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The Scotsman

Chess News October 2001

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WHEN those two masters of the macabre, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi made their first movie together after the success of Frankenstein and Dracula, it was to appear in the 1934 Universal classic, The Black Cat. The film is regarded as a classic of the horror genre; the taught plot managing to pack in twisted revenge schemes, war crimes, Satanism, human sacrifice and necrophile obsession.

Director Edgar G. Ulmer admitted that he had loosely based Karloff's character, the sinister Hjalmar Poelzig, on the chess-mad diabolist Aleister Crowley who, towards the end of the 19th century, was rarely defeated on top board for Cambridge University. Fittingly then, the highlight of the film was a gripping five-minute sequence when both played a game of chess for the soul of the young female lead, played by Jacqueline Wells.

Although both played without the make-up that they became synonymous with, the image of the Frankenstein Monster and Count Dracula being involved in a game of chess is something that happens more often than you would think at the board.

There's a particularly hair-raising exchange sacrifice in the Vienna Opening (1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Bc4 Nxe4 4 Qh5 Nd6 5 Bb3 Nc6 6 Nb5 g6 7 Qf3 f5 8 Qd5 Qe7 9 Nxc7+ Kd8 10 Nxa8 b6) named the Frankenstein-Dracula Variation - so-called because it is terrifying for both sides, and, much like those two famous gentleman of the night, has an incredible facility for rising from the grave theory-wise.

Highly-complicated, the variation has proved immensely popular in correspondence chess where such positions do tend to appeal to postal players. The International Correspondence Chess Federation, the correspondence chess equivalent of FIDE, has held many thematic tournaments where the opening is forced in every game. More recently, the line was used to good effect by newly-crowned Dutch World Correspondence Champion Gert Timmerman, who won an important game with it on his road to being crowned 15th ICCF World Champion.

The line has featured in many books on the Vienna Opening published after the end of the 1970s. And, in 1997, Eric Schiller (I wonder which is the more frightening to meet on a dark, Halloween night: Frankenstein, Dracula or Eric?) wrote a book for Chess Enterprises on the variation, naturally entitled The Frankenstein-Dracula Variation.

The opening was christened by correspondence guru Tim Harding in his popular 1973 BCM book, Counter Gambits. However, the variation named after the two horror monsters became more famous after he subsequently wrote an article on it in the December 1978 edition of BH Wood's monthly magazine CHESS.

Harding, using a famous John Nunn game from the 1974 World Students Olympiad that brought the variation back from the dead after the discovery of 13 ..Bh6!, cleverly built his story around a hitherto unpublished extract from the journal of Jonathan Harker - which was presumably excised by his editor, Bram Stoker, from the final manuscript of his 1897 cult novel, DRACULA.

The story tells of the two monsters meeting in the final round of the Borgo Pass Open. As the game suddenly reached its climax with the Monster's king going for a walk up the board, Dracula, due to the imminent arrival of dawn, was unable to deliver the mate in one after 38 Kg4 - he had to return to Castle Dracula and the confines of his coffin, allowing the Monster to win the tournament on time from a lost position.


J Hansen - J Nunn
World Students Olympiad 1974, Frankenstein-Dracula Variation

1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 Nf6 3 Nc3 Nxe4 4 Qh5 Nd6 5 Bb3 Nc6 6 Nb5 g6 7 Qf3 f5 8 Qd5 Qe7 9 Nxc7+ Kd8 10 Nxa8 b6 11 d3 Bb7 12 h4 f4 13 Qf3 Bh6 14 Qg4 e4 15 Bxf4 exd3+ 16 Kf1 Bxf4 17 Qxf4 Rf8 18 Qg3 Ne4 19 Qc7+ Ke8 20 Nh3 Nxf2 21 Nxf2 Qe2+ 22 Kg1 Qxf2+ 23 Kh2 Qxh4+ 24 Kg1 Qd4+ 25 Kh2 Ne5 26 Rhf1 Ng4+ 27 Kg3 Qe3+ 28 Kxg4 h5+ 29 Kh4 g5+ 30 Kxh5 Rh8+ 31 Kg6 Be4+ 32 Rf5 Bxf5+ 33 Kxf5 Rf8+ 34 Kg6 Qe4+ 35 Kg7 Qe7+ 36 Kg6 Qf6+ 37 Kh5 Qh8+ 38 Kg4 Qh4# 0-1

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The last Klompendans in Amsterdam doesn't so much have a ring to it as the Last Tango in Paris, but unfortunately the music has stopped with the final staging of the annual challenge matches between the Ladies and Veterans in the Netherlands.

Each edition of this peripatetic extravaganza, sponsored by Dutch software multi-millionaire Joop Van Oosteram and organised on his behalf by the Monaco-based Association Max Euwe, sees the stars of yesteryear pitting their wits against some of the top female players in the game today, and is named after a traditional local dance.

The series started back in 1992 in the Dutch island of Aruba with the "Tumba" and has moved on to nine different world venues via the likes of the "Waltzer" in Vienna, the "Polka" in Prague, "The Foxtrot" in London, the "Cancan" in France and the "Flamengo" in Spain. Fittingly, the series comes to an end in the country of birth of its sponsor with the "Klompendans", which literally means "Clog dance".

The dance card for the final encounter includes: Ladies - Zhu Chen (China), Alisa Galliamova (Russia), Nana Ioseliani (Georgia), Xie Jun (China) and Sofia Polgar (Israel) Veterans - Vlastimil Hort (Germany), Victor Korchnoi (Switzerland), Lajos Portisch (Hungary), Vassili Smyslov (Russia) and Mark Taimanov (Russia).

Although the series is tied at 4.5-4.5 rubbers each, the veterans hold a commanding 273-265 game lead over the ladies (mainly due to their inaugural 39-33 win) and, barring a catastrophe, look likely to be the overall winners.

In the past the biggest "ladykiller" has been septuagenarian Viktor Korchnoi who has consistently top scored in previous years. However, at the halfway stage after five rounds, a lacklustre Korchnoi performance (50% scoreline) has given the ladies a slender 13-12 lead.


Ladies 13: Zhu Chen 3/5; Gallimova 3; Xie Jun 3; Ioseliani 2.5; Polgar 1.5.
Veterans 12: Portisch 3/5; Hort 2.5; Korchnoi 2.5; Taimanov 2; Smyslov 2.


V Korchnoi - A Galliamova
Klompendans (4), Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 e3 Bf5 5 Nc3 e6 6 Nh4 Be4 7 f3 Bg6 8 Qb3 Qc7 9 Bd2 Nbd7 10 Rc1 Be7 11 g3 Rc8 12 cxd5 exd5 13 Bh3 0-0 14 e4 dxe4 15 Nxg6 hxg6 16 fxe4 Rcd8 17 Be3 c5 18 Bf4 Qa5 19 Bd2 Qa6 20 Bf1 Qd6 21 d5 Ne5 22 Be2 c4 23 Qxb7 Rd7 24 Qb5 Rb8 25 Qa5 Rxb2 26 Bf4 g5 27 Bxg5 Bd8 28 Qa4 Nxe4 0-1

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WORLD No.1 Garry Kasparov once declared that "the future of chess lies with rapidplay chess". And indeed the fast format of the game (all moves in 25 minutes each) has proved popular with players and organisers alike.

By far the most important rapidplay title in the British Isles is that of British Rapidplay Championship, an inspired idea that began in 1986 as an initiative by two Leeds chessplayers, Nick Nixon and Neil Bramson in partnership with Stewart Reuben of the British Chess Federation; the inaugural event being won by Nigel Short with a 100% score of 11/11.

Last weekend, for only the second time since its inception, the championship was held outside its "home ground" of Leeds after a transfer to the new venue of Valley Parade, the home of Bradford City Football Club, where former Hearts manager Jim Jeffries coat hangs on the proverbial shooglie nail.

With over 300 players battling it out for the title and a share of the spoils of the 4,000GBP prize fund on offer, Leicester GM Mark Hebden took the title with his unbeaten score of 9.5/11, half a point clear of Terence Chapman Grand Prix leader Julian Hodgson on 9.

Hebden, who is a consistent performer in the championship, won the title in 1988, 1990 and 1994 until more recently coming second behind one of the world's best exponents of quickplay chess, the world rapidplay No.1 and British No.1 Mickey Adams. This year he led from the start, conceding only three draws (to Jonathan Parker, Ameet Ghasi and Nick Pert) to gain his fourth British Rapidplay title.

