Chess News August 2003
to "The Scotsman" chess column
29th August, 2003
ALTHOUGH the title of world champion did not officially exist in the 1840s, Victorian polymath Howard Staunton - also a Shakespearean scholar of world repute - was regarded by many as the de facto world champion during the period 1841-1853.
Staunton also played a huge part in changing the face of the game from being a gentleman's pastime into a competitive sport. He was the mastermind behind the first international chess tournament held in London in 1851; he founded the first chess magazine, the Chess Player's Chronicle; and he also lent his name to a style of chess set - 'Staunton pattern' - that is now standard throughout the world.
The only flaw in an otherwise distinguished career was his persistent dodging of American genius Paul Morphy, as he maintained his standing and reputation by deftly avoiding the challenges offered by his most dangerous opponent; who would have surely won.
This aside, Staunton has to be best remembered for all the good he did in those early, pioneering days of chess. For this, he became the first (and so far only) British player to be immortalised by English Heritage, who in 1999 unveiled a Blue Plaque in his honour, situated at his former home, 117 Lansdowne Road, London.
The scores at the halfway mark at the Staunton Memorial being held at his favourite London haunt of Simpsons in the Strand are: 1 GM J Speelman 2.5/4; 2 GM D King 2; 3 GM J Emms 1.5; 4 D Howell 0.
D King - D Howell
Staunton Memorial (3), Anti-Marshall
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 0-0 8 a4 Bb7 9 d3 d6 10 Nbd2 Re8 11 Nf1 Bf8 12 Bd2 g6 13 c4 b4 14 a5 Rb8 15 Ba4 Nd7 16 Ne3 Bh6 17 Nd5 Bxd2 18 Qxd2 Nc5 19 Qh6 f6 20 Nh4 Nxa4 21 Nf5 gxf5 22 Re3 Nd4 23 Rg3+ Kf7 24 Rg7+ Ke6 25 Qxf6+ 1-0
28th August, 2003
THE long-standing chess tradition associated with "Simpsons in the Strand" continues even to this day. The casual visitor can't but fail to notice the chess theme that runs throughout the famed London restaurant, which this year celebrates its 175th anniversary.
Many of the rooms are named after chess pieces, and displayed on the walls are numerous historic photographs of famous players of the past - even two display cabinets that hold the original chess sets and boards dated from its opening in 1828, and used by greats of the game, such as Staunton, Morphy, Anderssen, Steinitz, Zukertort (who had a stroke there while playing for a shilling, and died the following day), Tarrasch, Tchigorin, Bird, Janowsky and Lasker.
Simpsons was also a popular venue for the famed masters of yore for games played at odds against the rich and gentry for money - and only a couple of years ago, Garry Kasparov revived the tradition by accepting a similar challenge for charity by the London businessman Terry Chapman.
The second round of the Staunton Memorial at Simpsons produced yet another round of decisive games between the four combatants. GM Jon Speelman holds the early lead, being the only player on 2/2.
J Emms - D King
Staunton Memorial(2), French Tarrasch
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 c5 4 Ngf3 Nf6 5 e5 Ne4 6 Bd3 Nxd2 7 Bxd2 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Nc6 9 Nxc6 bxc6 10 0-0 Rb8 11 b4 Be7 12 Rb1 g6 13 Qe2 0-0 14 g3 c5 15 bxc5 Rxb1 16 Rxb1 Bxc5 17 Bh6 Re8 18 h4 Bf8 19 Qe3 d4 20 Qf4 Bxh6 21 Qxh6 Qd5 22 Rb5 Qc6 23 Qf4 Bb7 24 f3 Qxf3 25 Qxf3 Bxf3 26 Kf2 Bh1 27 g4 Kg7 28 g5 h6 29 Kg3 hxg5 30 hxg5 Rd8 31 Kf4 Rd5 32 a4 Rxb5 33 axb5 Bd5 34 Be4 Kf8 35 Kf3 Ke7 36 Bxd5 exd5 37 Ke2 Ke6 38 Kd2 Kxe5 39 Kd3 f6 40 gxf6 Kxf6 41 Kxd4 Ke6 42 c4 dxc4 43 Kxc4 Kd6 44 Kd4 g5 0-1
27th August, 2003
THE Old Course at St. Andrews is regarded as the spiritual home of golf, just as tennis has Wimbledon, and cricket has Lords. In the chess world, that particular honour goes to the London restaurant "Simpsons in the Strand."
In 1828 Samuel Reiss opened the doors to the Grand Cigar Divan as it was then known, and the coffee house quickly established itself as a favourite haunt for chess players, who would often challenge other similar-styled establishments to chess matches. The change of name (and also into a restaurant) came in 1848 with the appointment of John Simpson as headwaiter.
To celebrate the 175th anniversary, Grandmaster chess returns to the famous home of chess, and all this week the restaurant is staging a four-player double round robin in memory of one of its most famous patrons: Victorian polymath Howard Staunton (1810-1874), the self-proclaimed "Chess Champion of the World, and British Chess Champion of the World" during the years 1843 to 1858.
Organized by the Staunton Society and the Savoy Hotel, the all-English field pits the wits of twelve year old prodigy David Howell against the experienced GM trio of Jon Speelman, Danny King and John Emms.
