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The Scotsman

Chess News May 2001

to "The Scotsman" chess column


THE Royal Netherlands Embassy in London proved to be a fitting venue to celebrate the life and times of a national Dutch hero and former world champion, Dr Max Euwe (1901-1981).

Whilst there were no Ferrero Rocher's on offer, the Dutch Ambassador was on hand to launch the English edition of Alexander Munninghoff's highly acclaimed biography "Max Euwe", by handing the first edition over to Jan Timman, the Dutch No.1 and editor-in-chief of the books publishers, New In Chess.

In the month of the centenary anniversary of Euwe's birth, Munninghoff has surely produced a fitting tribute with a leading contender for the BCF Book of the Year Award. The author, who has based most of the background to the book on personal interviews with the genial Dutch giant, has skilfully weaved a work of art around 50 games annotated by Euwe.

A profound analyst and theoretician of the game, Euwe was ostensibly an amateur who never gave up his career as a university teacher of mathematics. Yet, defying the overwhelming odds, he shocked the world when he won the world title in 1935 by comprehensively defeating the mighty Alekhine.

By bringing his world title under the aegis of FIDE he profoundly changed the history of chess in the twentieth century. Later on, as president of FIDE from 1970-78, it was only through his diplomatic determination that saved the Match of the Century in 1972 between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.

Dr Max Euwe is the only chess world champion the Netherlands has ever had - yet the growth in popularity in the game in this small country, with a population of just 16 million, can be directly traced to 1935 when he became an unlikely national Dutch hero after beating Alexander Alekhine.


M Euwe - A Alekhine
World Championship 1935, Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 dxc4 5 a4 Bf5 6 Ne5 Nbd7 7 Nxc4 Qc7 8 g3 e5 9 dxe5 Nxe5 10 Bf4 Nfd7 11 Bg2 f6 12 0-0 Rd8 13 Qc1 Qb8 14 Ne4 Be7 15 Qc3 0-0 16 Rad1 Be6 17 Nxe5 Nxe5 18 Ng5 fxg5 19 Bxe5 Bf6 20 Bxb8 Bxc3 21 Bd6 Rf7 22 bxc3 Rfd7 23 Rb1 Rxd6 24 Rxb7 R8d7 25 Rxd7 Bxd7 26 Be4 c5 27 c4 Bxa4 28 Bd5+ Kf8 29 Ra1 Ra6 30 Ra2 Ke7 31 f4 gxf4 32 gxf4 Kf6 33 e4 g5 34 f5 h5 35 h4 gxh4 36 Kh2 Kg5 37 Kh3 Ra5 38 Bb7 Kf6 39 Bd5 Kg5 40 Bb7 Kf6 41 Bc8 1-0

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EVER since the first world championship match in 1886 between Wilhelm Steinitz and Johannes Zukertort and straight through to the most recent, there have been many tales about the shenanigans behind the scenes in a title match.

You can get a chance yourself to find out what really does happen behind the scenes in an intriguing two-part documentary for BBC Radio 4 (FM 92.4-94.6), to be broadcast at 8.00pm on Thursday 31st May and Thursday 7th June. The programme is also available to listeners abroad via the BBC's web site at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/, by clicking on the Radio 4 button on their Internet radio.

Presented by GM Danny King, "Checkmate" delves into the history of the world championship and those that have had the distinction of wearing the crown. The research team at the BBC have gone through their archives to uncover some fascinating material including an interview with Alexander Alekhine from 1938 and another from Andre Lilienthal (who at 90 is the world's oldest grandmaster).

Former City financier Jim Slater reveals how he had to go through Henry Kissinger with a guarantee of $125,000 to save the 1972 Cold War match in Reykjavik between Spassky and Fisher. More up to date, there are also interviews with the most recent world champions Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik and FIDE world champion Vishy Anand.

The recent winner of the Brain Games world title, Vladimir Kramnik, looks as if he's on the verge of yet again stopping Garry Kasparov. Going into the last three rounds of the Astana supertournament in Kazakhstan, Kramnik holds a half point lead over Kasparov. Should he win, he'll have ended Kasparov's impressive run of tournament first places stretching back as far as January 1999.


Leader board: 1 V Kramnik (Russia) 5.5/7; 2 G Kasparov (Russia) 5; 3 B Gelfand (Israel) 4; 4 A Morozevich (Russia) 3; 5 A Shirov (Spain) 2.5; 6 D Sadvakasov (Kazakhstan) 1.


V Kramnik - D Sadvakasov
Astana (7), Queen's Gambit Accepted

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 e3 e6 5 Bxc4 c5 6 0-0 a6 7 a4 Nc6 8 Qe2 Qc7 9 Rd1 Bd6 10 dxc5 Bxc5 11 b3 0-0 12 Bb2 e5 13 Nc3 e4 14 Ng5 Bd6 (14 ..Bg4 15 Nd5! Bxe2 16 Nxc7 Bxd1 17 Nxa8 Bh5 18 Bxf6 gxf6 19 Nxe4 wins) 15 Nd5! Nxd5 16 Rxd5 Bxh2+ 17 Kh1 Be5 18 Qh5 Bf5 (18 ..h6 19 Nxf7! Rxf7 20 Rxe5 Nxe5 21 Bxe5 Qe7 22 Bxf7+ Qxf7 23 Qxf7+ Kxf7 24 Rc1 wins) 19 Nxf7!! Rxf7 20 Qxf5! g6 (20 ..Rxf5 21 Rd8#) 21 Bxe5 1-0

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After 34...Kf5??


NUMBER 13 might be considered unlucky for some, but certainly not for world number one Garry Kasparov who has always considered it to be his "lucky" number.

He was born on the 13th, his name has 13 letters in it, he was 13 when he made his international debut and he became the 13th world champion of chess. Talk to him on the subject, and he'll give you a dozen and one other coincidences that links him to the number.

Now after the sixth round of the Asatana supertournament in Kazakhstan, he has another reason for regarding the most superstitious of numbers as lucky - a 13-0 record against bitter rival Alexei Shirov.

Ever since the spat between the two last year when Shirov refused to apologies for making a wild accusation that Kasparov's recent title match with Kramnik was "fixed", the temperamental ex-Latvian (who now plays for Spain) has never been able to cope with the psychological warfare with the refusal of the former champion to shake hands before their games.

Since then, Shirov has never been able to play against Kasparov. Their recent encounter proved the point. Weathering the worst of the Kasparov kingside onslaught, Shirov, instead of opting for a relatively simple draw with 34 ..Kf7, blundered horrifically to allow a forced mate.

Kasparov, thanks to the "gift" from Shirov, now shares the lead with Brain Games world champion Vladimir Kramnik, both a point clear of the field with just four games to play.


Leader board: 1-2 V Kramnik (Russia), G Kasparov (Russia) 4.5/6; 3 B Gelfand (Israel) 3.5; 4 A Shirov (Spain) 2.5; 5 A Morozevich (Russia) 2; D Sadvakasov (Kazakhstan) 1.


G Kasparov - A Shirov
Astana (6), French Defence Classical

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 f4 c5 6 Nf3 Nc6 7 Be3 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Bc5 9 Qd2 0-0 10 g3 Qe7 11 0-0-0 Nb6 12 Nb3 Bxe3 13 Qxe3 Bd7 14 Kb1 Rfc8 15 g4 Nb4 16 Nd4 Rc5 17 a3 Nc6 18 Ncb5 Nxd4 19 Nxd4 Rac8 20 Bd3 Nc4 21 Qh3 h6 22 g5 Nxa3+ 23 bxa3 Rc3 24 gxh6 g6 25 Qg2 Rxa3 26 Nb3 Qb4 27 Bxg6 Rxb3+ 28 cxb3 Qxb3+ 29 Qb2 Qxb2+ 30 Kxb2 fxg6 31 h4 Kh7 32 h5 Kxh6 33 hxg6+ Kxg6 34 Rhg1+ Kf5?? (34 ..Kf7 35 Rh1=) 35 Rd4 1-0

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REPORTING on Supertournaments these days is much like trying to catch a bus: You wait around long enough, and then three arrive at the same time!

The last ten days has seen three top-flight tournaments taking place in Mexico, Sarajevo and Kazhakstan, featuring the cream of the world's top ten players.

