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The Scotsman

Chess News December 2002

to "The Scotsman" chess column

31st December, 2002

THE 78th Hastings Congress, the world's most historic chess event that traditionally sees out the old year and rings in the new, has got underway at the Horntye Park Sports Complex on the Sussex coast, running from 28th December through to 5th January, 2003.

This year's event has over 500 players from around 30 countries, ranging from grandmasters to the casual club players competing in the many events taking place during the tournament. As usual, the highlight of Hastings is the top-ranking Premier tournament, a ten-player all-play-all that takes on an unusual theme of "youth versus experience".

Heading the line-up is Indian top seed Krishnan Sasikiran, with the rest the field, in rating order, including Peter Hein Nielson (Denmark), Pentyala Harikrishna (India), Luke McShane (England), Vitaly Tseshkovsky (Russia), Glenn Flear (England), Sergey Karjakin (Ukraine), Alexei Barsov (Uzbekistan), Keith Arkell (England), Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia).

In a major coup for the organizers, they managed to secure the sensation of the old year 2002 in having Ukrainian whiz kid Sergey Karjakin among the line-up; who at 12 now becomes the youngest player to have ever competed in the world's oldest tournament. Karjakin hit the headlines in late January of this year with his first GM norm just days after his twelfth birthday at the Aeroflot Open in Moscow. This was quickly followed up by two further GM norms to give Karjakin not only the title, but also saw him in the process smashing the record to become the world's youngest-ever grandmaster.

Unfortunately Karjakin didn't get off to a good start on his debut at Hastings, and he lost his opening round game in sensational style after being crushed in just 20 moves by Denmark's Peter Hein Nielson. And, with the other four games being drawn, the result gave the Dane an early half point lead in the tournament at the end of the opening round.


P Nielsen - S Karjakin
Hastings Premier (1), Queen's Gambit Accepted

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 e4 c5 4 d5 Nf6 5 Nc3 b5 6 Bf4 Ba6 7 Nf3 b4 8 Bxb8 bxc3 9 Qa4+ Qd7 10 Qxa6 cxb2 11 Rb1 Rxb8 12 Bxc4 Rb6 13 Qa3 Nxe4 14 Rxb2 Qb7 15 Rxb6 Qxb6 16 0-0 f6 17 Qa4+ Kd8 18 d6 e5 19 Be6 Qb7 20 Qa5+ 1-0

30th December, 2002

THE biggest laugh in the recent Kasparov-Karpov X3D match in New York came during the post-event press conference. When asked how he had prepared for the match, Karpov earnestly began, "I spent a few days in Kansas..." and was interrupted by laughter and amused applause from the crowd.

Momentarily the unexpected roll of laughter baffled Karpov, who had indeed set-up his training camp in the land more famous for the Wizard of Oz (with recent Ukrainian émigré Alexander Onischuk), until it suddenly dawned on him that they weren't laughing AT him. Of course he had no idea that to a crowd of New Yorkers, just having a Russian former world champion say he was in Kansas was hysterical.

Yet it was Kansas who had the last laugh over the Big Apple. They managed to do something that New York couldn’t, by staging one of only four US events of the year (the others being the US Championships in Seattle, the World Open in Philadelphia, and the Imre Koneig Memorial in San Francisco) to feature a rare opportunity for American players to compete on home soil for GM and IM norms.

The tiny Kansas town of Lindsborg (with a population of just 3200) organized a week-long chess festival running 17-23 December, that was opened by ‘guest of honour’ Karpov. The highlight of the festival, made possible only by widespread community support that managed to raise $15,000 to cover the running costs of the extravaganza, was the 2nd Lindsborg Rotary Open.

Amongst a cosmopolitan field of 27 doing battle for the $3,500 prize fund on offer, Onischuk tied for first with IM John Donaldson on a final score of 6.5/9; with Donaldson making his first GM norm, and Anna Zatonskih from the Ukraine making her second full IM norm, narrowly missing a GM norm by a half point.


Final Standings 1-2 GM A Onischuk (USA), IM J Donaldson (USA) 6.5/9; 3-6 GM Y Shulman (Belarus), WGM A Zatonskih (Ukraine), GM I Novikov (USA), IM M Vucic (USA) 6; 7-8 FM S Muhammad (USA), IM R Burnett (USA) 5.5; 9-10 IM W Paschall (USA), IM J Kraai (USA) 5.


A Onischuk – I Novikov
2nd Lindsborg Rotary Open, Marshall Gambit

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c6 4 e4 dxe4 5 Nxe4 Bb4+ 6 Bd2 Qxd4 7 Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8 Be2 Na6 9 Bc3 Ne7 10 Bxg7 Rg8 11 Bf6 Qf4 12 Bc3 Rxg2 13 Nf3 Nf5 14 Be5 Qh6 15 Qd2 Qxd2+ 16 Nxd2 Rg6 17 Ne4 Ke7 18 h4 c5 19 h5 Rh6 20 Bf4 Bd7 21 f3 Bc6 22 Kf2 e5 23 Bxh6 Nxh6 24 Rhg1 Bxe4 25 fxe4 Nc7 26 Rad1 Ne6 27 Bf1 Nd4 28 Bh3 Ng8 29 Rg5 Kd6 30 Rg7 Ke7 31 h6 Nxh6 32 Rxh7 Ng8 33 Rh8 Rf8 34 Ke3 Nc2+ 35 Kd3 Nd4 36 Rg1 Nf6 37 Rxf8 Kxf8 38 Rg5 Nc6 39 a3 Nh7 40 Rh5 Nf6 41 Rh8+ Ke7 42 Bc8 Nd8 43 b4 cxb4 44 axb4 b6 45 Bf5 Ne8 46 c5 Nc7 47 Rh6 bxc5 48 bxc5 Nb7 49 Kc4 Na5+ 50 Kb4 Nb7 51 Bc8 Nd8 52 Rd6 Nde6 53 Bxe6 Nxe6 54 Kc4 Nc7 55 Rd1 1-0

27th December, 2002

NEXT to the American genius Paul Morphy, perhaps one of the most puzzling chess enigmas of all-time is that of Mexico's first grandmaster, Carlos Repetto Torre, whose career at the chessboard uncannily parallels that of Morphy.