The crunch encounter of the tournament came in the seventh round when Hebden demolished Hodgson's trademark Trompowsky Attack (his first victory over Hodgson in 16-years!) to take the outright lead. And, despite winning his last four games, Hodgson had to settle for the runners-up spot for the second consecutive year.

There were several notable junior results with IM Nick Pert taking third on 8.5 and 14-year-old Ameet Ghasi - who made a name for himself last year when he stunned everyone by tieing for first place - finishing fourth, losing only to Hodgson and Pert. Ten-year-old Murugan Thiruchelvam, making his first appearance in the tournament, came up against three grandmasters - beating in the process last year's co-champion, Aaron Summerscale - to win a grading prize for his near 60% score.


Prize winners

Open: 1 GM Mark Hebden 9.5/11; 2 GM Julian Hodgson 9; 3 IM Nick Pert 8.5; 4 Ameet Ghasi 8.
Grading prizes:
G Quillan, M Thiruchelvam, CL Lim, A Ashton & D Wolstencroft.
Major: 1-4 T Nixon, CB Jenks, W Bennet & C Jones 8/11.
Intermediate: 1 M Stoker 10/11; 2-5 S Chevannes, SG Blackburn, P Chakravorty & G Collyer 8.
: 1 Katie Martin 9/11; 2-3 D Jameson & MY Qureshi 8.5; 4-6 J Macrae, R Smith & B Yarker 8.


I Watson - M Hebden
British Rapidplay (11), King's Indian Attack

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 g3 g6 3 Bg2 Bg7 4 d3 d5 5 0-0 0-0 6 Nbd2 Nc6 7 e4 e5 8 Re1 Re8 9 c3 a5 10 a4 h6 11 Qc2 b6 12 exd5 Nxd5 13 Nc4 Bb7 14 Bd2 Qd7 15 Rad1 Rad8 16 Qc1 Kh7 17 h4 Qf5 18 b3 Nf6 19 Qc2 Rxd3 20 Be3 Rxd1 21 Qxd1 Ng4 22 Qe2 e4 23 Nfd2 Bxc3 24 Bh3 h5 25 Rc1 Nd4 26 Bxd4 Bxd4 27 Bxg4 Qxg4 28 Qxg4 hxg4 29 Ne3 Bc5 30 Nxg4 Kg7 31 Nc4 Rd8 32 Nge3 Rd3 33 Rb1 Bd5 34 Nxd5 Rxd5 35 Kf1 Rd3 36 Ke2 Rc3 37 Nd2 f5 38 Rh1 Bb4 39 Nc4 Rc2+ 40 Kd1 Rxf2 41 h5 gxh5 42 Rxh5 Bc5 43 Ne5 e3 44 Nd3 Rd2+ 0-1

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IN the Netherlands they seem to have a knack for knowing how to organise top-ranking tournaments, and the annual Essent tournament in Hoogeveen, which has just finished, much like Wijk aan Zee and Groningen, is no different.

Over the years the players that make up the field for this intimate four-player double-round all-play-all have been selected for "interesting contrast". Hungary's Judit Polgar is the strongest female player in the world against a field of men; Dutch No.1 Loek Van Wely is the local hero battling against the foreigners; Cuba's Lazaro Bruzon is the former world junior champion making his way onto the world stage against an experienced field; and last, but not least, is the redoubtable septuagenarian Viktor Korchnoi as the canny old warhorse.

After getting off to a good start in the first cycle with an impressive win over Polgar, Korchnoi tired as the tournament progressed and left the tournament open for Polgar and Van Wely to battle it out for first in the second cycle. In the end, both tied on 3.5/6 for first place, with Polgar taking the title and trophy on tiebreak thanks to her 1.5/2 victory over Van Wely.

The Dutch town of Hoogeveen is famed for its Glass Museum, and the players used glass pieces created by Glass artist Cees Van Olst, and styled in the familiar Staunton pattern. Van Olst is also responsible each year for designing and creating a new trophy: a special commissioned glass chess set, the second such set to be won by Polgar who won here also in 1998.


Final Standings: 1 J Polgar (Hungary) 3.5/6; 2 L Van Wely (Netherlands) 3.5; 3 V Korchnoi (Switzerland) 3; 4 L Bruzon (Cuba) 2.


L Bruzon - J Polgar
Essent Hoogeveen (5), Reti Opening

1 c4 e6 2 Nf3 d5 3 b3 Be7 4 Bb2 Bf6 5 Qc2 Bxb2 6 Qxb2 Nf6 7 g3 0-0 8 Bg2 c5 9 0-0 b6 10 cxd5 exd5 11 d4 Bb7 12 Nc3 Nbd7 13 Rfd1 Qe7 14 Rac1 Rfd8 15 e3 Rac8 16 Rc2 h6 17 Rdc1 Ba6 18 Bh3 Rb8 19 Rd1 Bb7 20 Ne2 Re8 21 Bg2 Ne4 22 Nf4 Ndf6 23 Nd3 Rbc8 24 Nfe5 Ba6 25 Rdc1 Ng4 26 Bh3 h5 27 Nf4 Nxe5 28 dxe5 Rcd8 29 e6 Bc8 30 Nxh5 fxe6 31 Bg2 e5 32 f3 Ng5 33 f4 exf4 34 Nxf4 Qxe3+ 35 Kh1 Bg4 36 Rf1 d4 37 h3 Bf5 38 Kh2 Bxc2 39 Qxc2 d3 40 Qc4+ Kh7 41 h4 Rd4 42 Qb5 Nf7 43 Rf3 d2 44 Rxe3 Rxe3 0-1

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THE sponsors of Garry Kasparov's recent clock simultaneous in Prague was the Czech Republics leading mobile phone operator EuroTel Praha, who in the past have hosted the 1998 and 1999 matches between Kasparov and Jan Timman and Alexei Shirov versus Judit Polgar.

It comes as no surprise then that its Chairman, Bessel Kok, is a major chess fan - and one who in the past had impeccable credentials in the chess world. In the 1980s, before moving to Prague to head EuroTel, Kok was the driving force behind the Grand Masters Association, a professional body that organised the World Cup Grand Prix that featured all the top stars in the game.

Now, coming to the end of his association with EuroTel, Kok is making a much-welcomed return to the hurly-burly of the chess scene - and only good can come out of it if his past record is anything to go by. In partnership with KPN, the largest telecom company in the Netherlands, Kok has formed a new chess body, called "Online World Chess" (www.onlineworldchess.com).

They aim to organise the world's largest chess event over the internet and to make it into the Guinness Book of Records. Between January and March 2002, they hope to attract tens of thousands to register at their site for the first Online World Chess Event, with over 30,000 prizes and a prize fund of over $1.4 million for your entry fee of $32.95.

As an extra lure, 32 winners will get a chance to play in the Netherlands in an all-expense paid Live Finals with a grand prize of $500,000. Unfortunately, awaiting them will be a further 32 specially invited top grandmasters, including the likes of Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Vishy Anand, Michael Adams and Anatoly Karpov.


G Kasparov - T Oral
Eurotel Trophy Simul (2), English Opening

1 c4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 g3 e6 6 Bg2 Bc5 7 Nb3 Be7 8 Nc3 d6 9 Bf4 0-0 10 0-0 Nh5 11 Be3 Ne5 12 c5 d5 13 Bd4 Nc6 14 e4 Nxd4 15 Qxd4 dxe4 16 Qxe4 Nf6 17 Qe5 Bd7 18 Bxb7 Qb8 19 Qxb8 Raxb8 20 Ba6 Bc8 21 Bb5 Bb7 22 c6 Ba8 23 Rfd1 Bb4 24 Nd4 Bxc3 25 bxc3 e5 26 Nf5 Rxb5 27 Ne7+ Kh8 28 c7 Bb7 29 Rab1 Rxb1 30 Rxb1 Ba6 31 Rb8 Re8 32 c4 g6 33 Nd5 Rc8 34 Nxf6 Kg7 35 Rxc8 Bxc8 36 Ne8+ 1-0

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ANOTHER tour de force from world number one Garry Kasparov allowed the ex world champion to walk away with the winner-take-all $40,000 prize after again defeating the Czech national squad in the Eurotel Kasparov Trophy match at Prague Castle.

