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The Scotsman

Chess News December 2001

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A revitalised Hastings Congress - the world’s longest running international chess tournament, now in its third century - got underway at its new home of the Horntyre Park Sports Complex at the weekend with the official opening, in the presence of local MP Michael Foster and the Deputy Mayor of Hastings & Rye, Cllr. Phil Scott.

The Hastings tradition grew out of the great interest shown in chess during the Victorian era of the 1880s which lead to the first Hastings Congress of 1895 – still to this day regarded as the greatest chess tournament ever held. However, the annual Christmas and New Year festival tradition only started at the turn of the year 1920-21.

Over the years, Hastings, the world's most historic chess event, attracts many foreign players from around the world to its Holiday festival - ranging from international grandmasters to casual club players. This year has seen a dramatic rise in the number of entries, with more than 30 countries represented in the Premier, Challengers and other subsidiary tournaments - and possibly more to come before the tournament ends. They are: Algeria, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Byelorussia, Canada, China, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, India, Macedonia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, USA, Uzbekistan, Wales and Zambia.

The change in the balance of power in the chess world can even be seen this year at Hastings, when, for the first time in its long and illustrious history, the top seed and hot favourite in the Premier comes from China: GM Zhang Zhong. However, he got off to the worst possible start in his efforts to become the first Chinese player to win the tournament when he lost in a sparkling opening round game to the Uzbekistan GM, Alexei Barsov.


Round 1: Sasikiran draw Harikrishna; Barsov 1-0 Zhang Zhong; Kiriakov 1-0 Krush; Pert draw Gallagher; Hebden 0-1 Wells


A Barsov - Zhang Zhong
Hastings Premier (1), Nimzo Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Nf3 b6 5 Bg5 Bb7 6 Nd2 h6 7 Bh4 c5 8 a3 Bxc3 9 bxc3 d6 10 f3 Nbd7 11 e4 e5 12 d5 Qe7 13 Bd3 Nf8 14 Qa4+ Kd8 15 Bf2 Ng6 16 g3 Nh7 17 h4 Kc7 18 Nf1 Qf6 19 Ke2 Ne7 20 Ne3 h5 21 Raf1 g5 22 hxg5 Nxg5 23 Be1 Qg6 24 f4 Nxe4 25 fxe5 Nxg3+ 26 Kd2 Nxf1+ 27 Rxf1 Qg5 28 exd6+ Kxd6 29 Rf6+ Ke5 30 Rf3 f5 31 Bxf5 Rhd8 32 Bg3+ Kf6 33 Bc8+ Kg7 34 Bxb7 Rf8 35 Bf4 Rxf4 36 Rxf4 Rd8 37 Rf2 Ng6 38 Rg2 Qf4 39 Qc2 Rd6 40 Qf5 1–0

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MAJOR - and much needed - changes to the format and style of the US Championships have been made by the Seattle Chess Foundation (who have the rights to run the championships in the Emerald City until 2010), which will run 5-13th January at the Seattle Center.

Apart from the prize fund being increased to an unprecedented $200,000 (with $15,000 going to the winner), the SCF have avoided the "usual suspects syndrome" of the same players contesting the title in a round-robin, by increasing the field to a record-breaking 56 players - headed by local Seattleite Yasser Seirawan, the US No.1.

And, for the first time in its 113-year history, both men and women will play in the one event (with the top female taking the women's title and prize of $9,500) - a positive move that can only boost the playing strength and ambitions of female players as they aspire to the rating heights of the world's top female player, Judit Polgar. Ironically, Irina Krush, the top US female player, cannot play as she accepted an invitation to the Hastings Premier long before the new dates for the US Championships were fixed.

Additionally, 20 top players (12 men, 8 women) - including the 2000 U.S. Champions and 2000 U.S. Junior Champion - have been automatically seeded into the event. In order to make playing in it more open, however, three qualifier events - the U.S. Open, the American Open and the National Chess Congress - allowed 36 additional players (32 men, 4 women) to join the 20 seeded participants.

This innovative, new format has had a surprising result. Apart from veterans like GM Walter Browne and IM Anthony Saidy returning to the championship fold once again, many young players have qualified to compete; including the likes of 13-year-old Hana Itkis, from New Jersey, who now breaks Bobby Fischer's record from the 1950's by becoming the youngest person to play in the championships.

The last qualifying tournament for the championships was the 37th American Open, held at the Furama Hotel in Los Angeles at the end of November. Taking the first prize of $3,120 was IM Melikset Khachiyan, a chess teacher who emigrated from Armenia last year, who top scored in the 104-player Open with 6.5-1.5.

Undefeated, Khachiyan conceded draws only to GM Gregory Serper, GM Alek Wojtkiewicz and IM Igor Ivanov and defeated GM Pavel Blatney in a crucial seventh round game to take the title. There was a four-way tie for second on 6-2 between Blatny (Czech Rep), Ivanov (USA), Wojtkiewicz (Poland) and Armen Ambartsounmian (USA).

Although Khachiyan, as a new immigrant to America, doesn't qualify this year to play in the US Championships, the American Open he won provided a dozen from the 41 entrants, scoring 5.5-2.5 and above, who paid a $50 surcharge on their entry fees to gain an invitation to the 2002 US Championships.


P Blatny - M Khachiyan
American Open (7), Closed Sicilian

1 g3 g6 2 Bg2 Bg7 3 e4 c5 4 Nc3 Nc6 5 d3 Rb8 6 Be3 b5 7 Qd2 b4 8 Nd1 d6 9 f4 Qb6 10 h3 f5 11 exf5 gxf5 12 Nf3 Nh6 13 0-0 0-0 14 Bf2 Nd4 15 Re1 Nxf3+ 16 Bxf3 Bb7 17 Qe2 Bxf3 18 Qxf3 Qb7 19 Qh5 Rbe8 20 Ne3 e6 21 Nc4 Nf7 22 Re2 Qc8 23 Kh2 d5 24 Ne3 Nd6 25 Rg1 Kh8 26 Ng2 Bxb2 27 Nh4 Rg8 28 c4 Bc3 29 g4 dxc4 30 gxf5 exf5 31 Rxg8+ Kxg8 32 dxc4 Rxe2 33 Qxe2 Ne4 34 Be3 Bf6 35 Nf3 Qe6 36 Qd3 a5 37 Kg2 a4 38 Qc2 Qc6 39 Bc1 Nd6 40 Qd3 Kf7 41 Be3 Ke6 42 Qc2 Qe4 43 Qf2 b3 44 axb3 axb3 45 Bc1 Qxc4 0-1

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NEXT to the American genius Paul Morphy, perhaps one of the most puzzling chess enigmas of all-time was that of Mexico’s first grandmaster, Carlos Repetto Torre (1904-78).

Torre’s all but brief – yet spectacular – international career from 1924-26 uncannily parallels that of Morphy. Like Morphy, Torre’s first big win was to be in New Orleans when he won the state championship there in 1922. He followed this up with major wins in the US in 1924, and then burst onto the chess scene when he travelled to Europe the following year to dazzle everyone with his dynamic play.

