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The Scotsman

Chess News March 2002

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29 March 2002

THIS year the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, along with the chess world, celebrates the 30th anniversary of the famous 1972 World Championship match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.

It's well documented how popular chess is in Iceland, and its no wonder they have little difficulty in organizing tournaments there. Recently the 20th edition of the annual Reykjavik Open, which ran from 7 March to 15 March, took place in the City Hall and attracted a cosmopolitan field of 72 players including 16 grandmasters and six IMs.

The tournament was won by Jan Ehlvest and Valery Neverov, both of whom scored 7/9 to share the first prize of $4,500. Also amongst the prize money was top Scot Jonathan Rowson, whose unbeaten score of 6.5/9 gave him a share of third equal.

This Easter weekend Rowson is one of the top seeds in the fourth Redbus Knockout tournament in Southend, where a field of 12 GMs and 4 IMs will be battling it out for the first prize of 2,000(UK). The full line-up for the UK's top knockout event is: Murray Chandler, John Emms, Luke McShane, Bogdan Lalic, Peter Wells, Jonathan Rowson, Aaron Summerscale, Chris Ward, Nigel Davies, Jim Plaskett, Colin McNab, Jon Levitt, Matthew Turner, Nick Pert, Alexander Matros and Andrew Martin.


Reykjavik Open: 1-2 J Ehlvest (Estonia), O Korneev (Russia) 7/9; 3-6 H Gretarsson (Iceland), V Neverov (Ukraine), J Rowson (Scotland), M Ivanov (Russia) 6.5.


P Kiss - J Rowson
Reykjavik Open (6), Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Bf4 Bg7 5 e3 c5 6 dxc5 Qa5 7 Qa4+ Qxa4 8 Nxa4 Bd7 9 Nc3 Ne4 10 Nxd5 Na6 11 f3 Nexc5 12 0-0-0 e6 13 Nc7+ Nxc7 14 Bxc7 Rc8 15 Bd6 b5 16 b3 Nb7 17 Kb1 Nxd6 18 Rxd6 Ke7 19 Rd2 Bh6 20 f4 e5 21 Bd3 bxc4 22 Bxc4 Bf5+ 23 Kb2 exf4 24 exf4 Bxf4 25 Re2+ Kf6 26 Nf3 Rhe8 27 Rxe8 Rxe8 28 Rf1 Kg7 29 g3 Bc7 30 Nh4 Be6 31 Bxe6 Rxe6 32 Rf2 Bb6 33 Rd2 Rf6 34 Ng2 g5 35 b4 Rf1 36 a4 Bg1 37 a5 Bxh2 38 Ne3 Rf3 39 Rxh2 Rxe3 40 Rd2 Rxg3 41 Rd7 a6 42 Ra7 h5 43 Rxa6 h4 44 Rc6 h3 45 Rc1 h2 46 Rh1 Rh3 47 b5 g4 0-1

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28 March 2002

PERENNIAL Four Nations Chess League bridesmaids, Wood Green, made a bold bid to finally win the Division one title last weekend at the Grand Hotel in Birmingham.

Since the 4NCL was formed back in 1993, the London-based club has had to contend with being runners-up in the league as a precision of differing rivals beat them to the title.

The January showdown between reigning champions Beeson Gregory and last year's runner's-up, Wood Green, ended in a tight 4.5-3.5 victory for Beeson Gregory - a result that gave them the outright lead and made them favourites to retain the title.

However, in a last-ditch attempt to stop Beeson Gregory winning the league, Wood Green drafted in a number of strong players - Nigel Short and the top Scandinavian GM duo of Simen Agdestein and Tiger Hillarp-Persson - in an effort to boost the strength of their second team, who were due to play Beeson Gregory.

With several members of the first team now able to move down to the second team squad, the ploy almost worked as the honours were shared 4-4 - a result that allowed the Wood Green first team to come within one point of the leaders. The title will now be decided at the May Bank Holiday weekend, with the final three games of the season.


Division 1 standings: 1 Beeson Gregory I (43.5) 15/16; 2 Wood Green I (48.5) 14; 3 Guildford I (40) 12; 4 Barbican I (32) 10; 5 Midland Monarchs (31) 8; 6 Bristol (29.5) 8; 7 Wood Green II (33) 7; 8 Barbican II (28.5) 7; 9 Slough (29.5) 6; 10 Thistle Birm. White Rose (21) 5; 11 Beeson Gregory II (24) 2; 12 Wessex (23.5) 2.


M Chandler - M Turner
Beeson Gregory I vs Wood Green II 4NCL Div.1 (7.2), Accelerated Dragon

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 g6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Qxd4 Nf6 5 Bb5 a6 6 e5 axb5 7 exf6 Nc6 8 Qe3 e6 9 Nc3 b4 10 Nb5 Ra5 11 Qd3 d5 12 0-0 Qxf6 13 a4 bxa3 14 Bd2 Bb4 15 Bxb4 Nxb4 16 Nd6+ Kd7 17 Qd2 Nc6 18 b4 Ra8 19 Nxf7 Qxf7 20 b5 Qf6 21 bxc6+ bxc6 22 Rfe1 e5 23 Nxe5+ Kc7 24 Qb4 Bf5 25 Nf7 Rhe8 26 Qf4+ Kd7 27 Ne5+ Rxe5 28 Rxe5 Re8 29 Rxa3 Qxe5 30 Ra7+ Kc8 31 Ra8+ Kb7 0-1

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27 March 2002

IN a surprise result in a poll for the ChessBase Player of the Year award, world No.1 Garry Kasparov found himself beaten into second place - and by a woman!

Modelled on the Man of the Year award in Time Magazine, the German software specialists defined "Year" as the period between October 8, 2000 (when Kasparov defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik), up to January 22, 2002 (when Ruslan Ponomariov took the FIDE world title).

Nearly 2000 online voters registered their vote on the website at www.chessbase.com, and each was allowed to nominate five-players in order of merit - the top player on the list receiving five points. Kasparov soon found himself in a neck and neck race with the popular teenage woman's world championship finalist Alexandra Kosteniuk.

However, Kosteniuk, a curvaceous grandmaster regarded by many as the chess world's answer to Anna Kournikova (you heard it here first, folks!), romped home with a late surge in support thanks in part to a major profile of her, er, assets to the game on CNN. In the final week of voting, Kosteniuk's high-profile appearance on CNN looks to have swung the vote in her favour when she took first place with 5927 votes, Kasparov second with 5065 and Ponomariov trailing in third with 2465.

On CNN, Kosteniuk believes she is on a mission to make it "cool" to play chess. She wants the game to become as popular as tennis or basketball - and, if it takes her becoming the game's sex symbol for this to happen, then she is "ready to do so."

