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The Scotsman

Chess News July 2001

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CHESS alfresco opened the Smith & Williamson British Championships at the Spa Centre in Scarborough, as the North Yorkshire seaside resort basked in conditions to rival resorts across the globe yesterday as the mercury soared to nearly 30C.

Outside of the Spa Centre in the sea breeze, Richard Palliser, one of Yorkshire's top players, took on all comers on the beach in a simultaneous display to help publicise the 88th annual Congress. Meanwhile, inside the tournament hall, the traditional first event of the two-week long tournament, the Rapid Play, got underway.

And, following hard on the heels of Oakham School in Rutland finally winning "The Times" National School's Championship, their resident chess master, Graham Lee, defied the strong opposition to make it a double for Oakham by scoring 5.5/6 to take first equal with IM Simon Williams.


C Linford - G Lee
BCF Rapid Play (2), Caro-Kann Defence

1 e4 c6 2 Nc3 d5 3 Qf3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7 5 Bc4 Ne5 6 Qb3 Nxc4 7 Qxc4 Qd5 8 Qxd5 cxd5 9 Nc3 Nf6 10 d4 Bf5 11 Kd1 e6 12 Bf4 Rc8 13 f3 Ba3 14 Nb5 Bxb2 15 Nd6+ Kd7 16 Nxf5 Bxa1 17 Nxg7 Bxd4 18 Ne2 Rhg8 0-1


The top four boards of the first round of the British Championships featured the top four seeds, Julian Hodgson, Tony Miles, Mark Hebden and Murray Chandler facing three of England's top juniors, Desmond Tan, Lawrence Trent, Richard Pert, and the oldest player in the Championship, 61-year-old Norman Stephenson.

Although the juniors got over the nerves of being on stage in the first round to have reasonable prospects against their top seeded opponents, the first to fall was in fact the Championship veteran, Stephenson, who was the first to lose after a terrible mistake in the opening.


M Hebden - N Stephenson
British Ch. (1), Queen's Gambit Tartakower

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Be7 4 Nf3 Nf6 5 Bg5 h6 6 Bh4 0-0 7 e3 b6 8 Be2 dxc4 9 Bxc4 Bb7 10 0-0 Ne4 11 Bxe7 Qxe7 12 Nxe4 Bxe4 13 Rc1 Rc8? (13 ..Rd8!) 14 Ne5! c5 15 Qg4 Bf5 16 Qf3 Nd7 17 Qb7 1-0

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THE highlight of the British chess calendar gets underway today at the Spa Centre in Scarborough with the start of the Smith & Williamson British Chess Championships.

Over 1,000 players of all ages and strengths will be vying for various British titles in over 30 different competitions in the 88th annual congress, the main feature of course being the Championship itself with a guaranteed first prize of 10,000(UK).

Reigning champion for the past two years, Julian Hodgson, is again defending his title and is top seed in the field of 65 that includes 12 Grandmasters and 13 International Masters. Looking to stop the Hodgson hat-trick in Scarborough will be Britain's first GM Tony Miles, Mark Hebden, Murray Chandler and John Emms. Also likely to be mounting a strong challenge for the title this year will be the Scottish No.1 Jonathan Rowson, fresh from his recent Scottish Championship win in Aberdeen.

The two-week seaside extravaganza promises to be a memorable event and could prove to be more open than previous years. The top four boards of each round will be broadcast live over the internet at the official website, www.chess.co.uk/Brit2001/index.html.

Sponsors Smith & Williamson dominate July and August on the British chess scene. Just before the annual championships, the London-based accountants and private bank organise a Young Masters junior international (now in its eleventh edition), held at King Edwards School in Whitley, Surrey.

After getting off to a slow start of 1/3, 15-year-old Hungarian Gergely Antal soon found his rhythm to win five in a row to take the title with an unbeaten final score of 6.5/9, a half-point ahead of Russian Oleg Gladysev.


G Antal - T Bromann
Smith & Williamson YM (6), Stonewall Dutch

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 e6 4 Nc3 f5 5 Bf4 Nf6 6 e3 Be7 7 Bd3 0-0 8 Qc2 Ne4 9 h4 Qa5 10 Ne5 Bb4 11 Bxe4 fxe4 12 0-0 Nd7 13 f3 exf3 14 Rxf3 Nf6 15 Bg5 Be7 16 Raf1 Qd8 17 h5 Nd7 18 Rxf8+ Nxf8 19 Qf2 Qe8 20 Bxe7 Qxe7 21 Qg3 h6 22 Rf7 Qg5 23 Qf3 Nh7 24 Rd7! Nf8 (24 ..Bxd7 25 Qf7+ Kh8 26 Ng6+) 25 Qf7+ Kh7 26 Re7 Qxe3+ 27 Kf1 Qc1+ 28 Kf2 Qxb2+ 29 Ne2 1-0

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THE year 1936 was the end of Emanuel Lasker's glorious career.

The second man to hold the world crown had turned 67, and, after losing his title to Capablanca in 1921, and had held the world championship for twenty-seven unbroken years (a record that still stands today).

Though still amazing in individual games, he was taking sixth and seventh prizes in the strongest tournaments instead of his customary first prize. He retired to the adulation of his fans, who called his achievements a "biological miracle" - one that would never be repeated.

Now, one of the games indefatigable veterans, Viktor Korchnoi, is currently challenging Lasker's brilliant longevity in the game. He began his long international career in 1945, and unsuccessfully fought for the world crown twice after his sensational defection from the USSR after winning a tournament in Amsterdam twenty-five years ago.

The old maestro is still showing that he can compete with the best of them in top tournaments. He turned 70 in style recently by playing in a top-level tournament held in his honour in Zurich along with the likes of Kasparov and Kramnik.

Playing in the 34th annual Biel Chess Festival, Korchnoi got off to a sensational start of 2/2 in the very strong six-player double rounder. After defeating the world number 9 Boris Gelfand in the first round, Korchnoi defied the 53-year age gap to outplay Alexander Grischuk, the young Russian wunderkind tipped heavily to be a future world champion.

V Korchnoi - A Grischuk
Biel (2), Stonewall Dutch

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c6 4 e3 f5 5 Bd3 Nf6 6 0-0 Bd6 7 b3 Qe7 8 Bb2 b6 9 Qc1 Bb7 10 Ba3 Nbd7 11 cxd5 cxd5 12 Bxd6 Qxd6 13 Nc3 a6 14 Qb2 0-0 15 b4 Rac8 16 a4 Ne4 17 Ne2 Qe7 18 Rfc1 Nd6 19 b5 a5 20 Qa3 Rxc1+ 21 Rxc1 Rc8 22 Rxc8+ Nxc8 23 Qc3 Qd6 24 Nf4 Ne7 25 h4 Nf8 26 h5 Bc8 27 Ne5 Bd7 28 f3 Be8 29 g4 g5 30 Ne2 Nd7 31 Kg2 h6 32 Ng3 fxg4 33 fxg4 Nxe5 34 dxe5 Qc5 35 Qd2 Qc7 36 Qb2 Kg7 37 Ne2 Kg8 38 Kf2 Bf7 39 Qd4 Kg7 40 Qc3 Qb8 41 Nd4 Qd8 42 Ke2 Bg8 43 Bb1 Kh8 44 Qa3 Nc8 45 Bg6 Kg7 46 Bb1 Kh8 47 Qc1 Ne7 48 Qf1 Nc8 49 Nc6 1-0

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HARSH economic winds, which have reduced the number of one-round-a-day all-play-alls, are stimulating more flexible schedules in chess tournaments - none more so than in the American circuit.