In Sarajevo, Bulgaria's Kiril Georgiev, with a final score of 6.5/9, was the surprise outright winner of the Bosna 2001 tournament when he came a half point ahead of the top seed and Bulgarian No.1, Veselin Topalov.

After the first rest day in the Astana tournament in Kazakhstan, round four saw the big clash between world number one Garry Kasparov, and his nemises, Brain Games world champion Vladimir Kramnik, ending peacefully with an 30 move draw in the Grunfeld Defence. The draw allows the top Russian duo to stay in equal first with 3/4, a half point ahead of the Israeli No.1, Boris Gelfand.

Meanwhile, in the sunnier climbs of the Yucatan province of Merida in Mexico, FIDE world champion Vishy Anand continues his impressive run of tournament successes - and moves ever-closer to breaching the 2800 Elo mark - with a comfortable win in the second Torneo Magistral of Chess, a full point clear of former world championship challenger Nigel Short.


Final placings: 1 V Anand (India) 4.5/6; 2 N Short (England) 3.5; 3 A Khalifman (Russia) 3; 4 G Hernandez (Mexico) 1.


V Anand - G Hernandez
Merida (5), Sicilian Sveshnikov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5 9 Bxf6 gxf6 10 Nd5 f5 11 c3 Bg7 12 Bd3 Be6 13 Qh5 0-0 14 0-0 f4 15 Rad1 Kh8 16 g3 Rg8 17 Kh1 Bf8 18 Be2 Rg5 19 Qf3 f5 20 gxf4 exf4 21 Nxf4 Bxa2 22 c4 fxe4 23 Qxe4 Qe8 24 Bf3 Qxe4 25 Bxe4 Rc8 26 Ne6 Re5 27 Bxc6 Rxc6 28 Nxf8 b4 29 Nc2 Bxc4 30 Nd4 Rc8 31 Nd7 Bxf1 32 Rxf1 Re4 33 Nf5 Rf4 34 Ne3 Rd8 35 Nd5 Rf3 36 N7b6 a5 37 Ne3 Re8 38 Kg2 Rf6 39 Rd1 Rg8+ 40 Kf1 Rgf8 41 Rd2 Rh6 42 Nec4 Rxh2 43 Nxa5 Rh1+ 44 Kg2 Rh5 45 Nac4 Rg8+ 46 Kf1 Rh1+ 47 Ke2 h5 48 Rxd6 h4 49 Ne3 Rg5 50 Nbc4 h3 51 Rh6+ Kg7 52 Rh4 Kg6 53 f4 1-0

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THIS July sees world number one Garry Kasparov celebrate the 25th anniversary of his debut on the international stage.

"Nyeplokho" (not bad!) was how the top Russian fortnightly chess magazine, "64", described Kasparov's performance, when the "Boy from Baku", aged 13, took a share of third equal in the World Cup for Cadets at Wattignes (near Lille in France).

The remarkable thing was that Kasparov, by playing in France, became the youngest player ever (in any activity) to represent the Soviet Union in a "Western" country. The gamble of his mentor, Mikhail Botvinnik, to allow his young student to participate in international events from such an early age soon paid off.

Less than two years later, Kasparov scored one of the biggest chess wins ever in the annals of chess history for a teenager when he took first place with an incredible two point margin at Banja Luka in Yugoslavia, ahead of the likes of former world champion Tigran Petrosian, Ulf Andersson, Andras Adorjan and Walter Browne - despite still not having a FIDE rating!

Inevitably this stunning result for a sixteen-year old led to comparisons with the performances of two other notable 16-year-olds: Bobby Fischer at Zurich in 1959 (when he came 3rd behind Tal), and Boris Spassky taking 4th at Bucharest in 1953.

To commemorate the anniversary, KasparovChess online (www.kasparovchess.com) have made available a complete (and ongoing) download of all of Kasparov's games right up to Linares this year. The twenty-five year collection comes (so far) to over 1,690 games.

Twenty-five years on from that "Nyeplokho" start, Kasparov continues to dominate the chess world with his exciting brand of chess. After three rounds of the Astana Supertournament in Kazakhstan, Kasparov joins Kramnik in equal first after an exciting win over the young Russian Alexander Morozevich.

Leader board: 1-2 G Kasparov, V Kramnik (both Russia) 2.5; 3-4 A Shirov (Spain), B Gelfand (Israel) 1.5; 5 A Morozevich (Russia) 1; 6 D Sadvakasov (Kazakhstan) 0.


A Morozevich - G Kasparov
Astana (3), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bc4 e6 7 Bb3 b5 8 0-0 Be7 9 Qf3 Qc7 10 Qg3 0-0 11 Bh6 Ne8 12 Rad1 Bd7 13 f4 Nc6 14 f5 Nxd4 15 Rxd4 Bf6 16 Rd3 Be5 17 Qg4 b4 18 f6 g6 19 Ne2 a5 20 Bxf8 Kxf8 21 Qh4 a4 22 Qxh7 Qa7+ 23 Kh1 Nxf6 24 Qh6+ Ke7 25 Bc4 Qc5 26 b3 axb3 27 Bxb3 Bb5 28 Nf4 Bxf4 29 Qxf4 Qe5 30 h3 g5 31 Qf2 g4 32 Qb6 Nd7 33 Qf2 Nf6 34 Qb6 Rh8 35 Rxd6 Qxd6 36 Qxd6+ Kxd6 37 Rxf6 Rh7 38 Kh2 Ke5 39 Rf2 gxh3 40 gxh3 Bc6 41 Bc4 Bxe4 42 Re2 f5 43 Bd3 Kf4 44 Bxe4 fxe4 45 Rf2+ Ke3 46 Rf8 e5 47 Re8 Rc7 48 Rxe5 Kf4 49 Rb5 Rxc2+ 50 Kg1 e3 51 Rxb4+ Kf3 52 Rb1 Rg2+ 53 Kh1 e2 54 a4 Kf2 55 a5 Rg5 56 Kh2 Rxa5 57 h4 Ra3 0-1

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THE worst kept secret in the chess world has now been officially released with the news that the Brain Games world champion, Vladimir Kramnik, has won the Chess Oscar 2000.

Kramnik amassed an amazing 179 first places for a grand total of 3796 to lift his first Oscar, and coming ahead of the FIDE world champion and two-time winner, Vishy Anand, who had 3410 votes and 78 first places. Trailing in third was ten-time Oscar winner Garry Kasparov with 3372 and 60 first places.




1 Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) - 3796 (179 First Place); 2 Viswanathan Anand (India) - 3410 (78 First); 3 Garry Kasparov (Russia) - 3372 (60 First); 4 Alexei Shirov (Spain) - 2028; 5 Michael Adams (England) - 1388; 6 Alexander Grischuk (Russia) - 971; 7 Alexander Morozevich (Russia) - 891; 8 Peter Leko (Hungary) - 758; 9 Vasily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) - 721; 10 Alexander Khalifman (Russia) - 490; 11 Polgar Judit (Hungary) - 451; 12 Boris Gelfand (Israel) - 374; 13 Evgeny Bareev (Russia) - 266; 14 Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) - 157; 15 Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine) -112


The Chess Oscar is the annual "Beauty Contest", decided on by the worldwide chess community - journalists, publishers, organisers, arbiters and grandmasters who write on chess - to determine the player of the year. The award was the brainchild of Spanish journalist Jorge Puig - with the cooperation of the International Association of Chess Press (AIPE) - who initiated the annual award in 1967. In 1989, following the demise of the AIPE, the Oscar became defunct. However, following a seven-year hiatus, Alexander Roshal, the influential editor of the top Russian magazine "64 - Chess Review", revived the annual award in 1995.




1967 Bent Larsen; 1968-69 Boris Spassky; 1970-72 Bobby Fischer; 1973-1977 and 1979-1981 Anatoly Karpov; 1978 Viktor Korchnoi; 1982-1988, 1995-1996 and 1999 Garry Kasparov; 1997-1998 Vishy Anand; 2000 Vladimir Kramnik.


Kramnik celebrated his first Oscar win in style by taking the sole lead in the Astana Supertournament in Kazakhstan after two rounds. With Kasparov drawing with Gelfand, Kramnik moved into outright first after a nice technical display in the ending to beat Darmen Sadvakasov.