Last week Kosteniuk was in ruthless form in Indonesia at the Japfa Chess Challenge in Jakarta, where the Russian WGM steamrolled over the Indonesian junior dream team of Tirta Chandra Purnama, Susanto Megaranto and Andrean Susilodinata. Playing each of juniors twice at classical chess, Kosteniuk showed no mercy with a 6-0 whitewash.


A Kosteniuk - T Chandra
Japfa Chess Challenge, Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 e6 7 f4 Be7 8 Qf3 Qc7 9 0-0-0 Nbd7 10 g4 b5 11 Bxf6 Nxf6 12 g5 Nd7 13 f5 Nc5 14 f6 gxf6 15 gxf6 Bf8 16 Rg1 b4 17 Nd5 Qb7 18 Re1 Bd7 19 Ne7 b3 20 cxb3 a5 21 Bc4 a4 22 Kb1 axb3 23 Nxb3 Qb4 24 Rc1 Bh6 25 Rc3 Na4 26 Rc2 Nb6 27 a3 Qa4 28 e5 Rb8 29 Rg4 Qa8 30 Qxa8 Rxa8 31 exd6 Ba4 32 Ka2 Nxc4 33 Rcxc4 Bxb3+ 34 Kxb3 Kd7 35 Nc6 Rhf8 36 Rgd4 Be3 37 Ne5+ Kd8 38 Rc7 Rb8+ 39 Rb4 Rxb4+ 40 axb4 1-0

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26 March 2002

PERHAPS the purists prefer trudging down to a drafty school hall on a wet Wednesday evening, but one of the most popular - and active - chess clubs in the world can be accessed from the comfort of your own home - and 24-hours a day, seven-days a week!

The Internet Chess Club (ICC) has a reputed worldwide membership of over 25,000 logging in at www.chessclub.com, where, for an annual fee of $49 (there is a seven-day free trial period), they host a variety of events that caters for all levels of play - from top Grandmaster to very basic beginner.

For the third year running, the ICC organized, in conjunction with EDAMI (Miguel Illescas' Barcelona-based Chess School) the "Ciudad de Dos Hermanas" tournament, one of the most important Internet events in the world, with the winner being invited to participate in person at the forthcoming Dos Hermanas Open tournament in Seville, Spain (5-13 April).

A record 3,243 players from 86 countries participated in this year's event, out of which there were 42 GMs and 89 IMs. This massive field was split into 12 sections, each group winner plus the 20 best scores progressing to the 32-player KO finals at the weekend.

The titled players didn't have it all their own way, and just 15 GMs (4 rated 2600+) and 11 IMs made the cut. Following his defeat last year in the final to Sergei Shipov, Russian GM Alexander Rustemov took the title (and 1,500 euro first prize and automatic berth in the forthcoming Dos Hermanas Open) this year with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over GM Roland Schmaltz.


A Rustemov - J Soto
Dos Hermanas ICC Finals, King's Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 g3 Bg7 4 Bg2 0-0 5 c4 d6 6 Nc3 c5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 d5 Na5 9 Nd2 a6 10 Qc2 Rb8 11 b3 b5 12 Bb2 Bh6 13 f4 bxc4 14 bxc4 e5 15 dxe6 Bxe6 16 Nd5 Rxb2 17 Qxb2 Bg7 18 Qa3 Nxc4 19 Nxc4 Nxd5 20 Rac1 Nb4 21 Rfd1 d5 22 Kh1 Qe7 23 Ne5 Rc8 24 Nd3 Nxd3 25 exd3 Qa7 26 Rc2 Bd4 27 h3 h5 28 h4 Rb8 29 Kh2 Rb4 30 Qa5 Qb6 31 Qxb6 Rxb6 32 Rdc1 Rb5 33 Bh3 f5 34 Re1 Bf7 35 Re7 a5 36 Bg2 c4 37 dxc4 dxc4 38 Rd2 Bf6 39 Rc7 Rb2 40 Rdd7 Be8 41 Rd6 Bg7 42 Kh3 c3 43 Rd8 Re2 44 Bc6 Kf8 45 Rcc8 c2 46 Bxe8 Bf6 47 Bb5+ Bxd8 48 Bxe2 Ke7 49 Rxc2 1-0

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25 March, 2002

EVER since Vladimir Kramnik sensationally wrested the world crown from Garry Kasparov, the new world champion has been cursed by a series of misfortunes - both on and off the board.

Plagued by doubts over the future financial standing of the Brain Games Network, Kramnik has seen the organisation responsible for his world championship going out of business; with all the chess rights being sold to the satellite TV company, Einstein Group plc.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy in America, his much-vaunted $1 million Man vs. Machine challenge with Deep Fritz in Bahrain has been cancelled twice - indirectly leaving Kramnik missing out in some much-needed match practice as he was forced to withdraw from top notch events such as Wijk aan Zee and Linares.

On the playing front, not only did he lose to Vishy Anand in the prestigious Mainz Giants challenge in Germany, but Kasparov exerted his revenge with wins over his nemesis at Astana and the Botvinnik Memorial in Moscow.

Kramnik's slump in form has now continued through to the Melody Amber tournament in Monaco, an event which he usually shines at - and indeed is the reigning joint-champion.

After losing one of his games in round six to Jeroen Piket, Kramnik went on to lose both his games in round seven to his second, and the man who replaced him at Wijk aan Zee (and won!), Evgeny Bareev.

Going into the decisive final rounds at the Metropole Palace Hotel in Monaco, Alexei Shirov maintains his overall lead in the novelty tournament with a score of 10/14, with Bareev, thanks to the double over Kramnik, just a half point behind.


E Bareev - V Kramnik
Amber Blindfold (7), English Opening

1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 e5 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 g3 Bb4 5 Nd5 Bc5 6 d3 h6 7 Bg2 d6 8 Nd2 0-0 9 Nxf6+ Qxf6 10 Ne4 Qg6 11 Nxc5 dxc5 12 0-0 Rd8 13 Be3 Nd4 14 a3 a5 15 Bxd4 exd4 16 b3 Re8 17 Re1 Qg5 18 Rb1 c6 19 b4 axb4 20 axb4 cxb4 21 Rxb4 Ra2 22 Bf3 Qa5 23 Rb1 g5 24 Qc1 Qc3 25 Qxc3 dxc3 26 g4 h5 27 h3 hxg4 28 hxg4 f5 29 gxf5 Bxf5 30 Rxb7 Bxd3 31 Rc1 Bc2 32 Bxc6 Rxe2 33 Bd5+ Kf8 34 c5 Rb2 35 c6 Ke8 36 Ra1 1-0

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22 March, 2002

IT sounds remarkably like a familiar script, but apparently there’s a boy from the Ukraine who looks destined to take on the world.

