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The Scotsman

Chess News June 2001

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THE Brain Games world champion Vladimir Kramnik looks to have the better of FIDE champion Vishy Anand in their 10-game "Duel of the Champions" match at the Mainz Chess Classic in Germany.

Leading 2.5-1.5 after four games, Kramnik, who has been the more positive of the two in the opening skirmishes, could easily have had a bigger lead in the match after failing to convert two golden chances in game one. Kramnik took first blood in the match after Anand uncharacteristically blundered badly in game three. The Indian world champion did, however, show great powers of recovery in game four with some brilliant defensive play to prevent Kramnik going further ahead in the match.

Although only a rapid play match, many in the chess world would dearly love to see both being involved in a reunification match after the Kasparov-Short schism with the world body in 1993, the players themselves don't believe it is ever likely to happen.

Speaking to the press during the opening ceremony, both readily agreed that a reunification match is "not a bad idea" but at the moment, unfortunately it is not realistic as any efforts to arrange such a match would involve either Fide or Brain Games giving up any rights in the future to a world title if either of their champions losses.

The players also agreed that politics, not money, is the obstacle. Reunification requires an agreement on the future of the championship afterwards, and the two organizations have very different visions of the world championship.


V Kramnik - V Anand
Duel of the Champions (4), Queen's Gambit Accepted

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 a6 4 e3 Nf6 5 Bxc4 e6 6 0-0 c5 7 Bb3 Nc6 8 Nc3 cxd4 9 exd4 Be7 10 Bg5 0-0 11 Qd2 h6 12 Bf4 Re8 13 Rad1 Bf8 14 Ne5 Ne7 15 Qd3 Ned5 16 Bc1 b5 17 Qg3 Bb7 18 Bxh6 Nxc3 19 bxc3 Ne4 20 Qg4 Nf6 21 Qg5 Qe7!! 22 Rd3 Ne4 23 Qg4 Nf6 24 Qg5 (24 Qh4!? gxh6 25 Rg3+ Kh8 26 Bc2! Bg7 27 Bg6! Rf8 28 Bxf7! Be4! 29 Re1 Bh7! 30 Bxe6 Rae8 with an unclear position.) 24 ..Ne4 25 Qg4 (25 Qxe7 Rxe7 26 Bc1 Rc7 27 Bb2 Rac8 28 Rc1 Bb4!) 25 ..Nf6 draw.


EACH year since its inception in 1994, the redoubtable organiser of the Chess Classic, Hans-Walter Schmitt, comes up with and interesting twist to make his tournament a bit more "interesting".

Two years ago he managed to renew the battle between old foes Kasparov and Karpov by having them play in the same tournament again, and last year, for the first time ever, the world's top ten players met under the one roof in the Giants' and the Masters'.

Despite this year having a reduced budget - and the major upheaval of moving from Frankfurt to nearby Mainz - the main feature of the latest edition of the Chess Classic has on offer a showdown between the two world champions of the game: Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik.

Billed as "The Duel of the Champions", both the Fide and Brain Games titleholders go head to head in a 10-game rapid play match. Fide champion Vishy Anand is regarded by many to be one of the finest speed play players in the world and - much to the shock of Brain Games champion Vladimir Kramnik when it was revelled during the press conference - has a personal score of -1, +5, =20 against the man who took Garry Kasparov's world crown.

When the match finally got underway in the Reingoldhalle playing venue on the banks of the Rein on Tuesday evening, Kramnik looked the more determined to even the score against his rival. In game one, despite holding an advantage throughout, he squandered two golden opportunities to let Anand off the hook with a draw. And in game two, both players decided on a peaceful draw after 14 moves.

However, in the third game of the first session yesterday evening, Kramnik used to good effect the Berlin Defence, the opening that so confused Kasparov last year in their world title match, to take an early 2-1 lead after three games.


V Anand - V Kramnik
ChessClassic 2001 Mainz (3), Berlin Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 0-0 Nxe4 5 d4 Nd6 6 Bxc6 dxc6 7 dxe5 Nf5 8 Qxd8+ Kxd8 9 Nc3 h6 10 h3 Bd7 11 b3 Kc8 12 Bb2 b6 13 Rad1 Ne7 14 Rd2 c5 15 Rfd1 Be6 16 Ne2 g5 17 h4 g4 18 Nh2 h5 19 Rd8+ Kb7 20 Rxa8 Kxa8 21 Rd8+ Kb7 22 Nf4 Ng6 23 g3 c4! 24 bxc4?? Nxf4 25 gxf4 g3! 26 Nf1 gxf2+ 27 Kh2 Bxc4 0-1


Set-up: Ra1, Kb1, Qc1, Nd1, Be1, Rf1, Ng1, Bh1

THE so-called warm-up act at the Chess Classic in Mainz each day before the "Duel of the Champions" encounter between Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, is an intriguing match between world number four, Michael Adams, and number seven, Peter Leko, at a new version of the game called "Fischer Random"; the first time a serious match of this new variant has been organised involving two top-ten players.

In 1992, when the former world champion Bobby Fischer prepared to come out of retirement for a one-off match against his old foe, Boris Spassky, he was shocked by the sheer volume of computer opening analysis sent to him by friends for his preparation.

After winning the match, Fischer quickly realised that there was no way back for him as the game had changed enormously with the aid of computer technology since his historic world title victory in 1972. He therefore decided that the only option left open to him was to change the game and create a new version that was christened "Fischer Random" - where a computer(!) randomly creates 960 different starting positions with the pieces shuffled on the backrank.

The rules of the game are basically the same as Classical Chess, the main problem only being castling, which sometimes looks odd in this form of chess. When your king is on e1 and a rook is on f1, you only have to move your king to g1.


M Adams - P Leko
Mainz Chess Classic, Fischer Random (2)

1 c4 g6 2 d3 f5 3 Bc3 e5 4 f4 d6 5 fxe5 dxe5 6 g4 Bc6 7 Bxc6 Nxc6 8 gxf5 gxf5 9 Ne3 Nge7 10 Qe1 Qe6 11 Nc2 O-O-O 12 O-O-O Ng6 13 b3 Bf6 14 e3 f4 15 exf4 Nxf4 16 Qe4 Bg5 17 Kb1 Qg6 18 Qxg6 hxg6 19 d4 exd4 20 Nxd4 Nxd4 21 Rxd4 Nd5 22 Rxf8 Nxc3+ 23 Kc2 Rxf8 24 Rg4 Bf6 25 a3 Be5 26 Rxg6 Ne4 27 h4 Rf2+ 28 Kd3 Nc5+ 29 Ke3 Ra2 30 Nf3 Ba1 31 h5 Rxa3 32 h6 Rxb3+ 33 Kf4 Rb6 34 Rg1 Rf6+ 35 Ke3 Re6+ 36 Kf4 Rf6+ 37 Ke3 Bb2 38 Rh1 a5 39 h7 Rf8 40 Rh2 Bf6 41 Rh6 Nd7 42 Kd2 Kd8 43 Kc2 Ke7 44 Nh4 Kf7 45 Nf5 Ne5 46 c5 a4 47 Ne3 a3 48 Kb3 Ra8 49 Ka2 Nd3 50 Rh1 Nb4+ 51 Kb3 a2 0-1


AT the zenith of the Frankfurt Chess Classic, it was the only tournament in 150 years of chess history that brought together all top ten players playing under the one roof.

