Chess News November 2002
to "The Scotsman" chess column
29th November, 2002
WHAT first started off in 1993 as a little social event to help commemorate the 60th anniversary of Oban Chess Club, has now grown in stature to become one of the most popular events on the Scottish circuit as chess fans made the annual pilgrimage last weekend to the gateway to the Highlands for the 9th Oban Congress.
Such is its reputation thanks to the noted hospitality of the locals and the community spirit generated by the enthusiastic band of organisers, theres always a guaranteed high-turnout for the tournament that the venue of the Royal Hotel in Oban is always fully-booked weeks in advance. This year proved no different. The Congress once again exceeded its previous record-high attendance with a field of 172 players (which with partners and families etc increased to near 350 for the weekend) vying for the £1,900 prize fund (mostly raised by local businesses) and the unique memento of the coveted Caithness Glass crystal trophies for the winners.
It was estimated by the organisers that over £30,000 was spent in Oban by the visitors to the Congress for the weekend, which would inject some £120,000 into the local economy in real terms. Play got underway after the Congress was formerly opened by local MP Alan Reid, who himself is no stranger to the chess circuit being a former Scottish Internationalist, who also turned out last year to play for Oban in the Richardson Cup.
The top Open section was won by recently-retired policeman Alan Grant of Cathcart, one of the most popular players on the circuit, who celebrated his 50th birthday in style on the final day of the tournament with his unbeaten score of 4.5/5 taking the top prize for the weekend.
Open: 1st Alan Grant (Cathcart) 4.5/5; Challengers: 1-4 Alex Nisbet (Paisley), Tom Donohue (Bankton), Donald Heron (Wandering Dragons), Albert de Visser (Inverness) 4/5; Major: 1st Ricky Dowling (Corstorphine) 4.5/5; Minor: 1st David Leslie (Aberdeen) 4.5
A Grant - J Treasurer
Oban Open (5), English Opening
1 c4 Nf6 2 g3 g6 3 Bg2 Bg7 4 Nc3 d6 5 d3 e5 6 Nf3 Nc6 7 0-0 h6 8 Rb1 Be6 9 b4 Qd7 10 b5 Nd8 11 c5 Bh3 12 Bxh3 Qxh3 13 cxd6 cxd6 14 Ba3 Ne6 15 Qa4 Ng4 16 b6+ Kf8 17 Bxd6+ Kg8 18 Rb4 h5 19 Nd5 Rh6 20 Be7 f6 21 Qb3 Kh7 22 Nf4 Nxf4 23 gxf4 exf4 24 Rxf4 Kh8 25 Rc1 axb6 26 Qe6 g5 27 Rfc4 Ra5 28 Rc8+ Kh7 29 Qg8+ Kg6 30 Bf8 Kf5 31 Nd4+ Kf4 32 Bd6+ Re5 33 Bxe5+ fxe5 34 Rf8+ Bxf8 35 Qxf8+ Nf6 36 e3+ Kg4 37 Qc8+ Kh4 38 Nf5+ 1-0
28th November, 2002
THE famous Curaçao Candidates tournament of 1962 sadly marked the beginning of the end for the Riga Magician Misha Tal, who took the world by storm following a meteoric rise that culminated in dethroning Botvinnik in 1960.
Unfortunately his reign was to be short-lived due to persistent ill health, and the following year Botvinnik again claimed his title back following a rematch. During the last third of the Candidates tournament, Tal, aged 25, was forced to withdraw from the tournament after being admitted to hospital with a serious kidney complaint (which was subsequently removed) and had to abandon all hopes of regaining his title.
Tal bitterly complained of the fact that, while seriously ill in hospital, none of his fellow Soviet players found the time to visit the former world champion -- they had become too preoccupied amidst their controversial drawing pact with deciding on how best to work out who was going to go forward to challenge Botvinnik for the world title. Ironically, the only player of the seven left battling it out who spared the time to visit the ailing Tal -- and during the height of the Cold War -- was none other than the temperamental American genius, Bobby Fischer.
With Tals forced withdrawal at a crucial stage of the tournament in 1962, the race intensified amongst the Russians as to who would go forward to meet Botvinnik in light of their so-called gentlemans agreement between Tigran Petrosian, Paul Keres and Efim Geller; Petrosian winning through as the favoured candidate to challenge for the world crown as the Soviet bloc successfully thwarted off the challenge from Fischer.
The fourth Soviet, Viktor Korchnoi, who had led at the halfway stage, was all but frozen out of any prearranged deals and struggled in the second half as he tired due to the physical demands the quadruple round-robin placed on the players.
In the 40th anniversary tournament taking place now in Curaçao, its beginning to look like déjà vu for 1962 veteran Korchnoi. Much like 1962 when he led going into the second half, Korchnoi lost the lead after being beaten by joint leader Yona Kosashvili, who now takes outright first with a half point lead over the chasing pack.
Standings 1 GM Y Kosashvili (Israel) 6/7; 2 GM B Macieja (Poland) 5.5; 3-5 GM V Korchnoi (Switzerland), GM J Timman (Netherlands), IM C Gallegos (Venezuela) 5.
Y Kosashvili V Korchnoi
Curaçao 1962-2002 (7), Ruy Lopez
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 d3 b5 6 Bb3 Bc5 7 a4 Rb8 8 Bg5 h6 9 Bh4 d6 10 axb5 axb5 11 Nbd2 g5 12 Bg3 Bg4 13 c3 Nh5 14 Nf1 Nf4 15 Bxf4 gxf4 16 h3 Bh5 17 g4 Bg6 18 N1d2 Qf6 19 Ra6 Bb6 20 Qa1 0-0 21 h4 h5 22 g5 Qe7 23 Qa2 Qd7 24 Ke2 Rfe8 25 Bc2 Nd8 26 b4 Ne6 27 Bb3 c6 28 Bxe6 Rxe6 29 c4 Qb7 30 Rc1 Re7 31 c5 dxc5 32 bxc5 Bd8 33 Ra1 Kf8 34 Qb2 Bc7 35 Ra7 Qc8 36 R1a6 Rb7 37 Ra8 Rb8 38 Qa1 Kg7 39 R8a7 Qe6 40 d4 exd4 41 Qxd4+ Kg8 42 Qf6 Qd7 43 Qxc6 Rd8 44 Qxd7 Rdxd7 45 Kf1 Kg7 46 Rb7 Be5 47 Rxd7 Rxd7 48 Nxe5 Rxd2 49 f3 Rc2 50 c6 1-0
27th November, 2002
WHAT followed in the aftermath of the famous Curaçao Candidates tournament of 1962, despite Bobby Fischers outburst over the Russians fixing world chess, indirectly paved the way for the wayward American genius to win the crown.
Tigran Petrosian, after winning the Candidates cycle, won the ensuing orld championship match after dethroning Mikhail Botvinnik; and, for the first time in the history of the modern championship, the World Chess Federation, FIDE, stepped in to abrogate the champions automatic right to a rematch in the event of a defeat -- a loophole Botvinnik twice successfully enforced to win back his title.
After 1963, with the champion no longer having the rights to a rematch within a year (and also the new champion having lost the title also having the same rights to a rematch within the year), the vicious circle exploited to the full by the Soviets (and Botvinnik in particular) was finally broken. Fischer, following his no-show in the Candidates of Amsterdam 1964 and his sudden bail out at Sousse 1967, re-entered the fray in 1970s to reach the pinnacle of chess after snatching the crown from the Soviets following his infamous 1972 title match with Boris Spassky in Reykjavik.