When Ukrainian teenager Ruslan Ponomariov recently won the FIDE World Championship, hidden away among his seconds for his Moscow showdown with fellow countryman Vassily Ivanchuk was a little-known twelve-year old, Sergey Karjakin.

While many thought that Ponomariov, who went on to become the youngest holder of the title, would have filled his team with “wise heads” (he did in the form of Veselin Topalov and Gennady Kuzmin), eyebrows were raised with the inclusion of Karjakin – a mere 12-year old! Laughing it off, Ponomariov commented after winning the title that “He [Karjakin] is a young player, with a fresh view of things – he was responsible for all the tactical stuff in our preparation.”

After the FIDE final, rising star Karjakin went on to achieve a remarkable result at the ultra-strong Aeroflot Open in Moscow. Showing his mettle by scoring 5/9 against an average 2562 all-grandmaster field, Karjakin set a record by becoming the youngest player in history to secure a GM result.

Aged just 12 years and one month, he beat Judit Polgar’s previous mark by nearly a year. He now has almost two more years to secure two more norms that’ll put him in the record books along with Fischer, Polgar and Ponomariov as the youngest ever chess grandmaster.


A Gershon – S Karjakin
Aeroflot Open (3), 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 e5 Nfd7 9 Qb3 Nb6 10 Be3 Be6 11 Qc2 Nc6 12 a3 Nd5 13 Nxd5 Bxd5 14 Rd1 Bxf3 15 gxf3 e6 16 h4 h5 17 Qe4 Ne7 18 Bg5 Qd7 19 Bh3 c6 20 0–0 Kh7 21 Rd3 Bh6 22 f4 Bxg5 23 fxg5 Rad8 24 Rfd1 Qc7 25 Rf3 Nf5 26 Bxf5 gxf5 27 Qc2 Rd5 28 b4 Rfd8 29 Rfd3 Kg6 30 Qc4 Qb6 31 f4 a5 32 Kf2 axb4 33 axb4 Ra8 34 Kf3 Ra4 35 Rb1 Qa7 36 Qc3 Ra2 37 b5 Rh2 38 Ra1 Rh3+ 39 Ke2 Rxd3 40 Kxd3 Qb6 41 bxc6 bxc6 42 Ke3 c5 43 Rd1 Qb5 44 Qc2 Qb4 45 Kf3 cxd4 46 Rb1 Qa3+ 47 Rb3 Qa8 48 Kg3 Rd8 0–1

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21 March, 2002

THE first recorded blindfold performance, given by Sa’id Bin Jubair, dates back to 665 A.D., and the great Arab masters of the 10th and 11th centuries are on record of playing 3 or 4 games blindfold. The practice fell into disuse until the French master Philidor revived it in 1774 – despite a public outcry at the time that he was “risking his sanity in such a dangerous pursuit.”

Then, players were actually blindfolded, but this soon progressed to them simply sitting with their backs to the boards. The art of blindfold chess was a necessity for the many struggling Victorian chess professionals, which was used as a party piece in Gentleman Clubs to supplement their meagre earnings.

Nowadays, the only way chess players tend to make money at blindfold chess is with an invitation to multi-millionaire JJ Van Oosterom’s Melody Amber tournament in Monaco - where, instead of moves being shouted out to the players, they are aided with a special computer screen that can tell them if they are making a legal move.

After four rounds of the tournament that combines rapidplay and blindfold chess, Russia’s Alexander Morozevich, making his debut in the tournament, has taken the blindfold event by storm by winning his first four games; which combined with his rapidplay results has put him into second place behind overall leader Alexei Shirov.


Alexander Morozevich

Alexander Morozevich


Standings (combined): 1 A Shirov (Spain) 6.5/8; 2-3 A Morozevich, E Bareev (both Russia) 6; 4 V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 5; 5 B Gelfand (Israel) 4.5; 6-7 V Topalov (Bulgaria), V Kramnik (Russia) 4; 8 J Piket (The Netherlands) 3.5; 9 P Leko (Hungary) 3; 10 Z Almasi (Hungary) 2.5; 11-12 L Van Wely (The Netherlands), L Ljubojevic (Yugoslavia) 1.5.


B Gelfand – A Morozevich
Amber Blindfold (4), Caro-Kann Defence

1 c4 c6 2 e4 d5 3 exd5 cxd5 4 d4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 6 Qb3 Bg7 7 cxd5 0–0 8 Be2 Na6 9 Bf3 Qb6 10 Qxb6 axb6 11 Nge2 Nb4 12 0–0 Rd8 13 d6 Rxd6 14 Bf4 Rd7 15 Rfd1 Nfd5 16 Bg3 Nxc3 17 bxc3 Nc6 18 Nf4 Ra5 19 Nd3 Ra3 20 Rdc1 Na5 21 Rab1 Nc4 22 Rb4 Nd2 23 Rxb6 Nxf3+ 24 gxf3 Rxa2 25 Nc5 Rd5 26 Nxb7 h5 27 Nc5 Bh3 28 Rb8+ Kh7 29 Nd3 Rf5 30 Re1 g5 31 f4 Rd2 32 Nc5 gxf4 33 Bh4 Bf6 34 Ne4 Bxh4 35 Nxd2 Rg5+ 36 Kh1 Bxf2 0–1

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20 March, 2002

OVER the years, the Glasgow Allegro (25 minutes each), which first started at the height of the Fischer boom in 1973, has proved to be a popular event on the Scottish calendar.

Encouragingly, the crowds still turn up for this perennial favourite, with the latest edition of the tournament taking place at the Glasgow Caledonian University at the weekend. There was also an added attraction this year due to the peripatetic nature of the Scottish Allegro Championship, with the event also doubling up for the national title.

Thus a strong field was assured, and the tournament was decided more or less in the fourth round with the meeting of joint leaders GM Colin McNab and IM Douglas Bryson. With both on 3/3, McNab had good fortune on his side when he luckily won after a serious miscalculation – going on to win the title with an unbeaten score of 5.5/6. The Dundee Grandmaster holds the record for the most Scottish Allegro titles, his latest win being his sixth since winning the inaugural event in 1989.

The next big event to look out for on the Scottish calendar is the Edinburgh Congress at the George Heriot’s School, 5-7 April. For further information please contact George Anderson on 0131-447-2149 (or by email at G1ANDERSON@aol.com).