Born in 1904 in Yucatan, Torre had a spectacular - yet all but brief - career of just two years as a professional, which ended in 1926 at the age of 22. Yet, during that short, glorious spell, Torre left behind a legacy of brilliance and the promise of being a serious contender for the world championship. Playing against three world champions - Alekhine, Capablanca and Lasker - Torre had a plus score (+1 =2).

Sadly, when everyone was venturing to suggest that he had the future potential to capture the crown after a string of impressive tournament results, Torre suffered a major nervous breakdown, returned home to Yucatan and never played again. In an interview a year before his death in 1978, when FIDE bestowed on him an honorary GM title, Torre is quoted as saying, "I abandoned chess competition, but never lost my love for this beautiful game." As a tribute to Torre, his home state of Merida holds a memorial tournament in his honour.

The XV Carlos Torre International Tournament took place 13th-21st December. After 6 rounds the cosmopolitan field of 30 split into two, with the leading 16 players taking part in a knockout contest. The tournament was won after a playoff by Russian GM Valery Filippov, who beat Switzerland's Vadim Milov, 2.5-1.5 in the final.


B Gulko - V Filippov
XV Torre Memorial (6), Reti's Opening

1 c4 e6 2 Nf3 d5 3 b3 Nf6 4 g3 d4 5 e3 c5 6 exd4 cxd4 7 Bg2 Nc6 8 0-0 Bd6 9 d3 0-0 10 Re1 e5 11 a3 a5 12 Nbd2 h6 13 c5 Bxc5 14 Nxe5 Nxe5 15 Rxe5 Bg4 16 Bf3 Qc7 17 Re1 Be6 18 Nc4 Nd5 19 Bd2 Nc3 20 Qc2 b5 21 Bf4 Qd8 22 Bxa8 Qxa8 23 Nd2 Rc8 24 Ne4 Bxa3 25 Rxa3 Nxe4 26 Qd1 Nc3 27 Qh5 a4 28 bxa4 b4 29 Raa1 b3 30 Bxh6 b2 31 Rab1 Nxb1 32 Qg5 Kf8 33 Qxg7+ Ke8 34 Qh8+ Kd7 35 Qxd4+ Qd5 36 Qxb2 Nc3 37 Qb4 Qxd3 38 Re3 Ne2+ 39 Kg2 0-1

24th December, 2002

ACCORDING to Garry Kasparov, arch-rival Anatoly Karpov has over the years become his 'perpetual opponent', due to the many memorable battles they fought in what seemed like an endless series of title matches.

After the 1972 Cold War encounter between Fischer and Spassky, the 'perestroika pairing' of Karpov and Kasparov, respectively the 12th and 13th world champions, become legendary -- especially after they played five world title matches between 1984 and 1990; the first of which was controversially abandoned after five-months of play and 48 games by then-FIDE president Florencio Campomanes, for fear the strain the match was having on the health of the players.

Now, after the their latest X3D match in New York, the two have now played 177 times during their lengthy career, which began way back in 1981 with two draws in a Moscow team match; with the head-to-head scores now standing at Kasparov +31, Karpov +22, with 124 draws. In the annals of chess history, no two top players have played each other more than Kasparov and Karpov, affectionately known in chess circles as the 2K's.

Ironically for Karpov, up to now his last victory over his nemesis was 12 years ago in New York, and proved to be the last decisive game of their legendary series of world championship matches. However, Karpov can look to game two of their latest match-up for the turnaround in their score, as Kasparov made perhaps one of the worst blunders of his career, when instead 43 Bxe4! Qf1 44 Nf5+ Nxf5 45 h4 Nh6 46 Bf3 was winning easily.


G Kasparov - A Karpov
X3D Rapid Match (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 c4 Nb4 9 Be2 0-0 10 Nc3 Bf5 11 a3 Nxc3 12 bxc3 Nc6 13 cxd5 Qxd5 14 Re1 Rfe8 15 Bf4 Rac8 16 c4 Qe4 17 Be3 Bf6 18 Rc1 b6 19 h3 Bg6 20 c5 Ne7 21 Ba6 Rcd8 22 Bg5 Qc6 23 cxb6 Qxb6 24 Bxf6 gxf6 25 Qa4 c6 26 Bf1 Kf8 27 Re3 Rb8 28 g3 Red8 29 Bg2 Nf5 30 Rxc6 Qb2 31 Rec3 Kg7 32 Qxa7 Qa1+ 33 Rc1 Rb1 34 Rxb1 Qxb1+ 35 Kh2 Qa2 36 Qc7 Re8 37 Rc2 Qxa3 38 Rd2 Nd6 39 Qc5 Qa6 40 Nh4 Rc8 41 Qd5 Rc1 42 Rb2 Be4 43 Qxe4 Nxe4 44 Nf5+ Kf8 45 Bxe4 Rc8 46 d5 Qa4 47 Bf3 Qa3 0-1

23rd December, 2002

THE hustle and bustle of a pre-Christmas Times Square in New York proved an inspired location for the meeting of new technology and an historic rivalry, as X3D Technologies brought together old foes Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov to showcase the latest in their award-winning computer-generated 3D imagery.

