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The Scotsman

Chess News June 2003

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30th June, 2003

IN 1951, Yugoslavia's Borislav Ivkov hit the headlines when he became the first player to be crowned World Junior Champion after winning the title in a tournament held in Birmingham, comprising of just 18-players.

The novel tournament soon caught the imagination of the chess-playing public, and the event grew to become a showcase for a future generation of chess stars as they rose to prominence. In the past, previous winners such as Boris Spassky (Antwerp, 1955), Anatoly Karpov (Stockholm, 1969) and Garry Kasparov (Dortmund, 1980) first came to notoriety by winning the world junior crown on their long road to winning the ultimate accolade in the game by becoming "the" world champion.

However, the title has lost some of its lustre of late and become a bit devalued as chess prodigies like Peter Leko, Ruslan Ponomariov and Sergei Karjakin decided to skip the now annual competition, preferring instead the rough and tumble of the GM circuit.

The latest edition of the world junior crown (running 21 June to 3 July) is now underway at the remote location of Nakhchivan in Azerbaijan. Not only is Nakhchivan one of the oldest towns in the region, but it is also extremely difficult to reach - and this could explain the drop in numbers, with the boys section having only 50 participants (7 GMs and 13 IMs).

At the midpoint of the tournament, Azerbaijan's Kadir Guseinov leads the field by half a point on 5.5/7.


L Kritz - K Guseinov
World Junior Ch. (6), Sicilian Dragon

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 f3 g6 7 Be3 Bg7 8 Qd2 0-0 9 Bc4 Bd7 10 0-0-0 Rc8 11 Bb3 Nxd4 12 Bxd4 b5 13 Nd5 Nxd5 14 Bxg7 Kxg7 15 exd5 a5 16 a3 b4 17 axb4 axb4 18 Qxb4 Kg8 19 Kd2 e5 20 Ke2 e4 21 Rd4 Qg5 22 g3 exf3+ 23 Kxf3 Rfe8 24 Rd2 Bf5 25 Rhd1 Qe3+ 26 Kg2 Be4+ 27 Kf1 Qf3+ 0-1

27th June, 2003

SINCE it first started in 1965, the National Open in Las Vegas has always been regarded as one of the toughest tournaments on the American circuit.

The extravagant neon-lighted resort hotels, casinos, and bars that line "The Strip" have lured many a chess grandmaster there, all looking to win one of the big pots on offer during the four-day festival held at the Riviera Hotel, which ran June 12-15.

Although there was a guaranteed prize fund of $53,000 on offer, it was shared among nine separate tournaments with combined field of over 800 players. The top-rated open section ended in a eight-way GM tie for first on 5-1 between Alexander Wojtkiewicz, Sergey Kudrin, Petr Kiriakov (Russia), Gregory Serper, Hikaru Nakamura, U.S. Champion Alexander Shabalov, Ildar Ibragimov and Jaan Ehlvest (Estonia), who each won $1600 for their efforts; the Edmondson Cup going to Wojtkiewicz on tiebreak.

The National Open is also one of the six elite events in 2003 that acts as a qualifying tournament for the 2004 U.S. Championships, and, since those that came first equal are either already qualified, not eligible or declined to use the event as a qualifier, the two spots on offer went to the next scoring group down on 4.5/6: former champion GM Joel Benjamin, and FM Michael Casella.

Already qualified from the first event of the year at Foxwoods is Hikaru Nakamura, 15, who earlier this year broke Bobby Fischer's record of becoming the youngest grandmaster in the U.S. - and is now being heavily tipped to win in 2004 to become the youngest holder of the U.S. title since Fischer.

Leaving Las Vegas in style, Nakamura turns in an almost Fischer-like performance in the final round with his trademark Sicilian Najdorf to tie for first place.


D Sadvakasov - H Nakamura
National Open (6), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 f3 b5 8 g4 Nfd7 9 Qd2 Nb6 10 0-0-0 Bb7 11 Bd3 N8d7 12 Qf2 Rc8 13 Nce2 Be7 14 Kb1 Na4 15 h4 Ndc5 16 g5 0-0 17 Qg3 Qc7 18 Rc1 b4 19 h5 Nxd3 20 cxd3 Qd7 21 Rcg1 f5 22 gxf6 Bxf6 23 h6 g6 24 Nf4 Be5 25 Ndxe6 Qb5 26 Qf2 b3 27 Bd4 Rc2 28 Nxg6 hxg6 29 Bxe5 Rxf2 30 h7+ Kf7 0-1

26th June, 2003

AS if he hasn't enough problems in the chess world as it is, FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov now has to deal with a "little local difficulties" back home in the impoverished Russian republic of Kalmykia, where he is also the head of state.

On the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kalmykia's Interior Minister Timofei Sasykov, one of Ilyumzhinov's most trusted supporters, was arrested recently on major charges of corruption and abuse of office.

Last October, as Ilyumzhinov faced an election challenge for the first time in Kalmykia since being elected in 1993, Putin stepped in to suspend Sasykov from office as he was seen to be interfering with the campaign. After winning a runoff election against the Putin-backed candidate Baatyr Shondzhiyev, Ilyumzhinov once again gave Sasykov the post of Interior Minister.

In a classic sting operation, Russia's Deputy Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky explained to the Moscow Times that Sasykov first had to be lured out of the safety of Kalmykia to Nalchik in the southern Kabardino-Balkaria region on the pretext of having to attend a conference, where authorities lay in wait to arrest him. Fridinsky also hinted that the charges levelled against Sasykov could just be the tip of the iceberg.

The worry for the chess world, which has directly benefited to the tune of some $30 million from Ilyumzhinov since he took office in 1995 - funds which many have questioned the legitimacy of - is that the arrest may well be the opening gambit in a cleaning up process by Putin, and one that could seriously endanger Ilyuhmzhinov's continued support for the game that has solely depended on his largesse's.


J Polgar - T Radjabov
Enghien-les-Bains (8), 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 Bg7 11 g3 Ne7 12 Nxe7 Qxe7 13 Bg2 0-0 14 0-0 Rb8 15 c3 f5 16 exf5 Bxf5 17 Nc2 a5 18 Ne3 Be6 19 Qd3 f5 20 Rad1 b4 21 Bd5 Kh8 22 Bxe6 Qxe6 23 Nc4 f4 24 Nxd6 bxc3 25 bxc3 Qxa2 26 c4 Bf6 27 Qd5 Qe2 28 c5 Rb2 29 Ne4 fxg3 30 hxg3 Kg7 31 Qc6 Qf3 32 Rd7+ Kg6 33 Qd6 Rbb8 34 Qd5 h5 35 Rd6 Kg7 36 Nxf6 Rxf6 37 Qxe5 Qf5 38 Qe7+ Rf7 39 Qe3 Kg8 40 c6 Rbf8 41 Qd4 Qg5 42 Qc4 Kg7 43 Rd5 Rf5 44 Rd7+ Kh6 45 c7 Rc5 46 Qa6+ 1-0

25th June, 2003

THE Enghien-les-Bains tournament in France was won by Russia's Evgeny Bareev, who with a typically gritty performance over the piece took first place with an unbeaten score of 6.5/9.