D Howell - J Emms
Staunton Memorial (1), Sicilian Defence
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 c3 d5 4 e5 d4 5 cxd4 cxd4 6 Bb5+ Bd7 7 Qe2 Nc6 8 0-0 Nge7 9 d3 Ng6 10 Bc4 Bc5 11 a3 Bb6 12 b4 Bc7 13 Bb2 0-0 14 Nbd2 Ncxe5 15 Bxd4 Nf4 16 Qe3 Ng4 17 Qe1 Bc6 18 Ne4 Nxh2 19 Nxh2 Qxd4 20 b5 Bxe4 21 Qxe4 Qxe4 22 dxe4 Be5 23 Rac1 Bb2 24 Rc2 Bxa3 25 g3 Ng6 26 f4 Rac8 27 Ng4 Rfd8 28 f5 Nf8 29 fxe6 fxe6 30 Ne5 Rc5 31 Nf7 Rd7 32 Rf3 Rxf7 33 Rxa3 Rfc7 34 Rac3 Kf7 35 Kf2 Ke7 36 Ke3 Nd7 37 Kd4 Ne5 38 Be2 Rxc3 39 Rxc3 Rxc3 40 Kxc3 Kd6 41 Kd4 Nd7 42 Bf3 e5+ 43 Kc4 b6 0-1
26th August, 2003
UNTIL the 19th Century, women were not welcome in chess clubs in Europe and America. Change eventual came around, but it was painfully slow.
When the first women's international tournament was organized in London in 1897, an editorial in the Times of London cautioned that the ladies competing would "come under great strain lifting the leaded, wooden chess sets."
The real breakthrough for the fairer sex came with the rise of the first Women's World Champion (1927-1944) Vera Menchik-Stevenson, who was able to compete at the top in the men's game with moderate success. Women's World Champion (1962-1978) Nona Gaprindasvili became the first woman to be awarded the men's GM title in 1979, yet Bobby Fischer in full MCP mode in his prime once boasted he could give her knight odds and win. However, it took another fifty years for Judit Polgar to emerge as a real threat to the male hegemony in chess.
Now a thirteen-year-old Ukrainian girl looks set to emulate the achievements of Judit Polgar. WGM Kateryna Lahno, yet another in an increasingly long line of Ukrainian prodigies, scored her first men's GM result, becoming one of the youngest players ever to achieve this.
Miss Lahno scored 9.5/14 at a category 10 Ukrainian tournament held in her home city of Kramatorsk to take first place. With a TPR of 2600, she won the tournament by a clear full point ahead of three experienced GMs and four IMs; and now rises to ninth in the women's world rankings.
K Lahno - O Kulicov
Kramatorsk (2), Nimzowitsch Defence
1 e4 Nc6 2 Nf3 d5 3 exd5 Qxd5 4 Nc3 Qa5 5 d4 Bg4 6 Bb5 0-0-0 7 Bxc6 bxc6 8 h3 Qh5 9 Qe2 Bxf3 10 gxf3 e6 11 Be3 Bb4 12 0-0-0 Bxc3 13 Qa6+ Kd7 14 bxc3 Qxf3 15 Rhg1 Ne7 16 c4 g6 17 d5 exd5 18 cxd5 cxd5 19 Qb5+ Kc8 20 Qa6+ Kd7 21 Qa4+ Kc8 22 Bg5 Rhe8 23 Rge1 f6 24 Qa6+ Kd7 25 Qe6 mate 1-0
25th August, 2003
TODAY marks the centenary of the birth of one of the most recognizable names in chess, yet as a player his biggest win was that of state champion of Wisconsin, USA.
He is none other than Hungarian-born statistician, Professor Arpad E. Elo, the father of the chess rating system that bears his name. Elo spent over 20 years refining, developing, validating, and popularising his unique rating system for measuring and calibrating the performance of players - the higher the rating, the better the player.
Many chess players internationally assume that the letters Elo, as in Elo ratings, are some sort of acronym, like FIDE. The "Elo system" as it became known was used for the first time in 1959 by the U.S. Chess Federation - the system going on to become universally accepted in many countries as the most reliable and accurate rating system for the game; finally being adopted in 1970 by the world chess federation, FIDE, for international use as the official world rankings.
Arpad Elo's achievements in the field of scientifically based chess player rankings have placed the world chess community in his debt. Accurate ratings eliminate the need for subjective assessments in invitations for various chess event, and they make it possible to have fair, rapid and predictable pairings in Swiss System tournaments, which have greatly increased the attractiveness of chess competition for many.
When that first international list was subsequently published in July 1971, it soon provoked the scorn of the Soviet authorities when Bobby Fischer appeared at the top ahead of World Champion Boris Spassky. Nevertheless, Elo and his system were soon vindicated as it predicted with eerie accuracy the final result of the "Match of the Century," as the 1972 Reykjavik clash between the two chess icons became known.
And, until 1980, Professor Elo did all the calculations for FIDE by hand with the aid of his trusty Hewlett-Packard calculator. That first publication for FIDE in 1971 contained just 600 names. Now, with the lowering of rating bands, the now quarterly list with the vast increase in computing power resembles a telephone directory, with over 40,000 names.
J Ehlvest - D Gliksman
U.S. Open (4), Baltic Defence
1 d4 d5 2 c4 Bf5 3 cxd5 Bxb1 4 Qa4+ c6 5 Rxb1 Qxd5 6 Nf3 Nd7 7 a3 Ngf6 8 e3 Qe4 9 Ra1 e5 10 Qb3 exd4 11 Bc4 Nc5 12 Qa2 0-0-0 13 0-0 Nd5 14 exd4 Ne6 15 Re1 Qg6 16 Ne5 Qf6 17 Be3 Nef4 18 Rac1 Kb8 19 Bxf4 Qxf4 20 Bxd5 cxd5 21 Qxd5 Bd6 22 g3 Qd2 23 Nc4 Qh6 24 Na5 Rd7 25 Qb5 Qh3 26 Nxb7 1-0
21st August, 2003
ON display during the U.S. Open in Los Angeles was a faithful reproduction of the Turk, the chess-playing automaton that dazzled and confounded 19th century audiences across Europe and America.