While sadly four of the eight players from Curaçao 1962 have died (Petrosian, Keres, Tal and Geller), and the other three (Fischer, Benko and Filip) have retired from competitive play, the redoubtable Viktor Korchnoi continues to defy the age barrier by being, at 71, not just one of the worlds top players but also one of the most active.
In 1962 Korchnoi, playing in his first Candidates cycle, came fourth behind Fischer. Forty years on, and the veteran from 1962 has stormed into equal first place in the anniversary tournament after a sixth round defeat of Dutch IM Gert Ligterink. Korchnoi undefeated so far in the tournament, is now joined in equal first on 5/6 with Israeli GM Yona Koshashvili, who defeated the overnight leader, Polands Bartlomiej Macieja.
Standings: 1-2 GM V Korchnoi (Switzerland), GM Y Kosashvili (Israel) 5/6; 4-5 GM J Timman (Netherlands), WGM S Polgar (Hungary), GM B Macieja (Poland) 4.5; 6-9 IM G Ligterink (Netherlands), IM C Gallegos (Venezela), GM A Zapata (Colombia), 9 M Duesterwald (Germany) 4.
V Korchnoi G Ligterink
Curaçao 1962-2002 (6), Nimzo-Indian Defence
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 0-0 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 Qxc3 Ne4 7 Qc2 f5 8 g3 b6 9 Bg2 Bb7 10 Nf3 Nf6 11 b4 Be4 12 Qc3 d6 13 a4 Nbd7 14 a5 b5 15 cxb5 Qb8 16 0-0 Qxb5 17 Qxc7 Qxe2 18 Re1 Qa6 19 Bf1 Qc8 20 Qxc8 Rfxc8 21 Ng5 Bd5 22 Ba3 e5 23 Ba6 Re8 24 dxe5 Nxe5 25 Red1 h6 26 f4 hxg5 27 fxe5 Rxe5 28 Bb2 Rae8 29 Bxe5 Rxe5 30 Rd4 Kf8 31 b5 1-0
26th November, 2002
THE year 1962 was a period when the Soviets first realized that, in Bobby Fischer, they had a serious contender from the West who was intent on ending their hegemony of the world crown.
Only a few months earlier at the Stockholm Interzonal that would determine six of the qualifiers for the Curaçao Candidates tournament, Fischer, aged 19, trounced the opposition to take first place in style by being 2.5-points clear of the field -- and in doing so became the first non Soviet to win an interzonal. The Russians had to find a way to stop Fischer -- but how?
Much was expected of Fischer at Curaçao and, with his stunning result at Stockholm, many tipped him to win the Candidates that year. However, Fischer suffered an initial setback in his quest to wrest the crown from the Soviets when he came fourth (well behind Petrosian, Keres and Geller) with a final score of 14/27 in the quadruple round-robin tournament. In an interview for Sports Illustrated entitled How The Russians Have Fixed World Chess, Fischer accused the Soviets of cheating and collusion at Curaçao -- his suspicions aroused by a drawing pact agreed between Petrosian, Keres and Geller.
Fischers theory was confirmed by Korchnoi, who in 1977 wrote freely (but only after his defection!) in his autobiography Chess Is My Life that there was indeed a gentlemans agreement among the three leading Soviet players in order to save energy and then fight successfully the other participants of the tournament -- and indeed the fact is more or less confirmed when you consider the statistic that all 12 games between the three were drawn with the average length being merely 17 (!) moves.
J Sequera B Macieja
Curaçao 1962-2002 (4), Modern Defence
1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Nf3 c5 4 c3 cxd4 5 cxd4 d5 6 e5 Bg4 7 Nbd2 Nc6 8 h3 Bf5 9 Bb5 Qb6 10 Qa4 Bd7 11 Bxc6 Bxc6 12 Qa3 Bb5 13 Nb3 Qc6 14 Qc5 Qd7 15 Bd2 b6 16 Qc2 Rc8 17 Qd1 f6 18 Rc1 Kf7 19 Rxc8 Qxc8 20 Qc1 Qf5 21 Kd1 Nh6 22 Re1 Rc8 23 Bc3 Kg8 24 Qe3 Nf7 25 e6 Nd8 26 Kd2 Rc6 27 g4 Qxe6 28 Qf4 Qd7 29 h4 Re6 30 Re3 Rxe3 31 fxe3 Ne6 32 Qg3 Qc7 33 Qg2 Qc4 34 Nc1 Nd8 35 b3 Qc6 36 a4 Ba6 37 Na2 Bc8 38 Nb4 Qd6 39 Nd3 a5 40 g5 Bf5 41 Nfe1 Nf7 42 Nf4 fxg5 43 hxg5 e6 0-1
25th November, 2002
FORTY years ago when the Cold War was at its height with the Cuban Missile Crisis, a major chess battle was also shaping up between the USSR and America in Curaçao, a tranquil little Dutch island of the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean.
There, eight of the worlds top players battled it out for the right to challenge world champion Mikhail Botvinnik for his crown -- and what transpired went into chess folklore as the last real Candidates tournament (and arguably the strongest event ever in chess history) took place there with a stellar field: the Soviet machine consisting of Paul Keres, Efim Geller, Viktor Korchnoi, Tigran Petrosian and Mikhail Tal, with the American duo of Bobby Fischer and Pal Benko, and the lone Czech, Dr. Miroslav Filip.
To commemorate the occasion of this milestone event, the organizers of this years international Open held there decided to hold a special 40th Anniversary tournament. Special guests invited included some of the stars of 1962 - the venerable Viktor Kortchnoi and Pal Benko, while Yury Averbakh, who acted as chief of delegation of the Soviets in 1962, is now the chief arbiter. Other prominent participants included last year's winner Jan Timman, European Champion Bartlomiej Macieja (who lost out in 2001 on tiebreak to Timman) and top Israeli GM Yona Kosashvili and his wife, Sofia Polgar.
Back in 1962, Korchnoi led (5-2) after the first round robin but seemed to run out of steam in the second half. At age 30 he should have been at his peak, but it turned out that he was at his best some 15 years later, at age 45.
Now aged 71, the indefatigable Korchnoi continues to play at the top and amazingly for a player of such an age, he is still in the top 60 in the world rankings. After five rounds of the Curaçao 40th anniversary tournament, he was still undefeated on a score of 4/5 to be in equal second amongst a chasing pack of five, all just a half point behind Macieja.
Standings: 1 B Macieja (Poland) 4.5/5; 2-6 J Timman (Netherlands), V Korchnoi (Switzerland), S Polgar (Hungary), G Ligterink (Netherlands), Y Kosashvili (Israel) 4/5.
V Korchnoi - J Sequera
Curacao "1962-2002" (5), English Opening
1 Nf3 f5 2 c4 Nf6 3 g3 e6 4 Bg2 Be7 5 0-0 0-0 6 Nc3 c6 7 d3 d6 8 b4 e5 9 Rb1 Kh8 10 b5 c5 11 Ne1 Qe8 12 f4 Nbd7 13 Nc2 Qh5 14 Ne3 exf4 15 gxf4 Rf7 16 Rf3 Ng4 17 Rh3 Bh4 18 Qf1 Ndf6 19 Qf3 h6 20 Ncd5 Nxd5 21 cxd5 g5 22 Nc4 Qg6 23 fxg5 hxg5 24 Nxd6 Rh7 25 Bb2+ Nf6 26 Qe3 Bd7 27 Qe5 Rf8 28 Rf1 g4 29 Rxh4 Rxh4 30 Nxf5 Bxf5 31 Rxf5 Rh6 32 d6 1-0
22nd November, 2002
THE FIDE-sponsored $1 million match between Garry Kasparov and top software program Deep Junior now looks set to be moved out of Jerusalem, due to the heightened tensions and political unrest in Israel.