The Independence Day holidays in the USA featured the 29th annual World Open at the plush Adam's Mark Hotel in Philadelphia; the largest and richest event of its kind with a cosmopolitan field of well over 1,000 entrants, all battling it out for the $200,000 prize fund spread over seven sections.

Only in the US do you see such tournaments. For the first five rounds, players can choose their schedule: one game a day, or five games daily. Slow starters can withdraw and re-enter via a faster rate of play. All schedules then link up for the final four rounds of the GM-infested Open, which had a top prize of $15,000.

And the big pots are not just for the masters. Lower sections range from the under-2200 down to the under-1600, each with 30 prizes ranging up to $10,000 for section winners. Entry fees are correspondingly high (about $200-250), but what a difference to some British congresses which have meagre and often not guaranteed rewards.

It was all enough to lure many of the world's top GMs to the tournament. And, like last year event, this inevitably led to a gridlock at the top after the final round, with seven GMs - Aleksandr Goldin, Ilya Smirin, Joel Benjamin, Yuri Shulman, Aleksandr Onischuk, Alexander Ivanov and Leonid Yudashin - tied for first on 7/9. Although the cash was split evenly ($3,929), there can only be one winner of the World Open: so after a speed playoff into the night, Israeli GM Aleksandr Goldin took the 2001 title.


J Bonin - A Goldin
29th World Open (3), Hedgehog

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 Nbd2 Bb7 6 Bg2 c5 7 e4 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Bc5 9 N4b3 Be7 10 0-0 Qc7 11 Re1 d6 12 Nd4 Nbd7 13 b3 a6 14 Bb2 0-0 15 Rc1 Rac8 16 Nb1 Qb8 17 Nc3 Rfe8 18 f4 Bf8 19 f5 exf5 20 Nxf5 g6 21 Ne3 Bg7 22 Qd2 Bxe4 23 Ba3 Nc5 24 b4 Ncd7 25 b5 Bxg2 26 Bxd6 Qa8 27 Qxg2 axb5 28 Qxa8 Rxa8 29 cxb5 Ne5 30 Bxe5 Rxe5 31 Rcd1 Bf8 32 Nc4 Rxe1+ 33 Rxe1 Rc8 34 Ne4 Nxe4 35 Rxe4 f5 36 Rf4 g5 37 Nxb6 Rc1+ 38 Rf1 Bc5+ 39 Kg2 Rxf1 40 Kxf1 Bxb6 0-1

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PERFECTION is always hard to achieve no matter what the discipline. In chess, winning every game in a tournament is practically unheard of.

Playing on his "home turf" of New York in 1964 during the US Championships, the great Bobby Fischer notched up the most extraordinary record ever achieved in the modern game by winning all eleven games - most of which were against top grandmaster-level opponents.

Thirty years later at the Lloyds Bank Masters in London, the relatively unheard of young Russian Alexander Morozevich burst onto the chess firmament when he came close to emulating Fischer's record. He decimated the field by conceding just one draw from ten games to have a tournament performance of 2970 - a figure that's only ever been achieved by two players: Kasparov and Fischer.

Now, Fischer's 1964 record has been equalled in a top class competition by the extraordinary feat by one of Kasparov's former trainers, Russian emigre Mikhail Gurevich, who scored 9/9 at the category VIII (2433) Belgium Championships recently at Charleroi.

Not content with nine straight wins, Gurevich went straight from Charleroi to Copenhagen to play in the Politken Cup, and proceeded to win his first four games before his winning streak was ended in the fifth round when he lost to Johnny Hector.


Belgium Championships: 1 GM M Gurevich 9/9; 2-3 GM A Dgebuadze, GM V Chuchelov 6; 4 GM L Winants 4.5; 5 IM E Cekro 4; 6-7 IM M Dutreeuw, P Claesen 3.5; 8-9 FM J Claesen, FM R Meesen 3; 10 F J Van Mechelen 2.5.


M Gurevich - V Chuchelov
Belgium Ch. (6), Bogo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 b6 4 a3 Ba6 5 Qb3 c6 6 Bg5 Be7 7 Nc3 d5 8 cxd5 Nxd5 9 Bxe7 Qxe7 10 e4 Nxc3 11 Qxc3 Bb7 12 Bc4 0-0 13 0-0 Nd7 14 Rfe1 Rfc8 15 Rad1 a6 16 Ba2 h6 17 Nd2 c5 18 d5 e5 19 Nc4 b5 20 Ne3 c4 21 Nf5 Qf6 22 Re3 Kh7 23 Rf3 Qb6 24 Nxh6! (24 ..gxh6 [24 ..Kxh6 25 Rh3+ Kg5 (25 ..Kg6 26 Qf3!) 26 Qf3 Qg6 27 Rg3+] 25 Rxf7+ Kh8 26 Rxd7) 1-0

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AFTER the number crunching at the end of the 29th Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting, the net result showed that Vladimir Kramnik gained a further 5 Elo points as he nudges ever closer to replacing Garry Kasparov as the world number one; Vishy Anand heading in the opposite direction with a massive loss of around 20-points after his disaster; and "the happy man with the broken leg", Veselin Topalov, gaining 14-points!

That's roughly what his name translates to from Bulgarian, but the only thing that he is interested in breaking has been his poor performances of recent years after such a stunning debut on the elite circuit at Linares 1994.

One of the world's most exciting and courageous players, Topalov, 25, hit a peak in 1996, when he was constantly winning tournaments ahead of Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand to be regarded as a potential title challenger. After going into decline with a five-year hiatus, Topalov is back to his brilliant best to share yet another tournament this year with Kramnik.

He tied first equal in March with the BGN world champion at the 10th Melody Amber Tournament in Monte Carlo. And, following his result in Dortmund, Topalov looks as if he's finally laid to rest the bad results that haunted him until now.

During Dortmund, he won three games (against Anand, Adams and Morozevich), more than any other player in the tournament, and only lost out to Kramnik for the title by virtue of his opening round lose to the BGN Champion.


V Topalov - V Anand
Dortmund (3), French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 dxe4 5 Nxe4 Nbd7 6 Nf3 h6 7 Nxf6+ Nxf6 8 Bxf6 Qxf6 9 Bb5+ c6 10 Bd3 a6 11 c3 c5 12 Ne5 Bd6 13 Qe2 cxd4 14 cxd4 Bd7 15 0-0 Qf4 16 g3 Qxd4 17 Nxd7 Kxd7 18 Qf3 Ke7 19 Qxb7+ Kf6 20 Rad1 Qa7 21 Qf3+ Ke7 22 Qg4 g5 23 Bc4 Qb6 24 Rd3 Rad8 25 Rf3 Be5 26 Re1 f6 27 Qh5 Qb4 28 Rxe5! Qxc4 29 Re1 Qxa2 30 Qg6 Rhf8 31 Qxh6 Qxb2 32 Qg7+ Rf7 33 Rxe6+ Kxe6 34 Re3+ Qe5 35 Rxe5+ fxe5 36 Qxg5 Rdf8 37 Qg4+ Kd5 38 Qd1+ Kc5 39 Qc2+ Kb4 40 Qb2+ Kc5 41 Qxe5+ Kb6 42 h4 a5 43 h5 Rd7 44 Qe6+ Kc7 45 h6 1-0

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THE Brain Games world champion Vladimir Kramnik continued his dominance of the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting as a penultimate round defeat of rival Vishy Anand secured him first place in the tournament gave him his sixth title.