Leader board: 1 V Kramnik (Russia) 2/2; 2 G Kasparov (Russia) 1.5; 3-4 A Shirov (Spain), A Morozevich (Russia) 1; 5 B Gelfand (Israel) 0.5; 6 D Sadvakasov (Kazakhstan) 0.

D Sadvakasov - V Kramnik
Astana (2), Scotch Game

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Bc5 5 Nxc6 Qf6 6 Qd2 bxc6 7 Nc3 Ne7 8 Bd3 0-0 9 0-0 Ng6 10 Na4 Bd6 11 g3 Re8 12 Qe3 Bb7 13 Bd2 Ne5 14 Bc3 Qf3 15 Qxf3 Nxf3+ 16 Kg2 Ne5 17 Bxe5 Rxe5 18 f4 Ree8 19 e5 Bf8 20 Rae1 d6 21 Re3 Re7 22 Be4 dxe5 23 fxe5 g6 24 Bf3 Re6 25 Rd1 Rae8 26 Rd7 Rxe5 27 Rxe5 Rxe5 28 Rxc7 Re7 29 Rxe7 Bxe7 30 Kf2 f5 31 c4 Kf7 32 c5 a5 33 a3 Ke6 34 b4 axb4 35 axb4 Ke5 36 Ke3 Bg5+ 37 Kd3 Ba6+ 38 Kc2 Kd4 39 Nc3 Bd3+ 40 Kb3 Bc4+ 41 Kc2 Bd3+ 42 Kb3 Bd2 43 Nd1 Be4 44 Be2 Bd5+ 45 Ka4 g5 46 b5 Kxc5 47 bxc6 Bxc6+ 48 Kb3 Kd4 49 Bf1 Be1 50 Be2 g4 51 Ba6 h5 52 Kc2 Be4+ 53 Kc1 Bf3 54 Bc8 f4 55 gxf4 h4 56 f5 g3 57 hxg3 hxg3 0-1

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THE world no.1, Garry Kasparov, and his nemesis, Brain Games world champion Vladimir Kramnik, head the field in the category 20 Supertournament that's just got underway in Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan.

The one-off event is being organized and hosted by the Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the country's independence. Joining the top two for the six player double round robin, is Alexander Morozevich (Russia), Alexei Shirov (Spain), Boris Gelfand (Israel) and local Kazakh player Darmen Sadvakasov.

The first round of the tournament got off to a flyer with all three games proving decisive for the Russian troika of Kasparov, Kramnik and Morozevich.

Morozevich made easy work of Sadvakasov, who surely must be in for a rough ride over the next two weeks playing amongst such distinguished company, after blasting his way through the home players defences. World champion Vladimir Kramnik had a typically smooth victory over Gelfand after showing some nice handling of the technicalities to force a won knight vs. bishop ending.

The controversy over the "no handshake" policy between bitter rivals Kasparov and Shirov continues on from Wijk aan Zee and Linares, with the psychological effects clearly favouring the former world champion. Kasparov continued his impressive winning streak against the hapless Shirov to extend his lifetime score against the former Latvian who now plays for Spain to an impressive looking 12-0. These two have been at loggerheads ever since Shirov alleged that the Kasparov-Kramnik match last year was "fixed".


A Shirov - G Kasparov
Astana (1), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 Be2 Qc7 8 0-0 b5 9 a4 b4 10 Na2 Nxe4 11 c3 b3 12 Qxb3 Be7 13 Bf3 Bb7 14 Qc2 Nf6 15 Bxb7 Qxb7 16 b4 0-0 17 b5 Ng4 18 Bf4 e5 19 Qe2 exd4 20 Qxg4 axb5 21 axb5 Qxb5 22 cxd4 Qc4 23 Rae1 Nc6 24 Nc1 Qxd4 25 Ne2 Qa4 26 Qg3 Rfd8 27 Nc3 Qb3 28 Re3 d5 29 Bh6 Bf8 30 Ne4 Qb2 31 Nc5 Bxc5 32 Rc3 Bxf2+ 33 Rxf2 Ra1+ 34 Rf1 Qb6+ 35 Re3 Rxf1+ 36 Kxf1 Qd4 37 Qc7 Qc4+ 0-1

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THE FIDE world champion Vishy Anand is dominating the field in the Carlos Torre Memorial in Merida, in the Yucatan province of Mexico.

The Indian ace leads the four-player field by a one point margin over former Fide world champion Alexander Khalifman, former title challenger Nigel Short, with Mexico's top player Gilberto Hernandez trailing last.

The tournament is being held to commemorate Mexico's first grandmaster, Carlos Torre (1904-1878), who, for an all but brief three-year period between 1924-26, was thought to be on the verge of a potential shot at the world crown before tragedy struck.

The young Mexican became something of an enigma in the chess world as he came from nowhere to leave his mark on the game with a string of excellent tournament performances - in the process notching up plus scores (+1, =2) against arguably three of the greatest world champions of the game: Alexander Emanuel Lasker, Alexander Alekhine and Jose Raul Capablanca.

Aged just 22 and at his peak, Torre suffered a serious nervous breakdown after receiving two fateful letters in the same post (one from his fiancee telling him she was marrying another, the second telling him his promised job at the University of Mexico was withdrawn). It was all too much for Torre, who immediately gave up chess (never to play it again) to take an ill-paid job in a drug store.


Standings: 1 V Anand (India) 2.5/3; 2-3 N Short (England), A Khalifman (Russia) 1.5; 4 G Hernandez (Mexico) 0.5.

V Anand - N Short
Carlos Torre Memorial (3), Ruy Lopez

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 d6 5 c3 g6 6 d4 Bd7 7 0-0 Bg7 8 Re1 Nge7 9 d5 Na5 10 Bxd7+ Qxd7 11 b3 0-0 12 c4 c5 13 Bd2 b6 14 Qc1 Nb7 15 a3 f5 16 Nc3 f4 17 Qc2 Bf6 18 Reb1 Qc7 19 Ne1 g5 20 Na4 Nc8 21 b4 Bd8 22 Rb3 Ra7 23 Rab1 Qg7 24 bxc5 bxc5 25 Nd3 Rf7 26 Bc3 Re7 27 Qe2 Rc7 28 g3 Qd7 29 Nab2 Qh3 30 Kh1 Rf7 31 gxf4 gxf4 32 Rg1+ Kf8 33 Qd1 f3 34 Rg3 Qh4 35 Qg1 Ne7 36 Bxe5 dxe5 37 Nxe5 Nd6 38 Rbxf3 Qxe4 39 Nxf7 Nxf7 40 Nd3 Ng6 41 Nxc5 Qxc4 42 Ne6+ Ke8 43 Qd1 Rd7 44 Rd3 Bb6 45 Rg4 Qa2 46 Re4 Nfe5 47 Rd2 Qxa3 48 f4 Nf7 49 Rd3 Qa2 50 Rb3 Rd6 51 Nc5+ Ne7 52 Qe1 Bd8 53 Re2 1-0

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A recent poll on the ChessBase website revealed that a vast majority of chess fans want to see an old-fashioned styled Candidates tournament to determine who should play Vladimir Kramnik, when he defends his Brain Games Network world title next year.

BGN are believed to be in the process of working out a formula for Kramnik's defence, and Chessbase decided that a bit of vox popping would help.

A straight rematch between Kasparov and Kramnik was only favoured by 11 per cent, whilst a large majority of 65 per cent opted for the way challengers had been decided between 1951 and 1993 with a Candidates-styled tournament between the top contenders, the winner then going through to play Kramnik. Strangely, only 24 per cent opted for the "last man standing" option of a triangular match between the top trio of Kramnik, Kasparov and Anand.

The triangular option in the form of a reconciliation match is believed to be the only way forward for the future of chess, according to advice given to the world chess federation, FIDE, by their new business partners, Octagon. Such was the strength of the their argument, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov made such a proposal to the three that has been reported in the press.