Apart from a relatively short opening round game lasting just 35 moves, Bareev's other three wins in the tournament came from games that were in excess of 60 moves. Bareev's TPR for the tournament was an impressive 2828, and the Elo points garnered will propel him further up the top-ten standings, where he is currently ranked world number 7.

In 1991, Bareev first burst on to the world stage to take the number 4 spot, and stayed in the top ten until 1995. For a number of years thereafter, as his rating dropped, Bareev failed to attain the much-need invitations to top tournaments his undoubted talent deserved. However, a solid performance at the FIDE 2001 Championships in Moscow followed by a win at the 2002 Wijk aan Zee tournament (where he was a late replacement for Garry Kasparov) signalled a return to the elite circuit.

Also gathering much-needed Elo-points to insure he stays in the top ten was England's Mickey Adams, who was a half point behind Bareev in second place on 6/9. Boris Gelfand of Israel, a former world title candidate, stole the thunder in the final round with the only win of the round when he outclassed French star Christian Bauer - a result that put him in a tie for third-fourth place with world No. 10 Judit Polgar of Hungary.


Final Standings: 1 E Bareev (Russia), 6.5/9; 2 M Adams (England) 6; 3-4 B Gelfand (Israel), J Polgar (Hungary) 5.5; 5 L Fressinet (France) 4.5; 6 C Bauer (France) 4; 7-8 T Radjabov (Azerbaijan), J Lautier (France) 3.5; 9-10 V Akopian (Armenia), V Korchnoi, (Switzerland) 3.


B Gelfand - C Bauer
Enghien-les-Bains (9), Catalan Opening

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3 d5 4 Bg2 Bb4+ 5 Bd2 Be7 6 Nf3 0-0 7 0-0 c6 8 Qb3 Nbd7 9 Bf4 Nh5 10 Be3 Nb6 11 Nbd2 f5 12 Ne5 f4 13 Bxf4 Nxf4 14 gxf4 Rxf4 15 e3 Rf8 16 Rad1 Bf6 17 f4 Qe7 18 Kh1 Rb8 19 c5 Nd7 20 Qa4 Ra8 21 b4 Qe8 22 Rf3 Bd8 23 Rg1 Nxe5 24 dxe5 Bd7 25 Bf1 Qh5 26 Rfg3 g6 27 Nf3 Be7 28 Nd4 Qh6 29 Qc2 Kf7 30 Rh3 Qg7 31 Bd3 Rg8 32 f5 exf5 33 Bxf5 Ke8 34 e6 Bc8 35 b5 Bf6 36 bxc6 Bxd4 37 cxb7 Bxb7 38 Qa4+ Kd8 39 exd4 Rc8 40 Qd7+ Qxd7 41 exd7 Rb8 42 Rxh7 1-0

24th June, 2003

AS revealed in this column some two week's ago, the on-off-on again FIDE title match between Garry Kasparov and Ruslan Ponomariov now looks set for a change of venue from Buenos Aires in Argentina to Yalta in the Crimea region of the Ukraine.

It's now reported Ukrainian sources that both players have received official confirmation of the switch of venue from FIDE, and the match date now looks set to be in early September.

Yalta is famed for a world summit held there in the dying days of the Second World War between the "big three" of Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin, which endeavoured to unify the world. Hopefully the new Yalta summit match may yet lead to unity in the chess world!

Worryingly, however, the proposed dates look likely to clash head-on with the annual Eurotel Trophy match in Prague - yet another Bessel Kok and Serge Grimaux extravaganza - which is believed to be a six-game "Battle of the Sexes" classical match between world number three Vishy Anand and top female player Judit Polgar.


Enghien-les-Bains standings: 1 E Bareev (Russia) 6/8; 2 M Adams (England) 5.5; 3 J Polgar (Hungary) 5; 4 B Gelfand (Israel) 4.5; 5-6 C Bauer, L Fressinet (both France) 4; 7-8 T Radjabov (Azerbaijan), J Lautier (France), 3; 9-10 V Akopian (Armenia), V Korchnoi (Switzerland) 2.5.


B Gelfand - J Polgar
Enghien-les-Bains (7), Sicilian Taimanov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 c xd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 Be2 Nf6 7 0-0 a6 8 Be3 Bb4 9 Na4 Be7 10 Nxc6 bxc6 11 Nb6 Rb8 12 Nxc8 Qxc8 13 Bd4 0-0 14 e5 Nd5 15 c4 Nf4 16 g3 c5 17 Bc3 Ng6 18 h4 f6 19 f4 fxe5 20 h5 Nh8 21 Bxe5 Rb6 22 Bd3 Nf7 23 Qg4 Nxe5 24 fxe5 Qe8 25 b3 Rb8 26 Rxf8+ Bxf8 27 Rf1 Kh8 28 Kg2 d6 29 Qe4 Qxh5 30 exd6 Bxd6 31 Rh1 Qf5 32 Rxh7+ Kg8 33 Qe2 Qe5 34 g4 Rf8 35 Qg6 Rf5 36 Rh2 Kf8 37 Rh8+ Ke7 38 Bxf5 Qe2+ 39 Kh3 Qf1+ 40 Kh4 1-0

23rd June, 2003

THE "bonnet toun" of Stewarton and the Annik Youth & Community Centre is a popular destination at this time of the year on the domestic scene, as it played hosts yet again to the Bonnet Guild Allegro, which ran Sunday, 15 June.

For those that are unaware of the background, the Bonnet Guild is a society that was formed by the owners of the local bonnet factories more than 60 years ago to support its social commitment to the little Ayrshire town.

Sadly, there are very few factories left in the area and certainly no bonnet-makers to speak of these days, but the guild continues its good work regardless; supporting community events and running the Bonnet Guild Festival gala week in June each year, the chess tournament being an integral part of the festivities.

The latest edition of the one-day event proved to be another record-breaking year for organizer John Montgomery and his dedicated staff, with 130 competitors taking part - the largest number ever.

Fresh from his success at the recent Eastwood Allegro, the top-rated Open section was won by IM Stephen Mannion of Cathcart Chess Club with an unbeaten score of 4.5/5 - a half a point ahead of IM John Shaw from Kilmarnock and Joe Redpath of Edinburgh. Other results: Major, Chris Tweedie (Holy Cross) 4.5/5; Minor, Stewart McKay (East Kilbride) on 4/5 took first on tiebreak ahead of four others; Under-14, Matthew O'Donnell (Holy Cross) 4.5/5; Under-12, James Hookham (Kinross) 4.5/5.