The original was destroyed by fire in 1854, but John Gaughan, who creates apparatus for magicians, constructed an impressive replica of the machine.
The Turk became something of an enigma, regularly outwitting historical figures like Napoleon Bonaparte, Catherine the Great and Benjamin Franklin. Of course, with the aid of mirrors, it was all an elaborate hoax with a master hidden inside making the moves. Nowadays, the machines are quite capable of winning games without any assistance - just ask any grandmaster who has to face them these days!
Beating three GMs (one of which being former woman's world champion Maya Chiburdanidze), Brutus sensationally won the Lippstadt GM tournament in Germany. Its unbeaten score of 9/11 gave the machine a full two-point lead over its nearest carbon-based rival - and with a performance rating of 2765, easily achieved a GM norm.
Brutus operates on a "Field Programmable Gate Arrays" (FPGA) add-in PCI card developed by ChessBase and Dr. Christian Donnegar, and is the first serious chess-playing FPGA architecture since Deep Blue was disassembled after its victory over Garry Kasparov in 1997. The specialist hardware it operates on was provided by Alpha Data Systems Ltd. of Edinburgh and the University of Paderborn.
Brutus - M Chiburdanidze
Lippstadt (6), Caro-Kann Advanced
1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 Bf5 4 Nc3 Qb6 5 Nf3 e6 6 Be2 Nd7 7 0-0 Qd8 8 a4 Bb4 9 Bg5 Ne7 10 Nh4 h6 11 Nxf5 exf5 12 Be3 Nf8 13 Nb1 Ne6 14 c3 Ba5 15 Bd3 Bc7 16 Qf3 g6 17 Nd2 h5 18 b4 Kf8 19 Nb3 b6 20 Rfe1 Kg7 21 b5 Qd7 22 Rac1 Rhd8 23 Qg3 a6 24 bxa6 Rdb8 25 Ra1 Bd8 26 Bd2 Qe8 27 Reb1 Nc7 28 e6 Nxe6 29 Nc5 Nc7 30 Nb7 Rxa6 31 Bxa6 Nxa6 32 Nxd8 Qxd8 33 Qg5 1-0
20th August, 2003
THE world's oldest national championship, the U.S. Open, has just concluded its 104th edition, which ran August 3-15 at the Radisson Hotel in Los Angeles.
Only in America do players get to choose from such a bewildering variety of alternate or compressed schedules over the twelve rounds, all neatly merging into one massive open with a field of 458 come the last five.
Going into the decisive final round, GMs Gregory Kaidanov, U.S. Champion Alexander Shabalov and Artashes Minasian were all tied at the top with unbeaten scores of 9/11. With Kaidanov being granted a special dispensation of a last round half point bye to represent his country in the Continental Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the stage was set for a showdown for first between Shabalov and Minasian.
Shabalov has been on an unbelievable rollercoaster ride since clinching the U.S. Championship title at the start of the year in Seattle, and his superb winning form continued through the U.S. Open as he beat Minasian to add to his extraordinary haul so far for the year. Shabalov's winning score of 10-2 giving him yet another title and first prize of $5,000. GMs Leonid Yudasin, Sarunas Sulkis, Aleks Wojtkiewicz, Gregory Kaidanov and IM Ricardo De Guzman tied for 2-6 with a score of 9.5-2.5.
If there was such a thing as a 'Grand Slam of U.S. Chess,' then the title would have gone easily to the affable ex-Latvian, who this year has won everything in sight to become the top money-earner on the U.S. circuit: the U.S. Championship, U.S. Closed, U.S Open, National Open, World Open and Chicago Open.
With the U.S. Open being one of the selected major tournaments on the U.S. circuit chosen by the America's Foundation for Chess to act as a qualifier to the 2004 U.S. Championships, two spots were up for grabs. And in a fiercely fought contest, they went to former champion GM Larry Christiansen (9-3), and WGM Rusa Goletiani (8.5-3.5).
A Minasian - A Shabalov
U.S. Open (12), Sicilian Rossolimo
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 e6 4 b3 Nge7 5 Bb2 a6 6 Bxc6 Nxc6 7 0-0 b6 8 c4 Bb7 9 Qe2 Qc7 10 d4 cxd4 11 Nxd4 Bc5 12 Nxc6 Qxc6 13 Nd2 0-0 14 Qg4 f6 15 a3 a5 16 Rfe1 Rf7 17 Nf3 b5 18 Rad1 bxc4 19 bxc4 Ba6 20 Qg3 Rc8 21 e5 f5 22 Ng5 Rff8 23 Rd6 Qb7 24 Bd4 h6 25 Bxc5 Rxc5 26 Nh3 Bxc4 27 Nf4 Rxe5 28 Red1 Rf7 29 h3 Qb3 30 Qg6 Qb8 31 R6d2 Rb5 32 Nh5 Rd5 33 Rxd5 Bxd5 34 Rc1 Bc6 35 f4 Qb2 36 Re1 Qxa3 37 Rb1 Qd6 38 Qg3 Qc5+ 39 Kh2 Kh7 40 Rb8 a4 41 Qe1 Qc2 42 Qg3 Qe2 0-1
19th August, 2003
THE male ego remains intact for now (though slightly shaken), as world No.3 Vishy Anand won the "Battle of the Sexes" encounter at the Mainz Chess Classic by beating world No.11 Judit Polgar in one of the more memorable chess duels of recent years.