Speaking in the Russian paper the Sport-Express, Kirsan says "Why should we follow the whims of any individuals, no matter if they are outstanding chess players? FIDE has its Statutes, which should be followed by all chess players of the world." On the match of four he said "Herewith I mean a commercial and not a "unifying" match. I think that such a commercial match will attract the attention of the chess fans and will promote the popularisation of chess throughout the world. But there has been no progress so far, except for the stage of preliminary negotiations."

However, despite the serious offer being put to bring the title back under one roof, it's believed that one of the parties involved (thought to be Kramnik and BGN) pulled out of negotiations for fear of losing all rights to a World Championship title.


Round 4 Standings: 1-3 I Smirin (Israel), K Georgiev & V Topalov (both Bulgaria) 3/4 4 A Dreev (Russia) 2.5; 5-7 B Kurajica, E Dizdarevic & I Sokolov (all BIH) 2; 8-9 S Movsesian (CZE), Z Kozul (CRO 2595) 1; 10 S Atalik (BIH) 0.5.

S Atalik - I Sokolov
Bosna 2001 (4), Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 dxc4 5 a4 Bf5 6 Ne5 Nbd7 7 Nxc4 Nb6 8 Ne5 a5 9 f3 Nfd7 10 Nxd7 Nxd7 11 e4 Bg6 12 Be3 Qb6 13 Qd2 e5 14 h4 exd4 15 Bxd4 Bc5 16 0-0-0 0-0-0 17 g3 f6 18 Bh3 Bxd4 19 Qxd4 Qxd4 20 Rxd4 Kc7 21 Rxd7+ Rxd7 22 Bxd7 Kxd7 23 h5 Bf7 24 h6 g6 25 Kc2 Ke7 26 e5 g5 27 exf6+ Kxf6 28 Rd1 Bg6+ 29 Kb3 Ke7 30 f4 gxf4 31 gxf4 Rf8 32 Rf1 Rf6 33 Kc4 b6 34 Kd4 Rd6+ 35 Ke5 Re6+ 36 Kd4 Kf6 37 Rf2 Rd6+ 38 Ke3 Rd3+ 39 Ke2 Rh3 40 Kf1 Rxh6 41 Rd2 Ke7 42 Kg2 Bf5 43 Ne2 Be4+ 44 Kf2 Rh2+ 45 Ke3 Bd5 46 Rd1 Rh3+ 47 Kd4 0-1

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IT'S hard to imagine how chess journalists (especially a daily one like myself!) ever managed to cope in the days before the electronic revolution of the Internet and email. Nowadays, thanks in particular to Mark Crowther and his groundbreaking web site, "The Week In Chess" (TWIC), our task of writing a daily column is made much easier.

Like most innovative things, TWIC started off in the September of 1994 as "something" for Crowther to do during his lunch hour whilst he worked as a librarian at Bradford University. From this inauspicious start, the site has grown to be universally accepted as the ultimate source for all the latest chess news, reports and especially all the latest games, all simply a mouse click away at www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic.html.

Although most of the latest news and downloadable games can be found on the frontpage, the centrepiece of TWIC is undoubtedly the weekly magazine that appears every Monday evening. The latest, the 340th edition, contains 861 games from top tournaments worldwide accompanied with 19 reports from Crowther's numerous contacts from around the globe.

TWIC soon became something a bit more than simply a lunchtime project for Crowther. With the heavy demands it took on him, the fateful day soon came when he had to tell his employers that he had to resign his job at the University as it was getting in the way of working on TWIC! With the support and backing of Malcolm Pein's London Chess Centre (www.chesscenter.com), Crowther made the bold decision to become one of the first (if not THE first) full-time chess webmasters.

Now, regarded as the William Caxton of the second chess publishing revolution with his pioneering work on the Internet, Crowther has now written an excellent and definitive guide on chess and the internet with the publication of his first book, "Chess on the Net", published by Everyman Chess and costing (UK)12.99.

Writing with an unparalleled knowledge on the subject, the author has managed to put together a comprehensive, and easy to read, guide for the many bamboozled chess surfers out there, who have to deal with the ever-increasing number of chess sites available on the net.

Straight from the TWIC web site comes the latest news from the Bosna 2001 tournament in Sarajevo. Israel's Ilya Smirin, with the only decisive game of the third tound, now joins leaders Veselin Topalov and Kiril Georgiev in first place with 2.5/3.


Round 3 Standings: 1-3 I Smirin (Israel), V Topalov, K Georgiev (both Bulgaria) 2.5/3; 4 A Dreev (Russia) 2; 5 B Kurajica (BIH) 1.5; 6-8 E Dizdarevic (BIH), I Sokolov (BIH), Z Kozul (Croatia) 1; 9-10 S Atalik (BIH), S Movsesian 0.5.


Z Kozul - I Smirin
Bosna 2001 (3), Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 c4 Bg7 4 Nc3 d5 5 Qb3 dxc4 6 Qxc4 0-0 7 e4 Na6 8 Be2 c5 9 d5 e6 10 0-0 exd5 11 exd5 Bf5 12 Be3 Qb6 13 Nh4 Bd7 14 a3 Rfe8 15 Rad1 Rab8 16 Rd2 Qa5 17 Nf3 b5 18 Qh4 b4 19 Nb1 Rb6 20 h3 Bf5 21 d6 Nb8 22 Rdd1 Bxb1 23 Rxb1 Rxd6 24 axb4 cxb4 25 Ra1 Qd8 26 Rxa7 Nc6 27 Rb7 Nd5 28 Bc5 Rxe2 29 Bxd6 Qxd6 30 Rd1 Rxb2 31 Ng5 h6 32 Nxf7 Qf4 33 Qxf4 Nxf4 34 Rd6 Rc2 35 Nd8 Ne2+ 36 Kf1 Ncd4 37 f4 Nf5 38 Rxg6 Nxf4 0-1

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WITH Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and co. otherwise engaged with tournaments about to start in Kazakhstan and Mexico, the field for this year's Sarajevo supertournament may be weakened, but nevertheless just as interesting without the top flight GMs.

A category 19 tournament last year with an average Elo of 2701 (won by Kasparov), this year's event, which has just got underway, is headed by the world no.11, Veselin Topalov, and has an average Elo of 2628 making it "merely" a category 16.

Despite a few tournaments being cancelled due to financial problems, there's a long-standing chess tradition at Sarajevo stretching as far back as 1957 when Stojan Puc won the inaugural event. Now reaching the 31st edition, Sarajevo's rich chess tradition makes it the third longest running international tournament behind the likes of the world famous Hastings (76) and Wijk aan Zee (63). From 1978 the organising committee has been the three-times European Club Champions, Bosna, which each year the event is named after, this particular edition being Bosna 2001.

After two rounds of play in Sarajevo, the Bulgarian duo of Veselin Topalov and Kiril Georgiev have shone early with some dazzling play to be the only two players leading the field with a 100 per cent score of 2/2.


Round 2 Standings: 1-2 K Georgiev, V Topalov (both Bulgaria) 2/2; 3-4 A Dreev (Russia), I Smirin 1.5; 5-6 B Kurajica (BIH), Z Kozul (Croatia) 1; 7-8 E Dizdarevic (BIH), I Sokolov (BIH) 0.5; 9-10 S Atalik (BIH) S Movsesian (Czech Rep) 0.


V Topalov - S Movsesian
Bosna 2001 (1), Sicilian Taimanov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e6 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 Be3 a6 7 Qd2 b5 8 0-0-0 Nf6 9 Bf4 Ne5 10 Nf3 Nfg4 11 Bg3 f6 12 Nxe5 Nxe5 13 f4 Nc4 14 Bxc4 Qxc4 15 f5 Kf7 16 e5 b4 17 Nb1 exf5 18 exf6 gxf6 19 Bd6 Bxd6 20 Qxd6 Re8 21 b3 Qb5 22 Rhe1 Bb7 23 a4 Qc6 24 Qxb4 Rxe1 25 Qxe1 Rc8 26 Na3 d5 27 Qh4 Kg8 28 Rd3 Qe6 29 Qg3+ Kf7 30 Re3 Qb6 31 Qh3 Qc5 32 Qxh7+ Kf8 33 Rg3 1-0

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LOVE him or loath him, Bobby Fischer will always remain one of the games biggest stars, not to mention one of its biggest enigmas.

Thanks to the legions of fans who have kept the faith over the years, the erratic and often misguided American genius is still big news in the game despite the fact that it's nearly ten years now since he last (officially) played a game.