T Donohue - S Mannion
Stewarton Allegro (1), Vienna Opening

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 f4 d5 4 fxe5 Nxe4 5 d3 Nxc3 6 bxc3 Be7 7 d4 0-0 8 Bd3 f5 9 Ne2 c5 10 Nf4 Nc6 11 0-0 cxd4 12 cxd4 Nxd4 13 Qh5 Nc6 14 e6 Bc5+ 15 Kh1 Qf6 16 Bb2 d4 17 Bc4 Kh8 18 Rf3 g6 19 Qh6 Qg7 20 Nxg6+ Qxg6 21 Qxf8+ Bxf8 22 Rg3 Qe8 23 Re1 Bg7 24 Bd5 Ne7 25 Bb3 b6 26 Rf1 Bb7 0-1

20th June, 2003

THE Scottish Youth Squad paid a visit to 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, as the six-strong squad, their parents and chess officials were received by Cherie Blair, wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair. The No.10 reception was held to commemorate the Chess Scotland's inauguration of a trophy for "Scottish Girl Chess Player of the Year".

The trophy, which will be competed for annually and called "The Cherie Booth, Q.C. Award", was presented by the prime minister's wife to its first recipient, 15-year-old Louise Macnab of Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen. The sole girl in the squad, Lousie last year became the youngest Scot to represent her country at senior level, when she was selected to play for the Scottish Women's Team in the Bled Olympiad.

Later in the day, after first watching the prime minister coming under pressure in the House over his constitutional changes at the last Cabinet reshuffle, the Youth Squad was in action as they took on the House of Commons in a chess match on the hallowed Terrace overlooking the Thames, in an attempt at a political double following their landslide 5-0 victory last year at the Scottish Parliament over the MSPs.

Despite losing 5-1, the MPs were a more formidable opposition than their Scottish counterparts and even had a few champions and a "ringer" amongst their line-up. Top board was the Argyle and Bute M.P. Alan Reid, a former internationalist who played for Scotland in the 1978 Chess Olympiad in Argentina; board two was their ringer Julian Farrand, the retired Pensions Ombudsman; and on board three Dr Evan Harris M.P., a former U-18 Liverpool champion.


Youth Squad 5-1 MPs

1 Joe Redpath draw Alan Reid M.P.; 2 Daniel McGowan draw Julian Farrand; 3 Steven Tweedie 1-0 Evan Harris M.P.; 4 Colin Hall 1-0 David Kidney M.P.; 5 Christopher Macdonald 1-0 Sir Teddy Taylor M.P.; 6 Louise Macnab 1-0 Richard Younger-Ross M.P.


J Redpath - A Reid M.P.
Youth Squad vs. Parliamentarians, Owen's Defence

1 d4 b6 2 e4 Bb7 3 Nd2 e6 4 Ngf3 c5 5 c3 Nf6 6 Bd3 Nc6 7 a3 d5 8 e5 Nd7 9 b4 a6 10 0-0 Be7 11 Bb2 c4 12 Bc2 b5 13 Qe2 a5 14 Rfb1 a4 15 Rf1 Qc7 16 Ne1 0-0-0 17 f4 g6 18 Ndf3 Kb8 19 Bb1 Ka8 20 Nc2 Rdf8 21 Ne3 Bd8 22 Bc1 Ne7 23 Bd2 Nf5 24 Be1 Nxe3 25 Qxe3 Nb6 26 Ra2 Nc8 27 Bh4 Bxh4 28 Nxh4 h5 29 Nf3 Ne7 30 Ng5 Nf5 31 Bxf5 gxf5 32 Raf2 Bc8 33 Rf3 f6 34 exf6 Rxf6 35 Rh3 Qg7 36 Rh4 Qg8 37 Qe5 Qd8 38 Rf3 Rg6 39 Rfh3 Rxg5 40 fxg5 Qxg5 41 Qf4 Qxf4 42 Rxf4 Bd7 43 Rfh4 Be8 44 Kf2 Kb7 45 Ke3 Kc6 46 Kf4 Kd6 47 Rg3 Bf7 48 Rg7 Ke7 49 Ke5 Rh6 50 h3 Rf6 51 Rxh5 f4 52 Rhg5 f3 53 gxf3 Rxf3 54 h4 Rxc3 55 h5 Re3+ 56 Kf4 Re4+ 57 Kf3 c3 58 Rg1 Rh4 59 Ke3 Rxh5 60 Rf1 Rf5 61 Rxf5 exf5 62 Kd3 Kf6 63 Rg1 Bg6 64 Kxc3 draw

19th June, 2003

A couple of years ago, there was a strange tale reported of a top player playing in a big open in Slovenia, who wished to be simply known as "GM 2595".

The GM in question turned out to be Russia's Evgeny Sveshnikov, who took the radical stance of trying to change his name as he saw it as a threat to his livelihood with all his games appearing on chess databases. His argument was that it made it easier for weaker opponents to prepare against him in the large European Opens he had to compete in to earn a living, following the demise of the Soviet Union.

Apparently Sveshnikov was at it again, and was behind a revolt at the recent Russian Team Championships that took place May 16-25 in Tolghiatti (part of the Penza Region), as the players voted not to publish the scores of the games on the internet.

After the event, however, several anonymous players passed on their daily bulletins to allow the games to be duly published on websites such as Mark Crowther's The Week In Chess. The real-time coverage of an important event such as this with a star-studded line-up would not have done any harm to the popularity of the game, and could even have encouraged a big-time sponsor.

Some of the top players taking part in the 14-team event included Peter Svidler, Alexander Khalifman, Alexander Grischuk, Aleksei Dreev, Alexander Morozevich, Sergei Rublevsky and even the timeless Viktor Korchnoi.

Surprisingly, no Moscow team made it to the six-team 'A' Finals after the preliminary group stages, and the event was won by Ladja-Kazan-1000 (Rublevsky, Bologan, Smirin, Kharlov, Vaganian etc) ahead of Nornickel (Dreev, Malakhov, Zvjaginsev, Onischuk etc) and Tomsk-400 (Morozevich, Khalifman, Filippov etc) and St. Petersburg (Svidler, Sakaev, Volkov, Korchnoi etc.).


A Morozevich - A Grischuk
Russian Team Ch. (2), Queen's Gambit Declined

1 c4 e6 2 Nf3 d5 3 d4 c5 4 cxd5 exd5 5 Bg5 Be7 6 Bxe7 Qxe7 7 e3 Nf6 8 Be2 0-0 9 0-0 Nc6 10 dxc5 Qxc5 11 Nc3 Rd8 12 Rc1 Qb4 13 Qc2 d4 14 a3 Qe7 15 Nxd4 Nxd4 16 exd4 Rxd4 17 Nb5 Rd8 18 Nxa7 Bf5 19 Qxf5 Qxe2 20 Qb5 Re8 21 Qxb7 Rab8 22 Qc6 Rxb2 23 Nc8 Re6 24 Qc7 h6 25 Nd6 Kh7 26 h3 Rd2 27 Nf5 Rd7 28 Qb8 Qd3 29 Ng3 Qxa3 30 Rc8 g6 31 Kh2 Qd6 32 Qa8 h5 33 Rd1 Qe7 34 Rxd7 Nxd7 35 Rh8+ Kg7 36 Qg8+ Kf6 37 f4 Rb6 38 Qc8 Kg7 39 Nf5+ gxf5 40 Qg8+ 1-0

18th June, 2003

ABOUT half an hour's drive north from Paris, Enghien-les-Bains' sole claim to fame has been the existence there of the only casino in the vicinity of the French capital. And every two years there, the small spa town also plays host to one of France's strongest tournaments: the Master d'Echecs.