After taking the honours on the first day by 2.5-1.5 despite losing to Tomas Oral, Kasparov got his revenge over the Czech hero from the first round with an impressive win that allowed him to extend his lead with an undefeated 3-1 win in the return match. This gave Kasparov an overall 5.5-2.5 victory over the Czechs, who thus become another statistic of a national team he's defeated single-handedly.

Clock simuls on a more or less equal footing time-wise against national squads have become something of a Kasparov speciality over the years. Kasparov has only ever lost one such match - his first - that wasn't even against a national squad.

In 1985 he took on the German Bundesliga champions Hamburger SV (a strong team of chess professionals with the then highly-rated Murray Chandler on top board), going down 3.5-4.5. He immediately challenged the team to a rematch the following year and, to help him prepare better for such a challenge, was given the very first version (00001) of ChessBase by Frederick Freidel and Matthias Wullenweber to use on an Atari (remember those?). The result? Kasparov won 7-1 and has never lost a clock simul since!

In the past he has taken on - and defeated - the national squads of Switzerland, Germany, France, Argentina, Israel and now the Czech Republic; not to mention also defeating the USA and French junior squads. Although his 7-1 drubbing over the powerful Israeli squad in 1998 remains the best overall performance, the simul that attracted the most publicity was his 1992 encounter with the Germans in Baden-Baden.

Up against Gerald Hertneck, Vlastimil Hort, Matthias Wahls and Eric Lobron, Kasparov was undefeated 3-1 - driving away at the end of the match his winner-take-all prize of a brand new BMW executive car, whilst the Germans took home a towel each for their efforts!


V Babula - G Kasparov
Eurotel Trophy Simul (2), Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Bf4 0-0 6 Rc1 dxc4 7 e3 Be6 8 Ng5 Bd5 9 e4 h6 10 exd5 hxg5 11 Bxg5 b5 12 Qf3 c6 13 dxc6 Qxd4 14 Be2 a6 15 0-0 Qc5 16 Be3 Qxc6 17 a4 e6 18 axb5 axb5 19 Nxb5 Ra2 20 Qxc6 Nxc6 21 Bc5 Rb8 22 Bxc4 Rxb2 23 Bd6 Rb6 24 Nc3 Na5 25 Na4 Bh6 26 f4 Rxg2+ 27 Kxg2 Rxd6 28 Bb5 Nb3 29 Rc6 Rd8 30 f5 gxf5 31 Rxf5 Ng4 32 Rh5 Nd4 33 Rc3 Ne3+ 34 Kh3 Bf4 35 Ba6 Kg7 36 Rc8 Rd6 37 Nc5 Nf3 38 Bd3 Rd4 39 Rh7+ Kf6 40 Ne4+ Rxe4 41 Bxe4 Ng5+ 42 Kh4 Nxe4 43 Rf8 Ng5 44 Kh5 Nxh7 0-1

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WORLD number one Garry Kasparov was again performing his "party trick" of challenging another national squad over four boards at the same time for this year's Eurotel Kasparov Trophy.

With the lavish backdrop of the Ball Game Hall of Prague Castle as the venue, Kasparov took on four of the Czech Republics top players, Sergei Movsesian (2627), Zbynek Hracek (2610), Tomas Oral (2540) and Vlastimil Babula (2566) in a two day clock simultaneous match with a winner-take-all $40,000 prize.

In the past, Kasparov, the only elite player to attempt such a feat, has won similar matches against teams from Argentina, France, Germany and Switzerland. His last such match was a special challenge against the notoriously tough Israeli Olympiad squad in 1998 to celebrate Israel's 50th anniversary, where he conceded just two draws for a 7-1 victory.

The Czech squad may have been a shade weaker than the Israelis, but at the pre-match press conference Kasparov estimated the Czech team to be dangerous, "I think they are well prepared and they are a real team, instead of four separate players."

There was an added spice to the match with the inclusion in the Czech squad on top board of former Armenian Sergei Movsesian, who had a very public spat with Kasparov two years ago when the former world champion quipped that he was "tourists" when he made it to the quarterfinals of the FIDE world championship knockout in Las Vagas.

Kasparov soon dispatched the "tourist" in devastating style to win 2.5-1.5 on the first day; the Czechs staying in the match thanks to a bottom board victory from Tomas Oral.


G Kasparov - S Movsesian
Eurotel Trophy Simul (1), Sicilian Kan

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 Bd3 Nc6 7 Nxc6 bxc6 8 0-0 Nf6 9 Qe2 Bd6 10 f4 e5 11 Kh1 h6 12 Bd2 0-0 13 f5 Re8 14 Bc4 a5 15 Rf3 Bb4 16 Rg3 Kf8 17 Qe3 Ng8 18 f6 gxf6 19 Rf1 Bxc3 20 Rxg8+ Kxg8 21 Qg3+ Kf8 22 Rxf6 d5 23 Bxh6+ Ke7 24 Rxf7+ Kd6 25 Qg6+ Be6 26 Rxc7 Kxc7 27 exd5 cxd5 28 Bb5 Reb8 29 a4 Bd7 30 bxc3 Bxb5 31 axb5 Rxb5 32 h4 a4 33 Bg7 d4 34 Qf7+ Kb6 35 Qe6+ Kb7 36 Bxe5 Rxe5 37 Qxe5 a3 38 Qd5+ Kb8 39 cxd4 a2 40 Qb3+ Kc7 41 Qc3+ Kd7 42 Qa1 Kd6 43 c4 1-0

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THE 5th World Team Championships in Armenia ended in a dramatic fashion with second seeds Ukraine overhauling the early leaders Russia and Armenia to clinch gold in the final round for their first major team championship title.

After host nation Armenia sensationally defeated reigning champions Russia in round four, the wheels soon came off their wagon with a 3-1 defeat in the next round at the hands of Germany - a result that threw the competition wide open.

With top seeds Russia once again taking the lead going into the final two rounds, Ukraine pounced with two impressive 2.5-1.5 wins over Armenia, and then Russia in the final round, to dramatically take the gold medal by a half a point.

Despite being a team tournament, Ukraine's victory can be attributed to one player: eighteen year old Ruslan Ponomariov. Playing on second board behind Vasily Ivanchuk, Ponomariov was the player that ground out two victories against formidable opponents such as Armenia's Rafael Vaganian and Russia's Alexey Dreev to win both matches. Not only did he end the tournament as the top Ukrainian scorer, Ponomariov was also the overall championship scorer. Unbeaten on 5.5/7, his final tally gave him a TPR of over 2800.


Final Standings: 1 Ukraine 21.5/32; 2 Russia 21; 3 Armenia 20; 4 Germany 18.5; 5 Hungary 16.5; 6 Uzbekistan 15.5; 7 Cuba 14.5; 8 FYROM 9.5; 9 Iran 7


R Ponomariov - R Vaganian
World Team Ch. (8), French Winawer

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 c5 5 a3 Ba5 6 b4 cxd4 7 Nb5 Bc7 8 f4 Bd7 9 Nxc7+ Qxc7 10 Bd3 a6 11 Nf3 Nh6 12 Bb2 Ba4 13 Bxd4 Bb5 14 0-0 Nf5 15 Bf2 h5 16 Ng5 Bxd3 17 cxd3 Nc6 18 Rc1 Qd8 19 Re1 Rc8 20 Bc5 Ncd4 21 h3 b6 22 Bxd4 Nxd4 23 Rxc8 Qxc8 24 Qa1 Nf5 25 Rc1 Qd7 26 Qc3 0-0 27 Qc6 Qd8 28 Qb7 Nd4 29 Kf2 Qb8 30 Rc7 Qxb7 31 Rxb7 b5 32 Ra7 h4 33 Ke3 Nf5+ 34 Kf3 g6 35 Kg4 Ne3+ 36 Kxh4 Nxg2+ 37 Kg3 Ne1 38 Rxa6 Nxd3 39 Ra7 Rc8 40 Nxf7 Rc4 41 Nh6+ Kh8 42 Rf7 g5 43 fxg5 Nxe5 44 Rf6 Kg7 45 Rxe6 Rc3+ 46 Kf4 Ng6+ 47 Kf5 Rf3+ 48 Kg4 Rxa3 49 Nf5+ Kh7 50 h4 Rb3 51 h5 Rxb4+ 52 Kg3 Rb3+ 53 Kf2 Rb2+ 54 Ke1 Nf8 55 Rf6 Rg2 56 Rf7+ Kg8 57 Nh6+ 1-0

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HOST nation Armenia are on song in the fifth World Team Championships being played at the Yerevan Opera House, as the oldest team in the tournament look as if they could be poised for a sensational victory in a major team tournament.