Despite the comfort of the 5-3 winning margin to secure a hat-trick of victories at the annual event, the result doesn't reflect how near Anand came to defeat at the hands of the world's top female player, who came so close to achieving one of the biggest cross-gender upsets of all-time.
After being on the defensive throughout, Anand was forever playing catch-up with Polgar, who won the first game of the first three days of the eight-game match. But alas it wasn't to be an epoch-making event. The turning point in the match came on the final day, as Anand won both games in convincing style to take the match, and with it his third successive title after beating Vladimir Kramnik in 2001, and Ruslan Ponomariov in last year's edition.
With no draws and eight scintillating wins, the match turned into a true classic in every sense of the word - and a match-up that organiser Hans-Walter Schmitt readily agreed to be the most exciting Chess Classic events he had staged.
The scene is now set for a return match later in the year, as both players go head-to-head again in November's EuroTel Trophy match in Prague - a match that chess fans will wish to see more of the same quality of fighting chess on display.
J Polgar - V Anand
Mainz Classic (8), Ruy Lopez
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 0-0 8 h3 Bb7 9 d3 d6 10 a3 Na5 11 Ba2 c5 12 Nbd2 Bc8 13 Nf1 Be6 14 Bb1 Nd7 15 Ne3 Nb6 16 Nf5 Bf6 17 Be3 Na4 18 g4 g6 19 Nh6+ Kh8 20 Qc1 Bg7 21 Ba2 Rc8 22 Bg5 Qd7 23 Bd5 Nc6 24 c3 Nb6 25 Bxc6 Qxc6 26 Kh2 f6 27 Be3 d5 28 b4 Na4 29 Bd2 c4 30 dxc4 dxe4 31 cxb5 axb5 32 Nh4 Nb6 33 a4 bxa4 34 b5 Qxb5 35 Rb1 Qc6 36 Rg1 Nc4 37 N6f5 Nxd2 38 Nxg7 Kxg7 39 Qxd2 Rfd8 40 Qe2 Bb3 41 Rg3 Qc4 42 Qe3 Rd3 43 Qb6 Rxg3 44 Kxg3 Qxc3+ 45 Kh2 Qc5 46 Qb7+ Rc7 47 Qxe4 Bc2 0-1
18th August, 2003
THIRTY YEARS ago, the world was all aflutter as Billie Jean King took on Bobby Riggs in a tennis match that started the whole controversy over the so-called "Battle of the Sexes."
King's highly publicised remarks in 1973 that the contest raised important gender-related issues was an attempt to provide a fig leaf of societal respectability to what was an in-your-face commercial venture against an aging opponent with substantial spin-offs for both participants.
The argument was reopened recently with the opposition to top woman golfer Annika Sorentam's playing in the lion's den (or perhaps that should be Tiger's?) of the PGA tour. Many commentators ventured to suggest that even in sports where speed, strength and endurance do not play a definitive part, woman just do not have a prayer.
Even at the top ranks of woman's snooker and shooting where they have exceptional talents such as Allison Fisher and Anjali Ved Pathak, they argued, the ladies wouldn't be able to compete with their male counterparts.
Of course, the one exception they all missed out on was Hungary's Judit Polgar, someone who on a regular basis consistently dents more than a few male egos, and particularly at the top echelons. World ranked No.11, Polgar - who at 15 once broke a thirty-year plus age record set by Bobby Fischer of being the world's youngest grandmaster - has on occasion been in the elite top-ten club alongside superstars such as Garry Kasparov, of whom Polgar is the only female player to beat the world no.1 in competitive play.
At the Mainz Chess Classic in Germany, she's playing some of the best chess of her career in an eight-game match against world no.3 Vishy Anand, where she's more than competing on equal terms. With the exciting match evenly poised at three wins apiece going into the final day, both players have literally gone for the jugular - Polgar always winning the first game of the day.
J Polgar - V Anand
Mainz Classic (5), Sicilian Scheveningen
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 N8d7 11 Bd3 Bb7 12 Kb1 Rc8 13 Bg5 Qc7 14 Rhe1 Ne5 15 f4 Nec4 16 Qc1 h6 17 Nd5 Qc5 18 Nb3 Qf2 19 Rf1 Qg2 20 Nxb6 Nxb6 21 Qe3 Nc4 22 Qa7 Bxe4 23 Qxa6 Rb8 24 Rg1 hxg5 25 Rxg2 Bxg2 26 Bxc4 bxc4 27 Qa4+ 1-0
15th August, 2003
THE ever-efficient organizers of the Mainz Chess Classic in Germany have yet again come up with an intriguing contest for their annual extravaganza, as Indian ace Vishy Anand and top female player Judit Polgar from Hungary do battle in a match billed as "The Battle of the Sexes".
Both players will go head-to-head in an eight-game rapidplay match played at the Rhinederhalle overlooking the banks of the Rhine, as defending champion Anand looks to retain his title for a third year. In 2001, Anand beat world champion Vladimir Kramnik in a close contest, while last year he beat FIDE champion Ruslan Ponomariov.