Playing in strong International tournaments in Baden-Baden, Marienbad (third behind Nimzovich and Rubinstein) and Moscow (fifth behind Bogolyubov, Lasker, Capablanca and Marshall), he left his mark on the chess world with a string of excellent performances; in the process establishing a plus score (+1, =2) against arguably three of the greatest world champions of the game: Lasker, Capablanca and Alekhine.

Sadly, however, at the young age of 21 when everyone was venturing to suggest that he had the potential to be a future world champion himself, Torre suffered a major nervous breakdown, returned home to Yucatan and never played again. In 1977, just a year before his death, FIDE made him Mexico’s first grandmaster by awarding him an honorary title – thoroughly deserved on its own rights for his performances in the tournaments he played during his brief career.

As a tribute to Torre, each year his home state of Merida holds a memorial tournament in his honour. This year the XIV Torre Memorial (14-22 December) took the form of a 32 player knockout tournament. In an all-Cuban final, GM Leinier Dominguez defeated his compatriot Juan Carlos Gonzalez Zampora to win the event.


L Dominguez – J Gonzalez
XIV Carlos Torre Memorial (11), Sicilian Maroczy Bind

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Qb6 5 Nb3 Nf6 6 Bd3 d6 7 0–0 g6 8 c4 Bg7 9 Nc3 0–0 10 Be3 Qd8 11 Be2 b6 12 f3 Bb7 13 Qd2 Rc8 14 Rac1 Nd7 15 Rfd1 Nc5 16 Nd4 Nxd4 17 Bxd4 Bxd4+ 18 Qxd4 Qe8 19 b4 Ne6 20 Qe3 Nc7 21 a4 f5 22 c5 bxc5 23 bxc5 dxc5 24 Bc4+ Kg7 25 Qxc5 a6 26 Rb1 Ba8 27 Qd4+ Kh6 28 Rb6 fxe4 29 Nxe4 Bxe4 30 Qxe4 Rf6 31 Re1 Qd7 32 Qe3+ g5 33 h4 Qf5 34 Bd3 Qf4 35 Qxf4 gxf4 36 Rxe7 1–0

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THE recent FIDE world championship in Moscow became the first that players had to conform to a drug test - even if the substance being tested for is no more sinister than caffeine.

Dr Pedro Barrera, Chairman of the FIDE Medical Commission, has now reported back to FIDE that all the results proved negative – apart from traces of Horlicks. The sample of 20 players (10 per cent of the field) included eight control players selected at random and a further twelve, which included the four women semi-finalists and eight men quarter finalists.

The move is all part of FIDE’s grand plan to see chess become a sport within the greater Olympic movement, and to do so they have to comply with the IOC’s strict drug-testing rules. The media have thus had a field day with visions of Novocain injections to allow players to sit for hours at a time or even intravenous Starbucks mainlining.

But can drugs make you better at chess? There have been many allegations that the former USSR manufactured certain undisclosed drugs to aide their then world champion Anatoly Karpov stay at the top. And indeed when the defeated challenger, Viktor Korchnoi, lost the world championship match in 1978, he claimed: “The result was a great victory for Soviet chemistry.”

However, one area of investigation for drugs that could possible aide chess can be found freely available from most health stores - and for only 30.00(GBP) for a three-month supply (or so I’m told!). Swinburne University in Melbourne conducted a series of controlled trials with the herbal drug gingko biloba not that long ago, concluding it would be ideal for chess players as it was a natural brain stimulator because it aided alertness and concentration.


V Ivanchuk - Ye Jiangchuan
FIDE World Ch. (4.1), King’s Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 Nf3 0–0 5 e4 d6 6 Be2 e5 7 0–0 Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 b4 a5 10 Ba3 b6 11 bxa5 Rxa5 12 Bb4 Ra8 13 a4 Re8 14 Qd3 Nd7 15 Qb1 Bh6 16 a5 Nc5 17 axb6 Rxa1 18 Qxa1 cxb6 19 Rb1 Qc7 20 Nb5 Qd8 21 Bxc5 bxc5 22 Qa7 Bg4 23 h3 Nc8 24 Qb8 Bxf3 25 Bxf3 Bg5 26 Ra1 h5 27 Ra6 Be7 28 Rc6 Rf8 29 Rc7 Bg5 30 Qb7 Bd2 31 h4 Ba5 32 Rc6 Be1 33 g3 Qa5 34 Kf1 Qd2 35 Be2 Ne7 36 Qxe7 Bxf2 37 Kxf2 1–0

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TO many people, Hastings is famous for the Norman Conquest of Britain in 1066. Apart from the obvious mayhem William the Conqueror and his marauding army caused by this historic clash of arms, tradition has it that the invasion was also responsible for the introduction of chess to Britain.

Ever since, ‘Hastings’ and ‘chess’ have become synonymous with each other. This was reinforced in 1895 when the local chess club organised the strongest tournament ever held (up to that time) with all the leading players of the day making the long journey to the thriving Victorian ‘watering place’. America’s Harry Pillsbury, with a score of 16.5/22, proved to be the sensation of that event when he took first place ahead of the Russian champion Mikhail Chigorin, with newly-crowned world champion Emanuel Lasker third.

And, since 1920 (with the exception of the war years), Hastings has become a great chess institution with nearly all the world champions (save for Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik) being lured there by the fine tradition of this historical event when it was turned into an annual Christmas tournament.

Nowadays, the world’s longest-running international tournament is not able to attract the same calibre of player it once did in the past – but the tradition goes on with grandmasters and club player alike making the pilgrimage to the Sussex coast.

The 77th edition of Hastings gets underway this week at its new home of the Horntyre Park Sports Complex – a venue that last year so revitalised the ageing tournament. The ten invited players for the line-up in the Premier, includes this year’s Commonwealth Champion Alexei Barsov (Uzbekistan), Smith & Williamson British Champion Joe Gallagher (Switzerland), Pentala Harikrishna (India), Mark Hebden (England), Petr Kiriakov (Russia), Nicholas Pert (England), Krishnan Sasikiran (India), Peter Wells (England), Zhang Zhong (China) and the only female competitor, Irina Krush (USA).

A strong enough field, but alas not a patch on Pillsbury, Steinitz, Chigorin, Tarrasch and Lasker - just some of the great players and personalities who contested the inaugural Hastings tournament of 1895.