Originally one of the touted venues for the match was Montreal in Canada, however now the unlikely last-minute US candidate of Jacksonville in Florida looks set to stage the high-profile Man v Machine challenge, which is now due to start 19th January. It's also perhaps no coincidence that the match has been delayed until this date as it would allow for the attendance of the new incoming president of FIDE Commerce, Yasser Seirawan, who will be one of the leading contenders for the 2003 US Championships, which runs 9-18 January in Seattle.
It looks as if a high-powered US delegation led by former USCF president Don Schultz (who have secured a major sponsor) is poised to turn Jacksonville into a veritable Chess Mecca by lodging a serious last-minute bid with FIDE to host the 2004 Chess Olympiad there - and with the enthusiastic backing of Kasparov, who fully-supports their plans. Should they secure the rights to the biennial team tournament, it would be the first Olympiad to be held in the Americas since the 1978 Buenos Aires Olympiad; and with it the first to be held itself in America.
Although FIDE have given a commitment to the Spanish resort of Minorca to host the 2004 Olympiad, there is mounting speculation that the required bank guarantees securing the Spanish bid have not been lodged yet in the FIDE accounts. Apart from that, there are also concerns within FIDE that the site for the proposed Minorca bid falls woefully short of their specifications for hosting an Olympiad.
However, should the Jacksonville Olympiad bid fail, they have made it clear they would re-position themselves to become the leading venue for the World Championship Unification match scheduled for November 2003, between the winners of the Kramnik-Leko and Kasparov-Ponomariov matches.
Last weekend during the Electronica Fair in Munich, Kasparov played a six-game demonstration match at the ZMD (Zentrum Mikroelektronik Dresden) stand against the top German female player, 17-year-old Elisabeth Paehtz. Despite having a time handicap of 16 minutes to 8, and having Kasparov on the ropes in games one and three by being a piece up in both games, the 500-point rating difference between the two proved too much for Ms. Paehtz, as Kasparov won the match with a 6:0 whitewash.
E Paehtz - G Kasparov
ZMD match (5), Sicilian Paulsen
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Bd3 Bc5 6 Nb3 Ba7 7 Qg4 Nf6 8 Qg3 d6 9 Nc3 Nc6 10 Bd2 Ne5 11 f4 Nxd3+ 12 cxd3 0-0 13 Be3 b5 14 Bxa7 Rxa7 15 0-0 Rc7 16 Rac1 Bb7 17 a3 Qe7 18 Kh1 Rfc8 19 Nd4 Nd7 20 Rce1 Kh8 21 Qh3 Nf6 22 e5 dxe5 23 fxe5 Nd7 24 Rf4 Nf8 25 Nf3 Ng6 26 Rg4 h6 27 d4 Rxc3 28 bxc3 Rxc3 29 Rg3 Qxa3 30 Ng5 Rc1 31 Nxf7+ Kg8 32 Nxh6+ Kf8 33 Rge3 Rxe1+ 34 Rxe1 Qxh3 0-1
21st November, 2002
THEY may be old rivals who have met more times in competitive play than any other in the history of chess, but thanks to the new medium created by X3D Technologies, Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov are set to renew their rivalry by becoming the first players to play a 3D match to be broadcast live over the Internet.
According to the sponsors at the official press launch yesterday in New York, the two-day match - to be held 19-20 December at the ABC News Building in Times Square, New York - will see the two legendary world champions playing four games in "Extreme 3D", presenting Kasparov and Karpov as though they were floating in space inside and in front of the screen.
"Chess is a contest of the mind and not of the fist, but our encounters are no less bloody than a World Heavyweight Boxing Championship," said world number one Kasparov, who at 22 became the youngest-ever world champion when he beat Karpov in 1985. "You can rest assured that neither Karpov nor I want to lose this match."
"I am pleased to renew my historic rivalry with Kasparov," said Karpov, the most successful tournament player, in terms of the number of first prizes he has won, of all time. While other world titleholders tended to lapse into the easy life of an ex-champion after losing their crowns, Karpov, who became world champion in 1975 after Bobby Fischer abdicated his title, doggedly continued to chase after Kasparov despite failing to overcome his rival in five title matches.
A Shirov - A Karpov
6th Corsica Masters (3.2), Petroff's Defence
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nf3 Nxe4 5 Qe2 Qe7 6 d3 Nf6 7 Nc3 Qxe2+ 8 Bxe2 Be7 9 0-0 c6 10 Nd4 Na6 11 Re1 Nc7 12 Bf3 Kf8 13 b4 Bd7 14 b5 d5 15 bxc6 bxc6 16 Rb1 Bd6 17 Rb7 Nfe8 18 Be3 Bc8 19 Rb3 Bd7 20 Reb1 Ke7 21 Rb7 g6 22 Nb3 Ng7 23 Na5 Nge6 24 Na4 c5 25 Nxc5 Nxc5 26 Rxc7 Bxc7 27 Bxc5+ Bd6 28 Bd4 Rhc8 29 Bxd5 Rab8 30 Re1+ Kf8 31 Nc4 Bc5 32 Be5 Re8 33 Kf1 Rbd8 34 Bf6 Rxe1+ 35 Kxe1 Re8+ 36 Be4 Bb5 37 Ne5 Re6 38 c4 Ba4 39 Bh8 f6 40 Ng4 f5 0-1
20th November, 2002
INDIAN ace Vishy Anand has added a fourth world-level title to his haul for the year, after he recovered from an opening game loss in the final of the sixth edition of the Corsica Masters in Bastia, France, to edge out Russian veteran Anatoly Karpov.
Played just a week after the Cap d'Agde event also in France, the Corsica Open had a starting field of more than 350 top-ranking players; the initial stages of which is then whittled down to the 16 top players for the elite knock-out event.
And, in the last sixteen on the road to the final, Anand easily beat Javier Cornero Moreno, Artur Yusupov and Mikhail Gurevich. Meanwhile Karpov, who lost out to Boris Gelfand the week previously in the final at Cap d'Agde, beat Jurij Zezulkin, Vladislav Tkachiev and Alexei Shirov to reach his second successive final in as many weeks.
Again the tournament showed that, despite his advancing years, the former world champion is still a force to be reckoned with in the game. And indeed it was veteran Karpov who got off to the best possible start as he won the opening game of the final against Anand, who made a quick recovery to win the next game to take the match into a playoff. The next two games ended in a draw, but Anand edged out Karpov by winning the last two blitz games to take the match 4-2.
The win was Anand's fourth world-level title of the year. Since May, he has won the Eurotel Trophy in Prague, followed by the Mainz Chess Classic, the World Cup in Hyderabad and now the Corsica Masters.
A Karpov - V Anand
6th Corsica Masters (4.5), Grunfeld Defence
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nf3 Bg7 4 g3 d5 5 Bg2 dxc4 6 Na3 c5 7 0-0 0-0 8 Nxc4 Be6 9 b3 Nc6 10 Bb2 Bxc4 11 bxc4 Ne8 12 e3 Nd6 13 Qe2 cxd4 14 exd4 Nf5 15 d5 Bxb2 16 Qxb2 Na5 17 Rac1 b6 18 Ne5 Rc8 19 Rfd1 Rc5 20 h4 Qc7 21 Qe2 Nd6 22 Nc6 Re8 23 Re1 e5 24 h5 Nxc6 25 dxc6 e4 26 hxg6 hxg6 27 Red1 Qxc6 28 Rd4 Rce5 29 Rcd1 Nf5 30 Rd5 Qf6 31 a4 e3 32 f4 Nxg3 33 Qf3 Qxf4 34 Rxe5 Rxe5 0-1
19th November, 2002
IT'S just like old times again as two of the biggest rivals in chess, Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, are set to meet in a Christmas spectacular in New York next month.