Open: 1 GM C McNab (Dundee) 5.5/6; 2-3 IM D Bryson (Shettleston), A Burnett (Kirkcaldy) 5. Major: 1 A Nisbet (East Kilbride) 5/6; 2-5 D Rooney (Holy Cross), R Tyack (Knight Moves), J Watson (Cumbernauld), J McRae (Crowwood) 4.5. Minor: 1 R Heathwood (Edinburgh) 6/6; 2-5 R Greenslade (Holy Cross), B Chalmers (Renfrew), D Ross (Knight Moves)


D Bryson – C McNab
Scottish Allegro Ch. (4), Pirc Defence

1 e4 g6 2 d4 d6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 f4 Nf6 5 Nf3 0–0 6 Bd3 Nc6 7 0–0 e5 8 fxe5 dxe5 9 d5 Ne7 10 Nxe5 c6 11 Bg5 cxd5 12 Bxf6 Qb6+ 13 Kh1 Bxf6 14 Nxd5 Nxd5 15 Nc4 Qd8 16 exd5 b5 17 Na5 Bh4 18 b4 Qxd5 19 Qe2 Bd7 20 c4 Qd4 21 cxb5 Rae8 22 Qc2 Re3 23 Bc4 Bf5 24 Rad1 Qe5 25 Qd2 Rd8 26 Qc1 Rxd1 27 Qxd1 Be4 28 Qg4 (28 Bxf7+! Kg7 29 Nc4 Bxg2+ 30 Kg1!) 28 ..Bf6 29 Nc6 Qb2 30 Bxf7+ Kg7 31 Bd5 Bxd5 32 Qd7+ Bf7 33 Nd8 Re7 34 Qd3 Qxb4 35 Qf3 Qd6 36 Nc6 Bd5 37 Qd1 Rd7 38 Qc2 Rc7 39 Qf2 Bxc6 40 bxc6 Qxc6 0–1

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19 March, 2002

THE ambiguity in the chess world over just who really is the world champion looks set to continue, as world number one Garry Kasparov declines an invitation to a new cycle that could have led to a world championship rematch with his nemesis, Vladimir Kramnik.

This year’s 30th anniversary Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting (6-21 July) will determine Kramnik’s challenger for the crown he won from Kasparov eighteen-months ago in London, and as predicted it looks as if the former world champion has declined his invitation to the Candidates-styled event because he disagrees with its format. And, due to a conflict with their FIDE contracts forbidding them taking part in any rival world championship event, other notable players declining invitations include Vishy Anand and Vassily Ivanchuk.

The eight-players expected to be announced in a press conference in Dortmund early next month, look likely to be Michael Adams (England), Alexander Morozevich (Russia), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), Peter Leko (Hungary), Evgeny Bareev (Russia), Alexei Shirov (Spain), Boris Gelfand (Israel), and German champion Christopher Lutz as the organisers wildcard selection.

The players will be split into two seeded groups, the two best from each group going through to a semi-final and final knockout stage – the winner going forward to meet Kramnik in the final scheduled for October 2003. The new organising body Einstein Group plc, who replaced the now defunct Brain Games Network, have put up a prize fund of 250,000 Euro for the event.

Six of the potential title challengers and the champion himself are taking part in the 11th Melody Amber novelty tournament at the Metropole Palace Hotel in Monaco. After two rounds of the rapidplay and blindfold event, Russia’s Evgeny Bareev, Kramnik’s second during his London match with Kasparov, continues to hold on to the lead – a half point ahead of the field.


Leader board: 1 E Bareev (Russia) 3.5/4; 2 A Morozevich (Russia) 3; 3-5 A Shirov (Spain), B Gelfand (Israel), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 2.5; 6-7 V Topalov (Bulgaria), P Leko (Hungary) 2; 8-9 V Kramnik (Russia), J Piket (The Netherlands) 1.5; 10-12 L Van Wely (The Netherlands), Z Almasi (Hungary), L Ljubojevic (Yugoslavia) 1.


L Van Wely – E Bareev
Amber Rapidplay (2), Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nf3 dxc4 5 a4 Bf5 6 e3 e6 7 Bxc4 Bb4 8 0–0 Nbd7 9 Qe2 Bg6 10 e4 0–0 11 Bd3 h6 12 h3 a6 13 Rd1 Rc8 14 Bf4 Re8 15 e5 Nd5 16 Nxd5 cxd5 17 Bxg6 fxg6 18 Nh2 Qe7 19 Rd3 Rc4 20 b3 Rc6 21 Nf1 Rec8 22 Rad1 Qf7 23 Rf3 Rc2 24 Bd2 Qe8 25 Qd3 Bxd2 26 Rxd2 Rc1 27 Kh2 Nf8 28 Ng3 g5 29 Ne2 R1c7 30 g3 Ng6 31 Rb2 Ne7 32 Qd2 Qg6 33 Rc3 Rxc3 34 Nxc3 g4 35 h4 Qf5 36 Kg1 Qf3 37 Ne2 Nf5 38 Rc2 Rf8 39 Qc3 Nxh4 40 Qxf3 Nxf3+ 41 Kf1 g5 42 a5 Kg7 43 b4 h5 44 b5 axb5 45 Rb2 Rf7 46 Rxb5 Kg6 47 Rb6 Kf5 48 Kg2 h4 49 gxh4 gxh4 50 Rb4 Rc7 51 Ng1 h3+ 52 Nxh3 Ne1+ 0–1

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18 March, 2002

IT’S that time of the year again when the cream of world chess close their eyes and move quickly, as they meet in Monaco to celebrate the birthday of a twelve-year old girl.

The exclusive Metropole Palace Hotel in Casino Square yet again plays host to Dutch multi-millionaire Joop van Oosterom’s 11th annual Melody Amber tournament, a unique event in the chess world held in honour of the birthday of his daughter of the same name.

And, with a hefty prize find of $193,000 for the 12-player double-round robin event organised under the auspices of the Max Euwe Association, this is the only elite event in the chess calendar that combines the disciplines of rapidplay and blindfold chess.

The full line-up for this year’s edition is: Zoltan Almasi (Hungary), Evgeny Bareev (Russia), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), Peter Leko (Hungary), Ljubomir Ljubojevic (Yugoslavia), Alexander Morozevich (Russia), Jeroen Piket (The Netherlands), Alexei Shirov (Spain), Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria), and Loek van Wely (The Neterlands).

The opening round saw the meeting of last year’s joint winners Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov, which resulted in an early setback for the world champion as Topalov won the blindfold tussle and drew the rapid game. The early leader on 2/2 is Evgeny Bareev, who with wins over bottom seed Ljubomir Ljubojevic took the sole lead. Game of the opening round, however, was unquestionably Alexei Shirov’s impressive king-hunt in the blindfold game.