H Pillsbury – S Tarrasch
Hastings 1895, Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 Nf3 Nbd7 6 Rc1 0–0 7 e3 b6 8 cxd5 exd5 9 Bd3 Bb7 10 0–0 c5 11 Re1 c4 12 Bb1 a6 13 Ne5 b5 14 f4 Re8 15 Qf3 Nf8 16 Ne2 Ne4 17 Bxe7 Rxe7 18 Bxe4 dxe4 19 Qg3 f6 20 Ng4 Kh8 21 f5 Qd7 22 Rf1 Rd8 23 Rf4 Qd6 24 Qh4 Rde8 25 Nc3 Bd5 26 Nf2 Qc6 27 Rf1 b4 28 Ne2 Qa4 29 Ng4 Nd7 30 R4f2 Kg8 31 Nc1 c3 32 b3 Qc6 33 h3 a5 34 Nh2 a4 35 g4 axb3 36 axb3 Ra8 37 g5 Ra3 38 Ng4 Bxb3 39 Rg2 Kh8 40 gxf6 gxf6 41 Nxb3 Rxb3 42 Nh6 Rg7 43 Rxg7 Kxg7 44 Qg3+ Kxh6 45 Kh1 Qd5 46 Rg1 Qxf5 47 Qh4+ Qh5 48 Qf4+ Qg5 49 Rxg5 fxg5 50 Qd6+ Kh5 51 Qxd7 c2 52 Qxh7# 1–0

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THE schism between different factions in the chess world, nicely encapsulated recently in Moscow with just 500 meters or so separating the rival events of the $3m Fide world championship and the Botvinnik Memorial with BGN finalists Kasparov and Kramnik, now looks set to hit one of the highlights of the chess calendar.

All the shenanigans and infighting has led to a number of enforced changes having to be made to the field for the 64th Corus tournament, which runs from January 12-27 in the Dutch town of Wijk aan Zee.

First to decline an invitation was Vishy Anand, who quite reasonably declared long ago that he wanted to concentrate on defending his Fide crown. However, as Fide deliberately timed the final of their world championship (which runs 16-26 January) in Moscow to clash with Corus, this left the two Ukrainian finalists, Vassily Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov, having no alternative other than to withdraw at a late stage from the popular Dutch tournament.

Next to pull out was BGN world champion Vladimir Kramnik, who now wants to spend January preparing for his rescheduled Man vs. Machine showdown in Bahrain against Deep Fritz, which starts on February 6th – but at least allows his second, Evgeny Bareev, to be his replacement.

The weakened field for Corus now makes Garry Kasparov the red hot (which is something you don’t normally associate with Wijk aan Zee!) favourite to lift his fourth successive title. Standing in his path will be, in grading order, the new line-up of Michael Adams (England), Peter Leko (Hungary), Evgeny Bareev (Russia), Loek Van Wely (Netherlands), Alexander Khalifman (Russia), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Rustam Kasimdzhanov(Uzbekistan), Alexey Dreev (Russia), Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Joel Lautier (France), Mikhail Gurevich (Belgium), Jeroen Piket (Netherlands) and Jan Timman (Netherlands).

P Svidler – R Ponomariov
FIDE World Ch. (6.3), Petroff’s Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d4 Nxe4 4 Bd3 d5 5 Nxe5 Nd7 6 Nxd7 Bxd7 7 0–0 Bd6 8 c4 c6 9 cxd5 cxd5 10 Nc3 Nxc3 11 bxc3 0–0 12 Qh5 f5 13 Re1 Qc7 14 Bd2 Rae8 15 Bc2 g6 16 Qf3 Re4 17 g3 Bb5 18 Bf4 Bxf4 19 gxf4 Qd6 20 Bxe4 fxe4 21 Qg3 Rxf4 22 Rab1 Bd7 23 f3 b6 24 Re3 Qf6 25 Rf1 Bg4 26 Qxg4 Rxg4+ 27 fxg4 Qg5 28 Rg3 b5 29 Rf2 Kg7 30 Kg2 a5 31 Rb2 b4 32 cxb4 axb4 33 h3 Qc1 34 Rgb3 Kh6 35 Rxb4 Qd1 36 Kf2 Kg5 37 Re2 Kf4 38 Rb3 Qxd4+ 39 Kg2 Qc4 40 Rf2+ Kg5 41 Rf7 d4 42 h4+ Kxh4 43 Rxh7+ Kxg4 44 Rg3+ Kf5 0–1

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FOUR new competitions - the Amateur Prix, Senior Prix, Disabled Prix and Amateur Prixette - have been added in recent years to the circuit of the Terence Chapman Grand Prix, in order to bolster its popularity with the grassroots.

The Amateur Prix title this year went to David Jameson, from Colwyn Bay; the Prixette to Lana Boztas, from Surrey; the Disabled Prix to Dean Hartley, from Chesterfield; and last, but certainly not least, the Senior Prix for over 60s to IM James T Sherwin, now resident in Bath, who took the title ahead of last year's winner, FM Michael Franklin.

Sherwin is perhaps best remembered by being Bobby Fischer’s first “victim” in his timeless classic, “My 60 Memorable Games”. A former contemporary of the wayward American genius, Sherwin was a major figure on the US chess scene in the 1950s - coming third no less than four times in the US Championships, and fourth on three occasions. Along with Fischer and Pal Benko in 1958, Sherwin represented the US in the 4th World Championship Interzonal at Portoroz; an event won by Tal in his prime, en route to capturing the world title from Botvinnik in 1960.

However, Sherwin never went on to emulate some of his more famous opponents during this golden era for the game, and instead decided to give up chess in the early 1960s to pursue a more lucrative career in high-finance. In a typical piece of Ivan Boesky-styled Wall Street scandal from the Eighties, Sherwin became embroiled in three lengthy court cases – and against his most formidable opponent: the legendary prosecutor Rudy Giuliani; now serving out the last days of his term as Mayor of New York.

Despite winning all three cases on appeal, the ordeal proved too much for Sherwin. He decided it would be best to leave his homeland rather than face the wrath of a defeated Giuliani and the possibility of further investigation. He settled firstly in Switzerland, before retiring at the age of 65 to the South West of England in 1999 – and is now eligible to play in next year’s Smith & Williamson British Championships.


J Sherwin – A Smith
Exmouth Congress (6), King’s Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 c4 Bg7 4 Nc3 0–0 5 Bg5 d6 6 e3 c5 7 d5 e6 8 Be2 exd5 9 cxd5 h6 10 Bh4 g5 11 Bg3 Nh5 12 Nd2 Nxg3 13 hxg3 Nd7 14 Nc4 Nb6 15 Qc2 Nxc4 16 Bxc4 f5 17 f4 a6 18 a4 Bd7 19 Kf2 Rb8 20 a5 b5 21 axb6 Bb5 22 Bxb5 axb5 23 Ra7 gxf4 24 gxf4 Qxb6 25 Re7 Rb7 26 Re6 c4 27 Rh5 Rbf7 28 Ne2 Qc5 29 Qd1 b4 30 Rh1 Bxb2 31 Rexh6 Bg7 32 Rh7 b3 33 Nd4 Ra8 34 Qh5 Ra2+ 35 Kg3 Re7 36 Rh8+ Bxh8 37 Qxh8+ Kf7 38 Rh7+ Kg6 39 Rh6+ Kf7 40 Rf6# 1–0

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SINCE its inception in 1974, the annual Grand Prix of congresses has proved to be an asset to the tournament circuit in the UK. Based on an idea by Stewart Rueben, the unsung hero of the GP, however, is unquestionable Leonard Barden who, from the start, has dealt with all the laborious administration and calculation tasks for it on behalf of the British Chess Federation.

Some 10,000 players compete on the GP circuit sponsored by the Terence Chapman Group, which includes almost all the British Isles congresses from grandmaster tournaments to one-day rapidplays. Although all the focus is placed on the top players like this year’s winner Julian Hodgson as he chased Keith Arkell around the country in the quest for the top prize of 5,000(GBP), there are other seperate competitions for women and girls, juniors, disabled players, over-60 seniors, congress organisers and amateurs - making the total prize fund in excess of 15,000(GBP).