The rumour mill on his whereabouts these days is always active. Prohibited from returning to the US due to an outstanding arrest warrant from the Treasury (though when I visited Seattle recently I have it on authority from a very reliable source that Fischer managed to come back into the country via Canada to attend his sisters funeral last year), he's been known to favour living in Budapest (even Scotland's own Jonathan Rowson bumped into him one night there whilst on the metro), though its recently reported that he now lives in Japan. Whilst in Budapest, he struck up a working friendship with the Hungarian No.1, Peter Leko. In return for some "free" advice and insight into the game from the great one, Leko played a number of (unpublished) Shuffle Chess games with him.

It's now claimed that Fischer has been playing again under a pseudonym on an internet chess server and smashing up several strong GMs - by playing weird openings such as 1 f3 followed by some bizarre king manoeuvres in an effort to avoid book theory. Often the games are said to resemble his latest development for chess, "Fischerrandom". As ever, all playing stories such as this is taken with a healthy pinch of salt, but it would be good for the game if substantiated.

Fischer even made it into the pop charts this year! The Sydney-based indie guitar band Lazy Susan managed to get a lot of airtime recently in Australia with a single, simply entitled, "Bobby Fischer", telling of the life and struggle of their hero.

Certainly no candidate for an Ivan Novello or Grammy award, the catchy lyrics go something like:

"Bobby Fischer beat Spassky in Iceland '72. I know a girl who's better looking but who thinks like Bobby Fischer too. When Booby Fischer was a kid they knew he was a prodigy. I know a girl who's somewhat older but no less of an authority."

I wish I had the smarts to understand her charts. If I don't concentrate she'll have me in checkmate.

"In Tampa Bay and Lafayette they all knew Bobby Fischer's name. I know a girl who made her mark in smaller cities but her fame's the same. When Bobby Fischer made his comeback in the 90s he was worse for wear. I know a girl who made a comeback but her mind was altogether there.

She said, 'I drink chocolate milk from a cow I built. Doot n'doot doot doot. Doot'n doot doot doot.'

They're all saying that you'll never play again. They're all saying that you're finished, that you're washed up as a friend. All my life I have 'feather-dustered' but that's not how it's going to end. Oh no.

Spies in hideouts send their secret messages. There's a thief caught in the headlights of a car beneath a bridge. There's no lights on in the house except the light in the fridge. Oh yeah.

Reykjavik, no one ever says Reykjavik in a song. Reykjavik, no one ever says Reykjavik in a song."

Despite persistent rumours that he'll play at some time a "Fischerrandom" or Shuffle Chess match against a top GM (one rumour had it that he would play his long-time friend, the Philippines GM Eugene Torre), nothing ever materialised. Yet, despite declaring on winning the world crown in 1972 that, "all I want to do, ever, is play chess", he never officially touched another piece for twenty years - and only then when he had reputedly run out of money.

He came out of his self-imposed retirement in 1992 to face his old rival, Boris Spassky, in a $4m match in war-torn Yugoslavia. Unbelievably, in that first game it was almost as if he hadn't been away.


R Fischer - B Spassky
Steffi Stefan 1992 (1), Spanish Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 0-0 9 h3 Nb8 10 d4 Nbd7 11 Nbd2 Bb7 12 Bc2 Re8 13 Nf1 Bf8 14 Ng3 g6 15 Bg5 h6 16 Bd2 Bg7 17 a4 c5 18 d5 c4 19 b4 Nh7 20 Be3 h5 21 Qd2 Rf8 22 Ra3 Ndf6 23 Rea1 Qd7 24 R1a2 Rfc8 25 Qc1 Bf8 26 Qa1 Qe8 27 Nf1 Be7 28 N1d2 Kg7 29 Nb1 Nxe4 30 Bxe4 f5 31 Bc2 Bxd5 32 axb5 axb5 33 Ra7 Kf6 34 Nbd2 Rxa7 35 Rxa7 Ra8 36 g4 hxg4 37 hxg4 Rxa7 38 Qxa7 f4 39 Bxf4 exf4 40 Nh4 Bf7 41 Qd4+ Ke6 42 Nf5 Bf8 43 Qxf4 Kd7 44 Nd4 Qe1+ 45 Kg2 Bd5+ 46 Be4 Bxe4+ 47 Nxe4 Be7 48 Nxb5 Nf8 49 Nbxd6 Ne6 50 Qe5 1-0

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THE big three of the chess world, World no.1 Garry Kasparov and world champion's Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand will soon be back in action over the chessboard - though competing at different ends of the globe!

Garry Kasparov and his nemesis, Brain Games world champion Vladimir Kramnik, will be joined by Alexander Morozevich, Alexei Shirov, Boris Gelfand and Darmen Sadvakhasov for the category 20, Super GM tournament in Astana, the new capital of Kazakhastan (19 May-1 June), which is being staged as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations of the independence of the country.

Meanwhile, Fide world champion Vishy Anand is heading for the sunnier climbs of Mexico as top seed in the Carlos Torre Memorial in Merida (16-22 May). The Indian ace will be joined in Mexico by the former Fide world champion Alexander Khalifman, former world championship challenger Nigel Short and top Mexican player Gilberto Hernandez.

Before heading off, Anand, who for professional reasons lives in Spain, warmed up for the Torre Memorial by winning the 240-player field Mirabal Rapid tournament in Madrid last week. Finishing on an unbeaten score of 8/9, Anand took the title on tiebreak ahead of Argentina's Cristian Dolezal.

Mirabel Rapidplay: 1 GM V Anand (India) 8/9; 2 FM C Dolezal (Argentina) 8; 3-4 GM G Hernandez (Mexico), GM B Lalic (England) 7.5; 5-8. GM V Lazarev (Russia), GM A Kolev (Bulgaria), GM O Korneev (Russia), GM R Cifuentes Parada (Spain) 7.


V Anand - V Lazarev
Mirabal Rapidplay (9), Sicilian Rossolimo

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 0-0 Nge7 5 Re1 a6 6 Bf1 d5 7 exd5 Qxd5 8 Nc3 Qd8 9 Ne4 Nf5 10 c3 Be7 11 g4 Nh6 12 d4 Nxg4 13 dxc5 0-0 14 Qxd8 Rxd8 15 b4 Bd7 16 a4 Nge5 17 Ned2 Nxf3+ 18 Nxf3 Bf6 19 Ra3 a5 20 b5 Ne7 21 c4 Rdc8 22 Rd3 Be8 23 Ba3 Ng6 24 Nd2 Ne5 25 Rg3 Nd7 26 Ne4 Bd4 27 Rd1 e5 28 Bh3 Rc7 29 Bxd7 Bxd7 30 Nf6+ Kh8 31 Nd5 Rcc8 32 Nb6 Be6 33 Rgd3 Bf5 34 R3d2 Bg4 35 Rxd4 Bxd1 36 Rxd1 Rd8 37 Rd6 Rab8 38 Bb2 f6 39 Bc3 Kg8 40 Bxa5 Kf7 41 Bb4 g5 42 a5 h5 43 c6 1-0

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WHAT is it about the Dutch publishing company "New In Chess" that gives them the right to produce top quality chess books without any games in them?

Following hard on the heels of Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam's widely acclaimed "Linares! Linares!", "New In Chess" have done it again with another gem for those that like to read about chess and chessplayers: "Russian Silhouettes" by Genna Sosonko, a collection of previously published essays that the author has written over the years in "New In Chess" magazine.

Sosonko, a former Soviet trainer and top GM who moved from Leningrad to Holland in 1972, muses thoughtfully on the former giants and chess personalities of the game (all of whom he has had personal experience of) and how they coped with the political interference of the Soviet system. He covers world champions Tal and Botvinnik; top chess trainers Furman, Koblenz and Zak; and near greats Geller, Polugaevsky and Levenfish.

All in all, a superb read that gives a glorious insight and flavour into a system and society - before the demise of the Soviet Union - that produced more great players than any other.

Maybe a shade of its former chess greatness after the break-up of the Soviet Union, but they still know how to mass-produce GMs in Russia. The 54th Russian Chess Championships has just finished in Elista, with 21-year old Alexander Motylev taking the title on Buscholz tiebreak from Alexander Lastin when both finished on 6.5/9; Andrei Kharlov on 6 finish third.