Combined scores: 1 Bareev 2/2; 2-6 Gelfand, Ivanchuk, Morozevich, Shirov, Topalov 1.5; 7-11 Almasi, Kramnik, Piket, Leko, van Wely 0.5; 12 Ljubojevic 0.


A Shirov – J Piket
Amber Blindfold (1), Ruy Lopez

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0–0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 0–0 9 h3 Na5 10 Bc2 c5 11 d4 Qc7 12 Nbd2 cxd4 13 cxd4 Rd8 14 b3 exd4 15 Bb2 Nc6 16 Nxd4 Nxd4 17 Bxd4 Be6 18 Nf3 h6 19 Rc1 Qa5 20 Bb1 Rac8 21 Rxc8 Bxc8 22 Re2 Bb7 23 Nh4 g6 24 Qc1 Kh7 25 Qf4 Kg7 26 Qg3 Kf8 27 Nxg6+ fxg6 28 Qxg6 Qa3 29 Re1 Qb4 30 Rd1 Ne8 31 Qxh6+ Kf7 32 e5 dxe5 33 Bg6+ Ke6 34 Bf5+ Kxf5 35 g4+ Ke4 36 Qg6+ Kf3 37 Qf5+ Ke2 38 Qd3# 1–0

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15 March, 2002

ONE of the world’s first Grandmasters of chess, America’s Frank J Marshall (1877-1944), left behind a lasting legacy to the chess world with his revered gambit against the Ruy Lopez: The Marshall Attack.

The story goes that Marshall, after suffering a humiliating defeat in 1909 at the hands of Jose Raul Capablanca, believed he had stumbled upon a winning line against the Cuban’s favourite Ruy Lopez, so avoided playing against it for nine-years. Waiting patiently for the opportunity of revenge, Marshall finally got the chance to uncork it during the 1918 Manhattan International, but alas Capablanca won in a sparkling game.

Despite the inauspicious launch, Marshall’s play was refined upon and the Marshall Attack as we know it today went on to become a firm favourite – especially among club and tournament players who enjoyed the sharp tactical positions arising from the gambit.

During the recent Linares tournament, the Marshall came under further scrutiny after the young FIDE world champion, Ruslan Ponomariov, easily defeated Michael Adams, one of the world’s strongest advocates of the Marshall Attack, in a line that looked as if it could cast a cloud over the revered gambit.

However we didn’t have to wait as long as Marshall did for the variation to be revived again. Just a few rounds later, and the magic of the Marshall lived on when Indian ace Vishy Anand decided to repeat the same line against Ponomariov in the final round.

Using just five-minutes on his clock, Anand revealed just how deep his homework can be when he himself uncorked a big novelty he’d known about for a few years that secured the draw with a textbook sacrificial counter-attack.


R Ponomariov – V Anand
Ciudad de Linares (14), Marshall Attack

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0–0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 0–0 8 c3 d5 9 exd5 Nxd5 10 Nxe5 Nxe5 11 Rxe5 c6 12 d4 Bd6 13 Re1 Qh4 14 g3 Qh3 15 Re4 g5 16 Qe2 f5 17 Bxd5+ cxd5 18 Re6 f4 19 Rxd6 Bg4 20 Qf1 Qxf1+ 21 Kxf1 Rae8 22 Bd2 Bh3+ 23 Kg1 fxg3 24 hxg3 Re2 25 Be3 Rxe3 26 fxe3 Rf1+ 27 Kh2 g4 28 Rxd5 draw.

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14 March 2002

AS the number-crunchers dissect the differing performances at Linares, the one thing which is clear is Garry Kasparov’s consistent “knack” of winning when it matters most of all.

The only player undefeated, he finished on par with a performance of +4. Kasparov has now completed five Linareses straight without a single loss – stretching back 61 games from losing to Ivanchuck in 1997.

The win also reinforced his dominance of the elite circuit, with 10 supertournament victories in a row – 4 in Linares, 3 in Wijk aan Zee, 2 in Sarajevo and 1 in Astana (+52, =62, -1), making a grand total of 115 games in classical chess without a loss since Ivan Sokolov at Wijk 1999.

One player at Linares who probably confused the number-crunchers was the British No.1, Michael Adams. For me, he was the one who made the tournament – he was involved in 40 per cent of the decisive games at Linares, winning three with white and losing three with black.

Fighting chess was always a byword for Linares tournaments of old, especially when it was under the control of legendary organiser Don Luis Rentero, who was known to ‘bribe’ players to play fighting chess. Adams may not have had any cash inducements, but at least it gave him the satisfaction of third as tie-breaks are decided at Linares by the number of won games.


V Ivanchuk – M Adams
Ciudad de Linares (7), Ruy Lopez

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0–0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 0–0 8 a4 Bb7 9 d3 Re8 10 Na3 Bxa3 11 bxa3 d5 12 exd5 Nxd5 13 Bb2 Nf4 14 Bc1 Nxg2 15 Ng5 Nxe1 16 Qh5 Qd7 17 Bxf7+ Kf8 18 Be3 Nd4 19 Rxe1 Nf3+ 20 Kf1 Nxg5 21 Bc5+ Re7 22 Rxe5 Nxf7 23 Rxe7 Qxe7 24 Bxe7+ Kxe7 25 Qc5+ Kd7 26 Qd4+ Ke7 27 Qxg7 bxa4 28 Qc3 Kd7 29 Qd4+ Nd6 30 Qxa4+ Ke6 31 Qg4+ Nf5 32 Qc4+ Bd5 33 Qxc7 h5 34 c4 Bh1 35 f4 Rf8 36 Qb6+ Kf7 37 Qa7+ Ne7 38 Qxa6 Rb8 39 d4 Rb1+ 40 Ke2 Rb2+ 41 Kd3 Rb3+ 42 Kd2 Rh3 43 d5 Rxh2+ 44 Kd3 Nxd5 45 cxd5 Bxd5 46 f5 Ra2 47 Qa7+ Kf6 48 Qd4+ Kg5 49 Qxd5 Rxa3+ 50 Ke4 1–0

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13 March 2002

AS one Linares ends, next year’s edition promises to be something special for the Spanish elite tournament as it meets to celebrate its silver anniversary.

Back in 1978, the unknown Swede Jaan Eslon took the first title in a superstar-less category five tournament. From this humble beginning, Linares steadily rose in stature with each edition, and by the early 1990s, due to the rise of Garry Kasparov, it became affectionately known as the ‘Wimbledon of Chess’ with a tradition of being the strongest tournament of the year.

A special Chess Festival featuring an eight-strong elite tournament (looking likely to be pushing category 21) is already in advanced planning to commemorate the anniversary. Kasparov, Anand and Ponomariov have already agreed terms to play, and early invitations also look set to go to Vladimir Kramnik and teenage Baku star Teimor Radjabov.