Here in Scotland we are doubly lucky since we also have a separate Grand Prix, sponsored by the German software specialists, ChessBase. However, there does seem to be some confusion with tournament organisers in Scotland with regard to them qualifying their event into both Grand Prix systems.

Many – especially the one-day rapidplays - don’t realise that they can qualify their congresses into both systems – and at no charge. With the Scottish Grand Prix exclusively for players rated below 2150, this means that our top players are at a disadvantage in accruing valuable points for a potential cash prize come the end of the season.

This year Scotland had more players on the Terence Chapman GP leader board than they have ever had. However, more Scottish tournaments entering both would see them better placed in winning more money.

The highest placed Scot this year was Jonathan Rowson who, after his superb win at the London Championships at the weekend, was sixth in the GP. Since you can only win one prize in the GP, this meant that John Shaw took the regional prize this year; and one of the Terence Chapman Congress Merit awards went to Oban.


J Rowson – S Ansell
London Championships (3), Sicilian Sveshnikov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5 5 Nb5 d6 6 N1c3 a6 7 Na3 b5 8 Nd5 Nce7 9 c4 Nxd5 10 exd5 bxc4 11 Nxc4 Nf6 12 Be3 Rb8 13 Be2 Be7 14 0–0 0–0 15 a4 Bb7 16 Nb6 Nd7 17 Nxd7 Qxd7 18 b4 Rfc8 19 b5 axb5 20 axb5 Ra8 21 Qb3 f5 22 b6 Bd8 23 Ra7 Qf7 24 Rfa1 Bxd5 25 Rxa8 Rxa8 26 Rxa8 Bxa8 27 Bc4 d5 28 Ba6 Bb7 29 Bxb7 Qxb7 30 Qa4 Qe7 31 Bg5 Qf8 32 Bxd8 Qxd8 33 b7 Kf7 34 Qa7 1–0

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THE two-horse race for this year’s Terence Chapman Grand Prix between Julian Hodgson and Keith Arkell went to the wire of the final tournament of the season, with Hodgson securing the title and first prize of 5,000(GBP) after just two rounds of the London Championships at the weekend.

Hodgson and Arkell had chased each other across the country in the close year-long campaign, with both securing important victories along the way. However, for the second year the title race came down to the final tournament of the season.

Needing a perfect score of 6/6 at London to overtake Hodgson, Arkell’s campaign came to end after a second round draw. Since Hodgson was only playing in the tournament as a "spoiler" to make sure that his challenger couldn’t get the desired perfect score, he immediately withdrew from the tournament whilst in the joint lead, after defeating two Russians, to concentrate on his Christmas shopping!

The withdrawal left the coast clear for a three-way tie for first between Scotland’s Jonathan Rowson and the English IM duo of Danny Gormally and Nick Pert – the result securing Gormally third place in the Grand Prix; Rowson sixth; and Pert first place in the Junior Prix. Meanwhile, on the other side of London, top female player Harriet Hunt secured the women’s Prixette title with a share of equal first at the Coulsden Open.

Hodgson, who was runner-up last year to "Grand Prix King" Mark Hebden, had a final tally of 196.9/200 to take his third Grand Prix title following his wins in 1990 and 1999. In the 27-year history of the Grand Prix, the all-time list is headed by Hebden on 5 wins; Adams and Miles 4, Hodgson 3, Arkell, Nunn, Plaskett and Rumens on 2.


J Hodgson – O Kirsanov
London Championship (2), Pseudo Trompowsky

1 d4 d5 2 Bg5 c6 3 Nf3 Bf5 4 c4 dxc4 5 Nc3 h6 6 Bh4 b5 7 e4 Bh7 8 a4 b4 9 Bxc4 g5 10 Ne5 e6 11 Bxe6 bxc3 12 Bxf7+ Ke7 13 Qb3 Qc8 14 Bh5 Qe6 15 Qb4+ Qd6 16 Qb7+ Nd7 17 Nxc6+ Qxc6 18 Qxc6 cxb2 19 Rb1 Ngf6 20 Bf3 Rb8 21 Bg3 Rb6 22 Qc2 g4 23 a5 Re6 24 d5 Bxe4 25 Bxe4 Rxe4+ 26 Kf1 Kf7 27 Qxb2 Bc5 28 h3 Rhe8 29 hxg4 Nxg4 30 Qb5 Ngf6 31 Rxh6 Bd4 32 d6 Kg7 33 Qg5+ Kf7 34 Qg6+ Ke6 1–0

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DESPITE a determined challenge from the 17-year-old Russian Alexandra Kosteniuk, China’s superiority in the women’s game continues as Zhu Chen wins a remarkable match at the State Kremlin in Moscow to be crowned the new Fide Women’s World Champion.

The “no-holds barred” contest literally went to the wire in an entertaining match where, unusually, all eight games between the two contestants proved to be decisive with no draws. After Kosteniuk won the last game of the normal time control to tie the match at 2-2, both players had to come back to the playing hall last Friday for a showdown playoff for the women’s world title and $80,000 first prize.

In the first series of rapidplay playoff games, yet again the match was tied with both players winning a game apiece to make the score 3-3. However, the more experienced Zhu Chen held her nerve as the players moved into the first series of 5 minute mini-matches, winning both games to take the match and the title with a 5-3 victory.

Zhu Chen now becomes the second Chinese player to win the world women’s title after Xie Jun (who declined to defend her title this time round in Moscow), who first wrested the title from the Georgians after defeating Maia Chiburdanidze in 1991.

Apart from the superiority of Hungary’s Judit Polgar, the top female player in the rating system who doesn’t play in the women’s circuit, China now holds all the titles in the women’s game. They have the world title yet again to add to their wins in the Fide World Cup and Olympiad titles.


Zhu Chen – A Kosteniuk
FIDE Women’s Ch. (6.5), Semi-Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c6 4 e3 Nf6 5 Bd3 Nbd7 6 0–0 dxc4 7 Bxc4 b5 8 Bd3 a6 9 a4 b4 10 e4 c5 11 Nbd2 cxd4 12 e5 Nd5 13 Ne4 Qc7 14 Bb1 Nxe5 15 Nxd4 Be7 16 Re1 Bb7 17 Qh5 Ng6 18 Ng5 Bxg5 19 Bxg6 0–0–0 20 Bxf7 Bf6 21 Nxe6 Qe7 22 Bd2 g6 23 Nxd8 Qxd8 24 Qg4+ Kb8 25 Bxb4 Nxb4 26 Qxb4 Qd7 27 Bc4 Qc6 28 Bf1 Bd8 29 Rac1 Qf6 30 Qc3 Qf8 31 Qe5+ Ka8 32 b4 Bb6 33 Rc2 Qd8 34 a5 Ba7 35 Rd2 Qc8 36 Rc1 Qf8 37 b5 Bb8 38 Qc3 Qh6 39 g3 Rc8 40 Qxc8 Bxc8 41 Rxc8 Kb7 42 Rdd8 1–0

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THE Ukraine are preparing for the coronation of their first ever world chess champion, as their two top players, Vassily Ivanchuk and Ruslan Ponomariov, have won through to contest next month’s Fide world championship final in Moscow.