The four-game rapidplay match is scheduled to take place 19-20 December at the ABC Studios on Times Square, and will be played to promote X3D Technologies - who, with a more sophisticated form of glasses as used in the cult 1950s 3D-Films, aim to revolutionize entertainment, education and eCommerce by transforming still and moving images from standard 2D visuals to realistic "reach-out-and touch-it" X3D images to provide the ultimate, virtual reality sensory experience via the Internet, personal computers and television.
After the 1972 Cold War encounter between Fischer and Spassky, the 'perestroika pairing' between Karpov and Kasparov, respectively the 12th and 13th world champions, has become legendary - especially after the seemingly endless series of matches between the pair, as they played five world title matches between 1984 and 1990; the first of which was controversially abandoned after five-months and 36 games by then-FIDE president Florencio Campomanes, for fear the strain the match was having on the health of the players.
The two "K's" as the Russian rivals have become affectionately know as, last met at the Linares 2001 tournament (their 173rd encounter), with the score between the two standing at Kasparov 30 wins, Karpov 20, with 123 games drawn.
Despite now being aged 51, former world champion Karpov has seen a renaissance in his play. In May, he lost in the EuroTel Trophy Final to India's Vishy Anand, and recently he lost 2-0 to Israeli Boris Gelfand in the Final of the 5th edition of the Trophee C.C.A.S rapidplay tournament at the French seaside resort of Cap d'Agde.
A Karpov - B Gelfand
Cap d'Agde Final (1), English Opening
1 c4 Nf6 2 Nf3 b6 3 g3 c5 4 Bg2 Bb7 5 0-0 g6 6 d4 cxd4 7 Qxd4 Bg7 8 Nc3 d6 9 Rd1 Nbd7 10 Be3 a6 11 Rac1 Rc8 12 b3 0-0 13 Qh4 Rc7 14 Bh6 Qa8 15 Bxg7 Kxg7 16 Ne1 b5 17 Nd5 Nxd5 18 cxd5 Rxc1 19 Rxc1 Nf6 20 e4 Rc8 21 Qf4 a5 22 Qd2 b4 23 a3 Rxc1 24 Qxc1 a4 25 Nc2 Qc8 26 Qb2 bxa3 27 Nxa3 axb3 28 h3 Ba6 29 Qxb3 Qc1+ 30 Kh2 Qd2 31 f3 Nh5 32 f4 Bd3 33 Nc4 Bxc4 34 Qxc4 Qe3 35 f5 Qxg3+ 36 Kh1 Nf4 37 Qd4+ Kg8 38 Bf1 Nxh3 39 Bxh3 Qxh3+ 40 Kg1 Qg4+ 0-1
18th November, 2002
DESPITE the news of late being dominated by the Olympiad as the Russians yet again took the top prize, there was still plenty of action on the domestic scene which ironically was also dominated by a Russian!
With most of the Scottish stars on Olympiad duty, the Glasgow Congress (1-3 November) was just that little bit more open this year. And, seeking revenge after being denied the top prize at last years tournament after leading from the start to the final hour of play, IM Alexander Chernaiev, a notoriously tough Russian professional now based in London, made no mistake this year as he easily took the top prize of £550 in the Open with an unbeaten score of 4.5/5.
Held now in its new-found home of Glasgow Caledonian University, the Glasgow Congress, now in its 41st edition, holds an historic link for many top players as they cut their teeth in what was then the only international tournament in Scotland. It first started back in 1962 at Langside Halls (a venue that will forever be associated with the tournament), and its reputation was built-up by a dedicated team of experts such as Walter Munn, Gerald Bonner, Ted Fitzjames, Gerry Wilson, Steve Mannion and Ken Stewart.
Glasgow Open: 1 IM A Cherniaev (Russia) 4.5/5; 2 K Harman (Cavendish) 4; 3-8 A Grant (Cathcart), G Kafka (Largs), IM R McKay (Cathcart), J Montgomery (Glas. Montrose), J Redpath (Edinburgh West), A Stalker (Holy Cross) 3.5. Major: 1 B Harrold (Oban) 4.5/5; . Minor: 1-2 A Murphy (Oban), A Roberts (Lasswade) 4.5/5. Presidents Prize: 1 D Potts (Knight Moves) 4.5/5
A Cherniaev - G Nolan
Glasgow Open (2), Advanced French
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 c5 4 c3 Nc6 5 Nf3 Bd7 6 Be2 Nge7 7 Na3 cxd4 8 cxd4 Nf5 9 Nc2 Qb6 10 0-0 a5 11 Kh1 Rc8 12 g4 Nfe7 13 Nfe1 h5 14 gxh5 Nf5 15 Be3 a4 16 Nd3 Na5 17 b3 Bb5 18 Rb1 axb3 19 axb3 Qd8 20 Rg1 Rc3 21 Nce1Rc8 22 Bg4 Nh6 23 Nf4 Nc6 24 Ned3 Qh4 25 Bh3 Ne7 26 Nc5 Bc6 27 b4 b6 28 b5 bxc5 29 bxc6 Nxc6 30 Qa4 Qd8 31 dxc5 Qd7 32 Nxd5 Qxd5+ 33 Bg2 Qd7 34 Rgd1 Qc7 35 Rb6 Rd8 36 Bxc6+ 1-0
15th November, 2002
THERE was more interest in the manoeuvrings off the board than on it during the Bled Olympiad, as the governing body of chess met for the FIDE Congress that would formally end a bitter decade of squabbles over the rights to the world championship.
Apart from a nifty piece of political footwork from FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov that saw him craftily avoid a leadership challenge, the delegates officially ratified the "Prague Agreement" of earlier this year that sees two competing world crowns merge back into one following a reunification match in November 2003. The plan ends a feud that began in 1993 when then-world champion Garry Kasparov broke away from FIDE to "privatise" the world championship rather than defend the title under its auspices.
Returning to an old tradition before the untimely death of Alekhine in 1946 that regarded the world championship as the champion's personal property, Kasparov defended his title twice before losing it to Vladimir Kramnik in 2000. Now, much like the schism-fuelled world of Boxing, chess currently has two world champions: Kramnik and FIDE champion, Ruslan Ponomariov. Speaking to reporters at the end of the Olympiad, Kasparov was enthusiastic about the plan. "Within the last eight months, both sides have moved halfway towards each other," he said. "And I think the agreement will be implemented fully."
However before the reunification match, Kramnik will have to defend his Einstein title against Peter Leko of Hungary, and likewise Ponomariov will have to defend his FIDE title against Kasparov - with both matches to be played next spring. The Kasparov-Ponomariov match looks set be held in the Czech Republic under the guidance of Bessel Kok and Serge Grimaux. As yet there have been no details or venue announced for the Kramnik-Leko match; though it is believed that Bahrain, who recently successfully sponsored Kramnik's match with Deep Fritz, has already declared an interest. The winners of these two matches will then battle it out for the undisputed title.
The agreement, which was delicately mediated by American grandmaster Yasser Seirawan, calls for a new biennial world championship under a new format. The new system calls for a 128-player double knockout tournament (expected to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in December 2003), which eliminates a player after two losses. The tournament will choose players for a series of traditional matches to determine the champion.
Seirawan, who generally has the backing and trust of the grassroots, the players and the officials, is also expected to take over soon as president of FIDE Commerce, the marketing company responsible for organising all major FIDE events. He recently confirmed that he had been offered the job and had conditionally accepted the post. His plans are ambitious: In addition to a $4 million world championship, he envisions a rapid world championship, and a revival of the Grand Prix series.