This year, Anand, who has won many titles at Mainz, got to hand-pick his opponent - and chose a very dangerous and potentially difficult one in the world's top-ranking female player of all-time. Both players have a similar attacking-style, which should make for an exciting encounter.
Anand's quest for a hat-trick of wins suffered a setback as early as the first game. In a tactical melee, la Polgar got off to the perfect start with a convincing win. However, Anand struck back immediately in game two, and at the end of the first day the honours are even at 1-1.
V Anand - J Polgar
Mainz Chess Classic (2), Petroff's Defence
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nf3 Nxe4 5 d4 d5 6 Bd3 Nc6 7 0-0 Be7 8 Re1 Bf5 9 c4 Nb4 10 Bf1 0-0 11 a3 Nc6 12 cxd5 Qxd5 13 Nc3 Nxc3 14 bxc3 Bf6 15 Bf4 Qd7 16 Ra2 Rad8 17 Rb2 Qc8 18 h3 b6 19 Rbe2 h6 20 Re3 Na5 21 Be5 Bxe5 22 Nxe5 c5 23 d5 c4 24 Qd4 Be6 25 Ng6 Nc6 26 Qh4 Bxd5 27 Nxf8 Rxf8 28 Bxc4 Qf5 29 Re8 Bxc4 30 Qxc4 Qf6 31 Qd3 g6 32 c4 Rxe8 33 Rxe8+ Kg7 34 Qd5 h5 35 c5 bxc5 36 Qxc5 Kh6 37 h4 Nd4 38 Qe7 Qg7 39 Qf8 Ne6 40 Qxg7+ Kxg7 41 Ra8 1-0
14th August, 2003
GARRY Kasparov is the sort of person with a personality you would expect to have a giant chip on his shoulder - and invariably those "chips" usually have something to do with his legendary ongoing battles with computers.
After his high-profile loss in 1997 to IBM's Deep Blue, Kasparov has waged a one-man war to halt the march of the machines in chess. Earlier in the year, Kasparov drew 3-3 with Deep Junior in a $1m X3D match held in New York that was televised live on ESPN.
X3D Technologies have now announced a new $1m challenge: the ultimate "Man vs Machine" showdown, as Kasparov goes head to hard drive with X3D Fritz - except this time its in total virtual reality, with the chessboard floating in the air between man and computer.
The four-game classical match - officially sanctioned by the International Computer Games Association and the United States Chess Federation as the First Official World Chess Championship in total virtual reality - will take place 11-18 November in the New York Athletic Club in New York City.
This year the field at the traditional German GM tournament in Lippstadt (which runs 7-17 August) was joined by one of Fritz's stable mates from the Hamburg chess software specialists ChessBase, with the inclusion of the FPGA program Brutus, developed by Dr Christian Donninger of Austria; and the hardware supplied by Scottish firm Alpha Data Systems of Edinburgh.
After three rounds, the machine stormed to 3/3 - the first a spectacular piece sacrifice against Ukrainian GM Oleg Romanishin - as it mowed down the carbon-based opposition, who discovered the true meaning of the famous Roman quote "Et tu, Brutus?"
O Romanishin - Brutus
Lippstadt (1), Catalan Opening
1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 e6 5 g3 Nbd7 6 Qd3 Be7 7 Bg2 0-0 8 0-0 b6 9 Rd1 Ba6 10 b3 Rc8 11 e4 c5 12 exd5 exd5 13 Bb2 Re8 14 Rac1 dxc4 15 bxc4 cxd4 16 Nb5 Bxb5 17 cxb5 Rxc1 18 Rxc1 Bc5 19 Nxd4 Ne5 20 Qd1 Qd6 21 Nb3 Bxf2+ 22 Kxf2 Nfg4+ 23 Kg1 Qh6 24 Rc3 Qxh2+ 25 Kf1 h5 26 Qd4 h4 27 gxh4 Qxh4 28 Rh3 Nh2+ 29 Kg1 Nhf3+ 30 Bxf3 Qxh3 31 Nd2 Qxf3 0-1
13th August, 2003
TWO international all-play-all tournaments were the main attraction of the recent Lancashire Chess Festival, which took place 4-9 August in the luxurious (and not to mention air-conditioned!) surroundings of Blackpool's Hilton Hotel.
The ten-player category 8 Hilton Premier was headed by newly-crowned British champion Abhijit Kunte, and featured fellow GMs Nigel Davies and Colin McNab, with the subsidiary event being the Ron Banwell Masters with three IMs.
First place in the Premier ended in a three-way tie between Kunte and Nigel Davies of England, who alongside Scottish IM John Shaw scored 6/9. Despite the tremendous performance, the result wasn't sufficient for John Shaw to gain his second GM norm as he vies to become Scotland's fourth grandmaster.
India's IM Kidambi Sundarajan won the Masters with 7/9. A final round loss to Gary Kenworthy cost Scotland's Steve Mannion his chance of joint first, but his final score of 6/9 was still good enough for a three-way share of 2nd prize.
Final standings: 1-3 GM N Davies (England), GM A Kunte (India), IM J Shaw (Scotland) 6/9; 4-6 FM S Haslinger (England), FM S Collins (Ireland), IM A Hunt (England) 5; 7-8 IM R Palliser (England), IM D Gormally (England) 3.5; 9 GM C McNab (Scotland) 3; 10 FM C Hanley (England) 1.5.