Ivanchuk, the eccentric Ukrainian No.1, sensationally knocked out the defending champion 2.5-1.5 when he defeated Vishy Anand in the final game of their four-match semi-final at the Palace of Congresses in the Kremlin. Earlier in the day, Ponomariov, who held the advantage after winning game three against Peter Svidler, easily drew his fourth game to also win 2.5-1.5 – a result that set-up the all-Ukrainian final and also gives the eighteen-year-old the chance of shattering Garry Kasparov’s record of being the youngest-ever world champion.

2001 has now turned into a memorable year for Ukrainian chess, which in the past has done nothing of merit since the split from the USSR in the early Nineties. The same two players recently put the Ukraine on the chess map with their first international team title, as they lead the country to gold at the World Team Championships in Armenia.

Now, the Ukraine is set to become the focus of the chess world as Ivanchuk and Ponomariov return to Moscow next month to do battle in the best of eight-game (plus playoff and sudden death games if required) Fide final, to be run 15-25 January at the Kremlin’s Hall of Columns; with the winner taking the title and $400,000 first prize, the loser $200,000.

Meanwhile, the finalists in the women’s world championships have to return today for a playoff for the title after Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated Zhu Chen to tie their four-game match 2-2.


V Anand – V Ivanchuk
FIDE World Ch. (6.4), Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Nc3 e5 4 Bc4 d6 5 d3 Be7 6 Nd2 Nf6 7 Nf1 Nd7 8 Nd5 Nb6 9 Nxb6 axb6 10 c3 0–0 11 Ne3 Bg5 12 0–0 Kh8 13 Bd2 Bxe3 14 fxe3 Qe7 15 Bd5 Be6 16 Qb3 Na5 17 Qc2 Qc7 18 h3 h6 19 c4 Nc6 20 Qd1 Bxd5 21 exd5 Ne7 22 a4 f5 23 Bc3 Rf7 24 Qb3 Ng6 25 Rf2 Raf8 26 Raf1 f4 27 Bd2 f3 28 Rxf3 Rxf3 29 gxf3 Qc8 30 Kh2 Rf5 31 f4 Rh5 32 f5 Rxf5 33 Qd1 Qf8 34 Rxf5 Qxf5 35 Qe2 e4 36 Qg4 Qxg4 37 hxg4 Ne5 38 Kg3 exd3 39 b3 g6 40 e4 h5 41 gxh5 gxh5 42 Kf2 h4 0–1

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SPEAKING during the final press conference at the Botvinnik Memorial in Moscow, world champion Vladimir Kramnik confirmed that his postponed Man vs. Machine showdown with Fritz looks set to go ahead in Bahrain, scheduled to run 6-20 February, 2002.

His opponents from the German chess software specialists, ChessBase, have just released the latest version of Fritz, their universally popular playing program. Fritz7 plays speed chess at grandmaster level but can be adjusted to the ability of a club player.

With more players playing chess online these days, perhaps the most important enhancement to Fritz7 - apart from the obvious tweaks to improve its strength - is an interface that will allow you to play online with other users from around the world in ChessBase’s free online chess club.

Although ChessBase are based in Hamburg, they do have a very strong Scottish connection. Matthias Wullenweber, one of the founders of the company, first had the idea to develop software to store his own games while a student at Edinburgh University in the early 1980s. The company have kept a link with Scotland through their sponsorship of the Chess Scotland Grand Prix.

The Scotsman has a pre-Christmas gift of a copy of Fritz7 to give away. Simply answer the following question: Which world champion will Fritz play in Bahrain in February? Send your answer to Gazette Chess Competition, The Scotsman, Barclay House, 108 Holyrood Road Edinburgh EH8 8AS, by Thursday, December 20 - Or alternatively by email to jbhthescots@blueyonder.co.uk. Normal Scotsman rules apply, and the first correct entry drawn will receive the prize.


V Kramnik – G Kasparov
Botvinnik Memorial (Blitz), Queen’s Gambit Accepted

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 e6 4 e3 a6 5 Bxc4 c5 6 0–0 Nf6 7 Bd3 cxd4 8 exd4 Be7 9 Ne5 Nc6 10 Nxc6 bxc6 11 Be3 Nd5 12 Nc3 0–0 13 Rc1 Nxe3 14 fxe3 c5 15 dxc5 Bxc5 16 Bxh7+ Kxh7 17 Qh5+ Kg8 18 Qxc5 Bb7 19 Rcd1 Rc8 20 Rxd8 Rxc5 21 Rd7 Bc8 22 Rd6 a5 23 e4 Bb7 24 Rfd1 g5 25 Rb6 Bc6 26 Rd6 Rc8 27 Kf2 Kg7 28 Ke3 Be8 29 Rb7 Kf6 30 Ra6 Kg7 31 Rba7 Rb8 32 Rxa5 Rxa5 33 Rxa5 Rxb2 34 Rxg5+ Kf6 35 h4 Rc2 36 e5+ Ke7 37 Kd3 Rb2 38 h5 Rb4 39 g3 Rb2 40 Rg4 f5 41 exf6+ Kxf6 42 Ne4+ Ke7 43 h6 1–0

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AS Fide strive to reclassify chess into a sport under the patronage of the Olympic movement, their world championships taking place just now in Moscow at the Palaces of Congress has, for the first time at a major event, introduced compulsory drug testing of the competitors – the results of which will not be released until after the event finishes.

“The Anti-Doping Regime” in force has been drawn up by Dr Jana Bellin and Dr Pedro Barrera in consultation with the Fide Medical Commission - and they are not just looking for traces of Horlicks. Apart from certain specific over-the counter medications such as Aprin, Paracetamol and Co-codamol, any competitor on prescription medication had to declare well in advance of the start with a written certificate from their doctor to obtain a waiver.

More worrying, however, for all those chess-playing coffee addicts was the new rule on caffeine intake during a game. In a six-hour period during play, the new rules recommended that they should only have four normal size cups of coffee. However, the rules do warn that if they mix coffee with the likes of a cola-like soft drink, then they have to reduce the coffee intake to two cups over the same period.

Meanwhile, at the board, eighteen-year-old Ukrainian Ruslan Ponomariov looks like becoming a favourite to go through to the final when, after two draws, he won game three of his four-game semi-final match with Peter Svidler to lead 2-1. In the second semi-final between defending champion Vishy Anand and Vassily Ivanchuk, the players look set for a series of playoff games after three drawn games to tie the match at 1.5-1.5.

It’s all action however in the best of four women’s final between Alexandra Kosteniuk and Zhu Chen. After the young Russian won the first game, her opponent has struck back with two successive wins to hold a 2-1 advantage with just one game left to play.