With Armenia - the only team on a 100 percent score with two opening round 4-0 whitewashes - having the enforced rest day in round three due to the odd number of teams in the competition, defending champions Russia, with a 3.5-0.5 win over the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, made some headway to draw level with the leaders. However, this proved to be short-lived as the two met in what proved to be a sensational fourth round encounter.

Unfortunately for the top seeds Russia, they turned up in Yerevan with a weakened line-up for the tournament with top players such as world number four Alexander Morozevich and former Fide World Champion Alexander Khalifman pulling out of the squad at the eleventh hour, and found the going tough, going down to a 3-1 defeat to questionably one of the most experienced teams in the competition.

Despite being out-rated by an average of 25 points a board - 2658 to 2633 - and being easily the oldest team in the competition, Armenia, who have been together as a unit since the demise of the USSR in the early 1990s, with wins from Vladimir Akopian and Smbat Lputian against Peter Svidler and Konstantin Sakaev easily won the crunch match of the tournament.


Round 3: Russia 3.5-0.5 FYROM; Germany 3-1 Iran; Cuba 2.5-1.5 Hungary; Uzbekistan 0.5-3.5 Ukraine; Armenia free day.
Round 4: Hungary 2-2 Uzbekistan; Iran 1.5-2.5 Cuba; FYROM 0.5-3.5 Germany; Armenia 3-1 Russia; Ukraine free day.


Leader board: 1 Armenia 11/12; 2 Russia 11; 3 Germany 10.5; 4 Ukraine 8.5; 5 Cuba 7.5; 6 Hungary 6.5; 7 Uzbekistan 5; 8 Iran 3; 9 FYROM 1.


S Lputian – K Sakaev
World Team Ch. (4), Queen’s Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 e3 Bb7 5 Bd3 d5 6 0–0 Nbd7 7 b3 Be7 8 Bb2 0–0 9 Nc3 c5 10 Qe2 cxd4 11 exd4 Re8 12 Ne5 a6 13 Rad1 Nf8 14 Kh1 Bb4 15 f4 Bxc3 16 Bxc3 Ne4 17 Bxe4 dxe4 18 Ng4 f6 19 Ne3 Qc7 20 g4 Rad8 21 f5 Rd7 22 g5 fxg5 23 Qh5 Rf7 24 f6 gxf6 25 d5 exd5 26 Bxf6 d4 27 Ng4 e3+ 28 Kg1 Ng6 29 Nh6+ Kf8 30 Nxf7 Qc6 31 Qh6+ Kxf7 32 Bxd4+ Ke7 33 Qxg5+ Kd7 34 Bxb6+ 1–0


SO, tell us something we didn’t know already. The popular view that “pattern recognition” is at the root of mastery in chess, rather than “calculation”, has received a scientific boost from a piece of prolonged academic research conducted by a team of psychologists at the University of Konstanz, in Germany.

The results, published in the August issue of the scientific journal “Nature”, showed that stronger players save time by making more use of the part of the brain that stores and retrieves information based on patterns than weaker players, who waste more time on the clock having to depend more on brute-force calculation.

Pattern recognition leads to much more nimble footwork in the chessboard jingle, than mere calculation. Recognising patterns allows the chess player to focus his calculating skills most effectively at points in the game where there is likely to be a return for the very hard work of calculation.

That said, the researchers cannot explain how the master builds up, stores, and retrieves information from his grey matter databank, far less define those patterns stored there in any clear way. This results in the paradox that the best chessplaying computers are those based on brute force calculation rather than on strategic calculation intelligence, which is grasped more intuitively than in a defined way.

The following game is a clear example of the power of pattern recognition. Danny Gormally doesn’t really need to calculate anything concrete in the position - he just “knows” that the weaknesses around the black king more than compensates for his sacrificed material.


D Gormally – M Ulibin
Monarch Assurance Int. (2), French Defence

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 Bd3 c5 6 c3 Nc6 7 Ngf3 Be7 8 0–0 a5 9 Re1 cxd4 10 cxd4 Qb6 11 Nb1 Nxd4 12 Nxd4 Qxd4 13 Nc3 Qb6 14 Qg4 g6 15 Bg5 Bxg5 16 Qxg5 0–0 17 Qh6 Qxb2 18 Rac1 Qa3 19 h4 Qe7 20 Nb5 Nc5 21 Rxc5 Qxc5 22 Nd6 Bd7 23 h5 Ba4 24 Qg5 Qc3 25 Re3 f6 26 Qh6 Qc1+ 27 Kh2 Qc7 28 hxg6 Qg7 29 Qh4 f5 30 Nf7 hxg6 31 Nh6+ Kh8 32 Qxa4 f4 33 Rh3 Qc7 34 Qd1 Kg7 35 Qg4 Rf5 36 Bxf5 1–0


OVER the years, no adventure in chess has got as bad a press as the romantic King's Gambit; the history of which is almost as old as modern chess itself.

It was first analysed in Giulio Polerio’s manuscript of the sixteenth century, reached its zenith of popularity in the nineteenth century, but now it has become unfashionable and has almost disappeared from competitive play due to the improvement in defensive technique.

Rudolph Spielman, one of its greatest protagonists, famously wrote about his disillusionment in a 1920s article, From the Sickbed of the King’s Gambit. Lately the lively King’s Gambit has had a revival at the top level due to the Belorussian No.1 Alexi Fedorov, who has used it to take the scalp of several leading GMs.

More notably however for any sort of revival, such as it had in the early 60s when Boris Spassky used it to good effect against high calibre opponents such as Bronstein and Fischer in top level competition, is its cause being taken up by a player destined for greatness.

Such a player is rising Russian star Alexander Grischuk, tipped by many to have the “right stuff” to become a future world champion. “I like to gamble,” says the 17-year-old world semi-finalist who recently led his team of Norilsky Nikel to success in the European Club Cup competition.

With a dynamic style reminiscent of the youthful Bronstein, Keres or Spassky, Grischuk obviously likes to gamble when he play the King’s Gambit - as can be seen from this hair-raising affair from the 1999 Russian championship, as both players went for each others jugular resulting in the rare sight of two simultaneous king hunts.


A Grischuk – A Lunev
Russian Ch. 1999, King’s Gambit

1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 h6 4 d4 g5 5 g3 fxg3 6 hxg3 Bg7 7 Nc3 d6 8 Bc4 Nf6 9 Qd3 Nc6 10 Be3 Na5 11 0–0–0 Nxc4 12 Qxc4 c6 13 d5 cxd5 14 Nxd5 Nxd5 15 Qxd5 0–0 16 Bd4 Be6 17 Qxb7 Qa5 18 Bxg7 Kxg7 19 a3 Rfb8 20 Qe7 Rxb2 21 Rxh6 Rxc2+ 22 Kxc2 Rc8+ 23 Kd3 Rc3+ 24 Ke2 Bc4+ 25 Kf2 Rc2+ 26 Kg1 Qc5+ 27 Kh1 Kxh6 28 Rxd6+ Be6 29 Qf6+ Kh5 30 g4+ Kxg4 31 Ne5+ Kh4 32 Qh6+ Kg3 33 Qxg5+ Kf2 34 Nd3+ 1–0


THE Russian GM Alexei Suetin has died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 74. He was born in Kirovograd in 1926 and died in Moscow just a few weeks ago shortly after returning from the Russian Senior Championships.

Although he never scaled the highest peaks during his long playing career, Suetin was one of the Soviet Union’s best players in the mid 60s where he was a constant performer in the notoriously tough Soviet Championships, taking part in ten finals.

He was a prolific writer on the game, especially his ground-breaking books on the opening and middlegame: Modern Chess Opening Theory, A Contemporary Approach to the Middlegame and Three Steps to Chess Mastery. From 1965 Suetin became a leading chess writer for the state newspaper Pravda as well as the voice of chess on Moscow radio and TV during the 1970s and 1980s.