Despite all the manoeuvrings off the board and the many meetings he's been involved in to finally broker a lasting peace deal, somehow Seirawan found the reserves to also take the individual silver medal for his performance of 6.5/9 (72.2%) on board two for the USA.
Y Seirawan - J Rowson
Bled Olympiad (9), Queen's Gambit Accepted
1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 e3 Nf6 4 Bxc4 e6 5 Nf3 c5 6 0-0 a6 7 b3 b6 8 dxc5 Qxd1 9 Rxd1 Bxc5 10 Bb2 Nbd7 11 Nbd2 Bb7 12 Be2 Ke7 13 Ne1 Bd5 14 Nd3 Bd6 15 f3 Nc5 16 Nb4 Bb7 17 Nc4 Bc7 18 Nd3 Nxd3 19 Rxd3 Rhd8 20 Ba3+ Ke8 21 Bd6 Bb8 22 Bxb8 Raxb8 23 Nd6+ Rxd6 24 Rxd6 Nd5 25 Rc1 Ke7 26 Rxd5 exd5 27 Rc7+ Kf6 28 b4 Bc8 29 a4 Ke6 30 Ra7 b5 31 axb5 axb5 32 f4 g6 33 Kf2 h5 34 Ke1 Bd7 35 Kd2 Kd6 36 Bd3 h4 37 Ra5 Bc6 38 Kc3 Rb7 39 Ra6 Rb8 40 Kd4 f5 41 Be2 Re8 42 Bxb5 1-0
14th November, 2002
SPEAKING after leading the Russians to victory in the Bled Olympiad, Garry Kasparov, who played in many of the USSR teams that dominated the tournament with 18 titles won in the golden period between 1952 through to 1990, said the result "Shows that Russian chess isn't in decline," referring to Russia's recent loss in September to "The Rest of the World".
During that Soviet hegemony of the game (broken only for a brief period during the Bobby Fischer revolution of the early 1970s), many great players notched-up a phenomenal haul of gold medals at the Olympiad - and the recent win for Russia, who took over the Soviet mantle following their break-up in 1990, places Kasparov among the elite Olympiad performers.
Soviet giants of the game such as Mikhail Botvinnik and Boris Spassky won six gold medals. Garry Kasparov (3 with the USSR and 4 with Russia) now joins Paul Keres and Efim Geller with seven gold medals, while the great Mikhail Tal has a grand tally of eight.
However, the top performer was the most frequent Soviet player of his day, Tigran Petrosian, who still holds the Olympiad record with nine gold medals. In ten Olympiads from 1958 to 1978, the former world champion also won prizes for the highest score six times, and in the process made an invaluable contribution for his team with a score of +79 =50 -1 for the ten events.
Despite Kasparov's stellar performance of 7.5/9 (a TPR of 2938) on board one for Russia, remarkably he didn't win the individual gold for his superb score. That honour went to the lowly-rated Zimbabwean top board Robert Gwaze -- thanks mainly to the low place his team occupied throughout the competition -- who turned in a perfect score of 9/9!
G Kasparov - M Krasenkow
Bled Olympiad (7), Open Lopez
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Nxe4 6 d4 b5 7 Bb3 d5 8 dxe5 Be6 9 Nbd2 Be7 10 c3 Nc5 11 Bc2 Bg4 12 Re1 0-0 13 Nb3 Ne4 14 Bf4 Re8 15 h3 Bh5 16 a4 bxa4 17 Rxa4 Bf8 18 Nbd4 Nxe5 19 Bxe5 Rxe5 20 g4 Qf6 21 Nc6 Rg5 22 Bxe4 dxe4 23 Nxg5 Qxg5 24 Raxe4 1-0
13th November, 2002
IT takes a woman to do a man's job at the Olympiad -- especially if that woman is none other than the redoubtable Judit Polgar. As usual, Judit, who from a young age avoided all-female events, opted to play in the misnomer of the men's competition for her country -- and alone her performance very nearly guided the Hungarians to gold.
Playing on board two below world championship challenger Peter Leko (rock-solid on one with 6/11), Judit yet again at an Olympiad was in devastating form as the Hungarian top-scorer on 8.5/12 for a tournament performance rating of 2745.
Meanwhile, over in the actual women's competition, Georgia, who held what looked like an unassailable 3 point lead over arch-rivals China after the tenth round, somehow managed to not only squander their lead but with it any hopes of a medal as they fell apart with four consecutive defeats.
Sadly for the Georgians', who at one stage had Edinburgh-based Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant top-scoring for them on 5/5, the collapse allowed defending champions China, with a final tally of 29.5/42, to take gold and the Vera Menchik cup ahead of Russia in second on 29, with Poland winning the bronze on 28.
While realistically Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant may have been the best hopes of a medal returning to Scotland, the Scottish ladies, who beat Iraq 2.5-0.5 in the final round, turned in a superb performance to finish ahead of their expected seeding on 54th place on 20.5/42. On board one, Helen Milligan scored 5/12; on two, Carey Wilman 4.5/11; on three, Heather Lang 7/10 and on four, Louise Macnab 4/9.
N Agababean - K Arakhamia
Bled Olympiad (4), King's Indian Defence
1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 g6 3 Bf4 Bg7 4 e3 d6 5 h3 Nbd7 6 Be2 0-0 7 0-0 Qe8 8 c4 e5 9 Bh2 Ne4 10 Nbd2 Nxd2 11 Qxd2 e4 12 Ne1 Qe7 13 Nc2 Nf6 14 Na3 a6 15 b4 Rd8 16 Rac1 h5 17 c5 d5 18 b5 axb5 19 Nxb5 Ne8 20 Ra1 h4 21 a4 Bh6 22 a5 g5 23 Rfc1 c6 24 Nd6 Nxd6 25 cxd6 Qd7 26 f3 exf3 27 Bxf3 Re8 28 Rc3 Qe6 29 Raa3 Qg6 30 Qb2 g4 31 hxg4 Bxg4 32 d7 Bxf3 33 dxe8Q+ Rxe8 34 Kf1 Be4 35 Qf2 Re6 36 Be5 Qg4 37 Ra2 Qd1+ 38 Qe1 Bd3+ 39 Kf2 Bxe3+ 0-1
12th November, 2002
Yet another "package deal" in the final round of the Bled Olympiad in Slovenia gave Russia their sixth successive Olympiad title since the break-up of the Soviet Union, as the favourites took gold and the Hamilton-Russell cup ahead of Hungary with a final tally of 38.5/56.
Needing a big last round score of 4-0 to overhaul the Russian lead, Peter Leko's early draw on top board for Hungary in their match against China was the signal for the Russians to agree four quick draws against Yugoslavia to secure gold. Remarkably for the winner's Russia, they didn't exactly break sweat in their quest for gold in the final two rounds of the biennial team tournament as none of their 8 draws lasted longer then 17 moves!
Hungary, who took silver with 37.5 points, would probably have also taken four early draws but the Chinese needed a big score to keep their own medal hopes alive. Their attempts to win backfired and China went down 3-1. Armenia won the bronze with 34 points after a powerful 3-1 victory over Georgia, who had entered the round a half-point ahead of China and a full point ahead of Armenia.
Scotland came ahead of their expected seeding in Bled with a superb team effort, and their final position of 44th on 28.5 points saw them placed a half point ahead of the likes of the USA and Slovenia "A".
In the final round, Scotland lost out narrowly 1.5-2.5 in a tricky tie against Azerbaijan -- who seem to be blessed with a team full of youngsters with their top three boards aged 15, 16 and 18! On top board Jonathan Rowson drew with Teimour Radjabov; Paul Motwani lost to Shakhriyaz Mamedyarov; Colin McNab beat Kadir Guseinov and Steve Mannion lost to Rasul Ibrahimov.
