world's most experienced match-play players with victories against the likes of Reshevsky, Tal, Geller, Mecking, Petrosian, Polugaevsky, Spassky and not to mention three World Championship matches against Karpov during his long and illustrious career.

In comparison, his young opponent, who at one time held the record for being the world's youngest Grandmaster, is only approaching some 300 internationally rated games since he burst on to the chess scene in 1994.

In an intriguing up-and-down contest, the teenager held a one-point lead going into the last game. However, needing a win in the final game to tie the match, the venerable Viktor soon obliged with a win.


V Korchnoi - R Ponomariov
Donetsk Match (8), English Opening

1 c4 c5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nc3 Nc6 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nxd4 e6 6 a3 Be7 7 e4 0-0 8 Nf3 Qc7 9 Bg5 b6 10 Bd3 h6 11 Bh4 Nh5 12 Bxe7 Nxe7 13 0-0 Ba6 14 Rc1 Nf4 15 Nb5 Bxb5 16 cxb5 Qd6 17 Bb1 Qxd1 18 Rcxd1 d5 19 e5 g5 20 Rfe1 Rac8 21 h4 g4 22 Nh2 h5 23 f3 g3 24 Nf1 Neg6 25 Rd4 Rc4 26 Rxc4 dxc4 27 Bxg6 fxg6 28 Nxg3 Nd3 29 Re2 Rd8 30 Ne4 Nxe5 31 Ng5 Rd5 32 a4 Kg7 33 Nxe6+ Kf6 34 Ng5 Kf5 35 Ne4 Rd3 36 Nc3 Rd4 37 Ne4 Rd3 38 Kh2 Rb3 39 Nd6+ Kf6 40 Ne8+ Kf5 41 Nd6+ Kf6 42 Kg3 Rb4 43 Re4 Ke6 44 Nc8 Kf6 45 Nxa7 Rxa4 46 Nc6 Nd3 47 Ne7 Nxb2 48 Nd5+ Kf7 49 Re7+ Kf8 50 Rb7 Nd1 51 Rxb6 c3 52 Rc6 Ra5 53 b6 Rb5 54 Rc7 Rxd5 55 b7 Rb5 56 Rc8+ Kf7 57 b8Q Rxb8 58 Rxb8 c2 59 Rc8 Ne3 60 Kf2 Nf5 61 g3 Nd4 62 g4 Ke6 63 Ke3 Kd5 64 Rc3 g5 65 hxg5 hxg4 66 fxg4 1-0

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"I'M glad to see that the boy from Baku once again came ahead of the boy from India!" Drawing a comparison with the many battles between himself and Vishy Anand, this was the gibe Garry Kasparov came up with to describe the two teenagers who played so well in the Corus "B" Tournament, Timour Radjabov, 13, from Baku, and India's Pentyala Harikrishna, 14.

It was often said in jest in the press room in Wijk aan Zee that the round nine encounter between the two was only a preparation for the 2010 World Championship. As it was, the game turned out to be a damp squib as they agreed a short "GM draw" in just ten moves. However, there was mitigating circumstances: the result secured both teenagers their second GM norm in as many months - both will unquestionably receive the title before the year is out.

The two have been contemporaries for more than four years, after first meeting in a youth championship in Minorca 1996. In that same year Harikrishna went on to become the Under-10 World Champion. Radjabov soon bettered this by going on to collect an impressive haul of seven European and World Youth Championship titles.

Despite Harikrishna having a strong start to the "B" Tournament, it was Radjabov who impressed more with the stronger finish - and indeed came second, just a half-point away from qualifying to next year's "A" tournament to play alongside his hero, Kasparov, the original "boy from Baku".