The fifth biennial tournament is now underway, and runs June 13-22. The ten-player all-play-all is a category 17 event, with an average Elo rating of 2669. As ever, the organizers have selected an intriguing field for the highlight of the French calendar, with the event having an interesting mix of experience, youth and home-grown talent.

The ten players competing are (in rating order): Evgeny Bareev (Russia), Michael Adams (England), Judit Polgar (Hungary), Vladimir Akopian (Armenia), Boris Gelfand (Israel), Joel Lautier (France), Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan), Viktor Korchnoi (Switzerland), Laurent Fressinet (France) and Christian Bauer (France).

After four rounds as the players head towards the first restday of the tournament, there have been no major upsets as the top three seeds of Bareev, Adams and Polgar dominate the early stages with an unbeaten score of 3/4.


Standings: 1-3 Bareev, Adams, Polgar 3/4; 4-5 Gelfand, Fressinet 2.5; 6 Radjabov 2; 7-8 Bauer, Lautier 1.5; 9-10 Korchnoi, Akopian 0.5.


J Polgar - J Lautier
Enghien-les-Bains (4), 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 Bd3 Be6 12 Qh5 Rg8 13 g3 Rg5 14 Qd1 Bxd5 15 exd5 Ne7 16 c3 Bh6 17 Be2 Rc8 18 c4 f4 19 cxb5 e4 20 gxf4 Qa5+ 21 Kf1 Rxd5 22 Qe1 Qc7 23 bxa6 Qd7 24 Rg1 Qh3+ 25 Rg2 Bxf4 26 Qb4 Bxh2 27 Bg4 Qd3+ 28 Be2 Qh3 29 Bg4 Qd3+ 30 Ke1 Nc6 31 Qb7 Qd2+ 32 Kf1 Qd3+ 33 Be2 Qh3 34 Rc1 Rg5 35 Bg4 Qd3+ 36 Ke1 e3 37 Bd7+ Ke7 38 Bf5+ 1-0

17th June, 2003

AFTER leading the chase for gold in the women's section of the Individual European Championships for much of the tournament, Russia's Alisa Gallimova suffered a tragic reversal of fortunes during the later stages of the Silviri event.

Leading on 7/8 going into the home straight with just three rounds to play, Gallimova all but blundered away any medal aspirations with two successive lost games that blew the tournament wide open. 

After finishing first equal on 8.5/11, Sweden's Pia Cramling and Lithuania's Victoria Cmilyte had to contest a playoff for gold and silver. And in the tiebreak, Cramling took the gold medal after beating Cmilyte 1.5-0.5. The result was a much welcomed return to form for the elfin-featured Cramling, one of only six female players to hold the full GM title. In the early 1980s, Cramling was one of the world's top female players (before the rise of Judit Polgar and the Chinese), who was often regarded as a major threat to the Soviet dominance of the female game.

In a further playoff for the bronze medal after a three-way tie on 8/11, Marie Sebag (France) defeated Monika Socko (Poland), and then succumbed to Tatiana Kosintseva (Russia), who took the medal. Edinburgh-based Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, representing her native Georgia, disappointingly finished 73rd on 5/11.


P Cramling - T Kosintseva
IEWCC (11), Leningrad Dutch

1 d4 f5 2 g3 Nf6 3 Bg2 g6 4 b3 Bg7 5 Bb2 0-0 6 Nf3 d6 7 0-0 Qe8 8 c4 Na6 9 Qc2 h6 10 Nbd2 c6 11 a3 g5 12 e3 Nc7 13 b4 a6 14 a4 Bd7 15 Ne1 e5 16 dxe5 dxe5 17 Nd3 e4 18 Nc5 Bc8 19 a5 Ne6 20 Ndb3 Qf7 21 Rad1 Nxc5 22 Nxc5 Be6 23 Rd6 Rfe8 24 Rfd1 Re7 25 Bf1 Ne8 26 Rd8 Rxd8 27 Rxd8 Kh7 28 Bxg7 Nxg7 29 Qc3 Re8 30 Rxe8 Nxe8 31 Qe5 Bc8 32 g4 fxg4 33 Nxe4 Be6 34 Bd3 Kg8 35 Qb8 Kg7 36 Nc5 Kf6 37 Nxb7 Nc7 38 Nd6 1-0

June 16, 2003

AFTER surprisingly leading for most of the 4th Individual European Championships in Silviri, Turkey, Georgian stalwart Zurab Azmaiparashvili, 43, held his nerve to take the title and gold medal with a winning score of 9.5/13.

For 'Azmai', a former trainer to Garry Kasparov and now a leading FIDE 'fixer' who acts as head of the Georgian Federation, his performance in the strongest Open of the year will go some way in rehabilitating the damage caused to his playing reputation over a widely held accusation that he "fabricated" his stunning 1995 winning score of 16/18 during a quadrangular round robin held at Stumica, in Yugoslavia.

In a playoff for the silver and bronze medal positions with both players tied on 9/13, Russia's Vladimir Malakhov defeated Germany's Alexander Graf to claim the runners-up spot. A further 34 players (including top English junior Luke McShane, who yet again had another superb performance), who finished on scores of 8.5 and 8, also qualified for the next FIDE world knockout championship.

However, as there were 39 spots made available, two more places decided by a playoff were cancelled following a major disagreement. It was supposed to have involved four players: Alexei Fedorov vs. Ernesto Inarkiev and Sergei Tiviakov vs. Andrei Istratescu, who all had the lower tiebreak score of the large grouping, but the players felt that all the players tied on 8 points should be involved.


L Ftacnik - Z Azmaiparashvili
4th IECC (8), Slav Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 c4 c6 4 Nc3 dxc4 5 a4 Bf5 6 Nh4 Bd7 7 e4 e6 8 Nf3 b5 9 e5 Nd5 10 Ng5 Bb4 11 Qh5 g6 12 Qf3 f6 13 exf6 Qxf6 14 Qxf6 Nxf6 15 Bd2 0-0 16 Be2 a5 17 Bf3 Nd5 18 Nxd5 cxd5 19 axb5 Bxd2+ 20 Kxd2 h6 21 Nh3 Bxb5 22 Rhe1 Bd7 23 Bg4 Nc6 24 Kc3 Rab8 25 Ra3 Na7 26 Rxa5 Nb5+ 27 Rxb5 Rxb5 28 Bd1 g5 29 f3 Rfb8 30 Re2 Ra5 31 Nf2 Ra1 32 Bc2 Kg7 33 Nd1 Rb6 34 h3 Be8 35 Rf2 h5 36 f4 gxf4 37 Rxf4 Bg6 38 Bxg6 Kxg6 39 Kc2 Rxd1 40 Kxd1 Rxb2 41 g4 Kg5 42 Rf8 hxg4 43 hxg4 Kxg4 44 Rf6 Rb6 45 Kc2 Kg5 46 Rf3 Rb3 0-1

13th June, 2003

IT'S all a far cry from the plight of the Tolpuddle Martyrs back in 1833, but the players at the 4th European Championships in Silviri, who feel they are being exploited, have formed a 'Players Union'.