A new tradition this year – and a popular one that looks set to continue – was the running of the annual Anibal Open alongside the elite event for the first time. The truly international 129-player field featured former greats such as Alexander Beliavsky and Oleg Romanishin, and the top Danish player Peter Nielsen.

There was also a strong delegation of Chinese and Cuban players who made the long trip, with Cuba’s Lenier Dominguez making all the early running to take the lead going in to the final rounds.

However, in the penultimate round, he faced a determined challenge from China’s Pengxiang Zhang, who won the game and went on to take the title with an unbeaten score of 8/10.


Final standings: 1 P Zhang (China) 8/10; 2-5 R Kempinski (Poland), I Cheparinov, J Radulski (both Bulgaria), M Vassallo (Argentina) 7.5; 6-11 L Dominguez (Cuba), S Li, S Yu (both China), A Beliavsky (Slovenia), J Moreno, J Magem Badals (both Spain) 7.


L Dominguez – P Zhang
Anibal Open (9), French Winawer

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7 7 Qg4 Qc7 8 Qxg7 Rg8 9 Qxh7 cxd4 10 Ne2 Nbc6 11 f4 Bd7 12 Qd3 dxc3 13 Rb1 0–0–0 14 Nxc3 Na5 15 Rg1 Kb8 16 g4 d4 17 Ne4 Ba4 18 Rb2 a6 19 Nd6 Nf5 20 Nxf5 exf5 21 Bd2 Bb5 22 Qxf5 Nc4 23 Bxc4 Qxc4 24 Qd3 Qd5 25 Rxb5 axb5 26 Kf2 Rc8 27 g5 Rc4 28 g6 fxg6 29 Rxg6 Rgc8 30 Qf3 Qf7 31 Rd6 Qh7 32 Ke1 Qxh2 33 Rd7 R8c6 34 Rg7 Rxc2 35 Qg2 Qh4+ 36 Kd1 Rxd2+ 37 Qxd2 Qh1+ 38 Ke2 Qe4+ 39 Kf1 Qb1+ 0–1

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12 March 2002

A jubilant Garry Kasparov lifted his eighth Ciudad de Linares title on Sunday, as an emphatic final round win over bitter rival Alexei Shirov gave the world number one a resounding victory in the Spanish elite tournament.

Despite losing his world crown eighteen months ago to Vladimir Kramnik, Kasparov showed his mastery by out-classing the field for a 1.5 point margin of victory in the category 20 tournament – one of the strongest of the year. The result once again showed the opposition still have a mountain to climb to take his coveted world number one spot.

Kasparov has now won the last four successive Linares tournaments (including a share of first in 2000 with Kramnik) to reinforce his image of “Mr Linares”. The win also gives him his tenth successive elite tournament victory in an unbeaten run stretching back to Wijk aan Zee 1999.

His nearest rival, the young Ukrainian Fide world champion Ruslan Ponomariov, also took the plaudits for second place in his first elite tournament – a superb debut performance that in a stroke silenced the critics and also gained the respect of Kasparov.

Despite the 20 year age gap between the two, the future of chess is set for an intriguing few years in what looks like a creditable challenger – along with Kramnik - for his number one spot. Fittingly, the assembled journalists in Linares voted for the tension-packed round 13 meeting between the two new rivals for the award of Best Game – probably the first of many between the two.


Final standings: 1 G Kasparov (Russia) 8/12; 2 R Ponomariov (Ukraine) 6.5; 3-5 M Adams (England), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine), V Anand (India) 6; 6 F Vallejo (Spain) 5; 7 A Shirov (Spain) 4.5.


A Shirov – G Kasparov
Ciudad de Linares (14), Sicilian Sveshnikov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5 9 Bxf6 gxf6 10 Nd5 f5 11 Bxb5 axb5 12 Nxb5 Ra4 13 b4 Qh4 14 0–0 Rg8 15 f4 Kd8 16 c3 Ra6 17 a4 fxe4 18 f5 Bb7 19 Ra2 e3 20 Nxe3 Qe4 21 Re1 Nxb4 22 cxb4 Bh6 23 Kh1 Bxe3 24 Qe2 Rc6 25 a5 Qxb4 26 Nxd6 Rxd6 27 Qxe3 Qd4 28 Qc1 Qd5 0–1

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11 March, 2002

THE 19th Ciudad de Linares tournament in Spain was more or less decided in the penultimate round, with a tense struggle for the title being battled out between Garry Kasparov and Ruslan Ponomariov.

A twelfth round victory for Ponomariov over Spain’s Paco Vallejo put the young Ukrainian Fide world champion into a tie for first place on 6/10 with Kasparov - and a fateful round 13 showdown between the two.

Unfortunately for Ponomariov, the omens didn’t look good from the start. Kasparov, who is very superstitious, regards no.13 to be his ‘lucky’ number: he was born on April 13, and, in 1985, was crowned the thirteenth world champion.

The Hotel Anibal in Linares was packed out with media and spectators for what was only the second meeting (the first was their draw in round six) between the world number one and the new Fide world champion, and both players didn’t disappoint.

A slightly nervous Ponomariov showed the early pressure in the match up between the two with a serious mistake in the opening with 8 ..Nd7? – it soon proved to be a blunder which the teenage world champion never really recovered from, especially after Kasparov showed no mercy with a concerted kingside attack.

The win now makes Kasparov certain of retaining his title at Linares. He now only needs to avoid defeat in the final round for his seventh Linares title.


Leader board: 1 G Kasparov (Russia) 7/11; 2 R Ponomariov (Ukraine) 6; 3-5 M Adams (England), V Anand (India), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 5.5; 6 F Vallejo (Spain) 5; 7 V Shirov (Spain) 4.5.


G Kasparov – R Ponomariov
Ciudad de Linares (13), French Rubinstein

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7 5 Nf3 Ngf6 6 Nxf6+ Nxf6 7 c3 c5 8 Ne5 Nd7 9 Bb5 Bd6 10 Qg4 Kf8 11 0–0 Nxe5 12 dxe5 Bxe5 13 Bg5 Bf6 14 Rad1 Qc7 15 Qh4 Bxg5 16 Qxg5 f6 17 Qh5 g6 18 Qh6+ Kf7 19 Rd3 a6 20 Rh3 (20 ..axb5 21 Qxh7+! Rxh7 22 Rxh7+ wins) 20 ..Qe7 21 Bd3 f5 22 g4 Qf6 23 Rd1 b5 24 Be2 e5 25 Rhd3 Ra7 26 Rd6 Qg7 27 Qe3 Rc7 28 a4 e4 29 axb5 axb5 30 Bxb5 Qe5 31 Qg5 Qe7 32 Qh6 Be6 33 Qf4 Bc8 34 Qh6 Be6 35 gxf5 gxf5 36 Be2 Qf6 37 Bh5+ Ke7 38 Rxe6+ 1–0

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7 March 2002

THE cream of world chess is having a field day these days, with another big pay day on the horizon with the announcement of a mega tournament featuring 32 of the world's top grandmasters in the heart of Europe.