J Shaw - C Hanley
Hilton Premier (8), Sicilian Alapin
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 c3 d5 4 exd5 Qxd5 5 d4 Nf6 6 Na3 a6 7 Nc4 Nbd7 8 Be2 b5 9 Ne3 Qd6 10 a4 b4 11 0-0 Bb7 12 Nc4 Qc7 13 Nfe5 cxd4 14 cxd4 Nd5 15 Bg5 Nxe5 16 dxe5 h6 17 Bh4 Nf4 18 Rc1 Bxg2 19 Bf3 Bxf3 20 Qxf3 Nd5 21 Rfd1 Bc5 22 Ne3 0-0 23 Nxd5 exd5 24 Qxd5 Rac8 25 Rc2 Rfe8 26 Bg3 Rcd8 27 Qf3 Rxd1+ 28 Qxd1 Qb6 29 Qd5 Bf8 30 Rc6 Rd8 31 Rxb6 Rxd5 32 Rxa6 Bc5 33 Rc6 Bd4 34 Rd6 Rxd6 35 exd6 b3 36 d7 Bb6 37 Bd6 Bd8 38 Bb4 1-0
12th August, 2003
INTERNATIONAL diplomacy, often described at the best of times as a chess match, looks set to literally become one next month following a double presidential endorsement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma will make the ceremonial first moves in a $1m world title match between Russian world number one Garry Kasparov and Ukrainian world champion Ruslan Ponomariov.
To be contested over just 12 games, the match will start September 12 in Yalta - the famed Southern Crimean location of the 1945 conference between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin that carved up the post-war world while Germany was on the brink of defeat - as part of the ceremonial highlights during a summit of leaders of the former Soviet republics.
The match, organised by FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who also doubles as head of state for the Autonomous Russian Republic of Kalmykia, is part of a planned series to final unify the two opposing world titles. Whoever wins in Yalta will play the winner of the much postponed (and troubled) contest between Vladimir Kramnik (Russia) and Peter Leko (Hungary) in a match for the undisputed world title.
The Kasparov-Ponomariov match was originally scheduled to be held in Argentina earlier this year, but it was moved after the country's government asked FIDE to postpone it until after their recent presidential elections. However, it is now strongly rumoured from within FIDE that Argentina could instead be set to stage the Kramnik-Leko match.
P Leko - V Anand
Dortmund (6), Sicilian Najdorf
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 f3 e5 7 Nb3 Be6 8 Be3 Nbd7 9 g4 Nb6 10 g5 Nh5 11 Qd2 Be7 12 0-0-0 Rc8 13 Rg1 0-0 14 Kb1 g6 15 Qf2 Nc4 16 Bxc4 Bxc4 17 Na4 Be6 18 Nb6 Rc7 19 Qd2 Rc6 20 Nd5 Bxd5 21 exd5 Rc8 22 Qd3 Qd7 23 c4 f6 24 gxf6 Rxf6 25 Nd2 Rf7 26 Rc1 Qf5 27 Rc3 b5 28 b3 Qh3 29 Rgc1 bxc4 30 Rxc4 Ra8 31 Ra4 Bf8 32 a3 Nf6 33 Bg5 Qxh2 34 Rh4 Qg2 35 Bxf6 Rxf6 36 Rg4 Qh3 37 Rcg1 Ra7 38 R1g3 Qh6 39 Ne4 Rf4 40 Rxf4 Qh1+ 41 Ka2 exf4 42 Rg4 Bg7 43 b4 a5 44 Kb3 axb4 45 Kxb4 Qe1+ 46 Kb3 Qc1 0-1
11th August, 2003
THE runaway train proved unstoppable in Dortmund, as Moldovan underdog Viktor Bologan recorded the biggest chess upset in recent years by winning the top event of the Sparkassen Chess Meeting.
Defying pre-tournament odds of 40/1 to win, Bologan - who only qualified for the tournament as winner of the super-strong Aeroflot Open held in Moscow at the beginning of the year - got off to a sensational start with a winning streak that blasted the Moldovan into an early lead, from where there was no looking back.
Losing only one game en route to the biggest result of his career, Bologan's final score of 6.5/10 gave him the luxury of a full one-point margin of victory over the pre-tournament favourites: world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, and India's Vishy Anand.
Commenting on his performance, Bologan said, "finishing ahead of Kramnik, Vishy [Anand] and Leko, the number 2, 3 and 4 in the world is a high feeling. I had a good start and I capitalised on it. While my main rivals were not in best of their form, Vishy came back in the second half, but my lead was sufficient."
For Kramnik, his mediocre performance yet again showed a distinct lack of fighting spirit and raises questions regarding his standing as world champion. For Anand, the result could have been a disaster in the making after he lost two early games. However, the Indian ace fought back to produced a miraculous comeback with a hat-trick of wins midway through the tournament - the most memorable being a spectacular sacrificial encounter with the eventual tournament winner.
Final standings: 1 V Bologan (Moldova) 6.5/10; 2-3 V Kramnik (Russia), V Anand (India) 5.5; 4 T Radjabov (Azerbaijan) 5; 5 P Leko (Hungary) 4; 6 A Naiditsch (Germany) 3.5.