A large majority of the players are angry and concerned over many issues that affect their livelihood as professionals, but their main grievance is being forced to pay what they feel is an excessive hotel rate, claiming it to be twice the price for such hotels in Turkey. And, in order to play in the event, every competitor has been forced to stay at the venue hotel, the Marine Princess, with a charge of $80 per day for full board.

The math is all very persuasive in supporting their claim. With the size of the combined field at over 300, and the length of stay being roughly 16 days, the revenues generated amounts to over $400,000 - compared to the combined total prize fund of $236,000. The new body also points out that of the 210 GMs competing, only 12-20 men and 6-10 women will be able to reimburse their costs from the prize fund.

187 participants have signed a letter of protest to the President of the European Chess Union, the body that runs the annual event, and already they are threatening to boycott next year's event unless their conditions are met. Already the grouping is in the process of electing a governing body, drafting the union's statutes and setting up a website to encourage membership.

In round 11, it was almost as if some of the top players had already opted for an early bout of industrial action with a work to rule. Of the top ten boards, there was only one win (today's game) and nine draws - with four (including the top board clash between tournament leader Zurab Azmaiparashvili and second seed Alexander Grischuk) being under 10 moves!

The glut of draws at the top left Azmaiparashvili still in the sole lead on 8/11 going into the penultimate round, a half a point ahead of a formidable 12-strong GM chasing pack close behind on 7.5, and an even larger pack of 19 now on 7.


U Atakisi - J Martinez Arizmendi
4th IECC (11), 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 exf5 Bxf5 12 c3 Be6 13 Nc2 Bh6 14 a4 0-0 15 axb5 axb5 16 Rxa8 Qxa8 17 Bxb5 Nd4 18 Nf6+ Kh8 19 Nxd4 Qxg2 20 Bc6 d5 21 Qh5 Qxh1+ 22 Ke2 Qc1 23 Nf5 Qc2+ 24 Kf1 Bxf5 25 Qxh6 Qd1+ 26 Kg2 Rg8+ 27 Nxg8 Qg4+ 0-1

12th June, 2003

A battle royal for first place looks to be in the making at the 4th Individual European Championship at the Turkish resort of Silviri near Istanbul, as the tournament moves towards the critical final stages.

With three rounds to play, Georgian stalwart Zurab Azmaiparashvili, a former trainer to Garry Kasparov and now a leading FIDE fixer, surprisingly heads the field in the men's event on an unbeaten score of 7.5/10 - a half point ahead of a chasing pack of 11 top GMs; six of which are Russian and includes second seed Alexander Grischuk. And, with a prize fund of $192,000 and 39 spots to the next FIDE knockout world championship on offer, Azmaiparashvili won't have an easy run-in as only one point separates the top 26 players.

Despite losing to Grischuk and Dutch GM Loek van Wely, the top British performer is England's Luke McShane on 6/10; ideally placed to contend for one of the 39 knockout spots. Scotland's Jonathan Grant is on a score of 3.5/10.


Leading Round 10 Standings: 1 Z Azmaiparashvili (Georgia) 7.5 2-12 A Kharlov (Russia), K Sakaev (Russia), Kir Georgiev (FYR Macedonia), V Malakhov (Russia), A Grischuk (Russia), L van Wely (Netherlands), M Kobalia (Russia), P Heine Nielsen (Denmark), E Sutovsky (Israel), L Aronian (Armenia), A Galkin (Russia) 7.


In the women's section, which has a prize fund of $44,000 and 17 spots on offer, Russia's Alisa Galliamova is in top form with an unbeaten score of 7/8. In rounds five and six, Galliamova, a former world championship challenger, beat rivals Corina Peptan of Romania and Sweden's Pia Cramling to extend her lead at the top over the chasing pack to one point. Despite her promising start, Edinburgh-based WGM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, representing her native Georgia, is out of contention on 3.5/8.


Leading Round 8 Standings: 1 A Galliamova (Russia) 7/8; 2-6 T Kosintseva (Russia), A Stefanova (Bulgaria), O Zimina (Russia), K Kachiani-Gersinska (Germany), V Cmilyte (Lithuania) 6.


C Peptan - A Galliamova
IEWCC (6), Scandinavian Defence

1 e4 d5 2 exd5 Qxd5 3 Nc3 Qd6 4 d4 Nf6 5 Nf3 a6 6 Bg5 b5 7 Bd3 Bb7 8 Qe2 Nbd7 9 0-0-0 e6 10 Kb1 Be7 11 Ne5 0-0 12 f4 Nb6 13 Bxf6 Bxf6 14 Ne4 Qe7 15 Rhf1 Na4 16 c3 Rad8 17 Bc2 g6 18 Bxa4 Bxe5 19 Nc5 Bd5 20 Bb3 Bxb3 21 axb3 Bd6 22 Nxa6 c6 23 Qf3 Rc8 24 Qe3 b4 25 c4 Ra8 26 Nc5 Bxc5 27 dxc5 Qf6 28 g4 Ra5 29 f5 Rfa8 30 fxe6 Ra1+ 31 Kc2 Qxb2+ 32 Kd3 Rd8+ 33 Ke4 f5+ 34 gxf5 Raxd1 35 Rxd1 Rxd1 36 e7 Kf7 37 fxg6+ Ke8 38 gxh7 Qc2+ 39 Kf3 Qxh7 40 Qe5 Qd3+ 41 Kf4 Qd4+ 0-1

11 June, 2003

THE on-off-on-off again saga of title matches that were supposed to pave the way for unification in the chess world looks to have taken yet another twist.

There's speculation that the Ruslan Ponomariov - Garry Kasparov match, which was scheduled to start this month in Buenos Aires, but was then tentatively slated for November, may now be moved to Yalta in the Ukraine, starting early September. Ukrainian sources say the change was made following a weekend meeting in Kiev between the country's president, Leonid Kuchma, and FIDE President Kirsan Ilumzhinov.

And, just to confuse matters even more, it is also rumoured now that, after Einstein's recent announcement of failing to find a sponsor or venue for the Vladimir Kramnik - Peter Leko match, FIDE may step in to (dis?) organise this one also, with the touted venue being...Buenos Aires! Whatever you do, just don't buy early tickets for any of these matches!

A recent article in The Spectator magazine plays on Kirsan's supposed cordial relationship with former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. There is some truth in this allegation as he was officially the last person out of Iraqi after a brief visit to one of Saddam's Palaces to meet his son, Uday - just two days before hostilities began back in March.

The article goes even further and leans heavily towards explaining where some of Ilumzhinov's mysterious wealth has come from, which to-date has propped up chess to the tune of some $30 million - even venturing to suggest where Hussein has gone to, as Ilumzhinov is also president of the Russian region of Kalmykia.

Wherever and whenever Ponamriov finally meets Kasparov, he will have the added confidence of going into the match with a morale-boosting win. The young Ukrainian added his name to the illustrious list of Leon champions that includes Kasparov, Vishy Anand, and Kramnik, as he defeated Bulgarian super-GM Veselin Topalov 2.5-1.5 in the final.