The Czech capital of Prague will play host to a star-studded event (the prime mover for the event being chess impresario Bessel Kok) which takes place 25th April - 5th May, 2002. The players will compete for a prize fund of $252,000 (winner taking nearly half) in a knockout tournament with a mixture of rapid (early rounds) and classical (final rounds) chess.

Coming directly between Linares and Astana, the event is set to eclipse both super-tournaments, with the top notch field including the likes of: Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, Adams, Morozevich, Topalov, Ponomariov, Ivanchuk, Shirov, Leko, Bareev, Karpov, Khalifman, Grischuk and Judit Polgar.

Meanwhile, for the first time Linares has found itself sharing the limelight with the strongest round-robin tournament ever to be held in France.

The recently completed NAO Chess Masters ended in a tie for first place between Veselin Topalov and Boris Gelfand, who both dominated the tournament to finish 1.5 points clear of the field.


Final standings: 1-2 V Topalov (Bulgaria), B Gelfand (Israel) 6/9; 3-7 E Bareev (Russia), E Bacrot (France), A Karpov (Russia), P Leko (Hungary), L Fressinet (France) 4.5; 8-9 J Lautier, I Nataf (both France), 4; 10 A Morozevich (Russia) 2.5.


J Lautier - V Topalov
NAO Masters (8), English Opening

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 Nc3 cxd4 5 Nxd4 Nc6 6 a3 Nxd4 7 Qxd4 b6 8 Qf4 Bb7 9 e4 d6 10 Bd3 Nd7 11 Qg3 a6 12 0-0 g6 13 Bf4 Qc7 14 Bc2 h5 15 Ba4 Bc6 16 Bxc6 Qxc6 17 h4 Be7 18 Rad1 Ne5 19 Bxe5 dxe5 20 Qxe5 0-0 21 Qf4 Qxc4 22 Rd7 Bxa3 23 bxa3 Qxc3 24 Qd6 b5 25 Rd1 Qf6 26 g3 Rfc8 27 Kg2 Rc2 28 Qb6 Rac8 29 R1d3 R8c3 30 Qe3 Rxd3 31 Rxd3 Qe5 32 Qf3 Rc4 33 Re3 Kg7 34 Qe2 Qd4 35 e5 Rc3 36 Qb2 Qd5+ 37 Kh2 Rxe3 38 fxe3 Qc5 39 e4 Qe3 40 Qb4 Qf2+ 41 Kh3 Qg1 0-1

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6 March 2002

SOMETIME in the mid-90s there was a rumour going round in chess circles about an outstanding new talent from the Ukraine who, at the age of 12, was virtually beating up masters all over his country - his name was Ruslan Ponomariov.

By 1996 and 1997, still only 12, he caused a stir by winning European and world titles at Under-18 level, and by 14 he was the youngest grandmaster of all time, breaking a record once held by Bobby Fischer.

Bright things were predicted for Ponomariov - little did we know that he would achieve so much and so soon. After jumping into the top-ten with a world ranking of No.7 with a rating of 2727, he followed this up by becoming the youngest ever world champion at 18 - breaking a record set by Garry Kasparov in 1985 at the age of 22.

However, despite all the honours he had achieved in his short career to date, he still hadn't been "fully bloodied" with an appearance at an elite tournament. This all changed with a will-he-won't-he invitation to Linares.

Despite the earlier criticism that it would be his undoing, Ponomariov has proved his mettle in the "bear-pit" of Linares. Now, after an impressive ninth round victory over the world No.4 Michael Adams, Ponomariov joins Kasparov in the lead.


Leader board: 1-2 G Kasparov (Russia), R Ponomariov (Ukraine) 4.5/9; 3-4 V Anand (India), A Shirov (Spain) 4; 5-6 F Vallejo (Spain), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine) 3.5; 7 M Adams (England) 3.


R Ponomariov - M Adams
Ciudad de Linares (9), Marshall Attack

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 0-0 8 c3 d5 9 exd5 Nxd5 10 Nxe5 Nxe5 11 Rxe5 c6 12 d4 Bd6 13 Re1 Qh4 14 g3 Qh3 15 Re4 g5 16 Qe2 Nf6 17 Nd2 Bf5 18 f3 c5 19 Qf2 c4 20 Bc2 h6 21 b3 cxb3 22 axb3 Rfc8 23 Bb2 Bb4 24 Re5 Bxc2 25 cxb4 Bg6 26 Rc5 Re8 27 Nf1 Rad8 28 d5 Nd7 29 Ne3 h5 30 f4 h4 31 f5 hxg3 32 hxg3 Bh5 33 d6 Re4 34 Rac1 Nxc5 35 bxc5 Kh7 36 Bf6 Rg8 37 d7 Rh4 38 Qg2 Bf3 39 Qxh3 Rxh3 40 Kf2 g4 41 Nf1 Rh5 42 d8Q Rxd8 43 Bxd8 Rxf5 44 Ne3 Rh5 45 Bh4 1-0

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5 March 2002

GARRY Kasparov continues to consolidate his lead at the 19th Ciudad de Linares supertorneo here in Spain, as the world No.1 finds an extra gear when it is needed most of all to increase his lead over the field.

In the eighth round the tournament, which is a seven-player double-round robin, moved into the second half with the players facing each other again - this time with the opposite colours.

Kasparov came face to face again with the surprise package of the tournament, the young Spaniard Francisco Vallejo Pons, 19, who before the tournament started had been cruelly written off with jibes of "the other bye". Vallejo defied his critics in the first half with an unbeaten run of six draws amongst the elite opposition; however his "luck" ran out when he was outplayed by Kasparov.

The win now gives Kasparov, who also has the benefit of a two-day rest before he plays again, a one-point lead over the chasing pack, which could be all he needs to set him on course for his seventh Linares title. The rest of the field now gets a chance to play temporary "catch-up" as Kasparov sits out round nine, before the final rest-day today (Tuesday).


Leader board: 1 G Kasparov (Russia) 4.5/8; 2-4 V Anand (India), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine), R Ponomariov (Ukraine) 3.5; 5-7 M Adams (England), A Shirov (Spain), F Vallejo (Spain) 3.