With an unbeaten final score of 6.5/10 in the strongest tournament of the year, Kramnik shared first equal with Bulgaria's Veselin Topalov - Kramnik taking the title on Sonnenerborn-Berger tiebreak thanks to his first round defeat of Topalov.

With some exciting games and his customary fearless attacking style, Topalov had a return to form of his early promise of 1995 by having his best result in years to show that he intends to be a player with something to prove.

While the result will further improve Kramnik's Elo rating in the chase to overtake world no.1 Garry Kasparov, the tournament turned out to be a nightmare for the Fide world champion, Anand.

Finishing last (for the first time ever since turning professional) with a -4 score of 3/10, it's reckoned the world number three lost at least 20 Elo points. It's also the first time that a reigning world champion found himself languishing down at the foot of the table with a mere 30 per cent score. It's thought that the announcement during the tournament of the BGN world championship cycle affected his confidence at the board. However, more crucial could have been his decision to allow his influential second, Elizbar Ubilava, to go on a chess vacation to the Pyrenees during Dortmund - which naturally he won!


Final placings: 1-2 V Kramnik (Russia), V Topalov (Bulgaria) 6.5/10; 3 P Leko (Hungary) 5.5; 4 A Morozevich (Russia) 5; 5 M Adams (England) 3.5; 6 V Anand (India) 3.


V Kramnik - V Anand
Dortmund (9), Queen's Gambit Accepted

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 e6 4 e3 Nf6 5 Bxc4 c5 6 0-0 a6 7 Bb3 cxd4 8 exd4 Nc6 9 Nc3 Be7 10 Bg5 0-0 11 Qd2 Na5 12 Bc2 b5 13 Qf4 Ra7 14 Rad1 Bb7 15 d5! Bxd5 16 Nxd5 exd5 17 Qh4 h5 18 Rfe1 Nc6 19 g4! Qd6 20 gxh5 Qb4 21 h6 Qxh4 22 Nxh4 Ne4 23 hxg7 Rc8 24 Bxe7 Nxe7 25 Bxe4 dxe4 26 Rxe4 Kxg7 27 Rd6 Rc5 28 Rg4+ Kh7 29 Nf3 Ng6 30 Ng5+ Kg7 31 Nxf7 Rxf7 32 Rdxg6+ Kh7 33 R6g5! Rxg5 34 Rxg5 Rc7 35 a3 b4 36 axb4 Rc1+ 37 Kg2 Rb1 38 Ra5 Rxb2 39 Ra4 1-0

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IT'S fast becoming a tale of two tournaments at the Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting for world champions Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand. Whilst one is doing well, the other has an unmitigated disaster on his hands.

Kramnik stayed ahead at the top with a sixth round draw with Veselin Topalov, the result keeping the Brain Games champion half point ahead of the field. Not so fortunate however is Fide champion Anand. A disastrous 28-move defeat at the hands of the young Russian Alexander Morozevich, his second loss of the tournament, finds the Indian ace languishing uncharacteristically at the foot of the table.

For Morozevich, who recently moved into the fourth spot ahead of Michael Adams in the world rankings (only Garry Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand are ahead of him), the win proved to be the perfect 24th birthday present on his Dortmund debut.

It was also his first classical win over Anand, and result that helped the young Russian to reduce his career score to 2-4 with three draws in nine clashes. He's also one of two players this year - the other being Garry Kasparov - who has defeated Kramnik in serious play.

One of the most exciting players on the elite circuit, Morozevich is regarded as a risky and unpredictable player. He first came to prominence in 1994 at the age of 17, when he obliterated the field at the Lloyds Bank International in London, winning with an almost unheard of score of 9.5/10. Proving the result was no fluke, he went on to produce another stunning performance at the even stronger Pamplona tournament later the same year.


Leader board: 1 V Kramnik (Russia) 4/6; 2-3 P Leko (Hungary), V Topalov (Bulgaria) 3.5; 4 A Morozevich (Russia) 3; 5-6 M Adams (England), V Anand (India) 2


V Anand - A Morozevich
Dortmund (6), Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 e3 a6 5 Bd3 Bg4 6 Qb3 Bxf3 7 gxf3 Ra7 8 Nc3 e6 9 Qc2 Be7 10 Bd2 0-0 11 0-0-0 Nbd7 12 cxd5 cxd5 13 e4 Kh8 14 e5 Nh5 15 Bxh7 b5 16 Kb1 Rc7 17 Qd3 Bg5 18 f4 Bxf4 19 Bxf4 Nxf4 20 Qe3 Qh4! 21 Bc2 Rfc8 22 Bd3 Nb6 23 Ne2 Nxd3 24 Rxd3 Nc4 25 Qf3 Qe4 26 Qxe4 dxe4 27 Rh3+ Kg8 28 Rd1 Nxb2 0-1

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THE race is on to find a challenger for Brain Games world champion Vladimir Kramnik, with the announcement in Dortmund that next year's event will be a special Candidates-style tournament, the winner going through to challenge for the crown.

Defeated champion Garry Kasparov gets a chance of revenge over his nemesis with an automatic invitation to the tournament, and likewise Fide world champion Vishy Anand. Four top players from the FIDE rating list, who will also receive invitations, will join them in the tournament.

Another two slots will be contested in a worldwide Internet tournament, which for the first time will open a world championship event to the general public.

The special online tournament (costing $10 to join) will start this August, and will be organised through the BGN site (www.braingames.net). Eight online qualifiers will be joined in a tournament with another eight specially invited players, the top two going through for a shot at the title challenge.

The announcement was made during a press conference featuring World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, the president of Brain Games Network, Raymond Keene, and representatives of the organizers of the Dortmund super-tournament.

The world championship qualifier, with a prize fund of over $200,000, will take place next year, running from July 6-21. The eight players will be seeded into two groups, in which two double-round robins will be held. Two winners from each group will go on to play in the semifinals (2 game KO) and then the final (4 game KO). The winner of the final will challenge Kramnik in a 16-game $2m plus match in Bahrain in October 2002.