Due to logistics, the organiser of the Chess Classic, Hans-Walter Schmitt, had to move his tournament some 25 kilometres 'down the road' to its new venue of Mainz, the state capital of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Citing his reasons for the big move to Mainz, Schmitt explained that it was because it "had the only city mayor in Germany who was willing to give his unconditional support to chess." A former player himself with a published rating of 2070, the mayor of Mainz, Jens Beutel, was instrumental in putting a sponsorship package together with a number of major regional firms to make the event possible.

Mayor Beutel's had a "diplomatic" draw with two world champions as he took part in two forty-board simuls held in the Rheingoldhalle playing venue that will be the battleground for the "Dual of the Champions" when Vishy Anand and Vladimir Kramnik go head to head in a 10-game rapid match.

A mixture of chess enthusiasts and celebrities took part in the simuls on successive nights, the players personal scores being: Anand -2, =2, +36 and Kramnik unbeaten with =7, +33. The first person to win the top prize in the German version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", Prof. Eckhard Friese, didn't need to bother with having to phone-a-friend for advice in how to beat Anand - and in convincing style!


V Anand - E Freise
Chess Classic Simultaneous, Ruy Lopez

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 f5 4 Nc3 fxe4 5 Nxe4 Nf6 6 Nxf6+ Qxf6 7 Qe2 Be7 8 0-0 0-0 9 Bxc6 dxc6 10 Nxe5 Bf5 11 d3 Bd6 12 Nc4 Rae8 13 Be3 Qg6 14 Kh1 Be5 15 Nxe5 Rxe5 16 Qd2 Rfe8 17 Qc3 h5 18 Rae1 h4 19 Qc4+ Qf7 20 Qxh4 Qxa2 21 Qd4 c5 22 Qc3 Qd5 23 Ra1 Bh3 24 Rg1 R8e6 25 Rxa7 b5 26 Qe1 Rg5 27 f3 Bxg2+ 28 Rxg2 Qxf3 29 Qf2 Rxe3 30 Ra1 Qxg2+ 31 Qxg2 Rxg2 32 Kxg2 Re2+ 33 Kg3 Rxc2 34 Ra7 Rd2 35 Kf4 Rxd3 36 Rxc7 c4 37 b4 Rb3 38 Kf5 Kh7 39 Ke6 Rxb4 40 Kf7 Rb2 41 Rc5 Rf2+ 42 Ke6 Rb2 43 Kf7 Kh6 44 Rc6+ Kg5 45 Rc5+ Kf4 46 h4 Ke4 47 h5 Kd4 0-1


ONE of the world's most famous rapid chess tournaments moves home from Frankfurt as top German organiser Hans-Walter Schmitt moves his "Chess Classic" to the ancient city of Mainz, the state capital of Rhineland-Palatinate.

With the picturesque playing venue of the Rhiengoldhalle situated right on the banks of the River Rhine providing a stunning backdrop to the tournament, the main feature of the week-long event will see FIDE world champion Vishy Anand and Brain Games world champion Vladimir Kramnik go head to head in a 10-game rapid match billed as the "Duel of the World Champion."

Other side events during the weeklong extravaganza includes Michael Adams and Peter Leko battling it out in the first ever Fischer-Random match between two players in the top-ten. Leko and Adams will also be taking part in the traditional "Chess Classic" event of Man vs. Machine, as both take on a version of Pocket Fritz now available for hand-held PDAs.

However, as ever, the "Chess Classic" extravaganza starts with the Ordix Open, which this year has a field of 487 (122 titled players, of which 37 are grandmasters) fighting it out over eleven rounds.

Going into the final day of play, some top flight GMs including the likes of top seed Michael Adams, Alexander Morozevich, Peter Svidler and last year's winner, Sergei Rublevsky, are in a group of 24 vying for the first prize of 10,000DM (roughly 3,300 UK).


M Pomes - M Adams
Ordix Open (3), Nimzo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 f3 d5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 c5 7 cxd5 Nxd5 8 dxc5 Nd7 9 e4 Ne7 10 Be3 0-0 11 Qb3 Qc7 12 a4 Nxc5 13 Qa3 b6 14 a5 Bb7 15 Nh3 Rac8 16 Nf2 Ng6 17 axb6 axb6 18 Bb5 Ra8 19 Qb2 Rxa1+ 20 Qxa1 f5 21 exf5 Nh4 22 0-0 Rxf5 23 Nd3 Rh5 24 Bf4 Qe7 25 Qe1 Bc6! 26 Bc4 (26 Bxc6 Nxd3 27 Qe3 Nxf4 28 Qxf4 Qc5+) 26 ..b5 27 Nb4 Bxf3 28 gxf3 bxc4 29 Qe2 h6 30 Qxc4 Qf6 31 Kh1 Rf5 32 Bg3 Rxf3 33 Re1 Nd3!! 34 Rg1 Nf2+ 35 Bxf2 Rxf2 36 Qe4 Qf3+ 0-1


THE LIMHAMN Chess Club in Malmo in Sweden have been holding an annual tournament sponsored by a consortium led by the legal firm of Sigeman and Co. with the aid of Scandic Hotels, SAS and various others since 1993.

The latest edition, the ninth in a series of a strong ten-player events, interrupted only last year by a four-player double round robin won by Judit Polgar ahead of Jan Timman, was once again back to its old ten-player format with an interesting mix of establish players and young wannabes.

Old hands such as Boris Gulko, 55, and Jan Timman, 50, crossed swords with a mixture of jobbing players, youngsters such as 14-year-old Teimour Radjabov and 19-year-old Emanuel Berg, and Pia Cramling, who before the rise of the Polgar sisters in the Eighties was regarded as one of the world's top female players.

However, the two elder statesmen of the chess world, Gulko and Timman, proved that age and guile beats youth, innocence and female intuition when they both struck with devastating force in the final round with wins to take equal first on 5.5/9, a half-point ahead of the field.


Final Standings: 1 GM B Gulko (USA), GM J Timman (Netherlands) 5.5/9; 3-6 GM I Sokolov (BIH), GM P Cramling (Sweden), GM T Wedberg (Sweden), GM T Radjabov (Azerbaijan) 5; 7 GM C Hansen (Denmark) 4.5; 8 IM E Berg (Sweden) 4; 9 GM N De Firmian (USA) 3; 10 GM J Hector (Sweden) 2.5;


J Hector - J Timman
Sigeman & Co Malmoe (9), Scotch Game

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nxc6 bxc6 6 e5 Qe7 7 Qe2 Nd5 8 c4 Ba6 9 b3 g5 10 g3 Bg7 11 Bb2 0-0-0 12 Nd2 Rhe8 13 0-0-0 Nb6 14 f4 gxf4 15 gxf4 f6 16 exf6 Bxf6 17 Qxe7 Bxb2+ 18 Kxb2 Rxe7 19 a4 Kb8 20 a5 Nc8 21 c5 Kb7 22 Bxa6+ Kxa6 23 Rhf1 Re2 24 Rfe1 Rde8 25 Rxe2 Rxe2 26 f5 Rf2 27 f6 Rxf6 28 Ne4 Re6 29 Nc3 d5 30 b4 Ne7 31 Kb3 Re3 32 Rd4 Rh3 33 Rf4 d4 34 Rxd4 Nd5 35 b5+ Kb7 36 a6+ Kc8 37 Kb2 Rxh2+ 38 Kc1 Nxc3 39 b6 cxb6 40 cxb6 axb6 0-1

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ONE of the perennial problems of tournament play is how to break ties. Whilst prize money is generally split equally in almost all countries, there's still a strong desire for a definite finishing order, normally obtained by using one of three systems.