Under the glare of the neon lights at the ABC Studios, the four-game match, which was transmitted live over the internet, had the two legendary Russians (with the aid of a special pair of 3D glasses) play while floating in the air as if by magic. Also on hand (or to be more precise, slight of hand) for a bit of festive fun to open the show was world-renowned Illusionist David Blaine, who immediately caused maximum confusion to the proceedings by turning one of the pawns on the match-set to dust before the players eyes -- much to the chagrin of match arbiter Carol Jarecki, who seemed rather concerned about the special electronic pieces used with the sensory board loaned by the America's Foundation for Chess that made the live transmission possible!

Thankfully Blaine managed to make the pawn "suddenly" reappear on cue before the start of the first game, though perhaps the two former world champions may have preferred it if instead he could have made their world crowns miraculously reappear!

And, as play got underway, the two-day match ended in a surprise victory for veteran Karpov (who, at 51 this year has reached three elite rapid finals, losing two to Vishy Anand and one to Boris Gelfand), as he beat world No.1 Kasparov 2.5-1.5 to win the match. All four games in this 25-minute a side plus ten second increment match was more exciting than many of the boring long matches they had played previously.


A Karpov - G Kasparov
X3D Rapid Match (3), Grunfeld Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 Nf3 Bg7 5 Bf4 dxc4 6 Rc1 0-0 7 e3 Nbd7 8 Bxc4 c5 9 dxc5 Nxc5 10 0-0 Be6 11 Bxe6 Nxe6 12 Be5 Qxd1 13 Rfxd1 Rfd8 14 Kf1 Nd7 15 Bxg7 Kxg7 16 Nd5 Nb6 17 Nxb6 axb6 18 a3 Rxd1+ 19 Rxd1 Rc8 20 Ke2 Kf6 21 Ne1 Rc4 22 Rd7 Nc5 23 Rc7 b5 24 f3 e5 25 b4 Na4 26 Rxb7 Rc6 27 e4 Ke6 28 h4 h5 29 Nd3 Rc2+ 30 Ke3 f5 31 g3 fxe4 32 fxe4 Rg2 33 Rxb5 Rxg3+ 34 Kd2 Rg2+ 35 Ke1 Nc3 36 Rb6+ Ke7 37 Nxe5 Re2+ 38 Kf1 Rxe4 39 Nxg6+ Kf7 40 Kf2 Nd5 41 Rc6 Nxb4 42 axb4 Rxb4 43 Ne5+ Kg7 44 Rc4 Rb5 45 Nd3 Kf6 46 Rc5 1-0

20th December, 2002

AS the 41st World Junior Championships heads for the decisive final rounds in Goa, it was all turnaround again at the top as GM Levon Aronian and IM Artyom Timofeev, respectively from Armenia and Russia, now go into the home straight as joint leaders.

With Timofeev outplaying the overnight leader, Luke McShane of England, in the top board clash for a vital victory, in the process McShane's chances of becoming only the second British player to win the coveted World Junior crown suffered a major setback. Meanwhile, on second board, the only other decisive top-board game of the round saw Aronian, who was last year's runner-up, in devastating form to beat India's S Poobesh Anand.

Now, with only two rounds of play left in the tournament being played at the luxurious 5-star Cidade de Goa, both leaders take their tally to 8 points--however the final destination of the junior crown is by no-means certain, as just a half-point behind them on 7.5 there's a determined chasing pack that includes Harikrishna, Ganguly, Berkes, McShane, Ghaem, Erenburg and Wojtaszek.

Round 11 was also another good one for Scotland's Graeme Kafka, with a win over India's Sachit S Agarwal helping the young Scot to move a bit further up the table to 70th with 4.5/11.


Standings: 1-2 GM L Aronian (Armenia), IM A Timofeev (Russia) 8/11; 3-9 GM F Berkes (Hungary), IM S Erenburg (Israel), GM E Ghaem Maghami (Iran), GM P Harikrishna (India), GM L McShane (England), IM S Ganguly (India), R Wojtaszek 7.5.


L Aronian - S Poobesh Anand
World Junior Ch. (11), Bogo-Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 g3 b6 4 Bg2 Bb7 5 c4 Bb4+ 6 Nbd2 Ne4 7 0-0 Nxd2 8 Bxd2 Bxd2 9 Qxd2 0-0 10 Qc2 Nc6 11 a3 d5 12 cxd5 exd5 13 Rac1 Re8 14 b4 a6 15 Rfd1 Qe7 16 e3 Rad8 17 Rd3 Rd6 18 Rc3 f6 19 Bf1 Rc8 20 Qa4 Ra8 21 Qc2 Qd8 22 b5 axb5 23 Bxb5 Na7 24 Bd3 h6 25 Rxc7 Bc6 26 Bh7+ Kf8 27 Rxg7 Kxg7 28 Qg6+ Kh8 29 Qxh6 Qf8 30 Qh5 Qg7 31 Bg6+ Kg8 32 Nh4 Rd7 33 Nf5 Qh8 34 Qg4 Kf8 35 h4 Rg7 36 Nxg7 Qxg7 37 h5 Be8 38 Qf5 Rd8 39 Bxe8 Kxe8 40 Qe6+ Qe7 41 Qxe7+ 1-0

19th December, 2002

A sole leader has emerged at the top of the 41st World Junior Championships in Goa, as England's Luke McShane stakes his claim to become only the second British player to win the prestigious junior crown after a nicely worked out victory over Russia's Dimitry Jakovenko in round ten.