A Kosteniuk - Zhu Chen
FIDE Women’s Final (3), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 e6 7 f4 Qb6 8 Nb3 Be7 9 Qf3 Nbd7 10 0–0–0 Qc7 11 g4 b5 12 Bxf6 Nxf6 13 g5 Nd7 14 h4 b4 15 Ne2 Bb7 16 Bh3 d5 17 f5 Rc8 18 c3 dxe4 19 Qe3 Bc5 20 Nxc5 Nxc5 21 fxe6 fxe6 22 Rhf1 Rf8 23 Bg4 Rxf1 24 Rxf1 Qa5 25 Qd4 Qxa2 26 Kc2 e3 27 Bh5+ g6 28 Qh8+ Ke7 29 Qxh7+ Kd6 30 Bxg6 b3+ 31 Kc1 Na4 32 Rd1+ Bd5 33 Rxd5+ exd5 34 Kd1 Qxb2 35 Ke1 Qd2+ 36 Kf1 Rf8+ 0–1

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WHEN asked if he had ever played Blitz chess, legendary former world champion Mikhail Botvinnik, the man regarded as the patriarch of Soviet chess, famously replied: “Only once – on a train journey in 1941.”

Botvinnik, the player who started the Soviet hegemony of world chess, abhorred the entertaining and fast format of chess, considering the vagaries of a five minute game not to be the proper discipline of champions. The irony of course is that in the Botvinnik Memorial taking place at the Kremlin in Moscow, two of his former students, Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik could only be separated by the Blitz competition.

The event was cruelly described by some as “the perfect advert for the Fide world championships” after four boring draws in the normal time control, and one win apiece in the six rapidplay games as the match was tied going into the decisive Blitz session. However the match soon came to life during the ten-game Blitz final though, when Kasparov won three in a row to win 6.5-3.5.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, Blitz or Lightning chess continues to be dominated by perennial winners Shettleston Chess Club from the east end of Glasgow. At Grangemouth Sports Centre on Sunday, Shettleston again struck with devastating effect to regain the Everyman Scottish Team Lightening championship – a title they have now won for a phenomenal eighteen times in the last twenty-three years.

With a winning score of 32.5/36, Shettleston took the title ahead of Cathcart on 27.5, with Edinburgh in third on 26. For the winners, IM Douglas Bryson on top board scored 12.5/13; IM Andy Muir on second 12; Graeme Nolan on third the only player in the competition with a 100 per cent score with 13; and Jim Doyle on fourth – who has now played in all eighteen Shettleston victories – scoring 11.


G Kasparov – V Kramnik
Botvinnik Memorial (Blitz) (8), Catalan Opening

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 g3 cxd4 5 Nxd4 Qc7 6 Nc3 a6 7 Bg2 Qxc4 8 0–0 Nc6 9 Nb3 d5 10 Bf4 Qb4 11 Re1 Be7 12 e4 dxe4 13 Bc7 e3 14 Rxe3 0–0 15 h3 Na7 16 Rc1 Nb5 17 a3 Nxc3 18 Rcxc3 Qa4 19 Qc1 Qd7 20 Be5 Nd5 21 Red3 Nxc3 22 Qxc3 Qb5 23 Bxg7 Qxd3 24 Qxd3 Kxg7 25 Nc5 Rd8 26 Qe3 Rb8 27 Qe5+ Kh6 28 Qxb8 Bxc5 29 Qc7 Rd1+ 30 Kh2 Bxf2 31 Qf4+ 1–0

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HISTORY could be in the making in both the Fide world championships taking place just now at the House of Columns in Moscow, as teenage sensations Ruslan Ponomariov, 18, and Alexandra Kosteniuk, 17, advance towards both the men’s and women’s world crown.

After beating Evgeeny Bareev in their quarterfinal match, the young Ukrainian Ponomariov now goes through to meet Russia’s Peter Svidler in the best of four game semi-final; the second semi-final seeing defending champion Vishy Anand playing Vassily Ivanchuk. Although Ponomariov is one year older than Alexander Grischuk was when he played in the semi-final last year, if he does beats Svidler, he will become the youngest player to play for the men’s world title – and with it a chance to beat Garry Kasparov’s record of becoming the youngest holder of the crown at 22.

Meanwhile, in the women’s world championship across the hall, the young Russian Kosteniuk is proving to be the sensation (both on and off the board!) of the championship. With an aggressive style reminiscent of Judit Polgar at her best, Kosteniuek has stormed through to the $120,000 final after defeating China's Xu Yuhua 3-1 after two playoff games - and now plays China’s Zhu Chen, who defeated former champion Maia Chiburdanidze 2.5-1.5 in the semi-final, in a best of four game match for the world crown.

When she sat down to play in the opening match of the final (which she won) on Saturday, Kosteniuk was aged 17 years, 7 months and 15 days – 14 days older than Maia Chiburdanidze was when she played in her first final in 1978 against Nona Gaprindashvili; a month-long match that started on 18 August in Pitsunda, Georgia, which she went on to win 8.5-6.5 to become the youngest-ever world title holder. However, as the new Fide format is only over four games, if Kosteniuk wins the match then she would replace Chiburdandize by just a few days as the youngest female holder of the crown.


A Kosteniuk - Zhu Chen
Women’s World Ch. Final (1), Petroff’s Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nf3 Nxe4 5 d4 d5 6 Bd3 Bd6 7 0–0 0–0 8 c4 c6 9 Nc3 Nxc3 10 bxc3 dxc4 11 Bxc4 Bg4 12 h3 Bh5 13 Rb1 b5 14 Bd3 Re8 15 Re1 Rxe1+ 16 Qxe1 Bxf3 17 gxf3 a6 18 Qe4 g6 19 Bh6 Ra7 20 Qg4 Qe8 21 Kf1 Re7 22 f4 Nd7 23 f5 c5 24 Bg5 f6 25 Be3 c4 26 Bc2 g5 27 a4 Nb6 28 Qg2 Kh8 29 axb5 axb5 30 Ra1 Qc8 31 Ra5 Qe8 32 Ra6 Bc7 33 Qf3 Qc8 34 Ra1 Qe8 35 Kg2 Kg8 36 Ra7 Bd8 37 Ra6 b4 38 cxb4 Qb5 39 Ra5 Qxb4 40 Rc5 Qb2 41 Be4 c3 42 Bd5+ Kh8 43 Be6 Qb4 44 Qc6 Kg7 45 Qd6 Nd7 46 Bxd7 Rxe3 47 Be6 Rxe6 48 fxe6 Ba5 49 Qd7+ Kh6 50 e7 1–0

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IT’S turning out to be a teenage rampage in the Fide World Championships at the Kremlin in Moscow, as both Ruslan Ponomariov and Alexandra Kosteniuk go through to the later stages of both their respective championships.

Ponomariov, 18, stormed into the quarter-finals of the men’s event after sensationally defeating the number three seed and also world number four, Alexander Morozevich, 2.5-1.5 after two extra play-off games. Meanwhile, across the hall in the women’s event, Kosteniuk, 17, stopped any hopes the organisers had of a husband and wife team lifting both titles as the teenager went through to the semi-finals of the women’s event after a comfortable 1.5-0.5 victory over Almira Skripchenko-Lautier.