Regarded by many as one of the top chess coaches, Suetin took on the job of trainer to world champion Tigran Petrosian from 1963-71. He also held a number of major posts in the Soviet chess hierarchy, including that of senior State chess trainer, where young up and coming stars of the game studied under his tutelage, most notably the Ukraine No.1 and World No. 8 Vasily Ivanchuk.

His best results were: 1st at Sarajevo in 1965 ahead of Milan Matulovic and Lev Polugaevsky, 1st equal with Svetozar Gligoric and Mark Taimanov ahead of Bent Larsen at Copenhagen in 1965 and 1st equal with Alexandar Matanovic ahead of Gligoric at Titovo Uzice 1966.

In 1996 at Bad Liebenzell in Germany, after spending much of his best chess years as the trainer to world champion Petrosian, he finally lifted his own world crown with an impressive winning score of 8/10 in the world Senior Championship.


A Suetin - V.Korchnoi
USSR Ch Leningrad 1962, Pirc Defence

1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6 4 Bg5 c6 5 Qd2 Bg7 6 Nf3 Bg4 7 Qf4 Bxf3 8 Qxf3 Nbd7 9 0-0-0 Qa5 10 h4 c5 11 e5!! dxe5 12 dxe5 Nxe5 13 Bb5+ Nfd7 14 Bxd7+ Nxd7 15 Rxd7! Kxd7 16 Rd1+ Bd4! 17 Qd5+ Kc8 18 Rxd4! Rd8 19 Qxd8+ Qxd8 20 Rxd8+ Kxd8 21 Nd5 f6 22 Be3 Kd7! 23 Kd2 b6 24 c4! Rf8 25 a3 e6 26 Nc3 a5 27 Bh6 Rg8 28 Ne4 Ke7 29 Be3 Rc8 30 b3 Rc6 31 Kc3 e5 32 g3 Rc7 33 b4! axb4+ 34 axb4 f5 35 bxc5! fxe4 36 cxb6 Rc8 37 Kb4 Ra8 38 Kb5 Kd7 39 b7 Ra2 40 Bb6 1-0


THE 5th World Chess Team Championship has just got underway at the Yerevan Opera House in Armenia; with nine teams battling it out for the title as one of the teams, the African Continental, had to withdraw at the eleventh hour.

First held in 1985 by Fide to compliment the more established (and more grandiose in stature) biennial Chess Olympiad, the World Team Championships is contested every four years, previous winners being USSR 1985 and 1989, USA 1993 and Russia 1997.

The nine teams playing for the title (played over four boards with each team having two reserves) are: Russia, Germany, Ukraine (the three highest placed at the 2000 Chess Olympiad), Hungary (from Europe), Uzbekistan (Asia Continental Champion), Cuba (the America Continental Champion), Armenia (the organizing federation), with both Iran and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia invited teams.

Defending champions Russia, with an average Elo of 2657, are the top seeds, with Ukraine second on 2623, and host nation Armenia third with 2616. However, on their home turf, Armenia, with a highly-experienced "ian" line-up of Akopian, Vaganian, Lputian, Asrian, Anastasian and Minasian could just tip the balance in their favour - and indeed have got off to a perfect start in their quest to win the title, sweeping their first two round opponents 4-0.


Round 1: Armenia 4-0 Iran; Russia 3-1 Hungary; Germany 2-2 Ukraine; Cuba 1.5-2.5 Uzbekistan; FYROM free day. Round 2: Ukraine 3-1 Cuba; Hungry 2-2 Germany; Iran 0.5-3.5 Russia; FYROM 0-4 Armenia; Uzbekistan free day.


Leader board: 1 Armenia 8/8; 2 Russia 6.5; 3 Ukraine 5; 4 Germany 4; 5 Hungary 3; 6 Cuba 2.5; 7 Uzbekistan 2.5; 8 Iran 0.5; 9 FYROM 0.


V Akopian - E Ghaem Maghami
World Team Ch. (1), Catalan Opening

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3 d5 4 Bg2 Be7 5 0-0 0-0 6 d4 dxc4 7 Qc2 a6 8 a4 Bd7 9 Qxc4 Bc6 10 Bg5 Bd5 11 Qd3 Be4 12 Qe3 Nbd7 13 Nc3 Bc6 14 Qd3 Rb8 15 Qc2 b5 16 axb5 axb5 17 Ne5 Bxg2 18 Kxg2 Nxe5 19 dxe5 Nd5 20 Bxe7 Qxe7 21 Ne4 b4 22 Rfc1 b3 23 Qc5 Qd7 24 Qc6 Qe7 25 h4 h6 26 Ra7 Qb4 27 Qc4 Rfd8 28 Qxb4 Rxb4 29 Nc5 Rd4 30 Nd3 Rb8 31 h5 g6 32 hxg6 fxg6 33 Rc6 Rb6 34 Raxc7 Rxc6 35 Rxc6 Kf7 36 Rd6 g5 37 Rd7+ Kg6 38 Rb7 Rc4 39 Rxb3 Rc2 40 Kf1 h5 41 e4 Ne7 42 Rc3 Rxc3 43 bxc3 h4 44 gxh4 gxh4 45 Kg2 1-0

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IT’S just like old times again in the bear pit of chess politics as Anatoly Karpov decides to once again stab Garry Kasparov (and also Vladimir Kramnik for good measure) in the back with a remarkable U-turn.

The 12th world champion was up to his old tricks again when he stunned the chess world Wednesday by pulling out of the much-anticipated “3 K’s” Botvinnik Memorial in Moscow in December, to incredulously opt for the FIDE world championship held at the same time in the Kremlin - despite his much publicised disregard for Fide and their new-styled KO world championship.

Karpov even went as far as suing the world chess federation over their running of the world championship and also severely criticising them (and the new-styled KO world championship format) in a joint letter penned with Kasparov and Kramnik, even going as far as joining the other two via phone from Buenos Aires in a Moscow press conference only a few weeks ago to launch the memorial to their former trainer in what would have been the 90th anniversary of his birth.

“The time is right for me to make a comeback”, said Karpov in the surprise statement published on the FIDE web site. “I celebrated my 50th birthday this year with close to 2000 guests at the Bolshoi Theatre and many of my friends encouraged me to make this move. My recent victory at the Najdorf Memorial in Buenos Aires has inspired me to seek the title again.”

In the past Karpov has always had no qualms about “selling his soul” to the highest bidder – and this looks exactly what has happened with Kirsan Ilyumzhinov yet again pulling off a major publicity coup for FIDE, who moved their world championship to Moscow on same dates as the Botvinnik Memorial in a deliberate attempt to face the three chess renegades head-on.

Now, with the departure of Karpov, who was also probably fearful of what Elo damage Kramnik and Kasparov would have probably done to him over the board, the Botvinnik Memorial looks likely to be cancelled as the hype of “rematch” between the remaining “2Ks” if they played in such a long match could lead to more problems.

En route to the Najdorf Memorial in Buenos Aires, Karpov was undefeated as he took on five leading members of the Club Atlético Boca Juniors (average Elo: 2370) in a simultaneous, winning the match-up 4-1.


A Karpov – J Seminara
Boca Simultaneous, King’s Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Nf3 0–0 6 Be2 e5 7 Be3 c6 8 0–0 Na6 9 dxe5 dxe5 10 Qxd8 Rxd8 11 Rfd1 Rxd1+ 12 Rxd1 Bg4 13 Kf1 Bxf3 14 Bxf3 Nc7 15 g4 h6 16 h4 Ne6 17 g5 hxg5 18 hxg5 Nh7 19 Rd7 Nhxg5 20 Bg4 b6 21 Bxg5 Nxg5 22 Rc7 c5 23 Bd7 Rd8 24 Rxa7 Nf3 25 b3 Nd4 26 Nd5 Rb8 27 Bb5 Ne6 28 Bc6 Nd4 29 Bb5 Ne6 30 f3 Nf4 31 Bc6 Bh6 32 Nf6+ Kg7 33 Nd7 Re8 34 Nxb6 Re6 35 Rc7 Bg5 36 Nd5 Rd6 37 Be8 Kf8 38 Bxf7 Ra6 39 a4 Nxd5 40 Bxd5 Rb6 41 a5 Ra6 42 Rxc5 Bd2 43 Ke2 Bxa5 44 Bb7 Ra7 45 Rxe5 Bc7 46 Rb5 Bf4 47 Kd3 Ke7 1–0

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WHEN he had just turned fourteen in 1997, Ruslan Ponomariov from the Ukraine shot to instant fame when he followed in the prodigy line of Bobby Fischer, Judit Polgar and Etienne Bacrot to become the youngest grandmaster in chess history.