V Anand - V Bologan
Dortmund (7), Caro-Kann Defence
1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7 5 Ng5 Ngf6 6 Bd3 e6 7 N1f3 Bd6 8 Qe2 h6 9 Ne4 Nxe4 10 Qxe4 Qc7 11 0-0 b6 12 Qg4 g5 13 Qh3 Rg8 14 Re1 Bf8 15 Qf5 Bg7 16 h4 Kf8 17 Qh3 Rh8 18 hxg5 hxg5 19 Qg4 c5 20 Bxg5 cxd4 21 Rad1 Bb7 22 Rxe6 fxe6 23 Be7+ Kxe7 24 Qxg7+ Kd6 25 Nxd4 Qc5 26 Bf5 Qe5 27 Nf3+ Qd5 28 Qg3+ Ke7 29 Rxd5 Bxd5 30 Qg5+ Kd6 31 Qf4+ Ke7 32 Be4 Rh5 33 Nh4 Rg8 34 Ng6+ Kd8 35 Qf7 Re8 36 Bd3 1-0
8th August, 2003
WHEN he slumps, usually it is in spectacular style. However, when he's on song, the wins often come big - and can be just as spectacular! He is of course Russia's Alexander Morozevich, one of the most original and creative players of his generation.
After a year-long break from top-flight tournament praxis, Morozevich stormed back to his scintillating best in Switzerland with a big win at the category 16 premier event of the Biel International Chess Festival, held 21-31 July.
The popular Muscovite mowed down the all-GM opposition to win the six-player double-round-robin event with an unbeaten score of 8/10 - a point and a half clear of his nearest rivals. Gaining 23 Elo points to once again go over the 2700 barrier, Morozevich claimed after his victory that he had "...never before achieved such a high performance!"
At times Morozevich's uncompromising brand of swashbuckling chess can often be mistaken for a bygone master from the romantic age of the game at the end of the 19th Century. This was evident from the very first round in Biel against Swiss GM Yannick Pelletier, when Morozevich sacrificed with reckless abandon to walk a very fine line between sheer brilliance and the possible ignominy of defeat.
Final standings: 1 A Morozevich (Russia) 8/10; 2-3 E Bacrot (France), I Smirin (Israel) 6.5; 4 Y Pelletier (Switzerland) 4; 5 C Lutz (Germany) 3; 6 V Korchnoi (Switzerland) 2.
A Morozevich - Y Pelletier
Biel Festival (1), French Winawer
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 Ne7 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 c5 7 h4 Qa5 8 Bd2 Nbc6 9 h5 h6 10 Rh4 Bd7 11 Rg4 Qc7 12 Nf3 g5 13 hxg6 fxg6 14 Rb1 g5 15 dxc5 0-0-0 16 Bd3 Rhg8 17 Qe2 Rdf8 18 c4 Ng6 19 cxd5 exd5 20 Ba6 bxa6 21 Qxa6+ Kd8 22 Rb7 Qc8 23 e6 Bxe6 24 Nd4 Bd7 25 Ba5+ Ke8 26 Qe2+ Nge7 27 Rc7 Qb8 28 Nxc6 Qb1+ 29 Kd2 Rg7 30 Rb4 1-0
7th August, 2003
DEYING pre-tournament odds of 40/1 by chess betting specialists Betsson's to win the Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, outsider Victor Bologan looks set to confound the form book for one of the biggest chess upsets in recent years.
At the halfway stage, Bologan, unbeaten with wins over Naiditsch, Anand and Leko is dramatically showing that there is life outside the top ten in chess with a performance of Herculean proportions - and one which gave the likable Moldavian an unlikely one-point lead over world champion and pre-tournament favourite, Vladimir Kramnik.
The lead was further increased to 1.5-points after round six, as Bologan continued his remarkable tour de force with a second victory over Naiditsch. His odds on winning have now been dramatically slashed to 4/6; however to be sure of victory, he still has to overcome the hurdle of playing black against Kramnik and Anand.
Amazingly, Bologan, world ranked number 42, is the only player in the field who wasn't invited to the tournament, but instead had to qualify by winning one of the world's toughest and strongest opens - the Aeroflot Open - earlier in the year in Moscow.
Standings: 1 V Bologan (Moldova) 5/6; 2 V Kramnik (Russia) 3.5; 3 V Anand (India) 3; 4 T Radjabov (Azerbaijan) 2.5; 5-6 P Leko (Hungary), A Naiditsch (Germany) 2.
V Bologan - A Naiditsch
Dortmund (6), Marshall Attack
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 0-0 8 c3 d5 9 exd5 Nxd5 10 Nxe5 Nxe5 11 Rxe5 c6 12 d4 Bd6 13 Re1 Qh4 14 g3 Qh3 15 Qf3 Be6 16 Qg2 Qh5 17 Bd1 Qg6 18 Nd2 Rae8 19 Ne4 Bf5 20 f3 c5 21 Bd2 cxd4 22 cxd4 Bb8 23 Bb3 Rd8 24 Nc5 h5 25 Rac1 h4 26 gxh4 Qh5 27 Ne4 Bxe4 28 Rxe4 Nf6 29 Re7 Rxd4 30 Bg5 Nd5 31 Qf2 Rd3 32 Qe2 Rxb3 33 Re8 Ba7+ 34 Kh1 Rxf3 35 Rxf8+ Kh7 36 Qe4+ 1-0
6th August, 2003
THE Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund is widely regarded as Germany's strongest tournament. And, although this is the 31st edition of the tournament, the first official event was held back in 1928.
Of all the Super-GMs who have played in the past, none has a better affinity with the tournament than Russian classical world champion Vladimir Kramnik, who has a remarkable record of winning six titles from seven appearances.
While all six players making up the field in the category 18 double round-robin are more than capable of winning any tournament, only the top three - Kramnik, Anand, and Leko - were seriously expected by the tipsters and number-crunchers to be vying for the title.