V Kramnik - A Morozevich
Dortmund (4), Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 e3 Bf5 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bd3 Bxd3 7 Qxd3 e6 8 0-0 Be7 9 e4 0-0 10 Rd1 b5 11 c5 dxe4 12 Nxe4 Nxe4 13 Qxe4 Qd5 14 Qxd5 cxd5 15 Bf4 Nc6 16 Ne5 Nb8 17 Rd3 Rc8 18 Re1 Bf6 19 Ng4 Nc6 20 Nxf6+ gxf6 21 Bg3 Kg7 22 Bh4 Ne7 23 g4 Ng6 24 Bg3 a5 25 Bd6 h5 26 gxh5 Nh4 27 Rg3+ Kh6 28 Be7 Nf5 29 Bxf6! Nxg3 30 fxg3 Rg8 31 Kg2 Kxh5 32 h3 Kg6 33 Rf1 Kh7 34 g4 b4 35 Kg3 b3 36 a3 Rac8 37 h4 Rg6 38 h5 1-0

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THE German odyssey for Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand continues hard on the heels of the Mainz Chess Classic, as the elite circus moves down the autobahn for the 29th Dortmunder Sparkassen Chess Festival, held in the city's Opera House under the patronage of Chancellor Gerhard Schroder.

The two world champions meet again in the strongest tournament of the year, and are joined in an all top-ten line-up that includes Alexander Morozevich, Michael Adams, Peter Leko and Veselin Topalov for a double round robin, making the tournament a category 21 with an average Elo of 2755.

The German TV station WDR will be broadcasting three one-hour programmes on the evening of July 15, 18 and 22. Some UK-based cable subscribers and those with access to the Astra satellite will be able to view them.

Dortmund is always regarded as "Kramnik's tournament" due to the high-level of success the Russian has enjoyed there. In the last six meetings he's won five first places, losing out only to Peter Leko in 1999. This year he got off to a flyer with a superb opening round win over Bulgaria's Veselin Topalov. And, as the player's head for the rest day after five rounds, Kramnik, looking for his seventh title, holds a half-point lead aver the field.

Leader board: 1 V Kramnik (Russia) 3.5/5; 2-3 P Leko (Hungary), V Topalov (Bulgaria) 3; 4-5 V Anand (India), A Morozevich (Russia) 2; 6 M Adams (England) 1.5.


V Topalov - V Kramnik
Dortmund (1), English Opening

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qb3 c5 5 g3 Nc6 6 a3 Ba5 7 Bg2 0-0 8 0-0 d5 9 d3 h6 10 Bf4 Re8 11 Na4 b6 12 Ne5 Bd7 13 e3 g5 14 Nxc6 Bxc6 15 Be5 Ng4 16 Bc3 Bxc3 17 Nxc3 dxc4 18 dxc4 Bxg2 19 Kxg2 Qe7 20 Ne4 f5 21 h3 Ne5 22 Qc3 Nd7 23 Nd2 Rad8 24 Rad1 Nf6 25 Nf3 Rxd1 26 Rxd1 e5 27 Qc2 e4 28 Ng1 Rd8 29 Ne2 Rxd1 30 Qxd1 Qd7! 31 Qxd7 Nxd7 32 b3 Ne5 33 Nc3 Kf7 34 g4 fxg4 35 hxg4 Nxg4 36 Nxe4 Ke6 37 Nc3 Ne5 38 f4 gxf4 39 exf4 Nc6 40 Nb5 h5 41 Kg3 a5 42 Nc7+ Kf5 43 Nd5 Nd4 44 Kh4 Nxb3 45 Kxh5 Nd2 46 Nxb6 Kxf4 47 Na4 Ne4 0-1

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WITH his second title wrapped up with a round to spare, Jonathan Rowson had the luxury of being able to relax with a quick draw in the final round of the 108th Scottish Championships at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, to take his winning score to 7/9.

In the big battle for second, three of the four players won their games; the unfortunate one being last year's joint Champion, Alan Norris, who was comprehensively beaten by Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant - but alas: no norms were achieved despite a superb performance by one of the top female players in the game.

Ketevan, 32, originally from Georgia, settled in Edinburgh in 1996 after marrying the former Scotland team captain and internationalist, Jonathan Grant. Playing for Georgia at the very top of international team tournaments, she's won four gold medals in Olympiad's and European Team Championships. In her own right, she was the bronze medallist in the recent women's European Individual championships.


Final placings: 1 GM J Rowson (Bon Accord) 7/9; 2-4 WGM K Arakhamia-Grant (Edinburgh West), GM P Motwani (Belgium), IM J Shaw (Kilmarnock) 6; 5 IM D Bryson (Shettleston) 5.5; 6-7 N Berry (Edinburgh), FM A Norris (Wood Green) 5; 8-9 GM C McNab (Dundee), IM S Mannion (Cathcart) 4.5; 10-11 I Gourlay (Rose Foregrove), W Buchanan (Edinburgh West) 3.5; 12-13 J Stevenson (Athenaeum), M Fraser (Mussleburgh) 2.5; 14 WFM E Rutherford (Edinburgh) 1.5.


A Norris - K Arakhamia-Grant
108th Scottish Ch. (9), English Opening

1 c4 g6 2 g3 Bg7 3 Bg2 e5 4 Nc3 d6 5 e4 Ne7 6 Nge2 Nbc6 7 d3 0-0 8 0-0 h6 9 Rb1 a5 10 a3 f5 11 b4 axb4 12 axb4 f4 13 f3 g5 14 b5 Na5 15 Bd2 Be6 16 Nd5 b6 17 Ra1 Nxd5 18 exd5 Bf5 19 g4 Bxd3 20 Bxa5 e4 21 Bc3 Bxe2 22 Qxe2 Bxc3 23 Rxa8 Qxa8 24 Qxe4 Qe8 25 Qxe8 Rxe8 26 Rd1 Re2 27 Bf1 Ra2 28 Bd3 Bd4+ 29 Kh1 Be3 30 Re1 Kg7 31 Re2 Ra3 32 Be4 Kf6 33 Kg2 Ke5 34 Rc2 Kd4 35 Bf5 Ra1 36 Bd7 Rg1+ 37 Kh3 Rd1 38 Kg2 Bd2 39 Bf5 Bc3 40 Bd7 Kxc4 41 Bc6 Ra1 42 Be8 Ra3 43 h4 Kxd5 44 h5 Kc4 45 Re2 d5 46 Bf7 Kxb5 47 Bxd5 Kc5 48 Bf7 Bd4 49 Re6 Ra2+ 50 Kh1 Rf2 51 Rxh6 Rxf3 52 Rg6 Rh3+ 53 Kg2 Rg3+ 0-1


THE 108th Scottish Championships being played at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen is heading for an exciting finish - for second place that is!

Top seed Jonathan Rowson, after getting off to a bad start with two opening round draws, has obliterated the field in his hometown to take the 108th title with a round to spare.

Rowson outplayed the field in the second half of the tournament with a powerful performance to lift his second Scottish Championship title, following his win two years ago in Edinburgh. Three successive wins in rounds six, seven and eight, against former Champion IM Douglas Bryson and defending joint Champions Alan Norris and IM John Shaw was enough to give the Scottish No.1 an unassailable 1.5-point lead going into the final round.

With the title already won, the big battle in the final round is for second place. Of the four players in second place, the crucial game could be the second board encounter between Norris and top female player Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant. It's possible that more than just second place could be at stake for these two as Norris looks as though he could need a win for his first IM norm; Arakhamia-Grant a win for her second GM norm.