Two apply mainly to Open tournaments: Sum of Progressive Scores, in which you add up the number of points you had after each round; and Sum of Opponents' Scores.

The third system applies to all-play-all tournaments and goes under the name of Sonneborn-Berger - although according to "Oxford Companion to Chess", it should be named after Herman Neustadtl from Prague, who proposed the solution in a letter to "Chess Monthly" in 1882. His idea was that players add up the scores of all those they beat plus half the score of all those they draw with.

And this system, which rewards wins against those who did best in the tournament, has been adopted almost universally - though it effectively also 'rewards' losses against those who did worse.

One final system, perhaps the most fairest of all and yet the one players fear most of all, is the spectacle of a playoff, such as happened in the recent 2nd European Individual Championships in Macedonia. Not only was one needed for the important task of deciding the title and the three medal placings, another mass playoff was required to find 4 players from a field of 22 to make up the numbers for the 46 qualifying places on offer for the forthcoming $3m Fide world championships.


K Georgiev - R Tregubov
2nd IECC Playoff (3.2), Benko Gambit

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 b5 4 Nf3 Bb7 5 a4 Qa5+ 6 Bd2 b4 7 Qc2 d6 8 e4 Nbd7 9 Bd3 g6 10 0-0 Bg7 11 Bf4 0-0 12 Nbd2 Nh5 13 Bg5 Rae8 14 Rae1 e5 15 g3 Bc8 16 Nh4 Ndf6 17 f3 Kh8 18 Rf2 Ng8 19 Be3 Ne7 20 f4 exf4 21 gxf4 f5 22 e5 b3 23 Qd1 dxe5 24 fxe5 Bxe5 25 Nxb3 Qd8 26 Nf3 Bf6 27 Nxc5 f4 28 Bc1 Nf5 29 Rxe8 Rxe8 30 Re2 Ne3 31 Bxe3 fxe3 32 Ne4 Bg4 33 Qf1 Rf8 34 Rxe3 Bd4 35 Nxd4 Rxf1+ 36 Bxf1 Qb6 37 c5 Qxb2 38 Nb3 Nf4 39 d6 Qc2 40 Nf6 Be6 41 d7 Bxd7 42 Re7 g5 43 Rxd7 1-0

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After 45 ..Ne4!


IT was a defining moment in the titanic chess struggle between world champion Vladimir Kramnik and world number one Garry Kasparov, when the two Titans met at the Astana elite tournament in Kazakhstan.

In a "must win" situation as he was trailing his former protege turned nemesis by half a point in the crunch, final round pairing, Kasparov had to do something he hadn't done for over four years in a classical game: beat Kramnik!

Apart from rapid games, you had to go as far back as the spring of 1997 for a Kasparov victory over the man that so sensationally took his world crown last year in London. But, as he has done so often in the past when many had written him off, Kasparov rose to the challenge with a superb game to finally knock down Kramnik's "Berlin Wall".

The "2K's" were again in action yesterday with the official launch of the "Champions Club", hosted on the KasparovChess.com website, and broadcast live to the members who had a ringside seat for the grudge match.

In a two-game Blitz (5 minutes each) match between the pair, yet again it was the turn of Kramnik to take the upper hand in the dual with a 1.5-0.5 win after defeating Kasparov in the first game.


G Kasparov - V Kramnik
KasparovChess.com Champions Club Blitz, Queen's Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 Nc3 Bb7 5 a3 d5 6 cxd5 Nxd5 7 e3 g6 8 Nxd5 exd5 9 Bb5+ c6 10 Bd3 Bg7 11 b4 0-0 12 Bd2 Nd7 13 Rb1 Re8 14 0-0 Nf6 15 Qc2 Ne4 16 Rfc1 Rc8 17 Be1 Nd6 18 a4 a6 19 Nd2 Rc7 20 Nb3 b5 21 Nc5 Bc8 22 Ra1 Rce7 23 Bc3 Nc4 24 Ra2 Qd6 25 axb5 axb5 26 Ra8 Nb6 27 Ra2 h5 28 Rca1 h4 29 Qd1 h3 30 g3 Nc4 31 Bf1 Bh6 32 Ra8 Bf5 33 Rxe8+ Rxe8 34 Bd2 Qf6 35 Bc1 Bg7 36 Ra6 Kh7 37 Qf3 Kg8 38 g4 Qg5 39 Bxh3 Bxd4 40 Kh1? (40 Qg3!) 40 ..Ne5 41 Qg3 Nxg4 42 Rxc6 Bxc5 43 Rxc5 Qh5 (43 ..Nxf2+! 44 Qxf2 Bxh3 45 Qf3 Bf5 46 Rxd5 Qh4 47 Rxf5 gxf5 48 Bd2 Qe4) 44 Bg2 Nf6 45 f3 Ne4! 46 Qc7 (46 fxe4 Qd1+ 47 Bf1 Qxf1+ 48 Qg1 Bxe4#) 46 ..Nxc5 47 bxc5 Bh3 0-1

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HIP Seattle, commercial and cultural star of the Pacific Northwest is one of America's most liveable and likable cities - and if you've had the good fortune to visit there, it's not hard to see why.

Steep hills, lush greenery, and glimpses of sparkling water everywhere - Puget Sound, bays, lakes, rivers, canals. And in the distance suddenly emerging from its mantle of clouds, the impressive sight of a snow-capped Mount Rainier. A visitor soon learns why Seattle is known as "The Emerald City".

Right now, the talk of America is the outstanding performance of their baseball team, the Seattle Mariners, who recently reached a milestone of 50 victories in 64 games, tying the 1939 New York Yankees for the second-best record after 64 games since 1900 (only the 1912 New York Giants - 53-11 - were better). All of which have virtually made Lou Pinella's men a shoo-in for the play-offs, and even talk this early in the season of a World Series pennant.

In chess, thanks to the likes of Yasser Seirawan and Erik Anderson, Seattle also seems to have found a winning formula with the formation of the Seattle Chess Foundation (SCF) that has set the city on course to become the chess capital of the US.

Not content with securing the rights to hosting and sponsoring the US Championships in Seattle for the next 10-years, the SCF, who also funded the recent eye-catching USA vs. China Match, will stage the third of the four game series between the two superpowers also in Seattle in 2003 (China hosting in 2002 and 2004). This September, during a five-day visit to the city, Garry Kasparov will launch the SCF's Scholastic Chess Initiative; its mission being to take a major chess programme into elementary schools as an aid to improving education.

I suppose it's no coincidence that Seattle has become the focal point of chess in the United States. As one of the birthplaces of the information age, biotechnology, and not to mention gourmet coffee, Seattle's mental might has led to several thriving breakthroughs that have changed business and family life around the world.

Two of the cities biggest and most influential employers, Boeing and Microsoft, have given full support and backing to the chess initiatives of the SCF. There's also a fine chess tradition in both companies, and the two met recently in the Redmond HQ of Microsoft for the 12th Annual Boeing vs. Microsoft match.

The double round, 30-board match ended with a 34.5-25.5 win for Boeing, who now lead the series by 6.5-5.5. Though Microsoft outrated their opponents by over 100- points on the top two boards, overall Boeing had greater strength in-depth, and graded higher than Microsoft in all of the remaining 28-boards.