The only decisive top board victor of the round, McShane, 18, from London, now holds a vital half point lead over the chasing pack going into the final three rounds. In the past, McShane has rarely had the opportunity to fulfil his early promise in such events as he diligently concentrated on his academic work. Now, in a gap year before going on to Oxford, McShane is making up for lost opportunities.

First identified as a prodigy when he was winning tournaments at six, McShane shot to fame in 1992 when he won the World Under-10 Championship at the age of eight. Five years on he became the world's youngest International Master, and by 16 he had become Britain's youngest-ever Grandmaster.

McShane's performance so far has been the best British showing in the World Junior Championships since Nigel Short at Dortmund 1980, where, despite what normally would have been a winning score in previous years, found himself being eclipsed by a certain Garry Kasparov. And, should McShane win, he will become only the second British player to win the prestigious junior title since Tony Miles' memorable victory in 1974 at Manila.

Standings: 1 GM L McShane (England) 7.5/10; 2-8 GM L Aronian (Armenia), GM B Ferenc (Hungary), GM P Harikrishna, S Poobesh Anand, IM S Sekhar Ganguly (all India), IM A Timofeev (Russia), R Wojtaszek (Poland) 7.


L McShane - D Jakovenko
World Junior Ch. (10), Sicilian Rossolimo

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 g6 4 0-0 Bg7 5 c3 Nf6 6 Re1 0-0 7 d4 cxd4 8 cxd4 d5 9 e5 Ne4 10 Nc3 Bf5 11 Nh4 Be6 12 Bxc6 bxc6 13 Na4 g5 14 Nf3 f6 15 exf6 exf6 16 Nd2 f5 17 Nb3 Bf7 18 Bd2 Nxd2 19 Qxd2 f4 20 f3 Qd6 21 Nac5 Rfe8 22 Nd3 Bg6 23 Qb4 Qxb4 24 Nxb4 c5 25 dxc5 Bxb2 26 Rxe8+ Rxe8 27 Rd1 d4 28 c6 a5 29 Nxa5 Bc3 30 a3 Rc8 31 Nc4 d3 32 Nd6 Bxb4 33 Nxc8 Bc5+ 34 Kh1 Bf5 35 c7 1-0

18th December, 2002

THE battle for the World Junior crown, taking place at the luxurious 5-star Cidade de Goa in India, now more than ever looks to be heading for a nail-biting final few rounds, as the leading group in first place expands further to eight players.

As the top three boards opted for safety with draws, the main casualties of round nine turned out to be the Chinese, as both Bu Xiangzhi and Ni Hua suffered losses that more or less put paid to their chances of a that elusive, first title. Top seed Bu lost to India's latest GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly, who now joins the leading pack, as does Poland's Radislav Wojtaszek after inflicting a second successive defeat on Ni Hua.

England's Luke McShane, looking to become the first British player to capture the title since Tony Miles in 1974, also stays among the leading group on 6.5/9. And, with just four rounds of play left in the prestigious junior title, McShane is joined in equal first with Levon Aronian of Armenia, Ferenc Berkes of Hungary, Radislav Wojtasjek of Poland, the Russian duo of Artyom Timofeev and Dimitry Jakovenko, and Indians Pedalya Harikrishna and Ganguly.

Round nine also proved to be a good one for Scotland's Graeme Kafka, as he beat India's Gurpreet Singh Maras for his first win of the tournament. He now moves up the table to 70th with 3.5/9.

The women's competition now also looks set for a dramatic final few rounds as defending champion GM Humpy Koneru of India closes to within half a point of leader Zhao Xue of China, who leads with 7.5/9.


A Timofeev - Ni Hua
World Junior Ch. (8), Sicilian Sveshnikov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 7 a4 a6 8 Na3 Bg4 9 Be2 Bxe2 10 Qxe2 d5 11 Bg5 d4 12 Nd5 Be7 13 Bxf6 Bxf6 14 Nc4 Rb8 15 a5 Ne7 16 Nxf6+ gxf6 17 0-0 Ng6 18 g3 0-0 19 Ra3 Qd7 20 Nb6 Qc6 21 c4 dxc3 22 Rxc3 Qe6 23 Nd5 f5 24 Rf3 Rbd8 25 Re1 fxe4 26 Nf6+ Kg7 27 Qxe4 Qe7 28 h4 Rd6 29 Nd5 Qd8 30 Ne3 Re6 31 h5 Ne7 32 Qg4+ Kh8 33 Rxf7 Rxf7 34 Qxe6 Qxa5 35 Qxf7 Qxe1+ 36 Kg2 Ng8 37 h6 1-0

17th December, 2002

WITH many already experienced international players taking part in the 41st World Junior Championships, being held at the luxurious 5-star Cidade de Goa in India, the elite junior event looks to be heading for one of the tightest finishes of recent years.

After round eight of 13, five leaders share equal first on 6/8, while just a half a point behind lurks a formidable chasing pack of seven. Joining the leading pack for the first time after a marathon victory over Iceland's Stefan Kristjansson was India's youngest-ever Grandmaster Pendyala Harikrishna, who on home soil is looking to emulate his hero, Vishy Anand, by becoming the first Indian since 1987 to capture the title.