That year he went on to confirmed his playing strength by taking the individual silver medal at the Elista Chess Olympiad, followed by a memorable victory in the Ukrainian Zonal in Donetsk ahead of 19 GMs, becoming in the process the youngest player to play in a FIDE World Championship.

In last year's Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Ponomariov was promoted to second board behind Vasily Ivanchuk in the Ukraine team, and performed even better than his debut at Elista, scoring 8.5/11 to win the individual gold medal for his performance.

With a steely strategic style and great technical skill, reminiscent of the young Anatoly Karpov (whom he also has such an uncanny physical resemblance to that he's often dubbed 'Little Karpov'), not to mention a fierce determination reminiscent of the young Bobby Fischer, many regarded Ponamriov as a world champion in the making as he comes closer in playing strength to the world's chess elite.

Today Ponamariov "turns of age" as he celebrates his eighteenth birthday as he continues to make steady progress to the top. With a new rating of 2684 on the recently published October list, Ponomariov is rated world number 20 and is still the youngest player in the top 100 (though Teimour Radjabov is knocking heavy on the door of the top 100 and likely to become the world's youngest on the January 2002 list).

Playing in his native Kramatorsk in the Ukraine, Ponomariov was the top seed in the Governor's Cup, a strong six-player double round robin. Dominating the tournament on his home turf with an unbeaten score of 7/10, Ponomariov easily clinched first prize with two rounds to spare and finished with an excellent score of +4 to gain more Elo points.


Final placings: 1 R Ponomariov (Ukraine) 7/10; 2 A Aleksandrov (Belorussia) 5.5; 3-4 V Baklan (Ukraine), J Ehlvest (Estonia) 5; 5 A Moiseenko (Ukraine) 4.5; 6 V Borovikov (Ukraine) 3.


R Ponomariov - V Baklan
Governor's Cup (6), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 Ng4 7 Bg5 Nc6 8 h3 Qb6 9 hxg4 Qxd4 10 Bd3 e6 11 Be3 Qb4 12 a3 Qxb2 13 Na4 Qf6 14 g5 Qd8 15 Nb6 Rb8 16 f4 Be7 17 Qf3 e5 18 Nd5 exf4 19 Bb6 Qd7 20 g6 Qg4 21 Rxh7 Rxh7 22 gxh7 Qh4+ 23 Kd2 Qxh7 24 Bc7 Qh6 25 Bxb8 Nxb8 26 Nb6 Be6 27 e5 dxe5 28 Qxb7 Bd6 29 Nc8 Bd7 30 Kc3 Kd8 31 Nxd6 Qxd6 32 Kb2 Qd4+ 33 c3 Qf2+ 34 Bc2 Nc6 35 Rd1 1-0

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The governing body of world chess, FIDE, have released the latest movers and shakers of the top 100 players in the world with the release of the October rating list.

Still dominating the number one spot after fifteen consecutive years, Garry Kasparov, despite losing his world crown to Vladimir Kramnik, continues to relentlessly crunch up the opposition on the tournament circuit where the former world champion still rules the roost, unchanged at 2838.

Kasparov's lead at the top though has been cut to 29-points by Kramnik, who gained seven points on the October list after his win at Dortmund. Even though Vishy Anand's dismal performance in Dortmund (where he came last with four defeats) lost him 24 points, the Indian ace still holds on to third place.

One of the biggest risers also due to Dortmund was Bulgaria's Veselin Topalov, who once again consolidates his position in the top ten with a 22-point rise to sixth place - two points ahead of ahead of British No.1 Michael Adams. Dutchman Loek Van Wely is another who once again returns to the top ten following several powerful performances in team tournaments and on the notoriously tough European Open circuit. The likeable Dutchman comes into the top 10 at the expense of Spain's Alexei Shirov who, for the first time since 1993, finds himself out of the elite top-ten club.


Top ten: 1 G Kasparov (Russia) 2838 (=); 2 V Kramnik (Russia) 2809 (+7); 3 V Anand (India) 2770 (-24); 4 A Morozevich (Russia) 2742 (-7); 5 P Leko (Hungary) 2739 (+9); 6 V Topalov (Bulgaria) 2733 (+22); 7 M Adams (England) 2731 (-13); 8 V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 2731 (=); 9 E Bareev (Russia) 2719 (=); 10 L Van Wely (Netherlands) 2714 (+19).


The first top ten meeting of the new list occurred last weekend during the first round of the Budesliga in Bonn, Germany, where Van Wely lost out in an interesting tussle with Kramnik's second, Evgeny Bareev.


E Bareev - L Van Wely
Bundesliga 2001-2 (1), Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Qb3 dxc4 6 Qxc4 0-0 7 e4 a6 8 Be2 b5 9 Qb3 c5 10 dxc5 Be6 11 Qc2 Nc6 12 0-0 Qc7 13 a3 Ng4 14 g3 Nge5 15 Be3 Nxf3+ 16 Bxf3 Nd4 17 Bxd4 Bxd4 18 b4 Bc4 19 Rfd1 Qe5 20 Rac1 a5 21 Qd2 Rfd8 22 c6 axb4 23 axb4 Bb6 24 Nd5 Rac8 25 Qf4 Qxf4 26 gxf4 Bxd5 27 exd5 Bc7 28 Rc5 Rb8 29 Be2 Rb6 30 Ra1 Bxf4 31 Ra7 Kf8 32 Rd7 Rc8 33 Rxb5 Rxb5 34 Bxb5 Rb8 35 Bd3 Rxb4 36 d6 Bxd6 37 Rxd6 1-0

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A quick, final round victory over British Champion Joe Gallagher was enough to give Russia's Mikhail Ulibin outright first in the Monarch Assurance International at the Cherry Orchard Hotel, Port Erin, in the Isle of Man.

With ten of the top players in the tournament all going into the final round in equal first place, the chances were that it could have resulted in a Russian 'carve-up' for the top prize. However, with a quick victory over Gallagher, Ulibin soon found himself 'in the clubhouse' with 6.5/9, and able to watch on from this vantage point as the other top four boards could only draw - a result that gave the young Russian the Manx title and the 2,000 first prize in the 10th edition of the popular tournament.

The resulting draws in the top boards meant there was a ten player logjam, a half point behind the winner, all sharing equal second on 6/9. Just behind them was top Scot in the Isle of Man, Kilmarnock's John Shaw, who again had another solid tournament, unbeaten to come 12th equal on 5.5/9; though again missed out on his first GM norm by one point.

Other notable scores include Dundee's Colin McNab and Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant who were 17th equal on 5/9, with the Edinburgh-based Georgian internationalist, playing in her last tournament before next months Women's world championships in Moscow, taking the women's prize.


Final placings: 1 M Ulibin (Russia) 6.5/9; 2-11 P Kiriakov (Russia), E Gleizerov (Russia), S Tiviakov (Netherlands), A Baburin (Ireland), Y Yakovich (Russia), M Brodsky (Ukraine), J Stocek (Czech Rep), A Galkin (Russia), A Chernieav (Russia), B Lalic (England) 6.


M Ulibin - J Gallagher
Monarch Assurance Int. (9), Sicilian Moscow Variation

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+ Nd7 4 d4 Ngf6 5 Nc3 cxd4 6 Qxd4 e5 7 Qd3 h6 8 a4 a6 9 Bc4 Nc5 10 Qe2 Be7 11 0-0 Qc7 12 Nh4 g5 13 Nf5 Ncxe4 14 Nxe7 Nxc3 15 bxc3 Qxe7 16 Ba3 Be6 17 Rfd1 Rd8 18 Rab1 0-0 19 Bxe6 fxe6 20 c4 Qc7 21 Qd3 e4 22 Qh3 Rf7 23 Qxh6 Qe7 24 Qxg5+ Rg7 25 Qh4 Rh7 26 Qf4 e5 27 Qf5 Kh8 28 Rxb7 1-0

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THE Monarch Assurance International being held at the Cherry Orchard Hotel in Port Erin in the Isle of Man is heading for a dramatic last round, with ten of the top rated players tied for the lead on 5.5/8.