Leader board: 1 GM J Rowson (Bon Accord) 6.5/8; 2-5 GM P Motwani (Belgium), WGM K Arakhami-Grant (Edinburgh West), IM J Shaw (Kilmarnock), FM A Norris (Wood Green) 5; 6 IM D Bryson (Shettleston) 4.5; 7-8 GM C McNab (Dundee), N Berry (Edinburgh) 4; 9-11 IM S Mannion (Cathcart), W Buchanan (Edinburgh West), I Gourlay (Rose Foregrove) 3.5; 12-13 J Stevenson (Athenaeum), M Fraser (Mussleburgh) 2.5; 14 WFM E Rutherford (Edinburgh) 1.5.


J Rowson - J Shaw
108th Scottish Ch. (8), Sicilian Rossolimo

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 4 Bxc6 dxc6 5 d3 Bg7 6 0-0 e5 7 a3 a5 8 Be3 Qe7 9 Nbd2 Bg4 10 b4 cxb4 11 axb4 Qxb4 12 Nc4 Nf6 13 Rb1 Qe7 14 Rxb7 Nd7 15 h3 Bxf3 16 Qxf3 Qe6 17 Qg4 Qxg4 18 hxg4 Ke7 19 Nb6 Rad8 20 Ra1 Ke6 21 Rxa5 Nxb6 22 Rxb6 Rc8 23 Raa6 h5 24 gxh5 Rxh5 25 Rxc6+ Rxc6 26 Rxc6+ Kd7 27 Rc4 Bh6 28 Bxh6 Rxh6 29 c3 Rh8 30 d4 Kd6 31 d5 Ra8 32 Rc6+ Kd7 33 c4 Ra1+ 34 Kh2 Rc1 35 c5 Rc2 36 Kg3 Rc4 37 f3 Rc2 38 Kh3 Rc4 39 g3 Rc3 40 Kg4 Rc4 41 Kg5 Rc3 42 Rf6 Ke8 43 c6 1-0


THE Scottish Championships being played at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen is heading for a dramatic, final weekend with the 108th title up for grabs for any one of eight players.

Overnight leader Jonathan Rowson drew with top female player Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant to stay in first place with a score of 3.5/5. The Scottish No.1 was joined in the top spot by the 1996 and 1997 Champion and Scotland On Sunday columnist, Douglas Bryson, whose defeat of IM Steve Mannion was easily the best game of a bloodthirsty round that saw four of the seven games being decisive.

Dundee rivals Paul Motwani and Colin McNab, Scotland's first two grandmasters, saw their 52nd game (in serious play) end in a tame draw to stay in the chasing pack - a result that keeps Motwani ahead by a score of 27-25 in their personal duel, first started back in 1973 when they first faced each other over the chessboard at the Telecoms Chess Club in Dundee.


Round 5: Arakhamia-Grant draw Rowson; Motwani draw McNab; Norris draw Shaw; Bryson 1-0 Mannion; Berry 1-0 Gourlay; Buchanan 1-0 Fraser; Stevenson 1-0 Rutherford.


Leader board: 1-2 GM J Rowson (Bon Accord), IM D Bryson (Shettleston) 3.5/5; 3-8 WGM K Arakhamia-Grant (Edinburgh West), GM P Motwani (Belgium), GM C McNab (Dundee), IM J Shaw (Kilmarnock), FM A Norris (Wood Green), N Berry (Edinburgh) 3; 9 IM S Mannion (Cathcart) 2.5; 10-11 W Buchanan (Edinburgh West), J Stevenson (Athenaeum) 2; 12-13 M Fraser (Mussleburgh), I Gourlay (Rose Foregrove) 1.5; 14 WFM E Rutherford (Edinburgh) 0.5.


D Bryson - S Mannion
108th Scottish Ch. (5), Bishop's Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nf6 3 d3 c6 4 Nf3 Be7 5 0-0 d6 6 Re1 0-0 7 Nbd2 Re8 8 Nf1 Nbd7 9 a3 h6 10 Ng3 Nf8 11 d4 Ng6 12 c3 Bf8 13 Ba2 Qc7 14 h3 c5 15 d5 b5 16 Be3 c4 17 Qd2 Nd7 18 Rad1 Nc5 19 Bb1 Bd7 20 Kh2 Nb3 21 Qc2 Be7 22 Nf5 Bxf5 23 exf5 Nf8 24 g4 Nd7 25 Rg1 f6 26 Qe2 Nbc5 27 Nd2 Bd8 28 Be4 Rc8 29 h4 Rf8 30 Qf3 Be7 31 Rg2 Rf7 32 Rh1 Rcf8 33 Bc2 Qd8 34 Kg1 Re8 35 Qh3 e4 36 g5 Kh8 37 g6 Rff8 38 Bxh6! Ne5 39 h5 Rg8 40 Be3 Bf8 41 h6 gxh6 42 Bxh6 1-0


THE first big GM showdown in the Scottish Championships being played at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, saw top seed Jonathan Rowson move into first place after defeating overnight leader Paul Motwani in a dramatic, fourth round game.

After an inauspicious start for the Scottish No.1 that saw him get off to a bad start as he ceded draws to Neil Berry and Mark Fraser, Rowson's victory over Motwani blew the Championship wide open with any one of eight players now in contention for the 108th title.

After winning his first title two year's ago in Edinburgh, Rowson gained his third and final GM norm to become Scotland's third grandmaster. With Scotland only having two GMs in the past in Motwani and McNab, it was a tradition in the Scottish Championship to have a visiting GM playing "hors concours" to qualify for GM norm status.

Now, with all three Scottish GMs playing for the first time in Aberdeen, the Championship has now acquired GM norm status entirely from homegrown talent.


Round 4: Rowson 1-0 Motwani; Shaw draw Arakhamia-Grant; Norris draw Bryson; McNab draw Berry; Mannion 1-0 Stevenson; Gourlay 1-0 Buchanan; Rutherford 0-1 Fraser.


Leader board: 1 GM J Rowson (Bon Accord) 3/4; 2-8 GM P Motwani (Belgium), WGM K Arakhamia-Grant (Edinburgh West), GM C McNab (Dundee), IM J Shaw (Kilmarnock), IM D Bryson (Shettleston), IM S Mannion (Cathcart), FM A Norris (Wood Green) 2.5; 9 N Berry (Edinburgh) 2; 10-11 I Gourlay (Rose Foregrove), M Fraser (Mussleburgh) 1.5; 12-13 W Buchanan (Edinburgh West), J Stevenson (Athenaeum) 1; 14 WFM E Rutherford (Edinburgh) 0.5.


J Rowson - P Motwani
108th Scottish Championships (4), French Winawer

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Qa5 7 Bd2 Qa4 8 Qb1 c4 9 Ne2 Nc6 10 Ng3 Nge7 11 Nh5 Rg8 12 g3 Bd7 13 Bh3 0-0-0 14 0-0 Rdf8 15 Re1 Kb8 16 Qb2 Nc8 17 Re3 Nb6 18 Rf1 Qa5 19 Qc1 Be8 20 Nf4 a6 21 Ng2 Na7 22 f4 Bd7 23 f5 exf5 24 Bxf5 Bxf5 25 Rxf5 Nb5 26 Ref3 Qxa3 27 Qxa3 Nxa3 28 e6 f6 29 Bf4+ Kc8 30 Bd6 Nb5 31 Bc5 Kc7 32 Nf4 Re8 33 Re3 Nc8 34 Nxd5+ Kd8 35 e7+ Kd7 36 Rxf6 gxf6 37 Nxf6+ Kc6 38 Nxg8 Nbd6 39 Bxd6 Kxd6 40 Kf2 Nxe7 41 Nxe7 Rxe7 42 Rxe7 Kxe7 43 g4 Kf6 44 h4 h6 45 Ke3 a5 46 Kd2 b5 47 Kc1 Ke6 48 Kb2 Kd5 49 h5 Ke6 50 g5 1-0


PAUL MOTWANI continues to hold the sole lead in the 108th Scottish Championships being played at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen.