There was better news however for the Lautier household as her husband, Joel Lautier, moved into the quarterfinals as he beat Predrag Nikolic 2-0 in the play-offs. He’ll now meet Vassily Ivanchuk, who goes through after beating the last Chinese hope in the men’s event, Ye Jianchuan. The fourth round of the $3m event also saw the end to any hopes of a British victory as two-time semi-finalist Mickey Adams lost 2.5-1.5 to (the not-so young these days) Peter Svidler, who will now meet Boris Gelfand.

The plumb tie however of the quarterfinal line-up is unquestionably Anand-Shirov – a repeat of last year’s final in Tehran. Whilst Anand progressed easily with a 1.5-0.5 win over Alexey Dreev, Shirov was involved in a tense battle with Veselin Topalov – a close match that was only decided in the final “sudden death” game, which Shirov won to take the match 4-3.

The late shift at the office could have damaged Shirov’s chances in the showdown with Anand, and indeed in the first game of their quarter-final match, the defending champion has taken the first game to give himself every chance of making the final to once again regain his title.


Men’s Quarter-final

Anand 1-0 Shirov; Gelfand draw Svidler; Ponomariov draw Bareev; Lautier draw Ivanchuk.


Women’s Semi-final

Xu Yuhua 1-0 Kosteniuk; Chiburdanidze draw Zhu Chen


V Anand – A Shirov
FIDE World Ch. (5.1), Petroff’s Defence

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nf3 Nxe4 5 d4 d5 6 Bd3 Nc6 7 0–0 Be7 8 c4 Nb4 9 Be2 0–0 10 Nc3 Be6 11 Ne5 c5 12 Nxe4 dxe4 13 d5 Bc8 14 a3 Na6 15 Qc2 f6 16 Ng4 Qd6 17 f3 f5 18 Nf2 Bf6 19 fxe4 Be5 20 h3 Bd4 21 e5 Qxe5 22 Kh1 Bd7 23 Nd3 Ba4 24 Qxa4 Qxe2 25 Rf3 Rae8 26 Bf4 h6 27 Bd6 Rf6 28 Nf4 Qe4 29 Ne6 Rexe6 30 dxe6 Qxe6 31 Bg3 Bxb2 32 Re1 Qf7 33 Bh4 Re6 34 Rxe6 Qxe6 35 Qc2 Bd4 36 Qxf5 Qxc4 37 Kh2 Qe2 38 Bg3 Qd1 39 Rf1 Qb3 40 Qe4 Qb5 41 Qe6+ Kh7 42 Qf5+ Kg8 43 Qc8+ Kh7 44 Rf8 1–0

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KILKENNY, the Marble City, may be Ireland’s smallest city but it has a lot going for it apart from the free-flowing ‘craic’ - not to mention the equally free-flowing Guinness! Situated 70 miles south of Dublin and built on the River Nore, it’s famous for its arts and heritage making it one of Ireland’s favourite tourist destinations.

Kilkenny is also a city with a distinctive chess pedigree with many famous names from the game championing their cause over the 64-squares. The town was the birthplace of the early American legend James Mason, who escaped the Irish Famine by immigrating to New Orleans with his family in 1861 to become one of the world's best half-dozen players in the early 1880s. Even from the weird and wonderful world of chess composition, Sam 'Puzzle King' Loyd immortalised Kilkenny chess-wise in 1888 when he composed two similar, chess problems - entitled 'The Kilkenny Cats' - where the formation of 24 chess pieces on a board resembled the outline of two of the infamous cats.

The small club also boasts a very active, Honorary Club President in the redoubtable form of former world champion Boris Spassky - who was on hand last year to hand out the prizes – who took the small club to his heart after a visit there in 1991. In accepting the post, Spassky declared: "All my life I was dreaming to be an Honorary President. Long live Kilkenny Chess Club!"

Spassky's devotion and genuine feelings towards the Irish town and its humble little club proved to be the catalyst for once again putting Kilkenny firmly on the chess map as, along with legendary organizer Jack Lowry and his dedicated team, the city has gone on to become a big favourite on the chess circuit due to the magical atmosphere created each year with the Norkom European Masters.

Last weekend over 200 players made the pilgrimage to the latest edition of the tournament, which was held in the magnificent surroundings of Kilkenny Castle. And, despite the fact that the field was a bit weaker than usual due to the Fide World Championships in Moscow that saw Mickey Adams missing out on his favourite tournament, there was a truly international GM line-up, headed by top seed Mark Hebden, Australian No.1 Ian Rogers, Irish No.1 and Russian émigré Alexander Baburin, Scottish champion Jonathan Rowson, and last year’s popular winner, England’s top junior Luke McShane.

In a close run race, the final round proved to be the turning point in the competition as wins from Rogers and McShane saw the two GMs edging out early pace-maker Hebden, as both finished on 5/6. However, with a better tiebreak score, Rogers took the title ahead of last year's winner, and gets to keep the imposing wooden trophy, made from a piece of 3,000 year old Irish Bog Wood - thus pre-dating the game itself by some 1,000 years!


Kilkenny Norkom Master: 1-2 GM I Rogers (Australia), GM L McShane (England) 5/6; 3-4 GM M Hebden (England), IM M Heidenfeld (Ireland) 4.5; 5-9 GM A Baburin (Ireland), GM J Rowson (Scotland), IM D Gormally (England), P Short (Ireland), P Dempsey (Ireland) 4.


I Rogers – A Baburin
Kilkenny Masters (6), Alekhine’s Defence

1 e4 Nf6 2 e5 Nd5 3 d4 d6 4 c4 Nb6 5 exd6 exd6 6 Nc3 Be7 7 Nf3 0–0 8 Be2 Bg4 9 b3 c6 10 0–0 Re8 11 Bf4 Bf6 12 Rc1 a5 13 h3 Bh5 14 g4 Bg6 15 Bd3 Na6 16 Bxg6 hxg6 17 Qd2 Nc7 18 Rfe1 Rxe1+ 19 Rxe1 Ne6 20 Ne4 d5 21 Nd6 dxc4 22 bxc4 Be7 23 Nxf7 Kxf7 24 Qe3 Nf8 25 Ng5+ Ke8 26 Qe5 Nxc4 27 Qxg7 Nd6 28 Re3 Qd7 29 Bxd6 Qxd6 30 Ne4 Qc7 31 Nf6+ (31 ..Kd8 32 Qxf8+ Bxf8 33 Re8#) 1–0

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HUNGARIAN prodigy Judit Polgar’s successes against the male elite have inspired female players worldwide. She showed the way through a toughening-up regime of avoiding all female events in chess, and by the early Eighties stunned everyone when at 15 she broke Bobby Fischer’s 30-year record to become the world’s youngest grandmaster.

Before Polgar (who went out in the second round of the Fide men’s world championship), the small Caucasian republic of Georgia dominated women’s chess for decades with a near factory-like production of world champions – no doubt helped by the fact that a chess set used to be a mandatory item in a Georgian bride’s dowry.

These days, it’s the Chinese that dominate chess – holding the titles of women’s world champion, world cup champion and Olympic champions. However, defending Fide world champion Xie Jun opted not to defend her title this year, thus leaving the field wide open for a new world champion in the women’s world championship - a 64 player event running concurrently with the men’s championship at the Kremlin in Moscow.