Apart from the $30,000 prize fund, the field of 60 competing for the title also had the benefit of having 17 qualifying places available to them for the forthcoming European Open Championships, due to take place latter this year in Groningen in the Netherlands.

Qualifiers: 1. Alexander Motylev (2601) 6.5 45.0 2738; 2. Alexander Lastin (2627) 6.5 44.0 2727; 3. Andrei Kharlov (2639) 6.0 47.5 2694; 4-5. Vladimir Malakhov (2623) 5.5 44.5 2624, Konstantin Chernyshov (2536) 5.5 44.5 2653; 6. Evgeny Pigusov (2584) 5.5 43.0 2601; 7. Maxim Turov (2553) 5.5 42.5 2611; 8-9. Vladimir Epishin (2579) 5.5 42.0 2615, Pavel Smirnov (2511) 5.5 42.0 2645; 10-11. Valentin Arbakov (2491) 5.5 41.5 2646, Sergey Ionov (2505) 5.5 41.5 2668; 12. Evgeniy Najer (2600) 5.5 41.0 2624; 13. Alexander Galkin (2584) 5.5 40.5 2577; 14-15. Mihail Kobalija (2590) 5.5 40.0 2602, Alexei Bezgodov (2543) 5.5 40.0 2625; 16. Alexander Volzhin (2528) 5.5 39.5 2571; 17. Vladimir Burmakin (2522) 5.5 38.5 2654


A Motylev - S Ionov
54th Russian Ch. (4), Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 f3 e6 7 Be3 Be7 8 Qd2 0-0 9 g4 d5 10 g5 Nxd4 11 Qxd4 Nd7 12 exd5 Bxg5 13 0-0-0 exd5 14 Bxg5 Qxg5+ 15 f4 Qh6 16 Nxd5 Nb6 17 Ne3 Bd7 18 Bg2 Rab8 19 Kb1 Rfe8 20 Rhg1 Re7 21 a4 a5 22 Bxb7 Rxe3 23 Qxe3 Rxb7 24 Qe4 Rb8 25 Qe5 Rc8 26 Rd6 Nc4 27 Rxh6 Nxe5 28 fxe5 Bf5 29 Rg2 Be4 30 Re2 Bf3 31 Rf2 gxh6 32 Rxf3 Rc4 33 b3 Re4 34 Rf5 Rh4 35 e6 fxe6 36 Rxa5 Rxh2 37 Re5 Kf7 38 a5 Rd2 39 a6 Rd8 40 b4 1-0

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THIS week is the celebration of a momentous occasion in the annals of chess history: the 150th anniversary of the first international chess tournament.

Held in 1851 in London as part of the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace (and indeed it was called the Great Exhibition tournament), it launched the era of international chess competition long before most other sports and activities had got themselves organised.

All the top players of the day from throughout Europe made the trip to London for the occasion, including the likes of Adolf Anderssen, Lionel Kieseritsky, Johann Lowenthal and Josef Szen. The tournament was the brainchild of arguably the UK's greatest 19th century player, Howard Staunton, who played a huge part in changing the face of the game from being a gentleman's pastime into a serious competitive sport.

Staunton, along with the St. George's Club, were the official organisers of the tournament and had devised the competition into a 16-player knockout event, with the best of three games deciding the winner of each match. The winner going on to receive a special silver cup and a first prize of (UK)183.00 - a considerable amount of money for those days.

The tournament soon proved to be the turning point in the career of the German master Adolf Anderssen, who by beating in succession Kieseritsky, Szen, Staunton and Wyvill, went on to become generally recognised as the strongest living player of the day.


A Anderssen - J Szen
London 1851, French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 exd5 exd5 4 c4 Bb4+ 5 Nc3 Qe7+ 6 Be3 Nf6 7 h3 Be6 8 Qb3 dxc4 9 Bxc4 Bxc4 10 Qxc4 c6 11 Nf3 Nbd7 12 0-0 0-0 13 Rae1 Qe6 14 Ne5 Bxc3 15 bxc3 Nd5 16 Bc1 Rfe8 17 Nxd7 Qxd7 18 Qb3 h6 19 c4 Nf6 20 Rd1 Rad8 21 Bb2 b5 22 cxb5 cxb5 23 d5 Ne4 24 Rd4 f6 25 Rfd1 Qf5 26 d6+ Kh8 27 f3 Ng5 28 Rd5 Qf4 29 Qc2 Qg3 30 Kh1 Re1+ 31 Rxe1 Qxe1+ 32 Kh2 Qe8 33 Qc7 Rd7 34 Qc6 Qe6 35 Qxb5 Nf7 36 Ba3 Kh7 37 Qd3+ g6 38 f4 f5 39 Bb2 Nd8 40 Qc3 g5 41 Rxf5 Qg8 42 Re5 1-0

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DESPITE a last round defeat at the hands of Wood Green, favourites Beeson Gregory held on to clinch the 4NCL division one title at the Moathouse Hotel in Birmingham with a far superior game score total.

Going into the decisive final round, it was all tight at the top as the three teams in contention for the title, Beeson Gregory I, and perennial rivals Wood Green and Slough, all won in the penultimate round.

The stage was set for the showpiece final round of the season as both Wood Green and Beeson Gregory opened the chequebooks to put on show the strongest team match ever assembled in British history.

With the likes of Michael Adams, Nigel Short, Alexander Morozevitch and Peter Svidler battling it out on the top two boards, the cosmopolitan line-up from both teams had no fewer than 13 of the world's top grandmasters on show in a 16 player match.

In the end, Wood Green, thanks to wins from Morozevitch and Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, won 5-3 but could only take the bragging rights from the match as a superior game point tally secured Beeson Gregory the title ahead of Slough.


Wood Green 5-3 Beeson Gregory I

1 GM N Short draw GM M Adams; 2 GM A Morozevich 1-0 GM P Svidler; 3 GM A Baburin draw GM I Rogers; 4 GM J Speelman draw GM J Nunn; 5 GM C Ward draw GM J Hodgson; 6 IM M Turner draw GM M Hebden; 7 GM J Emms draw GM L McShane; 8 WGM K Arakhamia-Grant 1-0 H Richards


Final standings: 1-3 Beeson Gregory I (66/78), Slough (63), Wood Green (61.5) 20/22; 4 Guildford-ADC I 15; 5 Barbican 4NCL I 12; 6 Thistle White Rose 10; 7 Beeson Gregory II 9; 8 Midland Monarchs 7; 9 Barbican 4NCL II 6 (35); Relegated 10 Richmond 6 (34); 11 Poisoned Pawns 5; 12 South Wales Dragons 2.


P Svidler - A Morozevich
4NCL (11.2), French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 dxe4 5 Nxe4 Be7 6 Bxf6 gxf6 7 Nf3 a6 8 c3 f5 9 Nc5 0-0 10 Bc4 b5 11 Bb3 Bxc5 12 dxc5 Bb7 13 Nd4 Qf6 14 Qe2 e5 15 Nf3 Nd7 16 0-0-0 Rad8 17 Bd5 c6 18 Bb3 e4 19 Nd4 Nxc5 20 Bc2 Rfe8 21 f4 a5 22 Qe3 b4 23 Qg3+ Kf8 24 Qg5 Qxg5 25 fxg5 Nd3+ 26 Bxd3 exd3 27 Nxf5 c5 28 Rd2 Ba6 29 h4 Bc4 30 cxb4 Bxa2 31 bxa5 Re4 32 Rf1 Bb3 33 Kb1 Ra4 34 Rf3 c4 35 Ne3 Rxa5 36 Rdf2 d2 0-1

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"IT'LL never work." That was the usual advice Chris Dunworth was given when in 1993 he embarked on creating a UK-wide professional chess league.

Now, some eight years later, and in its permanent home of the Moathouse Hotel in Birmingham, the 4 Nations Chess League (or, as its more commonly know as, the 4NCL) has become something of an institution. With a dedicated organising committee behind it, the league has prospered, developed and expanded over the years to become a permanent fixture on the UK circuit.