Slava Mikhailiouk 2462


- FM Mihael Ankerst 2360



John Readey 2345


- David Bragg 2200



On Lee 2033


- Bob Bond 2095



Richard Hofheimer 2029


- Fritz Scholz 2050



Eugene Rozenfeld 1984


- Ken Chun 2000



Duane Polich 1974


- Kerry Milligan 1980



Christopher Drake 1701


- Brian Day 1970



John Beck 1740


- Al Clark 1900



David Hendricks 1634


- Roberto Sidoine 1900



Rajesh Chandrashekaran 1618


- Carl Woll 1900



Zeren Gao 1761


- Robert Haukap 1900



Mohan Bulusu 1555


- George Duleba 1700



Rohit Chaphekar 1547


- Michael Tverskoy 1700



Richard Bixby 1524


- Lee Jackson 1600



Ting Liang 1448


- Warren Chase 1567



Peter Kalbach 1448


- Steven Coffland 1500



Tom Wong 1414


- Boris Tverskoy 1500



Shajan Dasan 1314


- Mark Hamp 1500



John Leong 1535


- DeWayne Dantzler 1500



Meir Lakhovski 1289


- Stephen Marsh 1500



Nehal Raval 1248


- Brad Jackson 1369



Aung Aung 1233


- Mikail Litvin 1300



Anand Paka 1219


- Michael Phipps 1300



Shane Bateman 1213


- Zack Thunemann 1300



Minhthe Luu 1168


- Lowell Wickman 1300



Rajesh Munshi 1189


- Patrick Hill 1300



Jose Saraiva 1103


- Jared Thompson 1120



Sarat Manni 975


- Wayne Sonn 1100



Bill Moxley 928


- George Daybert 1100



Jon Prudomme 925


- Thomas Chase 1100





M Ankerst - S Mikailiok
12th Boeing vs. Microsoft Match, Sicilian Sozin

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Bc4 Qb6 7 Nxc6 bxc6 8 Qe2 e5 9 0-0 Be7 10 b3 0-0 11 Bb2 Rd8 12 Kh1 Bg4 13 f3 Bh5 14 Bd3 Bg6 15 Rfd1 Nd7 16 Na4 Qc7 17 c4 Nf8 18 c5 Ne6 19 cxd6 Bxd6 20 Bc4 Nd4 21 Qf2 Be7 22 Rd3 Kh8 23 Rad1 f5 24 Qg3 f4 25 Qg4 Bf6 26 g3 fxg3 27 hxg3 Qa5 28 Bc3 Qc7 29 Kg2 Bf7 30 Nc5 Bxc4 31 bxc4 Nc2 32 Ne6 Rxd3! 33 Nxc7 (33 Rxd3 Qb6 34 Qh5 [34 Bd2 Qb2 35 Kf2 Qxa2] 34 ..Ne3+ 35 Kh3 Nxc4) 33 ..Ne3+ 34 Kh3 Rxd1 0-1

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DESPITE the rush to flee Macedonia as the rebels come within striking distance of the capital Skopje and the main international airport (from where a large majority of the 172 player field from the European Individual championships at Ohrid were flying from), several players were forced to stay behind to concentrate their minds on something even more worrying: play-offs!

A mass of draws in the top boards in the last round resulted in the tournament ending in a tie for first place between Emil Sutovsky from Israel and the young Ukrainian GM Ruslan Ponomariov on 9.5/13 ahead of Judit Polgar and Zurab Azmaiparashvili on 9 - leaving a play-off for all three medal placings - and seven players on 8.5.

Play-offs had to be extended further down the field, as there were also on offer 46 qualifying places for the forthcoming $3m Fide world championship. A further 34 of the field finished on a score of 8, leaving just four qualification places for the 22(!) on 7.5, which they all had to slug out for on Saturday.

In the play-offs for the medals, Sutovsky beat Ponomariov 1.5-0.5 in a nerve-wracking battle to take the gold and the title, whilst Azmaiparashvili similarly beat the world's top female player, Judit Polgar, to take the bronze.

Of the six UK players competing, England's Stuart Conquest was the top scorer on 8/13 to easily put him in the top 46 to go forward for the first time to the Fide world finals.


E Sutovsky - R Ponomariov
Gold medal play-off (1.2), Modern Defence

1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Nc3 d6 4 Bg5 c6 5 Qd2 b5 6 f4 Qb6 7 0-0-0 b4 8 Nce2 Nf6 9 Ng3 0-0 10 f5 gxf5 11 Bh6 Bxh6 12 Qxh6 Qa5 13 Bc4 d5 14 Nh3 Ng4 (14 ..dxc4 15 Ng5 fxe4 16 Nh5!) 15 Qg5+ Kh8 16 Qxe7 Qd8 17 Qxd8 Rxd8 18 exd5 Ne3 19 dxc6 Nxc6 20 Bb5 Nxd4 21 Rd2 Bb7 22 Ng5 Kg7 23 Bd3 f4 24 N3e4 h6 25 Nf3 Ne6 26 Rg1 f5 27 Nf2 Kf6 28 Nh4 Rg8 29 g3 Rad8 30 Re1 Ng2? (30 ..fxg3! 31 hxg3 Rxg3 and Black's winning.) 31 Nxg2 Bxg2 32 Bc4 Ng5 33 Bxg8 Rxg8 34 Rd6+ Kf7 35 gxf4 Ne4 36 Nxe4 Bxe4 37 Red1 Rg4 38 Rxh6 Rxf4 39 Rd7+ Kg8 40 Rxa7 Rf2 41 Rc7 Bd5 42 Rd6 Bf7 43 Rd8+ Kg7 44 Rdd7 1-0

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IT looks as if the 2nd European Individual Championships in Ohrid, Macedonia, will finish just in the nick of time before the machinegun clad Albanian guerrillas of the National Liberation Army - now in the outskirts of nearby Skopje - make any further progress towards the area of the playing venue, thereby jeopardising the tournament.

With just one round left to play, Rustan Ponomariov and Emil Sutovsky share the lead on 9/12, and now face each other in a last round battle for the $40,000 first place and the title. However a three or four way tie for first and a play-off for the medals looks the better bet with the likes of Judit Polgar and Loek Van Wely within striking range of the leaders, just a half point adrift.

Despite the nearby fears and the wish to leave asap, it looks as if a large number of the field could be forced to extend their stay with a play-off for one of the guaranteed spots in the lucrative Fide world championships. Out of a record-breaking field of 172 grandmasters, there's a large logjam in the hunt for one of the qualification spots to the $3 million contest later this year - rumoured to be in Germany.


Leader board: 1-2 R Ponomariov (Ukraine), E Sutovsky (Israel) 9/12; 3-4 L Van Wely (Netherlands), J Polgar (Hungary) 8.5; 5-11 G Timoshenko (Ukraine), R Vaganian, (Armenia), A Graf (Germany), V Milov (Switzerland), Z Azmaiparashvili (Georgia), S Tiviakov (Netherlands), A Anastasian (Armenia) 8. British scores: S Conquest (England) 7.5; A Miles, N Short (both England) 6.5; P Wells (England) 6; C Morrison (Scotland) 4; J Grant (Scotland) 3.