C McNab - K Guseinov
Bled Olympiad (14), English Opening
1 c4 g6 2 Nc3 Bg7 3 g3 c5 4 Bg2 Nc6 5 Nf3 e6 6 d4 cxd4 7 Nb5 d5 8 cxd5 exd5 9 Nbxd4 Nge7 10 0-0 0-0 11 Be3 Re8 12 Rc1 Bg4 13 h3 Bxf3 14 Bxf3 Ne5 15 b3 Nxf3+ 16 Nxf3 Nf5 17 Bf4 Qa5 18 Rc7 Re7 19 Rxe7 Nxe7 20 a4 Nc6 21 Qd3 d4 22 Rc1 Re8 23 Qb5 Qb6 24 Kf1 Re7 25 Qxb6 axb6 26 b4 h6 27 b5 Na5 28 Nd2 Re6 29 Rc8+ Kh7 30 h4 Bf6 31 Nc4 Nxc4 32 Rxc4 g5 33 hxg5 hxg5 34 Bc7 Kg6 35 g4 Bg7 36 Ke1 f5 37 Kd2 fxg4 38 Bg3 Kf5 39 Kd3 Re7 40 Rc7 Rxc7 41 Bxc7 Be5 42 Bxb6 g3 43 fxg3 Bxg3 44 a5 1-0
11th November, 2002
AS the Bled Olympiad draws to its conclusion after the final rest day on Saturday, Russia and Hungary, by virtue of that well known Olympiad ploy of the "package deal", assured themselves of the gold and silver medals by agreeing to quick draws in all of their games in the penultimate 13th round.
Rather than spend a hard day grafting at the board in true Olympian spirit, both the leaders agreed two very tame draws against their respective opponents, Israel and Armenia. The Hungarians and Armenians shook hands after only twenty minutes. Seeing this, the Russians offered draws on all their games, which the Israelis accepted after brief consultation. Of course, there would be a very public outcry were this to happen in any other sport, but only in chess is it acceptable for "match fixing" to take place.
Israel and Armenia presumably agreed to the package in a bid to maximize their chances of getting the bronze. However, their dubious gesture looks as if it may have backfired as they didn't reckon on Georgia, who seized the opportunity to jump into third place with a heavy 3.5-0.5 mauling of Canada, and China, who moved into fourth a half point behind after beating Croatia 3-1.
Scotland meanwhile seized the opportunity in the penultimate round to boost their score with the mother of all performances against Iraq. Convincing wins on the top three boards from Jonathan Rowson, Paul Motwani and John Shaw sealed the fate of the Iraqis; however they did manage to avoid a whitewash by holding Colin McNab to a draw on bottom board. The win now puts Scotland on 28.5/56, and in the final round they get a tricky pairing against Azerbaijan. In the women's section, Scotland was unfortunately on the receiving end of a 2-1 stuffing by Turkey.
P Motwani - A Gattea
Bled Olympiad (13), Sicilian Rossolimo
1 e4 c5 2 Nc3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nd4 4 Nf3 e6 5 0-0 a6 6 Bd3 Ne7 7 Nxd4 cxd4 8 Ne2 d5 9 exd5 Qxd5 10 c3 dxc3 11 dxc3 Nc6 12 Nf4 Qd8 13 Qe2 Be7 14 Be3 0-0 15 Rad1 Qc7 16 Bc2 b5 17 Qg4 Bd8 18 Qg3 Ne7 19 Rd2 e5 20 Rfd1 Bf5 21 Nh5 Bg6 22 Rd7 Qb8 23 Qg4 Nc6 24 R1d6 Qc8 25 Bxg6 hxg6 26 Rxg6 1-0
8th November, 2002
TOP seeds Russia look to be well and truly back on the road to gold at the 35th Chess Olympiad in Bled, as an eleventh round 3.5-0.5 drubbing of Germany yet again stretches their lead over nearest rivals Hungary, who defeated England 2.5-1.5.
The two results virtually decided the gold and silver medals in the men's section as Russia and Hungary pull away from the chasing pack. Georgia moved into third place by downing Sweden 3-1. Croatia moved into a tie for fourth place with England, with 2.5-1.5 over Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Despite Kasparov's phenomenal unbeaten score on top board of 7/8 (TPR 2995), the world No.1 is remarkable only in second place in the individual gold medal stakes for top board -- first being occupied by the lowly-rated Zimbabwean Robert Gwaze (Elo 2280!), who down in the depths of the bottom half of the Olympiad has a perfect 8/8!
One of the most controversial decisions in chess of recent years has been FIDE'S absurd policy on the insistence that players allow themselves to be tested for drugs, in the misguided attempt to get chess accepted at the Olympic Games -- a notion recently discounted itself by the Olympic Executive Committee. Despite much opposition and ridicule from many quarters, testing nevertheless began in earnest during the second half of the tournament by collecting samples from six randomly selected players immediately after their games.
FIDE has dropped plans for monetary penalties of up to $100,000 for positive results, or for refusing the test, and it is unclear what penalties, if any, would be imposed. The rules provide for a ban of up to two years, said English WGM Dr. Jana Bellin, who is in charge of the testing program for FIDE, the governing body of world chess.
The list of banned and restricted substances includes caffeine but Bellin said that any fear is "Unfounded - the permitted level is quite high." Despite the restriction, the organizers provide coffee for the players. Decaffeinated coffee was promised before the tournament but has yet to appear.
Bellin has so far declined to discuss the effect any of the banned or restricted substances on chess performance. "It's not about enhancing performance," Bellin explained. "It's about clean play, the Olympic ideal and providing a good example to the younger players."
Unluckily one of the first to be randomly tested was Scottish Champion Paul Motwani -- and no wonder when you see his performance of 6.5/10. Fortunately for Scotland, there were no repetitions of Argentina 1978 and the early return home of Willie Johnston as Paul was given the all-clear -- the only substance to be found from his test being traces of Horlicks!
On the playing front, round eleven proved to be a disaster for Scotland as the men's team lost 2.5-1.5 to host nations Slovenia - draws from Rowson, Motwani and Bryson with Shaw losing, and the women's team going down 2.5-0.5 to Peru.
C Lutz - G Kasparov
Bled Olympiad (11), Sicilian Najdorf
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be2 e6 7 a4 Nc6 8 Be3 Be7 9 0-0 0-0 10 f4 Qc7 11 Kh1 Re8 12 Bd3 Nb4 13 a5 Bd7 14 Nf3 Rac8 15 Qe1 Bc6 16 Bd4 Nd7 17 Qg3 Bf6 18 Bxf6 Nxf6 19 Nd4 Red8 20 Qh4 Nxd3 21 cxd3 Qe7 22 h3 Be8 23 Rfc1 Nd5 24 Qxe7 Nxe7 25 Kg1 e5 26 Nde2 f5 27 exf5 Nxf5 28 Nd5 Rc5 29 Nb6 Bb5 30 fxe5 Rxe5 31 Nf4 Nd4 32 Rc8 Rxc8 33 Nxc8 Bc6 34 Rf1 Re8 35 Na7 Bd7 36 Nd5 h5 37 Nb6 Bf5 38 Kh2 g5 39 Rc1 g4 40 hxg4 hxg4 41 Nac8 g3+ 42 Kh1 Re6 0-1
THE formidable Russian chess machine was back on course for gold at the 35th Chess Olympiad in Bled, as a convincing 3-1 victory over China in round ten more than helped them to recover from their previous round defeat to Hungary.