As ever, the highlight of the 4NCL season comes during the May Bank Holiday Weekend, when top GMs are flown in from every corner of the globe for the final three rounds that determine the league winners.

Leading the race this year is GM David Norwood's team sponsored by London stockbrokers, Beeson Gregory. Not only does Norwood play and manage the team, he's also the Chairman of the company! With a large budget at hand, Norwood has assembled a formidable force to take on the likes of perennial league favourites, Slough and Wood Green, who for many seasons have battled it out for the division one title.

And, after the first of the three rounds during the Bank Holiday Weekend, the Beeson Gregory juggernaut continues unabated as they maintained their 100 per cent record with a crushing 6-2 victory of Barbican to maintain their two point lead at the top.

A strengthened Wood Green (with the addition to their line-up for the showdown weekend of Nigel Short and Alexander Morozevich) stayed in touch with the leaders with a similarly crushing result with a 6.5-1.5 victory over the Beeson Gregory second team. Not to be outdone, defending champions Slough kept on the tails of Wood Green with a 6-2 win over Midland Monarchs.


After 9 rounds: 1 Beeson Gregory I 18/18; 2-3 Wood Green, Slough 16; 4 Guildford-ADC I 13; 5 Barbican 4NCL I 11; 6-7 Thistle White Rose, Midland Monarchs 7; 8 Barbican 4NCL II 6; 9 Beeson Gregory II 5; 10 Richmond 4; 11 Poisoned Pawns 3; South Wales Dragons 2.


M Hennigan - N Short
4NCL (9) Beeson Gregory II v Wood Green I, French Tarrasch

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 c5 4 Ngf3 Nf6 5 exd5 Nxd5 6 dxc5 Nd7 7 c4 N5f6 8 Nb3 Qc7 9 Be2 Nxc5 10 0-0 Bd7 11 Nxc5 Bxc5 12 a3 a5 13 b3 Bc6 14 Bb2 Ng4 15 h3 h5! 16 hxg4 Bxf3 17 g5 Rd8 18 Qc2 Bc6 19 Rad1 Rxd1 20 Qxd1 h4! 21 Bf3 h3 22 Bxc6+ bxc6 23 Bxg7 (23 Qf3 was the only try 23 ..hxg2 24 Qxg2 Rh4 Threatens Kf8 - dodging Qxc6+ - and Qf4 25 Bxg7 f5! 26 gxf6 Qf4 27 Qxc6+ Kf7 wins) 23 ..hxg2 24 Bxh8 Qg3 25 Bd4 (25 Bf6 gxf1Q+ 26 Kxf1 Qxf2#) 25 ..Qh3 0-1

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SHOWING a much-welcomed return to form that propelled her to the very top of the women's game, Edinburgh-based Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant clinched the bronze medal at the 2nd European Open Women's Championships in Warsaw after a dramatic playoff on Saturday.

With seven players - Skripchenko-Lautier, Kovalevskaya, Arakhamia-Grant, Gallimova, Foisor, Bojkovic and Stepovia-Dianchenko - locked at the top on a final score of 8/11, they all had to return the next day for a nerve-wracking speed playoff to determine the outcome of the three medal positions. In the end, Skripchenko-Lautier took the gold; Kovalevskaya the silver; and Arakhamia-Grant the bronze.

From a starting field of 157, this was one of the strongest - and largest - individual women tournaments ever outside of a world championship and also had 29 qualifying places for this year's World Women's Championship - scheduled for November-December, at a yet to be announced venue. The big logjam at the top led to a further 31 players being involved in playoffs, and, unfortunately, England's WGM Harriet Hunt lost out on one of the qualifying places. Scotland's sole entry, WFM Helen Milligan, came equal 132nd with 4/11.

Ketevan, 32, originally from Georgia, settled in Edinburgh in 1996 after marring Scottish internationalist and former team captain Jonathan Grant. She's represented her country at the very top of international chess - and in particular team tournaments where the Georgians are recognised as one of the worlds top three teams. Apart from a gold medal from the 1997 European Team Championships, she also has a collection of team gold's from the Women's Olympiads of Moscow 1994 and Yerevan 1996, and an individual gold for her stunning performance of 12/12 in 1990 where she was part of the USSR's silver medal winning team in Novi Sad.


K Arakhamia-Grant - A Kosteniuk
Woman's European Championships (5), Sicilian Richter Rauzer

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 a6 8 0-0-0 h6 9 Be3 Be7 10 f4 Nxd4 11 Bxd4 b5 12 Qe3 Bb7 13 Bxf6 gxf6 14 Bd3 Qa5 15 Kb1 b4 16 Ne2 Qc5 17 Nd4 d5 18 Qe2 Kf8 19 Nb3 Qb6 20 exd5 Bxd5 21 Be4 Bxe4 22 Qxe4 Kg7 23 f5! Rad8 24 fxe6 fxe6 25 Nd4 Kf7 26 Nc6 Rc8 27 Ne5+! fxe5 28 Rhf1+ Kg7 29 Qg4+ Bg5 30 Rd7+ (30 Rd7+ Kg8 [30 ..Kg6 31 Qe4+ Kh5 32 Qf3+ Kg6 (32 ..Kh4 33 Qh3#) 33 Qf7#] 31 Qh5 soon mates) 1-0

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PUTTING all the recent bad publicity behind them, the Brain Games Network are at least attempting to do some positive things in the chess world. The company have been largely responsible for securing the sponsorship for the forthcoming Man vs. Machine match this October in Bahrain between their world champion, Vladimir Kramnik, and the top commercial programme from the ChessBase stable, Deep Fritz.

It's understood that BGN even went as far as trying to lure IBM's Deep Blue out of retirement by offering a playoff place in Cadaques, which they declined. Despite being perhaps the best chess programme that's ever been created to date, IBM are now no longer interested in chess as a challenge for artificial intelligence after beating Garry Kasparov.

Money talks, as they say. And the millions IBM poured into the project to defeat Kasparov four years ago would still be stronger than the present day Deep Fritz or Deep Junior - and one that would certainly worry Kramnik more!

In the recent 24-game marathon in Cadaques, some had raised their eyebrows about how Deep Junior could squander a five game lead? This can - and does - happen in computer chess: the programmers can't artificially stimulate "match nous". Take, for example, these two examples from game 4 and game 22 where situations arose that two human players would never have allowed in such a match.

In game 4, Deep Junior was a clear rook up in a trivially won ending (2 Rook and P vs. lone Rook). Whilst a human player would simply guide home the extra pawn, the computer decided to opt for sacrificing its extra rook so that it was "guaranteed" the win as the ending was in its tablebases! Most telling of all, though, was another curious incident in game 22. Deep Junior was virtually on the plane to Bahrain leading by two with just two games remaining. Showing no comprehension of match strategy, Deep Fritz decided it was time to offer a draw. Showing even less match strategy, Deep Junior declined ... and went on to lose the game and with it the match!

It's a tough life being a computer chess software programmer these days as they strive to make their creations the best. After his "baby" went 5-0 down, Frans Morsch calmly reflected that he'd wasted the past year as he commented, "Well, apparently they [his rivals at the Junior team: Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky] have made more progress than I have!"


Deep Junior - Deep Fritz
BGN World Qualifiers (2), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 e6 7 f4 Qb6 8 Nb3 Be7 9 Qf3 Nbd7 10 0-0-0 Qc7 11 Bd3 b5 12 a3 Bb7 13 Rhe1 0-0-0 14 Qe2 h6 15 Bh4 g5 16 Bg3 gxf4 17 Bxf4 e5 18 Bd2 Kb8 19 g3 Nc5 20 Kb1 Qd7 21 Na5 Ba8 22 Rf1 Rc8 23 b4 Nxd3 24 Qxd3 h5 25 a4 h4 26 g4 Nxg4 27 axb5 axb5 28 Rxf7 Rhf8 29 Rxe7! Qxe7 30 Qxb5+ Bb7 31 Bg5 Qc7 32 Rxd6 Rf7 33 Rb6 Qxb6 34 Qxb6 Rxc3 35 h3 Nh2 36 Be7 Rxe7 37 Qd8+ Rc8 38 Qxe7 Rc7 39 Qd6 1-0

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AFTER Brain Games Network's sponsorship of last year's World Championship match between Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik, little had been heard of the company until some far-fetched allegations from their former CEO, Suzanne Martin, appeared in the News of the World claiming that the match was used "to launder Russian mafia-money."