One young Russian player from the city of Perm is literally taking the tournament by storm (both on and off the board) having only dropped one single draw so far. Chess babe Alexandra Kosteniuk, 17, dubbed the Anna Kournakova of chess (only the pieces should move) due to her model-like figure and an array of glamour pictures on her website that wouldn’t look out of place inside the pages of Vogue, effortlessly moved into the quarterfinal of the $500,000 event after beating top seed Alisa Gallimova 2-0.


A Galliamova – A Kosteniuk
FIDE Women World Ch. (3.2), Sicilian Richter-Rauzer

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 a6 8 0–0–0 h6 9 Bf4 Bd7 10 Nxc6 Bxc6 11 Qe1 Qa5 12 Bc4 Be7 13 Bb3 Rd8 14 f3 b5 15 Bd2 b4 16 Ne2 d5 17 e5 Nd7 18 Qg3 Qc7 19 Nd4 Kf8 20 f4 Bc5 21 Nxc6 Qxc6 22 f5 exf5 23 Rhf1 Qe6 24 Qh4 Qe7 25 Qh3 g6 26 e6 fxe6 27 g4 Nf6 28 gxf5 exf5 29 Rde1 Qd7 30 Qh4 Kf7 31 Re5 a5 32 Rd1 Rhe8 33 Rxe8 Rxe8 34 Bxh6 Re4 35 Qh3 a4 36 Bg5 axb3 37 Qxb3 Qe6 38 a3 Be7 39 Bxf6 Kxf6 40 axb4 Rxb4 41 Qc3+ Qe5 42 Qc6+ Kg7 43 c3 Bg5+ 44 Kb1 Qe4+ 45 Ka2 Rxb2+ 46 Ka3 Qc2 0–1

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MOSCOW has now turned into a veritable chess Mecca as the Botvinnik Memorial, featuring world number’s one and two Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik, has now got underway in the Kremlin, and now goes head to head with Fide’s $3m world championship at the opposite end of the city.

Originally, the contest was to have been a triangular event featuring the three Ks – world champions Kasparov, Kramnik and Karpov – who were all taught by the legendary Soviet patriarch Mikhail Botvinnik, on what would have been the year of his 90th birthday. However, no doubts due to a large cash inducement, Karpov reneged on the tournament by “defecting” back to Fide, opting instead for their knockout world championship.

The withdrawal however made for a more intriguing match, with the two top players in the world having an unofficial “return match” following Kramnik’s surprise title victory over Kasparov just over a year ago.

The two will play a series of mini-matches - consisting of classical, rapid and blitz – for a $500,000 prize fund, split 60-40 in favour of the overall winner - the first two classical games of which have been drawn.

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the Kremlin, the Fide world championships have now reached the big money stakes with the final sixteen, the overall winner of which will be guaranteed $500,000.

Defending champion Vishy Anand, from India, went through 2.5-1.5 after a play-off with Russian emigre Vladislav Tkachiev. Second seed and British hope Michael Adams, managed to scramble through to the final sixteen after an amazing escape in the first game of the play-off against Russia's Vadim Zviagintsev. Fighting for survival a piece down after some highly original play from his Muscovite opponent, Adams somehow managed to complicate the game at the crucial moment to escape with a draw. The British No.1 made no mistake, however, in the second game which he won to go through to the fourth round.

The final sixteen, and fourth round pairings for the competition, are as follows: Dreev vs. Anand; Adams vs. Svidler; Ponomariov vs. Morozevich; Ivanchuk vs. Ye Jiangchuan; Lautier vs. Nikolic; Bareev vs. Ehlvest; Azmaiparashvilia vs. Gelfand; and the plumb tie of the round, Topalov vs. Shirov.


M Adams – V Zvjaginsev
FIDE World Ch. (3.4), Sicilian Moscow

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bb5+ Nd7 4 d4 Ngf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bxd7+ Nxd7 7 0–0 e6 8 dxc5 Nxc5 9 Bg5 Qc7 10 a4 b6 11 Re1 f6 12 Be3 Be7 13 Nd4 0–0 14 Qh5 Bd7 15 f4 Qb7 16 b4 Nxe4 17 Nxe4 Qxe4 18 Bf2 Qb7 19 Nxe6 Rf7 20 c3 Rc8 21 Bd4 g6 22 Qh3 Qd5 23 f5 Qxf5 24 Qxf5 gxf5 25 Nf4 Bc6 26 Bxb6 Be4 27 Bd4 d5 28 Nh5 Bd8 29 Ra2 Kf8 30 Rd1 Ke7 31 Bc5+ Kd7 32 Nf4 Kc6 33 Rad2 Rd7 34 c4 1–0

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IT was hyped on its launch in October as "the biggest tournament of all-time", and now, less than two months later (an eternity it has to be said in dotcom never-never land), Online World Chess sadly looks as if it'll only be best remembered as the biggest chess failure of all-time.

The brainchild of chess organizer Bessel Kok, in conjunction with Dutch telecom company KPN, OWC had a total prize fund of $1.4 million and expected to raise its revenues with "tens of thousands" of participants paying $35 to enter via their website - in reality, however, they got the proverbial two men and a dog. Now OWC has been cancelled, the company says, due to "the present economic situation and dramatic turn down of internet sales in the aftermath of September 11".

However, the phoenix could still rise majestically from the ashes. I understand that the $500,000 Grand Live Final of the event scheduled for April, with the likes of Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, Adams, Karpov and Polgar etc., could well go ahead as a one-off event - primarily because all the players and organising staff had been paid in advance.

As one chess company goes to the wall, another sheds crocodile tears as it sees off another rival. The world chess federation, Fide, wasted no time in issuing a press release announcing the "sadness" of a rival going belly-up, whilst at the same time trumpeting their success with Internet qualifiers paying to get a crack at the $3m world title tournament taking place just now at the Palace of Congresses in Moscow.

After the initial scare of defending champion Vishy Anand losing his opening round game to online qualifier Olivier Touzanne, the Indian ace made no mistakes as he eased his way into the last 32 with a comfortable 1.5-0.5 win over another online qualifier, Danish GM Peter Heine Nielson.


P Nielsen - V Anand
FIDE World Ch. (2.1), Queen's Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 b3 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 Be7 7 Bg2 c6 8 0-0 d5 9 Qc2 Nbd7 10 Rd1 Rc8 11 Bf4 c5 12 dxc5 Bxc5 13 Nc3 0-0 14 e4 Ng4 15 exd5 Nxf2 16 Rf1 e5 17 Bc1 e4 18 Nh4 e3 19 Na4 Bd4 20 Bb2 Bxb2 21 Qxb2 b5 22 Nf5 Qg5 23 Nd6 bxa4 24 Nxc8 Bxc8 25 Qd4 Nf6 26 Rae1 Re8 27 d6 Nh3+ 28 Bxh3 Bxh3 29 Rf4 Qa5 30 Rxe3 Rxe3 31 Qxe3 axb3 32 d7 Bxd7 33 axb3 Bh3 0-1

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