T Luther - P Tregubov
2nd European Individual Ch (9), Sicilian Kalashnikov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5 5 Nb5 d6 6 c4 Be7 7 Bd3 a6 8 N5c3 Bg5 9 Nd2 Nf6 10 0-0 0-0 11 b3 Nd4 12 Bb2 Bg4 13 f3 Bd7 14 Kh1 b5 15 Ne2 Ne6 16 b4 Qb6 17 cxb5 axb5 18 Nb1 Rfd8 19 Nbc3 Bc6 20 Nd5 Nxd5 21 exd5 Bxd5 22 Bxh7+ Kxh7 23 Qxd5 Kg8 24 Nc3 Nc7 25 Qe4 Bd2 26 Nd5 Nxd5 27 Qxd5 Bxb4 28 f4 Qc5 29 Qf3 d5 30 fxe5 Qe7 31 Qg4 Ba3 32 e6 Bxb2 33 exf7+ Kf8 34 Rae1 Qd6 35 Re6 Qc5 36 Re8+ Rxe8 37 fxe8Q+ Kxe8 38 Qe6+ Kd8 39 Qg8+ Kc7 40 Qxa8 Bf6 41 Qa5+ Kc6 42 Qa6+ Kc7 43 Qa5+ Qb6 44 Rc1+ Kb7 45 Qb4 d4 46 a4 bxa4 47 Qxa4 Be5 48 Qc2 1-0

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THE FIDE world champion Vishy Anand yet again displayed his superiority with computers after taking a hat trick of wins in the Man + Machine Advanced Chess tournament in Leon, Spain, at the weekend.

Advanced Chess, a unique innovation brought to the game by Garry Kasparov who won the first event in Leon in 1998, combines the collective talents of the human player together with the research and analytical brute force of the silicon beast.

Four of the world's top players, Vishy Anand (India), Alexei Shirov (Spain), Peter Leko (Hungary) and Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) joined forces with world-beating chess software programmes such as Deep Fritz, Deep Junior and ChessBase databases of millions of games while they played.

Not only did it turn out to be a repeat of the FIDE world championship, it also turned out to be a repeat of last year's Advanced final as Anand faced Shirov. However, it wasn't an easy passage to the final, as both players, after losing their opening games, needed a play-off to win through.

Anand won through for his third consecutive final after defeating Leko 3.5-2.5, Shirov beating Topalov - who was Kasparov's "victim" in the inaugural event - 2.5-1.5. In a close fought final, Anand, who relied solely on Deep Fritz throughout, beat Shirov 2.5-1.5 to take the title for the third year.


A Shirov - V Anand
Advanced Chess Final (2.2), Caro-Kann Advanced

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 Bf5 4 Nc3 a6 5 Nce2 e6 6 Ng3 Bg6 7 h4 h6 8 N1e2 Ne7 9 Nf4 c5 10 Nxg6 Nxg6 11 Bd3 cxd4 12 Bxg6 fxg6 13 Qg4 Qd7 14 Qxg6+ Qf7 15 Qxf7+ Kxf7 16 Bd2 Nc6 17 f4 h5 18 0-0-0 Bc5 19 f5 exf5 20 Nxf5 Nxe5 21 Bg5 Nc6 22 c3 Kg6 23 cxd4 Rhf8 24 Ne3 Bxd4 25 Nxd5 Rae8 26 Rhf1 Be5 27 Nf4+ Bxf4+ 28 Rxf4 Rxf4 29 Bxf4 Re4 30 g3 Rc4+ 31 Kb1 Rd4 32 Rc1 Rd5 33 a3 Kf5 34 Ka2 g6 35 Rc4 Kg4 36 Re4 Rd7 37 Rc4 Kh3 38 Re4 Re7 39 Rc4 Re6 40 Rc5 Nd4 41 a4 Ne2 42 Bb8 Re4 43 Ka3 Re3+ 44 Kb4 Nxg3 45 Rc7 Kxh4 46 Rxb7 g5 47 Ka5 Re6 48 Rb6 Rxb6 49 Kxb6 Kg4 50 b4 h4 51 b5 axb5 0-1

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Mate in 2


IT'S often said that 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 Royal game is undoubtedly found in the world of chess composition - the art of problem solving.

The top problem solver in the UK is unquestionably Cambridge-based GM Jonathan Mestel, who coincidently is one of the few players in the world who holds the grandmaster title in both over-the-board play and problem solving. Earlier this year at Oakham School in Rutland, he successfully defended his British title with a perfect score of 60/60 in record time. Part of Mestel's prize was a guaranteed place in the 2001 British Solving Team for the World Championship later this year in Wageningen in the Netherlands.

Three Scot's, Colin McNab, Roddy Mckay and John Gemmell - along with Edinburgh-based Oliver Penrose - were successfully enough to make it through the preliminary rounds to go forward to the 24 player final, with McNab being runner up.

Today you too could be on the road to the 2002 final with the publication of the starter position for the annual UK-wide competition, organised by the British Chess Problem Society. Can you find the mate in two for White in today's diagram?

If you can, and wish to enter, send your solution (first move only, known as the "key-move") alongside the name of the publication where you saw the starter position (i.e., The Scotsman) together with a stamped, self-addressed envelope and a (UK)3.00 entry fee (made payable to the BCPS), to Brian Stephenson, Controller, British Chess Solving Championship, 9 Roydfield Drive, Waterthorpe, Sheffield S20 7ND, before 31st July. You can also send in your entry by email to bstephen@freeuk.com, but it will only be accepted if followed by payment as above.

All competitors who send a SAE will be notified of the correct solution and further details of the BCPS. Entrants who successfully find the solution to the above problem will go on to receive details of the first postal round of the competition, which will contain 8 more difficult and varied problems. Good luck!


A few bombs and bullets have never really been enough to put chess players off their stride when competing in tournaments - they are usually oblivious to what goes on around them.

In 1996 during the Yerevan Olympiad, Armenia went to the polls amidst a general uprising, resulting in tanks in the street outside the playing hall. Despite the protestations of the competitors in the 1999 Yugoslav championships in Belgrade, the tournament had to be postponed halfway through the tournament due to the NATO bombing of the city.

And likewise in Ohrid in Macedonia, where the 2nd European Individual Championship is taking place, they don't really mind that they are only some 150km from the tank fire and rocket attacks in that disputed region of the Balkans.

Despite the obvious troubles within earshot, there, a record 172 grandmasters are battling it out for the first prize of $40,000, but more crucially, all vying for one of the 46 qualifying places for the forthcoming Fide World Championship.

After nine rounds, Dutchman Loek Van Wely has broken away from the pack after defeating the young Russian Konstantine Aseev, to take a crucial half-point lead over the chasing pack as they go into the final four rounds. As the players jostle for one of the 46 qualifying places on offer, it looks likely that there will be no British players going forward after some bad results.


Leader board: 1 L Van Wely (Netherlands) 7/9; 2-11 G Timoshenko (Ukraine), K Aseev (Russia), S Lputian (Armenia), K Sakaev (Russia), R Vaganian (Armenia), S Movsesian (Czech Rep), V Milov (Switzerland), J Polgar (Hungary), S Tiviakov (Netherlands), E Sutovsky (Israel) 6.5. British scores: N Short, S Conquest, P Wells, A Miles (all England) 4.5; C Morrison (Scotland) 3.5; J Grant (Scotland) 1.5.