A serious allegation (which no-one believed for one moment), the matter is now part of an ongoing Police investigation with officials at BGN helping them with their inquiries. It transpired that Ms Martin had become a "disgruntled ex-employee" after being sacked for incompetence and now looks as if she herself will be pursued in a civil action by BGN. It's also been disclosed that, just before leaving the company, Ms Martin also signed 17 cheques to herself for (UK)5,000, her maximum limit.

BGN have been beset by problems since its birth. After using a controversial prospectus to raise $9m from investors in the City and spending almost half that amount on the K-K match, BGN secured the rights to World Championship contests involving Kasparov and Kramnik for five years. However, in January, BGN allowed this option to lapse and was subsequently notified by Kasparov's worldwide Agent, Owen Williams, and his Los Angeles-based lawyer, that their client was now a free agent.

Further problems have now arisen following a press briefing by David Massey, the new CEO of BGN, to a journalist in the Financial Times, when a story appeared on April 21st in the FT that BGN were re-launching the company and looking for new investors on the basis that, "Kasparov and Kramnik have signed an exclusive deal to only compete in chess championships organised by Brain Games in the next five years".

According to Kasparov and his legal team, this is incorrect and could himself be taking legal action on BGN as he fears that the FT story as published may expose him to investor fraud if any further money is raised on the assumption that he was under an exclusive contract to BGN. Interestingly, Sir Jeremy Hanley, BGN Chairman, David Massey and BGN founder Ray Keene were last night attempting to raise further capital at a reception at the swish Union League Club in Park Avenue, Manhattan, where Kasparov's lawyer's will be interested to hear if they continue to repeat that he is still under contract to BGN.


G Kasparov - N Short
Korchnoi's 70th Birthday (2.1), French Defence, Tarrasch

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 c5 4 Ngf3 Nf6 5 e5 Nfd7 6 c3 b6 7 Bb5 Be7 8 0-0 0-0 9 Re1 a5 10 Nf1 Ba6 11 a4 Bxb5 12 axb5 Re8 13 Ng3 Nf8 14 Nh5 Nbd7 15 g3 Ng6 16 h4 Ndf8 17 Kg2 Qd7 18 Bh6 gxh6 19 Qd2 f5 20 exf6 Bd8 21 Qxh6 Ra7 22 Ng5 Qxb5 23 f7+ Rxf7 24 Nxf7 1-0

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EVER since Garry Kasparov's infamous match in 1997 when he lost to IBM's Deep Blue, Man vs. Machine has added a new dimension to the game of chess as they worked out which was better: human intuition or silicon brute force.

This October in Bahrain, Kasparov's human nemesis, Vladimir Kramnik, will attempt to restore the honour of the human race when he plays an eight game match organised by the Brain Games Network against Deep Fritz from the Hamburg-based ChessBase stable - with the emir putting up a purse of $1m for Kramnik if he wins, $800,000 if he draws and $600,000 if he loses.

In order to find Kramnik's challenger from the silicon world, a special tournament recently took place in Cadaques, Spain, under the auspices of one of the world's leading computer chess experts, Prof. Enrique Irazoqui. Despite an outcry before the start that leading programmes such as Rebel and Chess Tiger were excluded in this unique Candidates-like qualifier, two of the most recognised names in the silicon game, Deep Fritz (written by Frans Morsch and Mathias Feist) and Deep Junior (written by Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky), each running on identical dual Pentium systems (2x933 MHz), slugged it out over a gruelling 24-game match (four games a day under a normal time control) to see which would go forward.

Looking every bit the loser after Deep Junior streaked to 5-0 after five games, remarkably, Deep Fritz staged the mother of all comebacks to tie the match 12- 12, and goes through to play Kramnik after winning 2-0 in the playoff games. However, it looks as if the programmers will have to consider adding a new feature of "match situation knowledge" to their creations. With three games left to play - and still 2-0 down - Fritz made a dreadful blunder of offering a draw which would have virtually clinched the match for Deep Junior - who unbelievably turned the offer down and went on to lose the game!


Deep Fritz - Deep Junior
BGN World Qualifier (15), Torre Attack

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 Bg5 Ne4 4 Bf4 c6 5 e3 Qb6 6 Qc1 h6 7 Nbd2 Bf5 8 Nxe4 dxe4 9 Ne5 Nd7 10 Nc4 Qd8 11 Be2 g5 12 Bg3 Bg7 13 Qd2 a5 14 a4 h5 15 h4 g4 16 0-0 0-0 17 b4 axb4 18 Qxb4 b6 19 Rab1 Qe8 20 Nxb6 Nxb6 21 Qxb6 Rxa4 22 Qc5! Qd7 23 Rb6 Rfa8 24 Rxc6 R4a5 25 Bb5 Bf8 26 c4 e6 27 Qb6 Qe7 28 Rc7 Qb4 29 Rb7 Ra2 30 Qc7 Bg6 31 Be8 Rxe8 32 Rxb4 Bxb4 33 Rb1 Bf8 34 Rb8 f6 35 Rxe8 Bxe8 36 Qc8 Kf7 37 d5 exd5 38 cxd5 Ba4 39 d6 Ra3 40 d7 Ra1+ 41 Kh2 Bxd7 42 Qxd7+ Kg6 43 Qe8+ Kg7 44 Qxh5 Ra7 45 Qxg4+ Kh8 46 Qxe4 1-0

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OF course, the ever-active Viktor Korchnoi is not the sort of person to just sit back and relax while they organise a special tournament in his honour.

Before the main event got underway, the grand old man of chess officially opened the start of his 70th Birthday tournament in the Hotel Savoy in Zurich by giving a clock simultaneous against eight junior players!

After that, it was straight into action for the greatest 70-year old in the game's history as he pitted his wits against the likes of Kasparov, Kramnik, Spassky and Short as one of the field of twelve that were split into two groups, with the top four from each going through to a knockout stage. Qualifying for the knockout stages, he went out in the quarterfinals at the hands of Kasparov, who himself proceeded to the finals with a 1.5-0.5 win over Nigel Short. And, with Vladimir Kramnik defeating 76-year old Wolfgang Unzicker and a more youthful Jeroen Piket, the organisers had on their hands the dream final: Kasparov vs. Kramnik.

However, despite dominating everything since losing his title last November to Kramnik, Kasparov must by now realise that his former prodigy seems to havethe measure of his former master. In the final, Kasparov yet again couldn't break down the wall of the Berlin Defence as Kramnik easily held for a draw. In the second game with White, Kramnik produced a stunning piece sacrifice that must have rocked Kasparov to his foundations to not only win the game, but also the tournament.


V Kramnik - G Kasparov
Korchnoi's 70th Birthday (3.2)
Queen's Gambit Accepted

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 d5 4 Nc3 dxc4 5 e3 a6 6 Bxc4 b5 7 Bd3 c5 8 a4 b4 9 Ne4 Nbd7 10 Nxf6+ Nxf6 11 0-0 Bb7 12 dxc5 Bxc5 13 Qe2 Qd5 14 Rd1 Qh5 15 h3 Rd8 16 Nd4 Qd5 17 Nf3 Ke7 18 e4 Nxe4 19 Be3 Bxe3 20 Qxe3 Qc5 21 Qe1 Nf6 22 Rac1 Qb6 23 Ne5 Rd4 24 Bxa6!! Rxd1 (24 ..Re4 25 Qd2 Rxe5 26 Bxb7 Qxb7 27 Qd6+ Ke8 28 Qd8#) 25 Rxd1 Bxa6 [25 ..Qxa6 26 Qxb4+ Ke8 27 Rd6 Qa8 (27..Nd5 28 Rxa6 Nxb4 29 Rb6] 28 Rb6 wins.) 26 Qxb4+ Qxb4 27 Nc6+ Kf8 28 Rd8+ Ne8 29 Nxb4 Be2 30 f3 h5 31 b3 Rh6 32 Kf2 Rg6 33 Kxe2 Rxg2+ 34 Kd3 Rg3 35 a5 Rxf3+ 36 Kc4 1-0

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