Popular tournament director Dennis Hemsley has assembled (as ever) an impressive field for the 10th anniversary of what is now easily the UK's strongest open, and now the leading pack will be going into the final round chasing the 10,000 prize fund on offer.

With the tournament dominated by Russians (or even ex-Russians like top seed Sergei Tiviakov, who lives and represents the Netherlands, and the Irish No.1 Alexander Baburin), it's more than likely that, with their reputation, one of the Russians (or "ex") will come out with a last round win to take first prize and the Manx title.

However, all is not lost for a British (!?) win. Former Croatian Bogdan Lalic (who now represents England) is also in the leading pack with 5.5, and a penultimate round win for British Champion Joe Gallagher saw the popular Londoner also in the leading group.

Now, after winning the British Championships for the first time recently in Scarborough, Gallagher, who lives in Switzerland and represents Switzerland (though obviously remains a British citizen), has now got the chance for a remarkable double by taking the two top prizes available in the British Isles.


Leader board: 1-10 M Ulibin (Russia), A Baburin (Ireland), P Kiriakov (Russia), S Tiviakov (Netherlands), A Galkin (Russia), Y Yakovich (Russia), M Brodsky (Ukraine), A Cherniaev (Russia), B Lalic (England), J Gallagher (Switzerland) 5.5/8.


J Gallagher - C Crouch
Monarch Assurance Int. (8), Alekhine's Defence

1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 Nf3 Bg4 5 Be2 c6 6 0-0 Bxf3 7 Bxf3 dxe5 8 dxe5 e6 9 Nd2 Nd7 10 Re1 Qc7 11 Nc4 N7b6 12 Qe2 Nxc4 13 Qxc4 0-0-0 14 a3 h6 15 b4 g5 16 g3 Bg7 17 Bb2 h5 18 Qe4 g4 19 Bg2 Ne7 20 a4 Rd2 21 Bc3 Rd7 22 Rad1 Rxd1 23 Rxd1 Rd8 24 Re1 Nd5 25 Bd2 Nb6 26 Bg5 Rh8 27 b5 cxb5 28 axb5 Nd7 29 Qa4 Nxe5 30 Bf4 Qc4 31 Qxa7 Qxb5 32 Qa2 Nf3+ 33 Bxf3 gxf3 34 Qa8+ Kd7 35 Rd1+ Ke7 36 Qa3+ Kf6 37 Qxf3 Qc6 38 Qd3 Rc8 39 h4 Bf8 40 Qh7 Qxc2 41 Bg5+ Ke5 42 f4# 1-0

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AS usual, a strong field has been assembled at the Cherry Orchard Hotel at Port Erin on the Isle of Man for the annual Monarch Assurance International, easily now the strongest Open tournament in the UK(?) since the demise of the Lloyds Bank Masters.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of this popular tournament, and Tournament Director Dennis Hemsley hoped to have something extra special with the likes of top Russians Alexander Morozevich, Teimor Radjabov and Vladimir Tukmakov heading the line-up, unfortunately though, for one reason or another, all three had to decline invitations at the last minute.

However this didn't mean that there would be a lack of "Russians" among the cosmopolitan field chasing the 10,000 prize fund and the title of Manx King. Out of a field of 56, there's 15 grandmasters, 1 WGM and seven IMs - ten of which are those so-called "Russians" (including others from the former Soviet Union).

The line-up includes the former world junior champion Alexander Galkin, the British Champion Joe Gallagher, Sergei Tiviakov and of course defending champion Mark Hebden. Also, being the tenth commemorative tournament, several previous years' winners have been invited back to the Island: Colin Crouch (1991), Colin McNab (1992), Bogdan Lalic (1994) and Alexander Baburin (1997).

After five rounds and the half-way stage of the tournament, Russia's Petr Kiriakov leads the field with a 4/5 - with an ominous chasing pack of 17(!) players on his tail just half a point behind on 3.5.


P Marusenko - P Kiriakov
Monarch Assurance International (3), King's Indian Attack

1 e4 e6 2 d3 b5 3 a4 b4 4 Nf3 Bb7 5 Nbd2 c5 6 b3 d6 7 d4 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Nd7 9 Bb2 Ngf6 10 Qe2 Rc8 11 0-0-0 Qc7 12 Nc4 a6 13 f3 Be7 14 h4 0-0 15 h5 Rfe8 16 Qf2 d5 17 exd5 Nxd5 18 Bd3 Nc5 19 Ne2 Bf6 20 Bxf6 Nxf6 21 h6 Nxd3+ 22 Rxd3 Bd5 23 Rd4 e5 24 Qg3 g6 25 Qg5 Re6 26 Rdh4 Qe7 27 Rd1 Rec6 28 Ng3 Qe6 29 f4 Bxc4 30 f5 Bd3! 31 c4 (31 fxe6 Rxc2+ 32 Kb1 Rc1+ 33 Kb2 R8c2#; 31 Rxd3 Rxc2+ 32 Kd1 Qb6 33 Qe3 Qxe3 34 Rxe3 g5 35 Rc4 R8xc4 36 bxc4 Rxg2 37 Ne4 Nxe4 38 Rxe4 Kf8 39 Rxe5 b3 40 Kc1 Rc2+ wins) 31 ..Bxf5 32 Rf1 Bd3 0-1

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JUST like the annual Scottish Championship which moves around the country to a different venue, likewise there's a similar peripatetic nature to the Scottish Allegro Championship (for games of 25 minutes each), which each year is held alongside one of the established Allegro tournament on the circuit.

This year it was the turn of the Edinburgh and Lothians Chess Association to play hosts to the national Allegro title, which was held last weekend at the Wester Hails Education Centre as part of ELCA's popular annual Allegro.

After failing to turn up on time for his first round game due to major traffic problem coming over from Glasgow, IM Stephen Mannion, despite the half-point bye in the opening round (the wonders of a mobile phone!), took the title and the Midlothian Cup and first prize of 150.00 with an unbeaten score of 4/5, a half-point ahead of the chasing pack.

Edinburgh's Neil Berry, one of the chasing pack behind the winner after a last round draw with Mannion, was the winner of the Bill Smerdon Cup for the highest placed Lothians player.


Championship: 1 IM S Mannion (Cathcart) 4/5; 2-7 IM D Bryson (Shettleston), N Berry (Edinburgh), A Grant (Cathcart), M Fraser (Musselburgh), J McLay (Wandering Dragons), J Redpath (Edinburgh West) 3.5; Challengers: 1-2 I Mason (Grangemouth), O Ali (Edinburgh) 4/5; Major: 1 W Falconer (Wandering Dragons) 4.5/5; Minor: F MacLean (Sandy Bells) 5/5;.


The next major tournament on the Scottish calendar is the 24th Perth Congress, 19-21 October, taking place at St Columba's High School. For further information contact John Shovlin on 01738-627965.


S Mannion - D Bryson
Scottish Allegro (4), Sicilian Sveshnikov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bf4 e5 8 Bg5 a6 9 Na3 b5 10 Bxf6 gxf6 11 Nd5 Bg7 12 Bd3 Ne7 13 Nxe7 Qxe7 14 c3 0-0 15 0-0 f5 16 Nc2 d5 17 exf5 e4 18 Be2 Bb7 19 Nd4 b4 20 Qd2 bxc3 21 bxc3 Rac8 22 Rab1 Rc7 23 Rb6 Rfc8 24 Rfb1 Ra8 25 f6 Bxf6 26 Nf5 Qe5 27 Nh6+ Kf8 28 Rxb7 Bg5 29 Ng4 Rxb7 30 Rxb7 Bxd2 31 Nxe5 Bxc3 32 Nxf7 Bf6 33 g4 Rc8 34 g5 Rc1+ 35 Kg2 Be7 36 Ne5 Bxg5 37 Rf7+ Kg8 38 Rf5 1-0

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A new season of the 4NCL kicked off recently at its permanent venue, the Moat House Hotel, Birmingham. Styled on the German Bundesliga, and despite an auspicious start when Chris Dunworth founded the event in 1994, this popular national team tournament is now in its eighth season and has turned into a positive boon for the British chess scene.

In the inaugural event, there were just six teams in the competition playing each other twice. Now, the league has had to be expanded with 36 teams competing in three divisions of 12.