G Kasparov - F Vallejo
Ciudad de Linares (8), Sicilian Paulsen

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 c4 Nf6 6 Nc3 Qc7 7 a3 b6 8 Be3 Bb7 9 f3 Nc6 10 Be2 Rb8 11 b4 Be7 12 0-0 0-0 13 Rc1 Ne5 14 f4 Ng6 15 Bd3 Ba8 16 Qe2 Kh8 17 e5 Ng8 18 Qh5 a5 19 Ndb5 Qc6 20 Rc2 axb4 21 axb4 Bxb4 22 Ne4 f5 23 Ng5 Nh6 24 Kh1 Bc5 25 Bc1 Qc8 26 h3 Kg8 27 Kh2 Ne7 28 Nd6 Bxd6 29 exd6 Nc6 30 Bb2 Nb4 31 Rd2 b5 32 Rc1 Qe8 33 Qe2 Nxd3 34 Rxd3 Nf7 35 Rg3 Nxg5 36 Rxg5 Rf7 37 Qe5 Qf8 38 cxb5 h6 39 Rg3 Kh7 40 Bd4 Bd5 41 b6 Rf6 42 Rcc3 Rf7 43 Rc7 Be4 44 Rb3 Bd5 45 Rb5 Bb7 46 Ra5 Qd8 47 Ra7 Be4 48 Qxe6 Qh4 49 Qxf7 Qxf4+ 50 Kg1 1-0

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4 March 2002

AS the players get ready to go round again for the second half of the Ciudad de Linares tournament in Spain, a self-confessed below par performance from Garry Kasparov is enough to give the world No.1 a surprise half point lead over the field.

Kasparov, who missed golden opportunities early in the tournament against Vallejo and Anand, conceded yet another draw after missing a probable winning attempt during a tense sixth round tussle with the young Fide world champion Ruslan Ponomariov, as both met over the board for the first time.

However, beforehand, a fifth round victory over England's Michael Adams put Kasparov back in contention for his seventh Linares title. And, following a seventh round, yet again no handshake draw with Alexei Shirov, Kasparov took the sole lead after Adams, who had bounced back into contention with a sixth round win over Vishy Anand, lost in a slugfest to Vassily Ivanchuk in the same round.

Kasparov is regarded here as "Mr Linares" by virtue of his dominance since his debut in 1990. This is now his eleventh appearance at the 'Wimbledon of Chess' (a phrase he himself coined), and has won the title six times (1990, 92, 93, 97, 99 and 2001) and sharing once (in 2000) with his nemesis, Vladimir Kramnik.


Leader board: 1 G Kasparov (Russia) 3.5/7; 2-6 F Vallejo (Spain), R Ponomariov (Ukraine), A Shirov (Spain), V Ivanchuk (Ukraine), M Adams (England) 3; 7 V Anand (India) 2.5.


G Kasparov - M Adams
Ciudad de Linares (5), 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 a3 Nc6 11 cxd5 Qxd5 12 Nc3 Nxc3 13 bxc3 Bf5 14 Re1 Rfe8 15 Bf4 Rac8 16 c4 Qe4 17 Be3 Bf6 18 Ra2 b6 19 h3 Na5 20 g4 Bg6 21 g5 Be7 22 Ne5 Bd6 23 Nxg6 hxg6 24 c5 Bf8 25 Bg4 Rcd8 26 Rae2 Qd5 27 Bf4 Rxe2 28 Qxe2 c6 29 Bc7 Ra8 30 Qe5 Qxe5 31 Rxe5 Nc4 32 d5 Nxe5? (32 ..cxd5! 33 c6 Na5 34 Bd7 Nxc6! 35 Rxd5 Na5=) 33 Bxe5 cxd5 34 c6 f5 35 gxf6 gxf6 36 Be6+ Kg7 37 Bg3 Bxa3 38 Bxd5 Rc8 39 c7 Bc5 40 Bb7 Rxc7 41 Bxc7 a5 42 Bc6 g5 43 Kf1 Kg6 44 f3 Kh5 45 Be8+ Kh6 46 Ke2 f5 47 Bd8 1-0

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1 March 2002

WHILE five of the world's top players compete in the ‘Wimbledon of Chess’ at Linares in the Spanish province of Andalucia, for the first time they find themselves sharing the limelight with the rest of the top ten in a rival tournament in Cannes with the 1st NAO Masters.

When the tournament was first announced it was assumed there must be a new commercial sponsor in French chess but NAO is in fact short for Mme Nahed Ojjeh – a very rich patron who has ambitious plans to establish France as the No.1 chess nation within five years.

The daughter of the Syrian defence minister and widow of a Saudi arms dealer, Mme Ojjeh has promised a $4.5m backing for the development of the game in France. Apart from the NAO Masters where France's top pair Joel Lautier and Etienne Bacrot take on the likes of Morozevich, Karpov, Bareev and others from the world top 20 in a ten-player all-play-all, her future plans includes a super-team led by Vladimir Kramnik in the French League and European Cup.

World No.5 Alexander Morozevich, from Russia, is the top seed in Cannes. Unfortunately he got off to a horrific start and after five rounds found himself firmly rooted at the bottom on a score of -4(!); but however has recovered slightly with a sparkling sixth round victory over Evgeny Bareev.

The surprise leader at the halfway stage in Cannes is none other than former world champion Anatoly Karpov, who at fifty still manages to perform with the best.


Anatoly Karpov

Anatoly Karpov


Leader board: 1 A Karpov (Russia) 4/6; 2-3 B Gelfand (Israel), V Topalov (Bulgaria) 3.5; 4-8 E Bareev (Russia), J Lautier, L Fressinet, E Bacrot (all France), P Leko (Hungary) 3; 9 I Nataf (France) 2.5; 10 A Morozevich (Russia) 1.5


E Bareev – A Morozevich
NAO Masters (6), Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 e3 a6 5 Nbd2 Bf5 6 Qb3 Qc7 7 Bd3 Bg6 8 0–0 e6 9 Re1 Be7 10 e4 0–0 11 e5 Nfd7 12 Bxg6 hxg6 13 Nf1 Re8 14 Bg5 Bf8 15 Ne3 dxc4 16 Qxc4 c5 17 Ng4 b5 18 Qe2 c4 19 Rac1 Nc6 20 b3 c3 21 Qe3 Rac8 22 Rxc3 Bb4 23 Bf6 gxf6 24 exf6 Qd8 25 Qg5 Bxc3 26 Nh4 Bxd4 27 Nh6+ Kf8 28 Qxg6 Bxf2+ (28 ..fxg6? 29 Nxg6#!) 29 Kh1 Qxf6 30 Qg8+ Ke7 0–1

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