A third round draw with last year's joint Champion, John Shaw, kept Motwani a half-point ahead of the field as he attempts to win his sixth Scottish title. However, he now has a chasing pack of five previous Champions on his tail, not to mention one of the top female players in the game.

Fresh from winning the bronze medal at the recent European Women's European Open, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, playing in only her second Scottish Championship, produced the best game of the round to defeat Walter Buchanan.

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 - where she's won four gold medals in Olympiad's and European team Championships.

Round 3: Motwani draw Shaw; Bryson draw McNab; Stevenson 0-1 Rowson; Arakhamia-Grant 1-0 Buchanan; Berry draw Mannion; Fraser 0-1 Norris; Rutherford draw Gourlay.

Leader board: 1 GM P Motwani (Belgium) 2.5/3; 2-7 GM J Rowson (Bon Accord), IM J Shaw (Kilmarnock), WGM K Arakhamia-Grant (Edinburgh West), GM C McNab (Dundee), IM D Bryson (Shettleston), FM A Norris (Wood Green) 2; 8-9 N Berry (Edinburgh), IM S Mannion (Cathcart) 1.5; 10-11 J Stevenson (Athenaeum), W Buchanan (Edinburgh West) 1; 12-14 I Gourlay (Rose Foregrove), WFM E Rutherford (Edinburgh), M Fraser (Musselburgh) 0.5.


K Arakhamia-Grant - W Buchanan
108th Scottish Championships (3), French Winawer

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 b6 5 a3 Bf8 6 Nf3 Qd7 7 b4 c5 8 bxc5 bxc5 9 Bb5 Nc6 10 0-0 Qc7 11 Ne2 c4 12 c3 Bd7 13 Ba4 Nge7 14 Bc2 Nc8 15 Nf4 Na5 16 a4 Rb8 17 Ba3 Nb3 18 Bxf8 Kxf8 19 Ra3 Qa5 20 Qe1 Nb6 21 Bxb3 cxb3 22 Rxb3 Bxa4 23 Qa1 g6 24 Qa3+ Kg7 25 Nxe6+!! fxe6 26 Qe7+ Kh6 (26 ..Kg8 27 Ng5 Rf8 28 Nxe6 Rf7 29 Qd8+) 27 Ng5 Kh5 28 Nxe6 h6 29 Ng7+ (29 Ng7+ Kg4 30 h3+ Kf4 31 Qh4#) 1-0


THE second round of the 108th Scottish Championships being played at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen, has seen Scotland's first grandmaster and Scotsman columnist, Paul Motwani, take an early lead over the field to be the only player with a 100 per cent score.

Whilst main rivals John Shaw, Douglas Bryson, Colin McNab, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant and local hero Jonathan Rowson could only draw to fall of the pace, Motwani took the early lead in the nine round competition with an instructive endgame win over the 1995 Champion, Steve Mannion.

Motwani, who now lives in Belgium, was the youngest player to be crowned Scottish Champion when he won the title at the age of 16 in 1978. He holds five national titles, and should he win this year for his sixth, he will close in on Roddy McKay's modern day record of seven national titles.

However, he would still be some way off the record of 11 titles won in the golden thirty-year period from 1932-62 by the eminent bridge designer, Dr WA Fairhurst.


Round 2: Mannion 0-1 Motwani; Shaw draw Bryson; McNab draw Arakhamia-Grant; Stevenson draw Berry; Rowson draw Fraser; Norris 1-0 Gourlay; Buchanan 1-0 Rutherford.


Leader board: 1 GM P Motwani (Belgium) 2/2; 2-4 IM J Shaw (Kilmarnock), IM D Bryson (Shettleston), GM C McNab (Dundee) 1.5; 5-11 GM J Rowson (Bon Accord), J Stevenson (Athenaeum), WGM K Arakhamia-Grant (Edinburgh West), W Buchanan (Edinburgh West), N Berry (Edinburgh), IM S Mannion (Cathcart), FM A Norris (Wood Green) 1; 12 M Fraser (Musselburgh) 0.5; 13-14 WFM E Rutherford (Edinburgh), I Gourlay (Rose Foregrove) 0.


S Mannion - P Motwani
108th Scottish Championships (2), Caro-Kann Defence

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nf6 5 Nxf6+ exf6 6 Nf3 Bd6 7 Bd3 0-0 8 0-0 Re8 9 h3 Be6 10 c4 Na6 11 a3 Qd7 12 Re1 Bf5 13 Rxe8+ Rxe8 14 Bxf5 Qxf5 15 Qb3 Qc8 16 Bd2 Nc7 17 Re1 Ne6 18 d5 Nc5 19 Rxe8+ Qxe8 20 Qe3 Qxe3 21 Bxe3 cxd5 22 cxd5 a6 23 Nd2 Kf8 24 b4 Na4 25 Ne4 Ke7 26 g4 Be5 27 Nc5 b5 28 Nxa6 Kd6 29 Nc5 Nxc5 30 Bxc5+ Kxd5 31 Bf8 g6 32 Kf1 Bb2 33 Ke2 Kc4 34 Be7 Bxa3 35 Bxf6 Bxb4 36 Kd1 Bc3 37 Bg5 Kd3 38 Kc1 Bd4 39 f4 Ke4 40 Kc2 Be3 41 Kb3 Bxf4 42 Be7 Bd2 0-1


THE 108th Scottish Championships got underway at Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen on Saturday, with the ceremonial first move of the tournament played earlier in the day by Lord Provost Margaret Smith during a Civic Reception at the Town House.

Hosted by Aberdeen's Bon Accord Chess Club, the Championships are being sponsored this year by local IT firm SAIC and Content Management vendor Documentum. It's exactly ten years since the tournament was last played in the Granite City, and it's also the tenth time that the Club has hosted the Championships in the City since the Scottish Chess Association was founded in 1884.

For the first time, all three Scottish grandmasters - Jonathan Rowson (Bon Accord), Paul Motwani (Belgium) and Colin McNab (Dundee) - are vying for the 108th title, thus making it the strongest Championship ever held. The fourteen-player field also features Scotland's four International Masters: reigning joint Champion John Shaw (Kilmarnock), Steve Mannion (Cathcart), Douglas Bryson (Shettleston) and top female player Keti Arakhamia-Grant (Edinburgh West).

The two other players completing the line-up of titled players are FM Alan Norris (Wood Green, the other reigning joint Champion), and WFM Elaine Rutherford (Edinburgh). The others making up the field are Neil Berry (Edinburgh), Mark Fraser (Musselburgh), Jim Stevenson (Athenaeum), Walter Buchanan (Edinburgh West) and Iain Gourlay (Rose Foregrove).