Harikrishna shares the lead on 6/8 alongside a list of other "seasoned veterans" that includes Levon Aronian of Armenia, England's Luke McShane, and Russians Dimitry Jakovenko and Timofeev Artyom. Ominously, however, the chasing pack on their tail includes the dangerous Chinese duo of top seed Bu Xiangzhi and Ni Hua, who themselves will be looking to become the first Chinese winners of this prestigious junior title.

Amongst this daunting line-up is Scotland's Graeme Kafka, who seems to be finding the event all a bit of a "trial" as he languishes in 78th place on 2.5/8.

In the 19th World Junior Girls Championships running alongside the main event, China's Zhao Xue, unbeaten on 7/9, sensationally holds a full one point lead over the reigning champion and hot favourite to retain her title, India's GM Humpy Koneru.


S Azarov - Ni Hua
World Junior Ch. (6), 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 c3 Bg7 12 exf5 Bxf5 13 Nc2 0-0 14 Nce3 Bg6 15 h4 Be4 16 h5 Qg5 17 Be2 h6 18 Rh3 Kh8 19 Rg3 Qd8 20 Bd3 Bxd5 21 Nxd5 f5 22 Bc2 Rc8 23 Kf1 Ne7 24 Kg1 Rc5 25 Bb3 Nxd5 26 Bxd5 e4 27 a4 Qe7 28 axb5 axb5 29 Ra6 f4 30 Rg6 e3 31 Bf3 Re5 32 Qf1 e2 33 Qe1 Rd8 34 Rg4 Qf7 35 Rg6 Bf8 36 Bxe2 Rde8 37 Qd2 Rxe2 38 Qd4+ R8e5 39 Ra8 Re1+ 40 Kh2 Kh7 41 g4 fxg3+ 42 fxg3 Rxh5+ 0-1

16th December, 2002

SINCE its inception in 1951, the World Junior Championship title for boys under the age of 20 has proved to be a successful launching pad on the world stage for players who have gone on to the very top.

That first title over a half a century ago went to Yugoslavia's Boris Ivkov (now a regular in the World Seniors!), who won the inaugural event, held in Birmingham, England, amongst a field that contained just eighteen players. However the event soon caught the public imagination and has expanded through time, in the process seeing some of the all-time greats, such as Boris Spassky, Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov, first lifting the junior crown before progressing on to become "the" world champions.

The 41st World Junior Championships (also combining the 19th World Junior Girls Championships) are currently in progress in the balmy Indian tourist resort of Goa. The latest edition has a cosmopolitan field of 139 boys and girls from 41 nations vying for the respective crowns-many, such as Bu Xiangzhi, Pental Harikrishna, Levon Aronian, Artyom Timofeev and Luke McShane can be regarded as "heavyweights" who have already made their mark on the international stage.

McShane, looking to become the first British winner of the title since Tony Miles in 1974, got off to dream start with 4.5/5 to lead at the halfway stage. His progress was halted in round six when he lost to last year's runner-up, Aronian.


L Aronian - L McShane
World Junior Ch. (6), King's Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nf3 Bg7 4 g3 0-0 5 Bg2 d6 6 0-0 Nc6 7 Nc3 Rb8 8 d5 Na5 9 b3 c6 10 dxc6 Nxc6 11 Bb2 Qa5 12 Qc1 Bg4 13 Rd1 Rfc8 14 Nd5 Nxd5 15 Bxg7 Kxg7 16 Rxd5 Qc7 17 Qb2+ f6 18 Rc1 b6 19 Rc3 Qd7 20 Re3 Kg8 21 Nd4 Nxd4 22 Rxd4 Re8 23 b4 Qc8 24 h4 Bd7 25 h5 Bc6 26 Bf1 Qf5 27 Rh4 gxh5 28 Bh3 Qg6 29 b5 Ba8 30 Bd7 Kf8 31 Bxe8 Kxe8 32 Qb3 Rc8 33 Qd3 Rc7 34 Kh2 Kd7 35 g4 Rc5 36 Qxg6 hxg6 37 gxh5 gxh5 38 Ra3 a5 39 bxa6 Rg5 40 f3 Kc7 41 Rh3 Re5 42 e4 Kb8 43 a7+ Kc7 44 Rg3 Rg5 45 f4 h4 46 Rxg5 fxg5 47 fxg5 1-0

13th December, 2002

THERE are certain things in life you come to expect, such as death, taxes and Shettleston Chess Club reigning supreme as the Everyman Scottish Team Lightning Champions. However last weekend at the Grangemouth Sports Centre, due to a combination of internal controversy and fighting off a determined challenge, title No.19 in 24 years was by no means a foregone conclusion for the perennial winners of the pre-Christmas competition.

Last year, when Shettleston lifted their seventh consecutive title by a large winning margin, club stalwart Jimmy Doyle had played in all of their past eighteen victories. This year, as a new overseas member arrived at the club, Doyle found himself being board five in a four-man team with the inevitable consequences. There may have been other factors involved in what happened next, but Doyle has now been rumoured to have left the club in protest following a dispute over the selection process.

In the final section, three teams fought it out closely for the title but Shettleston kept ahead of the chasing pack by beating off their two nearest rivals. Edinburgh West - with WGM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Jonathan Grant, Neil Farrell and Joe Redpath - actually scored better against 'the rest' but losing to Shettleston more or less determined their fate. Last year's runners-up Cathcart, with a much-fancied line-up of IM Steve Mannion, IM Roddy McKay, Alan Grant and Bobby Mitchell, was also involved heavily in the chase for first, though finished a close third.

For the winners, the 'old firm' top pair of IMs Douglas Bryson and Andrew Muir respectively scored 11 and 12/14, and on third Graeme Nolan scored 12. More than justifying his controversial selection, new member Hendrik Kues top-scored on four with an unbeaten 13/14.