In a closely fought match, Ponomariov had the good fortune to win the decisive third game from initially a lost position (43 Rxg6+! and Black has to give up the queen to avoid mate after 43...hxg6 44.Qf6.), and then on time when his opponent had a repetition on the board and failed to make a move despite having a 10 second increment per move!


V Topalov - R Ponomariov
16th Ciudad de Leon (2.3), French Winawer

1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 c5 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Ne7 7 Qg4 Qa5 8 Bd2 0-0 9 Bd3 Nbc6 10 Nf3 f5 11 exf6 Rxf6 12 Qh5 Nf5 13 Ne5 c4 14 Bxf5 Rxf5 15 Qe8+ Rf8 16 Nxc6 bxc6 17 Qxc6 Rb8 18 0-0 Rb2 19 Bf4 Qxc3 20 Bd6 Rb6 21 Qc7 Rb7 22 Qc5 Re8 23 Qc6 Rd8 24 Rab1 Rxb1 25 Rxb1 Qxc2 26 Rf1 Qg6 27 Qc7 Qe8 28 Be5 Qd7 29 Qc5 Qb7 30 h3 Re8 31 Re1 Bd7 32 Qa5 Rc8 33 Re3 Be8 34 Rg3 Bg6 35 h4 Qb6 36 Qa4 Qb7 37 h5 Be8 38 Qd1 g6 39 Qg4 Qb1+ 40 Kh2 Qf5 41 Qh4 c3 42 Rg5 Qe4 43 Rg4 Qf5 44 Rg5 Qe4 45 Qh3 Rc6 46 hxg6 Bxg6 47 Qh6 Kf7 48 f3 Qe1 49 Rxg6 Qxe5+ 50 dxe5 hxg6 51 Qh7+ Kf8 52 Qd7 Rc4 53 Qd8+ Kg7 54 Qf6+ Kh7 55 Qf7+ Kh6 56 Qf8+ Kh7 57 Qe7+ Kh8 58 Qf6+ 0-1

10th June, 2003

THE quest for “perfect chess” was a marriage of convenience five years ago at the annual Ciudad de León tournament in Spain, with the creation of “Advance Chess”, a new concept in the game that allowed top Grandmasters to consult databases and playing engines running on cutting edge hardware during a match.

The concept was the brainchild of Garry Kasparov, created in the aftermath of his historic loss in 1987 to IBM’s Deep Blue, who defeated the Bulgarian super-GM Veselin Topalov in the inaugural 1998 event. In the intervening years, other such high-profile matches have featured Vishy Anand, Vladimir Kramnik, Judit Polgar and Anatoly Karpov.

This year, the Spanish organizers pulled the plug on the computers by reverting once more to “Manu et Manu” – a quadrangular knockout rapid tournament, which ran 6-8 June, featuring the Ukrainian FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov, Topalov, talented young Spaniard Francesco Vallejo Pons, and the world’s youngest grandmaster, 13-year-old Sergei Karjakin also from the Ukraine.

Youth and innocence proved no match for age and guile on the opening day of the tournament, as Topalov scored a somewhat easy 3.5-0.5 victory over Karjakin to progress to the final; where he’ll meet Ponomariov, who similarly dispatched Vallejo Pons on day two by 3.5-0.5 to reach the final.


R Ponomariov – F Vallejo Pons
16th Ciudad de León (1.4), Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 Nf3 d5 2 d4 Nf6 3 c4 e6 4 Nc3 Be7 5 Bf4 0-0 6 e3 Nbd7 7 a3 c5 8 cxd5 Nxd5 9 Nxd5 exd5 10 dxc5 Nxc5 11 Be2 Bg4 12 Be5 Bf6 13 Bxf6 Qxf6 14 Qd4 Qxd4 15 Nxd4 Bxe2 16 Kxe2 Rfc8 17 Rac1 Ne6 18 Nf5 Kf8 19 Rhd1 g6 20 Nd6 Rxc1 21 Rxc1 d4 22 b4 Rb8 23 Rc8+ Rxc8 24 Nxc8 a6 25 exd4 Nxd4+ 26 Kd3 Ne6 27 Ke4 h5 28 Ke5 h4 29 Nd6 b5 30 Kf6 Nf4 31 Nxf7 Nxg2 32 Ne5 h3 33 Nxg6+ Ke8 34 Ke6 Ne1 35 f4 Nf3 36 f5 Nd4+ 37 Kf6 Nf3 38 Kg7 Kd7 39 f6 1-0

9th June, 2003

ALTHOUGH boasting just two 2700-plus super GMs (Ukraine's Vassily Ivanchuk and young Russian Alexander Grischuk), the fourth men's Individual European Championships in Silviri, Turkey, is holding up to be one of the toughest Swiss events of the year.

As the players jockey for position going into the critical final half of the Silviri event, which has a prize fund of $192,000 and 39 world championship spots at stake, there's a strong breakaway group in equal first, with an ominous chasing pack of 17 GMs just half a point behind on their tail.

Standings: 1-5 Zurab Azmaiparashvili (Georgia), Konstantin Sakaev (Russia), Aleksej Aleksandrov (Belarus), Kiril Georgiev (Macedonia), Vladimir Malakhov (Russia) 6/8; 17 GMs, including top English player Luke McShane and Alexander Grischuk (who both met in round 9), are on 5.5. Scottish scores: Jonathan Grant 2/8 and Chris Morrison 1/5 (who has withdrawn from the tournament).

In the women's event, former women's world title challenger Alisa Galimova, from Russia, holds a half point lead at the top on 5.5/6 from Pia Cramling (Sweden), Almira Skripchenko (France) and Victoria Cmilyte (Lithuania). Georgia's Keteven Arakhamia-Grant, who is based in Edinburgh, has fallen way off the pace for one of the 17 world championship spots on offer, and is on a score of 3/6.


V Malakhov - R Dautov
4th IECC (7), Reti's Opening

1 Nf3 d5 2 c4 c6 3 e3 Nf6 4 Nc3 a6 5 b3 Bf5 6 Be2 h6 7 0-0 e6 8 Bb2 Bd6 9 d4 Nbd7 10 c5 Bc7 11 b4 0-0 12 a4 Qe7 13 b5 Ba5 14 Nd2 Bxc3 15 Bxc3 Ne4 16 Ba5 Nxd2 17 Qxd2 axb5 18 axb5 e5 19 Bc3 exd4 20 Qxd4 f6 21 Bb4 Qe5 22 b6 Rfe8 23 Ra7 Rab8 24 Bc3 Qxd4 25 Bxd4 Nf8 26 f3 Ne6 27 Kf2 Nxd4 28 exd4 Re7 29 Rfa1 Rbe8 30 Bf1 Kf7 31 Ra8 Rxa8 32 Rxa8 Re8 33 Ra7 Bc8 34 Bd3 h5 35 h4 g6 36 g4 Re7 37 Ra8 Re8 38 gxh5 gxh5 39 Kg3 Be6 40 Bg6+ 1-0

6th June, 2003

WHILE the 207-player field in the men's competition of the fourth European Individual Championships, taking place at the Turkish resort of Silviri near Istanbul, only has two players from the top twenty, it has strength in-depth with 48 GMs ranked in the top one hundred.