K Aseev - L Van Wely
2nd European Individual Ch. (8), Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 e4 Nxc3 6 bxc3 Bg7 7 Qa4+ Bd7 8 Qb3 c5 9 d5 0-0 10 Bd2 Qc8 11 Rb1 Na6 12 Nf3 e6 13 Bc4 Rb8 14 dxe6 Bxe6 15 Bxe6 Qxe6 16 Qxe6 fxe6 17 Ke2 b5 18 Rhd1 c4 19 Nd4 Bxd4 20 cxd4 b4 21 Rbc1 Rfc8 22 Bf4 Rb5 23 d5 exd5 24 exd5 c3 25 d6 Nb8 26 d7 Rd8 27 Bxb8 Rbxb8 28 Rd5 Kf7 29 Kd3 Ke6 30 Kc4 Rb7 31 Re1+ Kf7 32 Red1 Ke6 33 Re1+ Kf6 34 Red1 a5 35 f4 Rbxd7 (If 36 Rxd7 Rxd7 37 Rxd7 c2! wins) 0-1

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AS the country recovers from the recent Election campaign, it's worth noting that the game of chess has a fine tradition in the Palace of Westminster.

For over a century, chess was the only game officially allowed to be played in the House. Indeed, they even have an exquisite Chess Room, filled with magnificent sets that were gifted by foreign delegations. But alas, in 1987, "The Times" reported that 'because of the diminishing number of MPs with the time or inclination for chess' the hallowed chess room was to be thrown open for games of chance 'from mah-jong to poker'.

Only two world champions have been allowed to play there: Capablanca in 1919 when he took on the best players in the House, and likewise Garry Kasparov in 1989.

Many politicians over the years have been known to play a bit, but the strongest ever was arguably Marmaduke Wyvill MP (1814-96), who came second behind Adolph Anderssen in the great London tournament of 1851 - the first official international tournament.

Former premier James Callaghan was a noted player and at one time held the post of honorary president of the English Chess Association; Labour leader Michael Foot had the reputation of being a dashing player; and even the new Father of the House, Tam Dalyell, when defeated by Kasparov in 1989, commented: "I have never played anybody who moved into my backyard with such effect and then pinned me for the rest of the match. It was a great lesson."

On the opposite side of the political divide, former Tory party Chairman Sir Jeremy Hanley didn't fair any better in that 1989 match with Kasparov, but got his revenge by becoming the Chairman of Brain Games Network, the company that organised and sponsored Kasparov's title loss last year to Kramnik.

At present, Junior Minister Angela Eagle (joint British Girls' under-eighteen champion in 1976) replaced Foot as the best player in the Commons when she took the seat of Wallasey in the 1992 General Election.

However, after last Thursday's election, Alan Reid, the newly elected Liberal Democrat member for Argyll & Bute, can now lay claims to not just being the strongest player at present in the Commons, but also being the second strongest player ever behind Wyvill.

In the late 70s and early 80s, Alan was one of Scotland's leading players who represented his country in the 1978 Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires. Not only did he take the 1977 West of Scotland championship, he was also a permanent fixture in the Scottish and British Championships (in 1978 even having a creditable draw with future world championship challenger, Nigel Short) during that period.

Alan's last published rating was 2250, and if you consult Mega Database 2001 from ChessBase, you can find around 30 of his games there - including this impressive victory over one of his new constituents!


CJ Lennox - A Reid
Scottish Ch. 1977, Marshall Attack

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 0-0 8 c3 d5 9 exd5 Nxd5 10 Nxe5 Nxe5 11 Rxe5 c6 12 g3 Bd6 13 Re1 Qd7 14 d4 Qh3 15 Bxd5 cxd5 16 Qd3 Bf5 17 Qf1 Qh5 18 Be3 Bh3 19 Qe2 Bg4 20 Qf1 Rae8 21 Nd2 Re6 22 a4 bxa4 23 Rxa4 f5 24 Rxa6 f4 25 Bxf4 Rxe1 26 Qxe1 Bxf4 27 gxf4 Re8 28 Qc1 Bh3 29 f3 Qh4 30 Ne4 dxe4 31 Qe3 Qh5 32 Kf2 Bc8 33 Ra8 Qxh2+ 34 Ke1 Qh1+ 35 Kf2 Qh2+ 36 Ke1 Qh1+ 37 Kf2 Qh4+ 38 Kg1 Qg3+ 39 Kh1 Qh3+ 40 Kg1 Qg3+ 41 Kh1 Qxf3+ 42 Qxf3 exf3 43 Kg1 Kf7 44 Kf2 Bg4 45 Rxe8 Kxe8 46 c4 Kd7 47 b4 Kc6 48 Kg3 h5 49 f5 h4+ 50 Kf2 Bh5 51 d5+ Kd6 52 b5 Kc5 53 Kf1 h3 54 Kg1 Bg4 0-1

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THE ancient city of Ohrid, stomping ground for Alexander the Great, and situated along the coast of the magnificent Lake Ohrid in Macedonia, plays hosts for the next week or so to the second European Individual Championships, now under way at the Hotel Desaret.

Nearly thirty years ago Macedonia was the centre of the chess world when the 20th Chess Olympiad took place in Skopje. Now, since its independence, this is the first major chess event to be staged again in Macedonia.

The thirteen round tournament is probably one of the toughest events around these days, with 172 top flight GMs from the field of 204 battling it out not just for the prize fund of $240,000, but more importantly, a placing in the top 46 - thereby qualifying for a lucrative payday at the Fide World Championship later this year (at a yet to be announced venue and date).

Some illustrious names in the game have found the early rounds very demanding, with the likes of Judit Polgar, Nigel Short and Viktor Korchnoi struggling to make up lost ground following early losses. Finding the going even tougher is the Scottish duo of Jonathan Grant and Chris Morrison, virtually the lowest-rated players in the field, who are languishing at the foot of the table.

The player making the early running is the relatively unknown Russian GM (always the worst kind!), Konstantin Aseev after some dazzling play. He leads the tournament on 5/6 alongside GM Georgy Timoshenko, Smbat Lputian and Vadim Milov.

Leader board: 1-4 GM K Aseev (Russia), GM G Timoshenko (Ukraine), GM S Lputian (Armenia), GM V Milov (Switzerland) 5/6; 5-14 GM L Van Wely (Netherlands), GM K Sakaev (Russia), GM B Avrukh (Israel), GM A Graf (Germany), GM B Macieja (Poland), GM R Ponomariov (Ukraine), GM R Vaganian (Armenia), GM V Iordachescu (Macedonia), GM A Motylev (Russia), IM L Galego (Portugal) 4.5. British scores: GM P Wells (England) 3.5; GM N Short, GM S Conquest, GM A Miles (all England) 3; C Morrison (Scotland) 1.5; J Grant (Scotland) 1.


K Aseev - E Arlandi
2nd European Championship (2), Sicilian Scheveningen

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 g4 h6 7 h4 Be7 8 Rg1 Nh7 9 g5 hxg5 10 hxg5 Nxg5 11 Ndb5 f6 12 e5 dxe5 13 Bxg5 fxg5 14 Qxd8+ Kxd8 15 0-0-0+ Bd7 16 Ne4 a6 17 Nbd6 Kc7 18 Nf7 Rh4 19 Nexg5 Nc6 20 Nf3 Rh5 21 Rxg7 e4 22 N3g5 Bf6 23 Rg6 Bd4 24 c3 Bxf2 25 Nxe4 Be3+ 26 Kb1 Rd5 27 Re1 Rf8 28 Rg7 Bf4 29 Bc4 Rf5 30 Nfg5 Kc8 31 Rxd7 Bxg5 32 Bxe6 Re5 33 Nd6+ Kb8 34 Rxe5 Nxe5 35 Rxb7+ Ka8 36 Bd5 Rf1+ 37 Kc2 Rc1+ 38 Kb3 Rd1 39 Rb5+ 1-0

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IF you can pull yourself away from the Election fever, tonight at 8.00pm on BBC Radio 4 sees the concluding part of "Checkmate", GM Danny King's intriguing two-part series on the history of the world chess championship.