Finals: 1 Shettleston 30.5; 2 Edinburgh West A 29.5; 3 Cathcart A 27.5; 4 Edinburgh A 19.5; 5 Stirling 19; 6 Holy Cross 15.5; 7 Grangemouth A 12.5; 8 Phones A 10.5; 9 Dunfermline 8; 10 Edinburgh West B 7.5.


A Muir - R McKay
Everyman Scottish Team Lightning, Modern Benoni

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 d6 4 Nc3 g6 5 e4 Bg7 6 f3 0-0 7 Bg5 e6 8 Qd2 exd5 9 cxd5 a6 10 a4 Re8 11 Nge2 Nbd7 12 Ng3 Qa5 13 Be2 b5 14 0-0 b4 15 Nd1 Nb6 16 Ne3 Nfd7 17 Ra2 Bd4 18 Kh1 Ne5 19 b3 Bd7 20 Bf4 h5 21 Rc1 h4 22 Ngf1 f5 23 exf5 gxf5 24 Bd3 Rf8 25 h3 Rae8 26 Bg5 Rf7 27 Bxh4 Rh7 28 Bg5 f4 29 Ng4 Bxg4 30 fxg4 f3 31 Bf6 fxg2+ 32 Kxg2 Nxd3 33 Qxd3 Bxf6 34 Qg6+ 1-0

12th December, 2002

CHESS is becoming a more convenient game, whether you play over the board or on the internet. A generation ago tournament play was either one game a day or the rigorous demands of a five round weekend congress.

Now tournaments are more entrant-friendly. Many are one-day rapidplays, with six games each lasting a maximum one hour, and allows for reasonably well thought-out plans to be made and quite good games to be produced. At the time of its development and growth in the early 1980s, it was regarded as the chess world's answer to one-day cricket.

Garry Kasparov once declared that "the future of chess lies with rapidplay chess", and in 1986 the first rapid chess world championship held in Mexico was won by his arch-rival, Anatoly Karpov. That same year in Leeds, the first British Rapidplay Championship title was won by Nigel Short with a 100 per cent score. And, apart from the no contest of 1993, the British Rapidplay Championship has been held annually ever since over the more demanding schedule of 11 rounds and two days.

The latest British Rapidplay Championship, with a bumper entry of over 400, was held (November 30 - 1 December) at Bradford City FC conference facility. After beating defending champion Mark Hebden in the crucial 9th round clash, Portsmouth GM Peter Wells took outright first place and his first Rapidplay title with 9/11, a half point ahead of Keith Arkell on 8.5 and third placed Stewart Haslinger with 8; 4-6th Mark Hebden, Craig Hanley, Aaron Summerscale on 7.5/11.


P Wells - M Hebden
British Rapidplay (9), Trompowsky Attack

1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5 Ne4 3 Bf4 c5 4 f3 Qa5+ 5 c3 Nf6 6 d5 Qb6 7 Bc1 e6 8 c4 exd5 9 cxd5 c4 10 e3 Bc5 11 Kf2 d6 12 Bxc4 Qc7 13 Nc3 a6 14 Nge2 0-0 15 g4 Re8 16 Ng3 b5 17 Bb3 Qe7 18 Kg2 b4 19 Na4 Ba7 20 e4 Nfd7 21 Nf5 Qf8 22 Bf4 Ne5 23 Rc1 Bxf5 24 gxf5 Nbd7 25 Bg3 Nc5 26 Nxc5 Bxc5 27 Ba4 f6 28 Bxe8 Qxe8 29 f4 Nf7 30 e5 fxe5 31 fxe5 Qb5 32 e6 Nh6 33 f6 gxf6 34 Rf1 Kg7 35 Qf3 Ng8 36 b3 Rf8 37 Rc4 Kh8 38 Qh5 Qb7 39 Rh4 Rd8 40 Re1 Qe7 41 Qf7 h6 42 Rxh6+ 1-0

11th December, 2002

IN America, the big family holiday is of course Thanksgiving, which commemorates the famous harvest feast of 1621 when the Mayflower Pilgrims sat down with the native Indians to thank them for getting through that first difficult year.

Even in America, many believe that Thanksgiving has always been traditionally celebrated in late November and that it has been going on forever - or at least as near forever as anything gets in America. Not so. For 242 years Thanksgiving as an event was hardly noted. The first official celebration wasn't held until 1863 - and then in August. The following year President Abraham Lincoln moved it arbitrarily to the fourth Thursday in November, where this all-American holiday built around the family has stayed ever since.

Like most traditional American holidays there can also be found a major chess event taking place with a substantial prize fund. Over Thanksgiving the place to be was the Adam's Mark Hotel in Philadelphia, the "City of Brotherly Love", which played hosts to the 33rd National Chess Congress organized by the Continental Chess Association, who through the guidance of the legendary Bill Goichberg has organized big-money tournaments from coast to coast since the 1960s.

With a hefty prize fund of $30,000 on offer in 11 sections, the attendance of many top players were guaranteed and, like many other US tournaments, this inevitably led to a GM logjam at top with a multiple tie. Sharing first with 5-1 were GMs Igor Novikov, Leonid Yudashin, Alexander Shabalov, Alex Stripunsky and Gennadi Zaitshik.

The gruelling Swiss-styled format over six rounds can be particularly cruel. Very seldom is there an outright winner in such events; however New York's relatively unknown young NM Lev Milman almost caused a sensation with one of the more memorable performances in recent US chess history. His "reward" for performing far above his expected score was being paired against tougher and tougher opponents each round.