The field is also boosted by having a line-up that contains a staggering 151 GMs and 31 IMs. Apart from the lucrative prize fund of $192,000 on offer, the added lure for such a strong turnout is that the top 39 players at the end of the gruelling thirteen rounds get an automatic berth into the next FIDE world championship - all of which could be a shot in the dark, as no one knows exactly when, where or if (!) this event will take place due to the present mess in the chess world.

As can be expected among such a tough competition as this, there's no early frontrunner and a big logjam at top. After five rounds of play, a group of eleven GMs share the lead (which doesn't contain the top two seeds Ivanchuk and Grishuck) on 4/5; which includes top English player Luke McShane.

Scottish scores are: Jonathan Grant 1.5/5 and Chris Morrison on 1/5. However, in the women's section, Edinburgh-based Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, representing her native Georgia, is in the hunt for one of the 17 spots for the Women's world championship on 2/3, after losing her first game of the tournament to Russia's Alisa Galliamova, a former world championship finalist. There is a prize fund of $44,000 at stake for the one hundred and twelve players in the women's competition.


L Comas Fabrego - L McShane
4th IECC (4), Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 e4 Nxc3 6 bxc3 Bg7 7 Nf3 c5 8 Rb1 0-0 9 Be2 cxd4 10 cxd4 Qa5+ 11 Bd2 Qxa2 12 0-0 Bg4 13 Be3 Nc6 14 d5 Bxf3 15 Bxf3 Ne5 16 Be2 Nc4 17 Bg5 Rfb8 18 Bxc4 Qxc4 19 Bxe7 b5 20 Rc1 Qxe4 21 Re1 Qf5 22 d6 Bf6 23 Bxf6 Qxf6 24 Qd5 Rd8 25 d7 Rab8 26 g4 b4 27 Re4 h5 28 Rce1 hxg4 29 Re8+ Kh7 30 Qc5 b3 31 Qc7 Ra8 32 Qb7 Qf3 33 Qb4 Rxd7 34 R8e3 Qf5 35 Re5 Qf6 36 Qxb3 Kg7 37 Qb4 Rad8 38 Qxg4 Rd4 39 R5e4 Re8 40 Rxd4 Rxe1+ 41 Kg2 Re5 42 h4 Rf5 43 Qg3 Qxd4 0-1

5th June, 2003

White: Rf1, Ne2, Pf2, Kh5, Qb5, Nc7, Be7.

Black: Kf5, Be5, Qc5, Ba4, Pc3, Pe4.

THIS is the starter position in the opening puzzle for the 2003-2004 Winton Capital British Chess Solving Championship. The problem is White to play and mate in two against any defence.

Send your entry (White’s first move only), with a cheque or postal order for £3.00, payable to the British Chess Problem Society, to Paul Valois, 14 Newton Park Drive, Leeds LS7 4HH. The championship is only open to British residents and the closing date is July 31.

It is also important to indicate where you saw the puzzle, so please mark underneath your answer “The Scotsman”. After the closing date all entrants will be sent the answer; and those who are correct will go forward to compete in the second, postal round, which will contain 8 more difficult and varied problems. In addition to this, all competitors, whether successful or not, who are not members of the BCPS will receive a recent copy of “The Problemist”, the house magazine of the BCPS.

Those successful enough to complete the postal rounds will be invited to compete in the finals weekend, held early next year at Oakham School in Rutland, which will have a prize fund of £1,175. For further information on the BCPS, and to follow the course of the competition, go to www.bstephen.freeuk.com.


K Kulaots – J Grant
4th IECC (3), Caro-Kann Defence

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Bf5 5 Ng3 Bg6 6 h4 h6 7 Nf3 Nd7 8 h5 Bh7 9 Bd3 Bxd3 10 Qxd3 e6 11 Bf4 Ngf6 12 0-0-0 Be7 13 Ne4 Nxe4 14 Qxe4 Nf6 15 Qd3 Qd5 16 c4 Qe4 17 Qxe4 Nxe4 18 Be3 Nd6 19 b3 b5 20 c5 Ne4 21 Kc2 Rc8 22 Ne5 Nf6 23 a4 b4 24 g4 Nd5 25 Bd2 Bg5 26 Rhe1 Bxd2 27 Rxd2 0-0 28 Kd3 f5 29 Ng6 Rf6 30 gxf5 Rxf5 31 Rxe6 Rxh5 32 Rd6 Rh3+ 33 Kc2 Rc7 34 Re2 Nf6 35 Rd8+ Kf7 36 Nh8 mate 1-0

4th June, 2003

BILLED on its own website as "The Most Strongest Open Tournament of the Chess History Ever!!", the fourth European Individual Championships has got underway at the Turkish resort of Siliviri near Istanbul, and runs May 30 - 14 June at the Marine Princess Hotel.

And, with a total prize fund on offer of $192,000 in the men's section, the organizers grandiose claim could well be right as the 207-player field from 41 countries, headed by top seed GM Vassily Ivanchuk of the Ukraine, contains no less than 151 GMs and 31 IMs! In the women's section, defending champion Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria is the top seed in a field of 112 battling it out for the $44,000 prize fund.

Scotland's two representatives are Jonathan Grant of Edinburgh West and Chris Morrison (formerly of Aberdeen who now resides in Singapore). The best hope for a medal making its way back to Scotland, however, falls to Jonathan's wife WGM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, the joint Scottish Champion, who is representing her homeland of Georgia in the Women's event.

One of the highlights of the opening rounds was today's game from round two, a truly spectacular king hunt that tragically backfired. White had a relatively easy win in hand with 23 Ndc7+ Ke7 24 Qc3! However, in such positions in the Najdorf it's always tempting to go for the jugular.


K Guseinov - L Ftacnik
4th IECC (2), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 Nbd7 7 f4 e6 8 Qe2 Be7 9 0-0-0 Qc7 10 Nf3 Nb6 11 Qe1 Bd7 12 e5 dxe5 13 fxe5 Nfd5 14 Bxe7 Nxe7 15 Bd3 Bc6 16 Qg3 Ng6 17 Bxg6 hxg6 18 Ng5 Nc4 19 b3 Nxe5 20 Rhe1 f6 21 Nxe6 Qa5 22 Nd5 Qxa2 23 Rxe5 Qa1+ 24 Kd2 Qxe5 25 Qxg6+ Kd7 26 Qxg7+ Kxe6 27 Qe7+ Kxd5 28 c4+ Kd4 29 Kc2+ Ke3 30 Re1+ Kf2 31 Rxe5 fxe5 32 Qxe5 Rhe8 33 Qf4+ Kxg2 34 Qg3+ Kh1 35 h4 Rf8 36 Qh3+ Kg1 37 Qg4+ Kf2 38 Qd4+ Kg2 39 Qg4+ Kh2 40 Kc3 a5 41 h5 0-1

3rd June, 2003

IN the summer of 1975, the chess world was stunned by the sudden death from a heart attack of Estonia’s Paul Keres in Helsinki, en route from victory at the Vancouver International in Canada.