Wins by Garry Kasparov and Alexander Khalifman extended Russia's lead at the top to a full point over Hungary, who nevertheless stayed in the hunt for gold after defeating Bosnia-Herzegovina 2.5-1.5. After a poor start to the Olympiad from England, they have now moved into contention for the bronze after an emphatic 3-1 win over India, and are now tied with Germany in third place.
There was no such joy however for Scotland, as a disastrous 0.5-3.5 defeat against Moldova proved to be a major setback after their promising start. On top board, Jonathan Rowson was outplayed by Viktor Bologan; on three John Shaw lost to Dmitry Svetushkin and on four Steve Mannion was ruthlessly ground down by Vasile Sanduleac - the ignominy of the whitewash only prevented by in-form Paul Motwani, who easily drew on two with Viorel Iordachescu.
Top standings in the men's section:Russia, 28.5/40; Hungary, 27.5; England, Germany 26; Bosnia-Herzegovina, China, Croatia, Georgia, Ukraine, 25; Greece, Slovakia, Sweden 24.5; Denmark, France, India, Israel, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, 24; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Canada, Macedonia, Moldova, Yugoslavia, 23.5; Cuba, Czech Republic, Kazakstan, Romania, Switzerland, United States, 23...Scotland 20.5.
In the women's section, former champions Georgia look to have a solid lead at the top over rivals China, as yet another convincing win stretches their lead over the defending champions to 2.5 points. However the race for bronze looks as if it will go down to the wire as USA and Russia are locked in third place on 20.5 points. Despite losing 2-1 to host nation Slovenia "A", Scotland, who defeated Iceland 2-1 in the previous round, continue to stay ahead of their expected seeding.
Top standings in the women's section: Georgia, 24/30; China, 21.5; Russia, United States, 20.5; Poland, Romania 19; Armenia, Germany, Hungary 18.5; Bulgaria, India, Slovakia, Ukraine, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, 18...Scotland 14.5.
A Khalifman - Zhang Zhong
Bled Olympiad (10), Queen's Indian Defence
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Ba6 5 b3 Bb7 6 Bg2 Bb4+ 7 Bd2 a5 8 0-0 0-0 9 Qc2 d6 10 Nc3 Nbd7 11 Rfe1 Bxc3 12 Bxc3 Be4 13 Qc1 a4 14 b4 Qe7 15 Bf1 c5 16 Qe3 h6 17 Rac1 cxd4 18 Bxd4 e5 19 Bb2 Qe6 20 Nd2 Bb7 21 Qd3 a3 22 Ba1 d5 23 cxd5 Qxd5 24 e4 Qxa2 25 Nc4 Bxe4 26 Rxe4 Nxe4 27 Qxe4 Rac8 28 Bd3 Nf6 29 Qxe5 Rcd8 30 Qf5 Rd5 31 Qf3 b5 32 Nxa3 Ra8 33 Bxf6 Qxa3 34 Rd1 Qa2 35 Qg4 g6 36 Kg2 h5 37 Qf4 Ra6 38 Qb8+ 1-0
THE Bled Olympiad was dramatically blown wide-open after Russia was derailed in round nine by Hungary, who beat the defending champions and top seeds 2.5-1.5 to close the gap at the top.
On top board, Garry Kasparov was easily held to a draw by Peter Leko; on second the strongest female player in the world, Judit Polgar, drew with Alexander Grischuk, and on third Zoltan Almasi drew with former FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman. The hero of the day for the Hungarians, who last won gold at the 1978 Buenos Aires Olympiad, was the relatively unknown Robert Ruck, who defeated the former three-time Russian Champion Peter Svidler on bottom board.
Despite the loss, Russia still hold first place on 25.5/36, a half point ahead of Hungary on 25, with China in third on 24 after beating Slovakia 2.5-1.5. Bosnia and Croatia share fourth place after wins against Georgia and Lithuania respectively.
With an ageing team that now rates as one of the oldest in the competition, the United States, who won gold in 1976 and silver in 1998, are not the force they used to be and have had a lacklustre performance at the Olympiad. Facing Scotland in round nine, the US was fortunate to win a very close match, 2.5-1.5.
On top board, Jonathan Rowson, who flew in halfway through the tournament from Harvard (where he's doing a one-year psychology course) to strengthen the squad, was eventually ground down in a tough ending by the US's top-scorer Yasser Seirawan, easily the MVP of his team with an unbeaten score so far of 5/7. On two, Boris Gulko, the only player to have won both the US and USSR Championship, lost to Scottish MVP Paul Motwani (who now has 5.5/8); on three Joel Benjamin drew with Colin McNab, and on four Alexander Ivanov beat Douglas Bryson.
Top standings in the men's section: 1 Russia, 25.5/36; 2 Hungary, 25; 3 China, 24; 4-5 Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, 23.5; 6-7 England, India, 23; 8-14 Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, 22.5; 15-18 Armenia, France, Israel, Sweden, 22; 19-24 Azerbaijan, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Kazakstan, Norway, 21.5; 25-8 Belarus, Macedonia, Romania, and the United States, 21... Scotland 20/36.
Nothing seems able to stop the Georgian women's team heading for gold after some impressive results to stretch their lead at the top. After losing to the United States in round three and drawing with Russia in round seven, they have won seven matches - four of which have been 3-0 and three 2.5-0.5. In the other women's matches, China moved into second place by virtue of beating Vietnam 2.5-1.5, while Russia and the United States are now tied for bronze. The Scottish women's team also continues to do well, and in round nine they beat Iceland 2-1.
Top standings in the women's section: 1 Georgia, 22/27; 2 China, 19; 3-4 Russia, United States, 18.5; 5 Hungary, 17.5; 6-9 Greece, India, Poland, Slovakia, 17... Scotland 13.5.
P Motwani - B Gulko
Bled Olympiad (9), English Opening
1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 b6 3 g3 Bb7 4 Bg2 c5 5 0-0 g6 6 Nc3 Bg7 7 Re1 d5 8 d4 dxc4 9 Qa4+ Nbd7 10 dxc5 Qc8 11 Be3 0-0 12 Qxc4 Nxc5 13 Rac1 Nce4 14 Qb3 Qe8 15 Nb5 Nd5 16 Nc7 Nxc7 17 Rxc7 Nd6 18 Bg5 e6 19 Qb4 Bxf3 20 Bxf3 Qb5 21 Qxd6 Qxg5 22 Bxa8 Be5 23 Qe7 Qxe7 24 Rxe7 Rxa8 25 b3 a5 26 Rd1 a4 27 Rdd7 axb3 28 axb3 Rf8 29 Rd3 Rb8 30 Ra7 1-0
5th November, 2002
AS all the teams at the Bled Olympiad take a well-deserved rest day before they resume battle for the medals in the crunch final week of the biennial team tournament, it's time for the "real" battle to start as the chess politicians gather for the FIDE Congress that also takes place mid-week in Bled.
Conspicuous by his absence in the opening week due to "a little local difficulties" back home in Kalmykia (where he also doubles as president of the impoverished Republic), FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov finally arrives today at the Olympiad, after successfully winning a third term in office back home.
Multi-millionaire Ilyumzhinov, who has ruled Kalmykia since 1993 (and the chess world since 1994), faced the first-ever challenge to his authority after eleven candidates stood against him. He had to postpone officiating at the opening ceremony in Bled after failing to reach 50 percent of the vote during the first election.
It was initially predicted in the Moscow media that Kirsan could in fact be removed from office as the Kremlin campaigned vigorously for his removal. However, in a run-off last week against the Vladimir Putin-backed candidate Baatyr Shondzhiyev, Ilyumzhinov won through with 57 percent of the vote to 43 percent.