Tonight's programme comes right up to date and looks at famous matches like the Spassky-Fischer 1972, Karpov-Korchnoi 1978 and the rise to the top of Garry Kasparov after his epic tussles with Karpov.

For nearly a quarter of a century after World War II the Soviets dominated chess and the world title until the arrival of the most dominant player from the West, Bobby Fischer, who vowed to defeat the Soviets at their own game.

The match between Fischer and Boris Spassky in Iceland in 1972, with Nixon and Kissinger in the White House, and Leonid Brezhnev in the Kremlin, was billed as a microcosm of the Cold War. Yet, the match nearly never took place, as at the last minute Fischer demanded more money.

It was only after the intervention of Jim Slater (who gives a rare interview tonight on his efforts to see the match taking place), the London investment guru who saved the day by doubling the prize fund with a $125,000 donation. The rest, as they say, is history.

Nowadays Fischer remains a reclusive, his only appearance at the chessboard after winning the title being a "return match" against Spassky in war torn Yugoslavia in 1992. Spassky emigrated to France not long after the 1972 match, and these days enjoys a semi-retired life in his newly, adopted country, only occasionally venturing out to entertain us at the chessboard.

The former world champion was back in action recently when he was defeated by the young French star Laurent Fressinet in the televised final of the Le Grand Prix d'echecs du Senat Rapidplay tournament in Paris, a tournament that also featured Joel Lautier and Christian Bauer. Spassky got to the final by beating Baur, but was defeated by Fressinet in a tough final, the young Frenchman taking the title after winning the sixth game after five draws.


C Bauer - B Spassky
Grand Prix du Senat (1.2), Modern Defence

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 f3 g6 4 Nc3 Bg7 5 Be3 Qb6 6 Qd2 Qxb2 7 Rb1 Qa3 8 exd5 Nf6 9 Bc4 0-0 10 Nge2 cxd5 11 Nxd5 Nxd5 12 Bxd5 Nc6 13 Kf2 Rd8 14 c4 Be6 15 Bxe6 fxe6 16 Rxb7 Qa6 17 Rb5 Nxd4 18 Nxd4 e5 19 Re1 Rac8 20 Rd5 exd4 21 Bg5 Rxd5 22 cxd5 d3 23 Qe3 Qxa2+ 24 Kg3 Qxd5 25 Qxe7 a5 26 h4 Bf8 27 Qa7 Bd6+ 28 f4 d2 29 Rd1 Qb3+ 0-1

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CUBA, home of the legendary Jose Raoul Capablanca, may have a new superstar in the making with their World Under-20 champion, Lazaro Bruzon.

Last year Bruzon took the gold medal in the competitive world under-20 in Erevan with polished and mature strategic play beyond his years. In winning the title, Bruzon became only the third Cuban (Walter Arencibia in 1987) after Capablanca to hold a world crown.

Though Spassky, Karpov, Kasparov and Anand all won this title, it has become somewhat devalued, as the best teenage talents tend to go straight into GM tournaments.

One new tournament that's seen more and more as a stepping stone to greater things these days is the Olympic Capital Young Masters in Lausanne, organised by the world chess federation, FIDE, and regarded by many as "Junior Linares".

Last year it proved to be the turning point in the career of Alexander Grischuk, who after winning it, went on to become a world championship semi-finalist and an invitation to the real Linares.

Recently at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Bruzon came ahead of a field of twelve of the world's best young players under the age of 21 to win another gold medal at the latest edition of the knockout tournament, defeating the former French wunderkind Etienne Bacrot 2.5-1.5 in a tough final.

Final Standings: 1 L Bruzon (Cuba); 2 E Bacrot (France); 3 K Sasikiran (India); 4 A Volokitin (Ukraine) 5 L Aronian (Armenia); 6 R Ponomariov (Ukraine); 7 Bu Xiangzhi (China); 8 P Harikrishna (India).

Eliminated in the first round: A Kosteniuk (Russia), E Ghaem Maghami (Iran), F Jenni (Switzerland), Xue Zhao (China).


L Bruzon - Bu Xiangzhi
Olympic Capital Young Masters (2.3), English Opening

1 c4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 g3 g6 4 Bg2 Bg7 5 a3 e6 6 b4 d6 7 bxc5 dxc5 8 Bxc6+ bxc6 9 Bb2 Rb8 10 Rb1 Ne7 11 Nf3 0-0 12 0-0 Qa5 13 Ba1 Ba6 14 Ne4 Rxb1 15 Qxb1 Bxc4 16 Bxg7 Kxg7 17 Qb2+ f6 18 d3 Bd5 19 Nfd2 Qb6 20 Qc3 Bxe4 21 Nxe4 Nd5 22 Qc2 Qc7 23 Nxc5 Kf7 24 Rc1 Rc8 25 e4 Nb6 26 Qb3 Qd6 27 a4 Rb8 28 Qc3 Rc8 29 Rb1 Nd7 30 d4 Nxc5 31 Qxc5 Qc7 32 Kg2 Rd8 33 Rb4 g5 34 a5 Kg6 35 a6 Qd7 36 h3 Qd6 37 Rb7 Qxc5 38 dxc5 Rd4 39 Rxa7 Rc4 40 Ra8 Kg7 41 a7 Ra4 42 g4 Ra3 43 Kf1 Ra4 44 f3 Ra2 45 Ke1 h6 46 Kd1 Ra5 47 Kd2 e5 48 Kc3 Ra4 49 Kb3 Ra5 50 Kb4 Ra6 51 Rc8 Rxa7 52 Rxc6 Kf7 53 Rc8 Ke7 54 Rh8 Ra1 55 Rh7+ Ke6 56 c6 Kd6 57 Rxh6 Kxc6 58 Rxf6+ Kd7 59 Kc4 Ke7 60 Rf5 Ke6 61 Rxg5 Rf1 62 Rf5 Rh1 63 g5 Rxh3 64 Rf6+ Ke7 65 Kd5 Rg3 66 Rf5 1-0

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THERE'S a nice story told in New In Chess by Genna Sosonko about his preface to Viktor Korchnoi's new book ("My Best Games, Vol. 1"), about the 1966 Havana Olympiad.

An official approached Korchnoi when he was amongst a Soviet delegation giving simuls, telling him: "Che Guevara loves chess passionately, but he is a rather weak player. He would be extremely happy to draw his game against you." With all the photographers assembled around Guevara, Korchnoi nodded understandingly. Afterwards, Tal asked him how it went. "I won them all," replied Korchnoi. "Against Guevara, too?" - "Yes, he doesn't have the faintest idea what to do against the Catalan."

Despite the economic sanctions imposed upon tiny Cuba, it boasts more grandmasters for any other nation of its size. The country has been chess mad ever since the great Jose Raul Capablanca (1888-1942) wrested the world crown from Emanuel Lasker at Havana in 1921. However, the game reached its zenith after the Castro revolution in 1959 when it became a mass sport run along Soviet lines with the state subsidising top players - and supported by the likes of Castro and Guevara who would turn up at big chess events.