For many years Slough have proved to be the dominate force in the league with an open chequebook policy to buy the best players. This season there only seems to be stubs left in the chequebook for Slough, with a depleted line-up. However, for the 4NCL perennial bridesmaids Wood Green, it's not good news as they find that when one chequebook closes, another even larger one opens.

Last year's champions, Beeson Gregory (managed by the company chairman, David Norwood),looking to be the Manchester United of the British chess scene, proved that well known adage that money talks by buying the best: Mickey Adams, John Nunn, Julian Hodgson, Joe Gallagher, Murray Chandler, Luke McShane, Aaron Summerscale and Ruth Sheldon - a formidably line-up, and unquestionably the favourites for the 2001-2002 title.

Wood Green, on the other hand, have a good team spirit with a highly-experienced squad to match - Jon Speelman, Alexander Baburin, John Emms, Matthew Turner, Chris Ward, Andrew Martin and Harriet Hunt - and are likely to fight Beeson Gregory all the way for the Division one title. And, after the first weekend of the season, Wood Green, on game points, find themselves at the top of the league.

After the first two rounds just three teams had a perfect 4/4 match points: 1-3 Wood Green (12.5/16), Beeson Gregory (11.5), Bristol (10) 4/4; 4-9 Guildford ADC and Wood Green II (8.5), Barbican 4NCL (8), Slough (7.5), Midland Monarchs (6.5), Thistle White Rose (5) 2/4; 10-12 Barbican 4NCL II (6.5), Wessex (6), Beeson Gregory II (5.5) 0/4.


J Speelman - P Littlewood
4NCL (2), QGD Tartakower Defence

1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 c4 e6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 e3 0-0 6 Nc3 h6 7 Bh4 b6 8 Bd3 Bb7 9 0-0 c5 10 dxc5 bxc5 11 Rc1 Nbd7 12 Qe2 Qa5 13 cxd5 exd5 14 Rfd1 Rad8 15 Bb1 Rfe8 16 Qb5 Qb6 17 Bg3 Nh5 18 Qxb6 Nxb6 19 Bc7 Rd7 20 Be5 Bf6 21 Bxf6 Nxf6 22 Bf5 Rdd8 23 Nb5 c4 24 Nfd4 g6 25 Bc2 a6 26 Nc3 Rb8 27 Re1 Kg7 28 f3 Red8 29 Kf2 Rd6 30 g4 Nbd7 31 h4 Nc5 32 b4 cxb3 33 axb3 Bc8 34 Ra1 Be6 35 Ra3 Nfd7 36 Nce2 Rdb6 37 Rea1 Rc8 38 Kg3 Rb4 39 Ra5 Rb6 40 Nf4 Ne5 41 b4 Ncd7 42 Rxa6 Rxb4 43 Nfxe6+ fxe6 44 Rxe6 Rc3 45 Ra7 Kf8 46 Bxg6 Rxe3 47 Re8+ Kg7 48 Rxe5 Rxe5 49 Rxd7+ Kxg6 50 Nc6 1-0

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AS heavily tipped here last week by your correspondent, the British Chess Federation's Book of the Year award went to Viktor Korchnoi for his superb book "My Best Games Vol.1: Games with White", published by Swiss publishing house Olms at 19.99.

For many, Korchnoi, who recently turned 70 and has had a distinguished international career spanning over fifty years, is revered as one of the timeless warriors of the game who can still play at a 2600+ level (and indeed played third board last week for St Petersburg in the notoriously tough European Club Cup) to worry even today's elite players, such as Kasparov, Kramnik and Anand.

In choosing this year's winner, the BCF judges - Ray Edwards, Mike Fox and John Toothill - believe (rightly in my opinion) that "My Best Games Vol.1: Games with White" would immediately join the select band of timeless game collections, like those of Tarrasch, Alekhine, Botvinnik and Fischer, that have influenced how the game is played. In this worthy winner of the 2001 award, Korchnoi covers in great detail his controversial playing career, which has included two bitterly disputed world championship matches with arch-rival Anatoly Karpov, together with numerous successes in individual and team events.

His annotations to his best games with White, which are particularly noteworthy for his original methods of fighting for the initiative, are honest, detailed and very instructive. And, with deft timing, the sequel, "Vol.2: Games with Black", is due on the book shelves in the next month!


V Korchnoi - A Jakubiec
European Club Cup (2), Leningrad Dutch

1 d4 f5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 c4 g6 4 g3 Bg7 5 Bg2 0-0 6 b4 c6 7 0-0 Na6 8 b5 cxb5 9 cxb5 Nc7 10 Nc3 d6 11 a4 Rb8 12 Ba3 Kh8 13 Rc1 Ne4 14 Qc2 Nxc3 15 Qxc3 Ne6 16 Qc4 Bd7 17 d5 Rc8 18 Qd3 Nc5 19 Bxc5 dxc5 20 Qe3 b6 21 Rfd1 a6 22 d6 e6 23 bxa6 Ra8 24 Ng5 Rxa6 25 Nxe6 Bxe6 26 Qxe6 Rxa4 27 e3 Qf6 28 Qb3 Rb4 29 Qd5 Rd8 30 d7 Rb2 31 Ra1 Bf8 32 Ra8 Be7 33 Rxd8+ Bxd8 34 Bf1 Kg7 35 h4 Rb4 36 Bc4 Ra4 37 Kh2 Ra7 38 Qg8+ Kh6 39 Bf7 Qe7 40 Bxg6 Rxd7 41 Bxh7 1-0

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THE "Battle of Crete" ended yesterday with front runners Norilsky Nikel easily winning the European Club Cup with an unbeaten score of 13/14 to lift the title for the first time.

In an impressive all-round performance from the young Russian team, Norilsky virtually guaranteed themselves the title with one round to play after beating the second seeds, St Petersburg, 3.5-2.5 in a critical, penultimate round victory.

After winning six games in a row, Norilsky went into the last round against nearest rivals Danko Donbass, two game points and five match points ahead, with the Ukrainian team needing a 5.5-0.5 victory to overhaul their lead. With the title more or less in the bag, there was no real danger of the title changing hands and the last round match up between the two soon fizzled out with six very quick draws, giving Norilsky a memorable victory in a tough competition.

For the winners, on top board the highly-experienced Sergei Dolmatov had a solid performance of 3/5; likewise bottom board Alexander Rustemov with 3.5/6. Playing in all seven games, the young star Alexander Grischuk impressed on second board with 5/7 (his only loss being to Peter Svidler), and Sergei Rublevsky equally dominant on third with an unbeaten 5.5/7. However the top individual scorers went to the fourth and fifth board performances of Vadim Malakov and Vladimir Zvjaginsev, with both top scoring in the competition, unbeaten on 5/6.


Leading Final Standings: 1 Norilsky Nikel (Russia) 13/14 (29.5/42); 2 Polonia Plus GSM Warsaw (Poland) 12 (26.5); 3 Gazovik (Russia) 11 (27); 4 Danko Donbass (Ukraine) 11 (25); 5 Bosna Sarajevo (BIH) 10 (29.5); 6 St Petersburg LTD (Russia) 10 (25); 7 Kiseljak (BIH) 9 (26.5); 8 Beer Sheva Chess Club (Israel) 9 (26); 9 Shlomo Har-Zvi Tel Aviv (Israel) 9 (22.5) ...


V Malakhov - S Volkov
European Club Cup (6), French Tarrasch

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 f4 c5 6 Ngf3 Nc6 7 Nb3 c4 8 Nbd2 b5 9 Be2 Nb6 10 Nf1 Bd7 11 Ne3 Be7 12 0-0 Qc7 13 Bd2 f6 14 Be1 0-0 15 Bh4 Kh8 16 Kh1 a5 17 Qd2 b4 18 b3 c3 19 Qe1 a4 20 Bd3 Be8 21 Rd1 f5 22 h3 Bxh4 23 Qxh4 Qe7 24 Qf2 h6 25 g4 fxg4 26 Nxg4 Bh5 27 Qg3 Rf7 28 Bb5 Na7 29 Be2 Raf8 30 Nh4 axb3 31 Nxh6 Bxe2 32 Ng6+ Kh7 33 Nxf7 Qxf7 34 Qh4+ Kxg6 35 Rg1+ Kf5 36 Rg5+ Ke4 37 f5+ Ke3 38 Rg3+ Bf3+ 39 Rxf3+ Kxf3 40 Rf1+ Ke3 41 Qf4+ 1-0

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