He defeated GM Maurice Ashley in round 3, drew with GM Alex Onischuk in round 4 and defeated GM Ildar Ibragimov in round 5. Needing to beat Shabalov in the crucial top-board final round game for outright first, Milman was, in traditional Thanksgiving style, expertly carved-up.


A Shabalov - L Milman
33rd National Chess Congress (6), Catalan Opening

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c6 4 Nf3 dxc4 5 Bg5 Qc7 6 g3 Nd7 7 Bg2 Ngf6 8 0-0 Bb4 9 Nd2 Bxc3 10 bxc3 b5 11 Bf4 Qb6 12 e4 0-0 13 Bd6 Rd8 14 e5 Nd5 15 Ne4 c5 16 dxc5 Qc6 17 Qh5 h6 18 Nf6+ gxf6 19 Qxh6 Bb7 20 exf6 N7xf6 21 Be5 Qd7 22 Rfd1 Nxc3 23 Rxd7 1-0

10th December, 2002

GREAT tournaments don't just happen, they are made. Made from a potent cocktail of good organisation, community spirit and players returning each year to a favoured site. And none come any better than the annual Kilkenny Congress in Ireland, traditionally held on the last weekend in November.

Thanks to the special atmosphere created by Jack Lowry and his dedicated team, many top players have made the annual pilgrimage to the craic-filled post mortems in the Club House Hotel Bar, where a plentiful supply of Guinness is always on tap. GM stars such as Boris Spassky (the club's Honorary President), Michael Adams, Jan Timman, Julian Hodgson and Danny King have all been there, and have revelled among the amateurs.

This year marked the 10th anniversary of this popular weekend tournament, yet despite the disappointment of losing their sponsors, the organisers nevertheless continued to defy the odds with a record-breaking turnout of over 250 -- and some even coming from afar as Russia and the US of A, the latter no doubt on a fact-finding mission to trace their family tree!

The lack of sponsorship meant that the top Masters section was the hardest hit, and the competition turned into a virtual challenge between the entire Irish Olympiad team, who returned from Bled with their highest result ever, taking on the three visiting GMs: defending champion Luke McShane, Bogdan Lalic and Colin McNab.

The penultimate round five proved to be critical for the outcome of first place, as top Irish player GM Alexander Baburin (who moved to Ireland in 1993 from Russia) took the sole lead after beating McShane. The win was enough to give Baburin outright first on 5/6, with GMs McShane and Lalic sharing 2nd place with visiting Russian academic Dr Yuri Rochev and the Irish duo of Sam Collins and Alex Lopez.


A Baburin - L McShane
Kilkenny Masters (5), English Defence

1 d4 e6 2 c4 b6 3 a3 g6 4 Nc3 Bg7 5 e4 Ne7 6 Nf3 d6 7 Be2 Nd7 8 0-0 h6 9 Be3 g5 10 Rc1 f5 11 c5 0-0 12 cxd6 cxd6 13 Bc4 Nf6 14 e5 Nfd5 15 Bxd5 Nxd5 16 Nxd5 exd5 17 Rc6 dxe5 18 dxe5 Bb7 19 Rd6 Qe7 20 h4 g4 21 Nd4 f4 22 Bd2 Qxe5 23 Rg6 Kh7 24 Re1 Qh5 25 Rxg4 f3 26 Qc2+ Kh8 27 Rxg7 Kxg7 28 Re7+ Rf7 29 Nf5+ Kf8 30 Rxf7+ Qxf7 31 Bb4+ 1-0

9th December, 2002

OVER the years there has been a lively debate about just who was the strongest player of all; prominent candidates being Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, Jose Raul Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine or Emanuel Lasker.

The debate will rage on, but one thing there is no argument over and that is the greatest female player: she is 26-year-old Judit Polgar, the youngest and strongest of the three Hungarian Polgar sisters, all of whom were given a chess-based education from their parents practically from the cradle.

Judit became the youngest grandmaster in history -- beating Fischer's record of over 30 years -- at 15 years and 5 months after winning the 1991 Hungarian championship; and in the process also becoming the first female to win a national championship.

The past year has been another milestone one for Judi, as she continues to take on the men at their own game. She became the first female in a competitive competition to beat Kasparov while playing for the winning World Team against Russia. This was followed by a sensational performance for Hungary at the Bled Olympiad, as her score (officially on board two behind Peter Leko, though played many games on one) of 8.5/12 helped Hungary take silver just behind winners Russia.

These results, and her recent big win at the Benidorm Stars, confirms that in the next ELO list she could be on the verge of breaking the 2700 barrier to super GM status -- one of the few avowed goals she has left in the game.


L Psakhis - J Polgar
Benidorm Stars (11), Tarrasch Defence

1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 c5 3 g3 Nc6 4 Bg2 e6 5 Nf3 d5 6 cxd5 exd5 7 d4 Bg4 8 Ne5 cxd4 9 Nxc6 bxc6 10 Qxd4 Be7 11 Bg5 Be6 12 0-0 0-0 13 Qd3 h6 14 Bf4 Qb6 15 Na4 Qa5 16 b3 c5 17 Rac1 c4 18 Qd4 Rac8 19 Be5 Rfd8 20 Rfd1 Qa6 21 Bf3 Bf5 22 Qb2 Bd7 23 Bxf6 Bxf6 24 Qa3 d4 25 Qb4 Bxa4 26 Qxa4 Qxa4 27 bxa4 d3 28 exd3 c3 29 d4 Bxd4 30 Kf1 Rb8 31 Be2 Kf8 32 Rc2 Ke7 33 Bc4 Rb2 34 Bb3 Be5 35 Rxd8 Kxd8 36 Rxb2 cxb2 37 Bc2 h5 38 h3 g5 39 g4 h4 40 Ke2 Kc7 41 Kd3 Kd6 42 Ke4 f6 43 Bb1 Kc5 44 Kd3 Bd4 45 f3 Kd5 46 a5 Ke5 47 a6 Bb6 48 Kc2 Kf4 49 Kxb2 Kg3 50 Bf5 Kxh3 51 f4 Kg2 52 fxg5 fxg5 53 Be4+ Kg1 0-1