Round 1: N Berry draw J Rowson; P Motwani 1-0 A Norris; M Fraser 0-1 J Shaw; K Arakhami-Grant draw J Stevenson; E Rutherford 0-1 C McNab; D Bryson 1-0 W Buchanan; I Gourlay 0-1 S Mannion.


P Motwani - A Norris
108th Scottish Championships (1), Sicilian Rossolimo

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e5 4 0-0 d6 5 c3 Bd7 6 d4 Nge7 7 Na3 Ng6 8 dxc5 dxc5 9 Nc4 Qc7 10 Ne3 a6 11 Nd5 Qd8 12 Be2 Be7 13 Qc2 0-0 14 Rd1 Re8 15 Be3 Bf8 16 Rd2 h6 17 Rad1 Be6 18 h3 Rc8 19 Qb1 Qa5 20 h4 Bg4 21 Nh2 Bxe2 22 Rxe2 c4 23 h5 Nge7 24 Nb6 Rcd8 25 Nxc4 Qb5 26 g3 Na5 27 Rxd8 Rxd8 28 Rd2 Nec6 29 Rxd8 Nxd8 30 Nd2 Ne6 31 Nhf3 Qc6 32 Qd3 Qc7 33 b4 Nc6 34 a4 Kh7 35 a5 f6 36 Nh4 Qf7 37 Ng6 Ne7 38 Qd7 Kg8 39 Nxf8 Nxf8 40 Qxb7 1-0


THERE was an added Independence Day celebrations in the Brooklyn household of 17-year-old Irina Krush, as just beforehand she made a little bit of chess history to become the first American woman to earn a full grandmaster title norm.

Playing in the Mayor's Cup in New York, a new category 10 tournament organised by former women's world champion Susan Polgar, and endorsed by the city and its outgoing mayor, Rudy Giuliani, saw the popular teenager play the tournament of her life to tie for first place with the Ukrainian GM Igor Novikov - and come ahead of some very experienced players.

The popular teenager first sprang to worldwide prominence as the leading force in the Kasparov vs. The World Internet match nearly two years ago. In a country full of titled female players who have immigrated there, Krush has been the only homegrown female player to make a name for herself.

She became the first player in US chess history to ever achieve the title of International Master, and in 1998, at the age of 14, she became the youngest ever US Women's Champion.


Final standings: 1-2 GM I Novikov (Ukraine), IM I Krush (USA) 6/9; 3-4 GM Y Gruenfeld, GM L Yadashin (both Israel) 5.5; 5 GM P Blatny (Czech Rep) 5; 6-7 D Schneider, G Shahade (both USA) 4.5; 8 IM A Simutowe (Zambia) 3.5; 9 IM E Perelshteyn (USA) 2.5; 10 H Nakamura (USA) 2.


I Krush - H Nakamura
Mayor's Cup (5), King's Indian Defence

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 d4 0-0 6 Be2 e5 7 0-0 Na6 8 Be3 Ng4 9 Bg5 Qe8 10 dxe5 dxe5 11 h3 Nf6 12 a3 Nc5 13 Qc2 Ne6 14 c5 Nxg5 15 Nxg5 Qe7 16 b4 Nh5 17 Nf3 Nf4 18 Rfd1 c6 19 Rd6 Ne6 20 Bc4 Nd4 21 Qd1 b5 22 Bf1 Be6 23 Nxd4 exd4 24 Ne2 Be5 25 Nxd4! Bd7 (25 ..Bxd6 26 Nxc6 Bh2+ 27 Kxh2 Qc7+ 28 Qd6) 26 Nb3 Rad8 27 Ra2 Bxd6 28 cxd6 Qg5 29 Nc5 Bxh3 30 Qd4 Be6 31 Rd2 h5 32 e5 Bd5 33 f4 Qg4 34 Bxb5 h4 35 Bc4 h3 36 Ne4 h2+ 37 Kh1 Bxe4 38 Qxe4 Kg7 39 Qd4 c5 40 bxc5 Rb8 41 Ba2 Qg3 42 e6+ f6 43 Rd1 Qg4 44 e7 Rh8 45 d7 Rb2 46 Bd5 Rhb8 47 e8Q Rb1 48 Qe1 1-0


IN one of his recent "Washington Post" columns, GM Lubosh Kavalek notes how there are over 1,000 grandmasters of chess, lamenting that just 35-years ago "it was an elite club of less than 70 of us."

The same could be said of the recently published Fide rating list (or Elo list), the latest edition of which celebrates the 30th anniversary of its publication. When the first list was published in July 1971, there were just 600 names on the list. Now, with the growth of chess and the lowering of rating bands to gain entry, the now thrice yearly list resembles a telephone directory as it nudges ever closer to the 40,000 mark.

The "Elo system" was used for the first time in 1959 when it was adopted by the US Chess Federation as a mathematically sound system of evaluating the strength of a chess player based primarily on results in tournament play - the higher the rating, the better the player.

Many people think that "Elo" is an acronym, however it rightly derives its name from its creator, Arpad Elo (1902-92), the Hungarian-born professor of physics and astronomy at Marquette University in Milwaukee. A former state champion of Wisconsin, Elo spent the best part of 20 years refining, developing, validating, and popularising his unique rating system in the US.

After its success in the US, it soon became universally accepted in many countries as the most reliable rating system. Similarly, it was accepted in 1970 by the world chess federation, Fide, for international use as the official world rankings, the publication of which became known as the "Elo list".


V Kramnik - V Anand
Duel of the Champions (8), Queen's Gambit Accepted

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 e6 4 e3 Nf6 5 Bxc4 c5 6 0-0 a6 7 dxc5 Qxd1 8 Rxd1 Bxc5 9 Be2 Nc6 10 Nbd2 0-0 11 b3 Rd8 12 Bb2 Bd7 13 Nc4 Be8 14 Nfe5 Rxd1+ 15 Rxd1 Rd8 16 Rxd8 Nxd8 17 Bf3 Be7 18 Nb6 Bc5 19 Bd4 Bxd4 20 exd4 Kf8 21 Kf1 Bb5+ 22 Ke1 Ne8 23 a4 Bc6 24 Bxc6 bxc6 25 Nbd7+ Ke7 26 Nb8 Nc7 27 Nexc6+ Nxc6 28 Nxc6+ Kd6 29 Nb4 e5 30 dxe5+ Kxe5 31 Kd2 Kd4 32 Nc2+ Kc5 33 g3 g6 34 Kd3 Nd5 35 Ne3 Nb4+ 36 Kc3 f5 37 Nc2 Nd5+ 38 Kd3 h6 39 f4 h5 40 Kd2 h4! 41 gxh4 Nxf4 42 Ne1 Kd5 draw

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THE "Big Three" of Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Vishy Anand continue to be in a league of their own in the chess world after the publication of the July rating list from the games governing body, Fide.

After losing his world crown last year, world number one Garry Kasparov saw his rating dip alarmingly by 14-points - most of which went to his nemesis, Vladimir Kramnik. However, Kasparov isn't yet ready to relinquish his No.1 spot - which he was held since 1984 - and continues to win big with first places in the likes of Wijk aan Zee, Linares and Astana, seeing his stock rise again by 3-points to 2838.