However, for one of the three, Vishy Anand, Dortmund has proved to be something of a hoodoo for the Indian ace, who historically has struggled at the event. During his last outing here in 2001, Anand had a disastrous result after losing four games - virtually an unheard of performance from one of the world's top three players.
And the nightmare continues this year for Anand, as the world number three lost back-to-back games in rounds two and three to Azerbaijani teenager Teimour Radjabov and Moldova's Victor Bologan, who surprisingly now has the sole lead in the tournament.
V Anand - T Radjabov
Dortmund (2), Sicilian Defence
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5 5 Nb5 d6 6 c4 Be7 7 b3 f5 8 exf5 Bxf5 9 Bd3 e4 10 Be2 a6 11 N5c3 Bf6 12 0-0 Nge7 13 a3 0-0 14 Ra2 Qa5 15 b4 Qe5 16 Re1 b5 17 cxb5 axb5 18 Bxb5 Nd4 19 Bf1 d5 20 Rd2 Be6 21 f4 Qxf4 22 Rf2 Qxf2+ 23 Kxf2 Nb5 24 Kg1 Nxc3 25 Nxc3 Bxc3 26 Bb5 Bxe1 27 Qxe1 Nf5 28 Bb2 Rac8 29 Ba4 Rf7 30 h3 h5 31 b5 h4 32 Be5 d4 33 b6 e3 34 Kh2 d3 35 Qb4 e2 36 Bc3 Rxc3 37 Qxc3 Ng3 38 b7 Rxb7 39 Qa5 Rb8 0-1
5th August, 2003
THE chess world has three classical tournaments of long-standing that to some are the equal to the Grand Slam's normally associated with top sporting events such as tennis and golf.
The first two legs at Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands and at Linares in Spain are complete - and the third, the "Sparkassen Chess Meeting," is now underway at the Dortmund Theatre in Germany.
Last year's event was a one-off Candidates-styled affair to find a challenger for world champion Vladimir Kramnik, and was won by Peter Leko. This year, the top event features an "interesting mix" of three established stars and three raising stars playing in a double-round all-play-all.
Kramnik, Vishy Anand and Leko - respectively world numbers two, three and four - head the field in Dortmund as the established trio. Making up the field, and in doing so looking to make a name for themselves, are wannabes Viktor Bologon of Moldova, who takes his spot as winner of this year's Aeroflot Open in Moscow; Germany's youngest grandmaster Arkadi Naiditsch, 17, from Dortmund; and the teenage prodigy Teimour Radjabov, 16, from Azerbaijan.
With Anand winning at Wijk aan Zee and Leko at Linares, all eyes will be on the performance of Kramnik, who badly needs a big win under his belt to re-establish his credentials as world champion. In the opening round, Kramnik got off to the best possible start with a spectacular win over Radjabov.
V Kramnik - T Radjabov
Dortmund (1), 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 Bd3 Ne7 12 Nxe7 Qxe7 13 c4 f5 14 0-0 0-0 15 Qf3 d5 16 cxd5 f4 17 Rfc1 Kh8 18 Nc2 Bd7 19 Ne1 Rg8 20 Be2 Bf8 21 Nd3 Re8 22 Rc7 Qd8 23 Rac1 Rg6 24 Qh5 Bd6 25 Ra7 Qe7 26 h3 f5 27 exf5 Rf6 28 Nc5 Rc8 29 Rxd7 Rxc5 30 Rxe7 Rxc1+ 31 Kh2 1-0
4th August, 2003
FOR the second successive year an Indian has taken the Smith & Williamson British Championship, after Abhijit Kunte successfully held off a last round challenge from 2001 champion Joe Gallagher to take the title.
With a final score of 8.5/11, Kunte, 26, took the top prize of £10,000 to become only the third - and last - Indian to win the crown. The top junior prize of British under-21 title went to Kunte's compatriot Pentala Harikrishna, who was half a point behind on 8.
Due to the Commonwealth entry rule, recent championships have included many subsidized Indians, leading to widespread criticism and an all but virtual boycott of this year's event by England's top players. Finally succumbing to the pressures, the British Chess Federation announced during the event that from 2004, entrants must have a British citizenship or a residential qualification.
Scotland's top two of Jonathan Rowson and Paul Motwani - who finished on 7.5 and 8 respectively - can only reflect on what could have been on home turf, after squandering golden opportunities that could well have ended the 57-year hoodoo of a Scot winning the title.
Unlike last year's championship that was dubbed "the Indian takeaway," this year the Indians were denied a clean sweep of top titles. Edinburgh-based Georgian internationalist Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant took the women's title on 7.5 points, following a close race with India's Subbaraman Vijayalaskshmi.
Although just missing out on her second full GM norm, the result concludes a fantastic double for Arakhamia-Grant, who recently tied with Motwani for this year's Scottish title.
K Arakhamia - S Reefat
British Ch. (10), French Defence
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 dxe4 5 Nxe4 Be7 6 Bxf6 Bxf6 7 Nf3 Nd7 8 Bd3 0-0 9 Qd2 b6 10 0-0-0 Bb7 11 Qf4 Be7 12 h4 Nf6 13 Neg5 Qd6 14 Ne5 a5 15 Rh3 Ba6 16 Bxh7+ Nxh7 17 Ngxf7 Qxe5 (17 ..Qd5 18 Rg3 Nf6 19 Rxg7+!) 18 Nh6+ gxh6 19 Qxe5 Bd6 20 Rg3+ 1-0
back to "The Scotsman" chess column