J Alvarez - J Rowson
Bled Olympiad (8), Nimzo-Indian Defence
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 c5 5 Bd3 Nc6 6 Nge2 cxd4 7 exd4 d5 8 cxd5 Qxd5 9 0-0 Qh5 10 Be3 0-0 11 Nf4 Qxd1 12 Rfxd1 Ne7 13 Bc4 Nf5 14 Nd3 Bd6 15 Bf4 Bxf4 16 Nxf4 Rd8 17 d5 e5 18 Nd3 e4 19 Nb4 Nd6 20 Be2 Bg4 21 f3 exf3 22 gxf3 Bf5 23 Rac1 Rac8 24 Nc2 Bxc2 25 Rxc2 Kf8 26 Kf2 Re8 27 Rcd2 Re5 28 Rd4 Rce8 29 Bd3 Rh5 30 h4 Ree5 31 f4 Re8 32 Nb5 Nxb5 33 Bxb5 Re4 34 Bc4 Rxh4 35 Rxe4 Nxe4+ 36 Kf3 Nd6 37 Bb3 Rh2 38 Rc1 Ke7 39 Ba4 Kd8 40 Rc2 Rxc2 41 Bxc2 Ke7 42 Ke3 f5 43 Kd4 b6 44 Ke5 Nc4+ 45 Kd4 Nd6 46 Ke5 g6 47 b4 Nf7+ 48 Kd4 h5 49 Bd3 h4 50 Bf1 Kd6 51 Bh3 Nh6 52 a3 Ng4 53 Bg2 Nf6 54 Kc4 h3 55 Bf3 a6 56 Kd4 h2 0-1
4th November, 2002
THE Russian juggernaut continues to roll on at the 35th Chess Olympiad in Bled, as the defending champions and hot favourites enjoy a 1.5 lead over nearest rivals Hungary at the end of the 8th round.
Garry Kasparov has been in awesome form on top board for the Russians, and although he has been rested for three games, his personal score on board one has been a phenomenal 4.5/5, which equates to an Elo performance rating of 3004! The two leaders, Russia and Hungary (with China third), now meet in a crunch, 9th round showdown at the Olympiad - the Hungarians now the only team standing in the way of Russia winning their sixth successive gold.
Although nowhere near medal contention, Scotland looks as if they will have their highest-placing ever in the history of the biennial team tournament. Despite losing heavily 3.5-0.5 to Spain in round six, the long-awaited arrival of top board Jonathan Rowson has lifted the team to two successive wins.
In round seven, Scotland beat Peru 2.5-1.5, and in round eight, they beat Venezuela 3-1. This places the Scots in 31st place with a score of 18.5/32, having won four, drawn one, and lost three. Individual scores: Rowson 1/2; Motwani 5.5/8; Shaw 4/8; McNab 3.5/6; Mannion 4/7 and Bryson 2.5/4.
Top standings in the men's section after eight rounds (32 games): Russia 24; Hungary 22.5; China 21.5; Bosnia-Herzegovinia, Czech Republic, Georgia, Slovakia 21; Germany, India, Poland 20.5; Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, England 20; Croatia, France, Israel, Lithuania, Romania 19.5; Bulgaria, Cuba, Moldova, Sweden, Ukraine 19; Argentina, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Scotland, United States, Uzbekistan 18.5; Australia, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Spain, Switzerland 18.
In the Women's competition, Scotland lost 2-1 in round six to Australia, followed by a heavy 3-0 defeat in round seven by Uzbekistan, before getting back on to winning ways with a 3-0 win over Ireland in round eight. The Scots are now in 58th place on 11.5 points. Individual scores: Milligan 2/6; Wilman 5/7; Lang 4.5/6 and Macnab 3/7.
Top standings in the women's section after eight rounds (24 games): Georgia 19; United States 17; China, Russia 16.5; Romania, Vietnam 16; Bulgaria, Poland 15.5; Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Ukraine 15; Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Cuba, France, India, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Yugoslavia 14.5; Armenia, Greece, Lithuania, Slovakia 14.
C Esplana - S Mannion
Bled Olympiad (7), Italian Game
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 c3 Nf6 5 d3 a6 6 Bb3 Ba7 7 0-0 d6 8 Be3 0-0 9 Nbd2 Ne7 10 h3 Ng6 11 Re1 h6 12 Nf1 Re8 13 Ng3 Be6 14 Bxa7 Rxa7 15 d4 Ra8 16 Bxe6 Rxe6 17 Qb3 Rb8 18 Rad1 Qf8 19 Nd2 Nf4 20 d5 Ree8 21 Nc4 g6 22 Kh2 Qe7 23 Nf1 Qd7 24 Qc2 Kg7 25 Nce3 Nh7 26 Nd2 Rf8 27 Rg1 Rbe8 28 g4 h5 29 Nf3 Rh8 30 Kg3 Nf6 31 Rh1 Rh7 32 Rh2 h4+ 33 Nxh4 Reh8 34 Nhf5+ gxf5 35 Nxf5+ Qxf5 0-1
1st November, 2002
TRADITION in the past had it that the Chess Olympiad was segregated into a "Men's" and "Women's" event -- however that's not the case these days (though we still refer to it as the "Men's" event) thanks to the playing strength and determination of one particular female player: Hungary's Judit Polgar, the youngest of the three famed chess playing Polgar Sisters.
All controversially trained and educated at home by their father, Laszlo, he was determined to prove that genius could be created rather than inherited, and that women could be equal to men in chess. The media were besotted by the three Polgar Sisters: Zsuzsa, Sofia and in particularly the youngest (and best), Judit, who has become the world's strongest-ever female player in the game. Together the trailblazing trio brought glamour to a normally dreary chess scene, which badly needed it, as top-level chess had previously been dominated by unsmiling Soviet men and a few eccentric Westerners.
In the early 1990's, after winning the Hungarian national title ahead of the strongest male players, she was selected (somewhat controversially) for the full Hungarian Olympiad team -- a move that eventually forced FIDE to change the "Men's" event into the "Open" event as a few others followed in her footsteps. Playing in Bled on second board for Hungary behind World Championship challenger Peter Leko, Polgar has been in devastating form.
While Bosnia lead after five rounds on 15.5/20 with a slender half point lead over Russia and Armenia on 15, with Romania third on 14.5, Polgar's performance with an unbeaten score of 4/5 has helped put Hungary in contention for a medal. Hungary, alongside the Ukraine, Czech Republic, Poland, England and Switzerland, are ideally placed to mount a serious a medal challenge on 14/20.
For Scotland, a 2-2 draw with Ecuador in round four followed by a 4-0 drubbing of Ecuador has propelled the national team beyond their ranking -- and without their top player Jonathan Rowson, who will soon jet in from the USA to strengthen the squad during the crucial second half of the Olympiad. Now on 12.5/20 (with Paul Motwani top scoring on 3.5/5), they find themselves a half point ahead of former winners the USA, and now face Spain in round six.
Meanwhile, in the Women's section, the Scottish team also continues to play above their ranking. In round four, they drew 1.5-1.5 with Mexico, and in round five they beat Lebanon 2.5-1.5 for a score of 7.5/15, and face Australia in round six.
J Polgar - S Mamedyarov
Bled Olympiad (4), Open Lopez
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Nxe4 6 d4 b5 7 Bb3 d5 8 dxe5 Be6 9 Nbd2 Nc5 10 c3 d4 11 Ng5 Bd5 12 Nxf7 Kxf7 13 Qf3+ Ke6 14 Qg4+ Kf7 15 Qf5+ Ke7 16 e6 Bxe6 17 Re1 Qd6 18 Bxe6 Nxe6 19 Ne4 Qe5 20 Bg5+ Kd7 21 Nc5+ Bxc5 22 Qf7+ Kd6 23 Be7+ Kd5 1-0
back to "The Scotsman" chess column