N Vink - T Radjabov
Corus "B" Tournament (11), Hippopotamus Defence

1 e4 g6 2 d4 d6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 Nf3 a6 5 Be3 e6 6 Qd2 b6 7 Be2 Bb7 8 0-0 Nd7 9 Rfe1 h6 10 h3 Ne7 11 Bf1 g5 12 a4 Ng6 13 d5 e5 14 Ne2 Nf6 15 Ng3 Bc8 16 Nh2 Nf4 17 c4 0-0 18 a5 bxa5 19 Rxa5 h5 20 f3 g4 21 hxg4 hxg4 22 c5 gxf3 23 gxf3 Bh6 24 cxd6 cxd6 25 Rea1 Kh7 26 Kh1 Rg8 27 Qe1 N6h5 28 Bf2 Nxg3+ 29 Bxg3 Qg5 30 Bf2 Nh3 31 Ng4 Bxg4 32 fxg4 Qxg4 33 R5a3 Nf4 34 Bg3 Qh5+ 35 Bh2 Rg4 36 Rg3 Rxg3 37 Qxg3 Rg8 38 Qf2 Bg5 39 Ra3 Qh6 40 Bxa6 Bd8 41 Bf1 Rg4 42 Ra8 Bh4 43 Qa7 Qg6 44 Qe3 Bg3 45 Qf3 Rh4 46 Ra3 Rg4 47 Qe3 Bxh2 48 Bh3 Rh4 49 Bf5 Bg1+ 0-1

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WITH all eyes firmly focused on the main tournament in the recent Corus Chess Festival in Wijk aan Zee, there was, however, a whole host of other events in the De Moriaan Centre apart from the category.19 super GM tournament.

Sitting in the shadows of giants like Kasparov, Anand, Kramnik & Co, there was an interesting battle of youth versus experience in the twelve-player category.10 "B" tournament, with an average rating of 2495.

Seasoned veterans of the game like the ex-Soviet pair of Boris Gulko, 54, and Mikhail Gurevich, 41, not only had to contend with the Dutch "second team", but also found themselves up against the younger generation of stars like 13-year-old Teimor Radjabov and 14-year-old Pentyala Harikrishna. Despite both the juniors receiving GM norms, age and experience won through in the end when Belgium's Mikhail Gurevich won the tournament outright with an undefeated score of 8/11.

Gurevich, the world No.14, who these days has more interest in online stock trading than the demands of chess, thus not only won the first prize of 5,000 NLG (roughly 1,600 UK), he also now steps up to land the of the giants next year with an automatic spot in the 2002 Corus "A" tournament.


Final placings: 1 GM M Gurevich (Belgium) 8/11; 2 IM T Radjabov (Azerbaijan) 7.5; 3-4 GM T Luther (Germany), GM F Nijboer (Netherlands) 7; 5 IM P Harikrishna (India) 6.5; 6 IM K Van der Weide (Netherlands) 6; 7-8 GM B Gulko (USA), GM D De Vreught (Netherlands) 5.5; 9 IM M Bosboom (Netherlands) 5; FM Y Visser (Netherlands) 4; N Vink (Netherlands) 2.5; 11 IM E Hoeksema (Netherlands) 1.5.


T Radjabov - M Gurevich
Corus B Tournament (3), Semi-Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 e6 5 e3 Nbd7 6 Qc2 Bd6 7 Bd3 0-0 8 0-0 dxc4 9 Bxc4 a6 10 Rd1 c5 11 dxc5 Bxc5 12 a3 b5 13 Be2 Bb7 14 b4 Be7 15 Bb2 Qb8 16 Ng5 Bd6 17 h3 h6 18 Nge4 Bh2+ 19 Kh1 Be5 20 Bf3 Rc8 21 Rac1 Bxc3 22 Nxc3 Bxf3 23 gxf3 Qb7 24 Qe2 Rc4 25 Rg1 Rac8 26 e4 Ne5 27 Qe3 Ng6 28 Rcd1 Nh5 29 Ne2 Qe7 30 Rg4 Rd8 31 Rdg1 Rc2 32 Bc3 Qc7 33 Rc1 Rxc1+ 34 Nxc1 Rd1+ 35 Rg1 Rxg1+ 36 Kxg1 Ngf4 37 Bd2 Nxh3+ 38 Kf1 Qh2 0-1

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