Regarded by many as Alekhine’s heir-apparent after his impressive victory (the only undefeated player in a field that was supposed to determine a challenger for the world champion) in the AVRO 1938 tournament, Keres was unquestionably the greatest player never to have played for the world crown, due to an unfortunate mixture of World War II and its aftermath, as his small country was annexed by the USSR.

Although he came within half a point of playing for the title on more than one occasion, over the years, the conspiracy theorists pointed to the heavy-hand of the KGB, who they alleged "influenced" Keres to under perform against the ranks of the great Soviet masters, since Stalin saw chess as a means of establishing communism as the superior intellect over the West.

Whether Keres did do a deal in order to save his career (and perhaps his life) because of political pressures is still open to question to this day. When asked once, while visiting Estonia, why Paul Keres had never won the world crown, his friend, Boris Spassky, replied cryptically, He was unlucky - like his country."

Keres was hailed as a hero in his homeland, and thus received a state funereal in Tallinn on his death. He also became the first (and only) chess player to appear on a bank note when Estonia further immortalized their fallen hero on the back of a 5 Krooni note. He is also the only player to receive two annual memorial events, one at home in Estonia, and the other in Vancouver, scene of his final victory.

The 28th Paul Keres Memorial Open was held May 16th-19th in Vancouver, Canada, at the Plaza 500 Hotel. For the third year running, Seattle-based Russian émigré Georgi Orlov took the title – and in spectacular style. Not only did Orlov win his fifth Keres Memorial title to equal the record of IM John Donaldson, but, for the first time in the tournaments history, he took first place with a perfect score of 7/7 – a full 1.5-points ahead of his nearest rivals, three-time Brazilian champion IM Herman van Riemsdijk and Oregon junior Morgan Griffiths, who both scored 5.5/7.

To Orlov's credit, especially after the outrage of the "GM draws" in the final round on the top boards at this year's US Championships in Seattle, he turned down a draw offer - a result that would have secured him outright first - from IM Yan Teplitsky after only 8 moves, going on to record his seventh straight win of the tournament with today's game.


G Orlov – Y Teplitsky
28th Keres Memorial (7), English Opening

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 g3 b6 4 Bg2 Bb7 5 0-0 Be7 6 Nc3 0-0 7 Re1 d5 8 cxd5 exd5 9 d4 c5 10 dxc5 bxc5 11 Nh4 Qd7 12 Bg5 Rd8 13 e4 Nxe4 14 Nxe4 dxe4 15 Qxd7 Rxd7 16 Bxe7 Rxe7 17 Nf5 Rd7 18 Rad1 g6 19 Nd6 f5 20 Nxb7 Rxb7 21 f3 a5 22 fxe4 Raa7 23 exf5 Rxb2 24 f6 Kf7 25 Rd6 Rd7 26 Bd5+ Kf8 27 Rxd7 Nxd7 28 Re7 Nxf6 29 Rf7+ Ke8 30 Rxf6 Rd2 31 Bc4 Rd4 32 Rf4 Rd2 33 Rf2 Rd4 34 Rc2 Ke7 35 Kf2 Kd6 36 Be2 a4 37 Rc4 Kd5 38 Rxd4+ Kxd4 39 Ke1 Kc3 40 Kd1 a3 41 Kc1 c4 1-0

2nd June, 2003

A lavish programme of cultural events, shows and visits by world leaders has been taking place in Russia's baroque czarist capital of St. Petersburg, as part of a festive gathering last week to celebrate the 300th birthday of the country's second city.

This being Russia, and with St. Petersburg having one of the finest chess traditions outside of Moscow, it was inevitable that chess would play some role in the many festivities. On the actual anniversary day itself, Wednesday 28th May, proceedings got underway in the international press center dedicated for the many ceremonies held in the city with a unique chess match, St. Petersburg vs. NAO Chess Club in Paris.

The event, a "videomatch", with both teams situated in St. Petersburg and Paris, was contested over four boards and played over a 15 minute plus 10 second increment time control, and was televised live on Russian TV to commence the celebrations - and even had former world champions Boris Spassky and Anatoly Karpov doing the TV commentary.

The experienced St. Petersburg team was headed by former FIDE world champion Alexander Khalifman, and also included three-time Russian champion Peter Svidler, two-time world championship challenger Viktor Korchnoi and Konstantin Sakaev; and the NAO team (which was much younger than their opponents) was lead by world champion Vladimir Kramnik, and also included Azerbaijani prodigy Teimour Radjabov, French star Laurent Fressinet and the world's youngest GM Sergey Karjakin.

With three of the four games drawn, you could have written the script as the match was won 2.5-1.5 by St. Petersburg, thanks to a 71 move epic by one of the world's oldest, active players, seventy-two years young Viktor Korchnoi, who defeated Laurent Fressinet in a trademark rook and pawn ending.


V Korchnoi - L Fressinet
St Petersburg 300, Semi-Slav Defence

1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 e3 e6 5 Bd3 Nbd7 6 0-0 Bd6 7 Nbd2 0-0 8 e4 e5 9 cxd5 cxd5 10 exd5 exd4 11 Nc4 Nb6 12 Nxd6 Qxd6 13 Bc2 Bg4 14 Qxd4 Qxd5 15 Qxd5 Nbxd5 16 Bd2 Rfe8 17 Rfe1 h6 18 Nd4 Bd7 19 f3 Nb6 20 b3 Rac8 21 Rxe8+ Rxe8 22 Kf2 Rd8 23 Rd1 Rc8 24 Bd3 Nbd5 25 Nf5 Bc6 26 Ne3 Nxe3 27 Bxe3 a6 28 Bc4 Bb5 29 Bxb5 axb5 30 Rd2 Kf8 31 Bd4 Rc6 32 Bxf6 Rxf6 33 Rd7 Rb6 34 g4 b4 35 h4 g5 36 h5 Kg7 37 f4 gxf4 38 Kf3 Rb5 39 Kxf4 Kf6 40 Rc7 Ke6 41 Rc8 Kf6 42 Re8 Ra5 43 Re4 Rb5 44 Rd4 Ke6 45 Ke4 Kf6 46 Kf4 Ke6 47 Rd8 Kf6 48 Rd6+ Kg7 49 Ke3 Rg5 50 Rd4 Rb5 51 Rf4 Kg8 52 Kd3 Kg7 53 Kc4 Ra5 54 Kxb4 Rxa2 55 Kc5 Ra6 56 Rb4 Rc6+ 57 Kd5 Rc3 58 Rxb7 Rg3 59 b4 Rxg4 60 b5 Kf6 61 b6 Rb4 62 Kc5 Rb1 63 Rd7 Kg5 64 Rd5+ f5 65 Kc6 Kxh5 66 Rb5 Re1 67 b7 Re8 68 b8Q Rxb8 69 Rxb8 Kg4 70 Kd5 h5 71 Kd4 1-0

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