Since 1962, Cuba has paid homage to one of the greatest names in the game with the annual staging of their top tournament, The Capablanca Memorial. The latest edition, the 36th, featured three top class all-play-alls running alongside each other at the Hotel Bella Costa in Havana. Spain's Francisco Vallejo Pons dominated the category 13 elite tournament with an unbeaten score of 8.5/13; a point and a half clear of the field.


Capablanca Memorial: 1 F Vallejo Pons (Spain) 8.5/12; 2 H Stefansson (Iceland) 7; 3-5 L Dominguez (Cuba), U Andersson (Sweden), T Luther (Germany) 6.5; 6-8 A Miles (England), L Bruzon (Cuba), A Hauchard (France) 6; 9-10 A Abreu, W Arencibia (both Cuba) 5.5; 11-12 I Nataf (France), J Nogueiras (Cuba) 5; 13 N Delgado (Cuba) 4.


F Vallejo Pons - J Nogueiras
Capablanca Memorial (3), French Defence Winawer

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 Ne7 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 c5 7 Qg4 Kf8 8 Bd2 Qc7 9 Bd3 b6 10 Nh3 Ba6 11 0-0 Bxd3 12 cxd3 Nd7 13 Nf4 Qc6 14 Nh5 g6 15 Bh6+ Ke8 16 Ng7+ Kd8 17 Qh4 Rg8 18 Bg5 Rxg7 19 Bxe7+ Kc7 20 Qh6 Rgg8 21 Qxh7 Rae8 22 Qxf7 c4 23 dxc4 dxc4 24 a4 a6 25 Rab1 Kb7 26 Rb4 Ka8 27 Bd6 g5 28 f3 Kb7 29 h3 Kc8 30 Rfb1 Rh8 31 Qg6 Kb7 32 Rxb6+ Qxb6 33 Qe4+ Ka7 34 Rxb6 Kxb6 35 a5+ 1-0

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IT'S always unwise to write off Garry Kasparov too soon. As most commentators - including yours truly - were predicting the end of his glorious winning run in elite tournaments to the man that wrested the crown from his head, Kasparov came storming back for a dramatic last round win over Vladimir Kramnik to steal first place in the Astana Supertournament in Kazakhstan.

Following his success in Wijk aan Zee and Linares, the win allowed the 38-year-old former world champion to complete a hat trick of victories in super category tournaments this year - and in the process it was a "hat trick of hat trick's" as it kept intact his remarkable run of first places stretching back to Wijk aan Zee 1999.

Ironically, Kasparov final brought down the Berlin Wall - the defence that so frustrated him during their title match last year in London. After hours of analysis and five games only yielding draws with the Berlin, he was finally able to overcome the "mental block" that was largely responsible for him losing his world crown.

The victory should also help him preserve his No.1 status for the moment as it will maintain his lead at the top of the rating system ahead of Kramnik and Anand, who in the last year had made big rating gains to seriously challenge him.


Final placings: 1 G Kasparov (Russia) 7/10; 2 V Kramnik (Russia) 6.5; 3 B Gelfand (Israel) 5.5; 4-5 A Shirov (Spain), A Morozevich (Russia) 4.5; 6 D Sadvakasov (Kazakhstan) 2.


G Kasparov - V Kramnik
Astana (10), Berlin Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 0-0 Nxe4 5 d4 Nd6 6 Bxc6 dxc6 7 dxe5 Nf5 8 Qxd8+ Kxd8 9 Nc3 h6 10 h3 Bd7 11 b3 Ke8 12 Bb2 Rd8 13 Rad1 Ne7 14 Rfe1 Ng6 15 Ne4 Nf4 16 e6! Nxe6 17 Nd4 c5 18 Nf5 Rh7 19 Bf6!! Rc8 20 Bxg7 Bxg7 21 Nxg7+ Rxg7 22 Nf6+ Ke7 23 Nxd7 Rd8 24 Ne5 Rxd1 25 Rxd1 Nf4 26 Kh1 Rg5 27 Ng4 Rd5 28 Re1+ Kf8 29 Nxh6 Rd2?! (29 ..Kg7! 30 Ng4 Rd2 31 Re4 Ne6 32 Ne3 Rxf2 33 Kg1 Rd2 34 Kf1 Kf6 35 Ke1 was tougher for White.) 30 Re5 Rxf2 31 Rf5 Kg7 32 Ng4 Rxg2 33 Rxf4 Rxc2 34 Rf2 Rc3 35 Kg2 b5 36 h4 c4 37 h5 cxb3 38 axb3 Rc5 39 h6+ Kf8 40 Nf6 Rg5+ 41 Kh1 1-0

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GARRY KASPAROV'S remarkable run of first places in elite tournaments looks likely to be broken at the Astana tournament in Kazakhstan by the player who took his world title: Vladimir Kramnik.

With all of the penultimate round games being drawn, the position remains the same in the tournament with Kramnik holding on to his half-point lead over the former champion. Now, in the crunch last round showdown between the top two players in the world, Kasparov has to go all out for a win against the man who took his world crown to extend his winning run in elite tournaments - a record that stretches back to Wijk aan Zee in January 1999.

The main difference between the "2K's" in the tournament has been the difference in their performance against the back-marker, Darmen Sadvakasov. Whilst Kramnik made easy work of the 1998 world junior champion to notch-up a 2-0 scoreline, Kasparov could only achieve two draws - a result that could also jeopardize his world No.1 ranking with more haemorrhaging of Elo points.

The tournament proved to be a baptism of fire for the young Kazahk, who got off to the worst possible start with 0/3. However, since then his tournament has steadied with four creditable draws.


Leader board: 1 V Kramnik (Russia) 6.5/9; 2 G Kasparov (Russia) 6; 3 B Gelfand (Israel) 5; 4 A Morozevich (Russia) 4; 5 A Shirov (Spain) 3.5; 6 D Sadvakasov (Kazakhstan) 2.


D Sadvakasov - G Kasparov
Astana (9), Sicilian Rossolimo

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+ Bd7 4 Bxd7+ Qxd7 5 c4 Nc6 6 d4 cxd4 7 Nxd4 Nf6 8 Nc3 g6 9 f3 Bg7 10 Be3 0-0 11 0-0 a6 12 a4 e6 13 Rc1 Ne5 14 Qe2 Rfc8 15 b3 d5 16 cxd5 exd5 17 f4 Rxc3 18 Rxc3 Nxe4 19 Rc2 Ng4 20 Rfc1 h5 21 Rc7 Qd6 22 Nf3 Bf6 23 g3 Qe6 24 Bd4 Bxd4+ 25 Nxd4 Qb6 26 Qd3 Ngf2 27 Qe3 Ng4 28 Qd3 h4 29 a5 Qf6 30 Nf3 (30 Ne2!? hxg3 31 hxg3 Rd8 [31 ..Ngf2 32 Qxd5 Rd8 33 Rd7!] 32 Rc8 Rxc8 33 Rxc8+ Kg7 34 Qxd5 Nxg3! 35 Nxg3 Qxf4 36 Qg2 Qd4+ 37 Kh1 Nf2+ 38 Kh2 Ng4+ 39 Kh3 Nf2+=) 30 ..hxg3 31 hxg3 Nxg3 32 Rc8+ Rxc8 33 Rxc8+ Kg7 34 Kg2 Nf5 35 Qc3 Nge3+ 36 Kg1 d4 37 Qc5 Ne7 draw

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