After a "recount" in the last list that showed that Fide had miscalculated Kramnik's rating to put him above 2800, the Brain Games world champion, with a new rating of 2802 now looks as if he has finally gained entry into the exclusive "2800 Club", thus becoming only the second player in history to do so.

Fide world champion Vishy Anand, fresh from his victory over Kramnik in their Mainz Chess Classic Duel of the Champions in Germany, is not far off entry into the club, and a good result at the forthcoming Dortmund tournament could see him (deservedly) gain entry. However, the news wasn't so good for the temperamental Spaniard Alexei Shirov. His rating dropped by 16-points - a result that very nearly saw him being removed from the influential top- ten.


Top ten: 1 G Kasparov (Russia) 2838 +3; 2 V Kramnik (Russia) 2802 +5; 3 V Anand (India) 2794 =; 4 A Morozevich (Russia) 2749 =; 5 M Adams (England) 2744 -6; 6 V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 2731 =; 7 P Leko (Hungary) 2730 =; 8 E Bareev (Russia) 2719 +10; 9 V Topalov (Bulgaria) 2711 +4; 10 A Shirov (Spain) 2706 -16.


V Anand - V Kramnik
Duel of the Champions (7), Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Qb6 5 Nb3 Nf6 6 Nc3 e6 7 a3 Be7 8 f4 d6 9 Qf3 a6 10 Bd3 0-0 11 g4 Nd7 12 Be3 Qc7 13 g5 b5 14 h4 b4 15 Ne2 bxa3 16 bxa3 Rb8 17 0-0 Nce5! 18 fxe5 Nxe5 19 Qg3 Nxd3 20 cxd3 Rxb3 21 Rfc1 Qd7 22 Nf4 Bb7 23 Rcb1 Qb5 24 Rxb3 Qxb3 25 Qe1 Qa4 26 Qd1 Qd7 27 Qg4 d5 28 Nh5 Qd6 29 e5 Qxe5 30 Qd4 Qxd4 31 Bxd4 f6 32 Rc1 Rf7? (32 ..Bd8 33 Rb1 Bc6 34 Rc1 Bb5 35 Rc8 e5! is winning.) 33 gxf6 gxf6 34 Rb1 Bxa3 35 Nxf6+ Kf8 36 Rb3 Bd6 37 Rb6 e5 38 Rxd6 exd4 39 Nxd5 Bxd5 40 Rxd5 Rf4 41 h5 Kg7 42 Kg2 Kf6 43 Kg3 Rf5 44 Rxd4 Kg5 45 Rd6 a5 46 h6 draw

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THE Fide world champion Vishy Anand was quick off the mark to defeat his Brain Game rival Vladimir Kramnik, as a speed playoff finally decide the outcome of the intriguing Duel of the Champions contest at the Mainz Chess Classic in Germany on Sunday evening.

With tension mounting in the Rheingoldhalle playing venue on the final day, neither wanted to give anything away in the remaining two games of the 10-game match, which ended drawn relatively quickly to tie the match at 5-5, taking the game into a 5-minute playoff. After squandering three won games in the match to let his opponent off with a draw on each occasion, it started to look ominous for Kramnik as he was comprehensively outplayed both on the board and on the clock by Anand, reputed to be the world's quickest player, who won the playoff at a cantor 1.5-0.5.

The result also adds to the Indian aces impressive haul of titles in the past year since his game received a massive boost when took the 2000 Chess Classic ahead of Kasparov, Kramnik & Co in the Giants'. Since then, he has dominated every Fide world event and now holds the 'grand slam' as winner of three unique titles: world blitz champion, the world cup winner and the Fide world champion.

Anand's win will also be seen as a further boost to the game in India. In his native land he is hailed as a national hero and his exploits over the board in the last few years has lead to chess becoming one of the three most popular sports in a population of one billion.


V Anand - V Kramnik
Duel of the Champions Playoff (1), Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Qb6 5 Nb3 Nf6 6 Nc3 e6 7 Qe2 Bb4 8 Bd2 0-0 9 a3 Be7 10 0-0-0 d6 11 g4 a6 12 g5 Nd7 13 h4 Qc7 14 f4 b5 15 Kb1 b4 16 axb4 Nxb4 17 f5 Rb8 18 Bf4 exf5 19 exf5 Ne5 20 Bh3 Re8 21 g6! hxg6 (21 ..fxg6 22 Bxe5 dxe5 23 fxg6 h6! And black is a bit better.) 22 Bxe5 dxe5 23 fxg6 fxg6 24 h5 Bf5 25 hxg6!! Bxh3 (25 ..Bxc2+ 26 Qxc2! Nxc2 27 Be6+ Kf8 28 Rh8#) 26 Rxh3 Bg5 27 Ne4 Bf4 28 Nbc5 1-0

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IT'S turning into a war of nerves at the Rheingoldhalle playing venue in Mainz, Germany, as the Duel of the Champions match between Fide champion Vishy Anand and Brain Games champion Vladimir Kramnik looks as if its going the distance (and more) with the match now tied at 4-4.

Going into the rest day for the match after game four, Kramnik looked to have the upper hand in the match with a one point lead and better confidence at the board. However, Anand struck back immediately in the fifth game with a superb innovation in the Queen's Gambit Accepted (17 ..h6!) to win the game, and with it tie the match at 2.5- 2.5.

With the sixth game a quick draw to take the match to 3-3, the players came back for the Saturday session with Kramnik again looking the more determined to get the breakthrough. Unfortunately for the Russian he squandered good winning positions in both the seventh and eight game, as again he let Anand off the hook with draws.

With a lot riding on the reputation of both players in what has been described as the most important match of the year, it looks as if the pressure seems to have got to both champions as they struggle to now break the deadlock. In the event of a 5-5 tie there will be a play-off to keep with the ideals of the Mainz Chess Classic: two champions, one winner.


V Kramnik - V Anand
Duel of the Champions (5), Queen's Gambit Accepted

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 e6 4 e3 Nf6 5 Bxc4 c5 6 0-0 a6 7 Bb3 Nbd7 8 Qe2 b5 9 a4 Bb7 10 axb5 axb5 11 Rxa8 Qxa8 12 Nc3 b4 13 Nb5 Qb8 14 e4 cxd4 15 Nbxd4 Bd6 16 Bxe6 fxe6 17 Nxe6 h6 18 Nxg7+ Kf7 19 Nf5 Bxe4 20 Nxh6+ Kg7 21 h3 Rxh6 22 Bxh6+ Kxh6 23 Rd1 Bxf3 24 Qxf3 Be5 25 Qe3+ Kg7 26 Qg5+ Kf7 27 Qf5 Nf8 28 b3 Bc3 29 g3 Qe5 30 Qxe5 Bxe5 31 f4 Bc3 32 Kg2 Ne4 33 g4 Nd2 34 f5 Nxb3 35 g5 Nc5 36 Kf3 b3 37 h4 b2 38 h5 Bd2 39 Rb1 Bc1 40 Ke2 Nb3 41 Kd3 Nd2 42 Rxb2 Bxb2 43 Kxd2 Kg7 44 Kd3 Bc1 45 g6 Nd7 46 Ke4 Nf6+ 47 Ke5 Nxh5 0-1

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