6th December, 2002

ON many counts Germany should be the No.1 chess nation and not the mighty Russia. It has more than 5,000 world-ranked chessplayers on the FIDE rating list, more even than Russia.

The Bundesliga is the strongest -- and longest-running -- professional league in the world, Dortmund and Mainz are easily two of the finest elite tournaments on the circuit that play to sell-out crowds, while ChessBase of Hamburg are world-leaders in chess software development. Yet this chess-rich environment has still to produce a truly great modern-day player who can take on the world elite such as Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Co.

The only success story they’ve had of late has come from top female player Elisabeth Pähtz, who has now given Germany a world championship title, albeit at junior level. After an epic late-summer duel in Mainz with women’s world vice-champion Alexandra Kosteniuk, she continued her good form through to the Chess Olympiad in Bled and then played a high-profile exhibition match against Garry Kasparov at the Munich Electronica trade fair. From there, Pähtz headed directly to the World Youth Chess Championships in Heraklio, Crete, where she went on to win the girls' under 18 title.

The 74th German Chess Championships recently took place in Saarbrücken, in southwestern Germany, running from November 21-30. The nine-round Swiss, with a field of 42 that featured old hands (or should that be Hans?) such as Robert Huebner and Artur Jussupow, was won by GM Thomas Luther who took the title with 7/9, a half a point clear of fellow GMs Alexander Graf and Florian Handke.

The judges of the best game prize for the tournament didn’t have to wait long as all the fireworks came as early as round two where at least six candidates were on offer from the normally reserved Germans, who decided to use this round to show off their more flamboyant side. Today’s game easily being the pick of them.


A Naiditsch – F Zeller
74th German Ch. (2), Sicilian Kan

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Bd3 Bc5 6 Nb3 Be7 7 0-0 d6 8 c4 Nf6 9 Nc3 b6 10 f4 Nbd7 11 Qf3 Bb7 12 Kh1 Qc7 13 Bd2 h5 14 Qh3 Ng4 15 Rac1 Ndf6 16 f5 Qd7 17 Nd4 Rc8 18 b3 Bd8 19 fxe6 fxe6 20 Nd5 0-0 21 Nxf6+ Bxf6 22 Qxh5 Ne5 23 Bb1 Rc5 24 Qh3 Bc8 25 Ne2 b5 26 Be3 Rc6 27 Nf4 bxc4 28 Ng6!! Nxg6 29 e5 Nxe5 30 Qh7+ Kf7 31 Rxf6+! Kxf6 32 Rf1+ Ke7 33 Qxg7+ Nf7 34 Rxf7+! Rxf7 35 Bg5+ Ke8 36 Qg8+ 1-0

5th December, 2002

THE information age has been a boon to the rumour industry, as the gossip frenzy can span the globe spreading a salacious story in the time it takes to send an e-mail. But imagine how it would feel to hear through the worldwide grapevine that you were dead?

The most famous case was that of 19th century American humorist Mark Twain, who on discovering that a leading U.S. newspaper had published that he had died while on tour in Europe, immediately sent off a telegram to the editor that read "The report of my death is greatly exaggerated." Now, in a modern-day setting thanks to the speed of the information superhighway, that most famous of quotes can be used by world championship contender Peter Leko.

A cruel hoax originating from his native Hungary stated that Leko had died in a tragic car crash late Sunday night in Budapest, and the news had filtered through to former women's world champion Susan Polgar (the elder of the three famous Hungarian chess-playing sisters) in New York, who at the time was playing on the ICC and posted a brief note to that effect; though prudently added she would have to check her own contacts back home to confirm.

Unfortunately from here the rumours soon ran out of control, thanks to one over-eager online newshound looking for a "scoop" -- regardless if the information is right or wrong. Without checking the facts, or even confirming with the relevant authorities as any competent journalist would do under such circumstances, the infamous Sam Sloan (who doubles as a New York taxi driver during the day) immediately posted Leko's death as matter-of-fact "breaking news". Incredulously, Sloan's sloppy piece of work also went as far as to report "that Leko died in a car crash while analyzing a game he had played against Shirov on a pocket set".

Such stories -- which may play fast and loose with the facts -- can prove the most compelling to share. Unfortunately in this day and age we tend to believe things we see on screen, because until quite recently it was only big corporations that could put information on screen. Now, thanks to the internet, any idiot can post information as Sloan has proved; and these lies take on a life of their own online.

The news shocked and upset many of Leko's friends and fans who had already started the grieving process at the loss of one of the truly nice guys of the game -- and at a time when he'd fulfilled his earlier promise by winning through to challenge earlier next year for Vladimr Kramnik's world title. However none was more shocked about the news than Mr. Leko himself, who when awakening from a heart sleep on Monday morning (and in rude health) was reported to be "stunned" on hearing of his own death!

Whilst the chess world were grieving a tragic loss for Hungary in the premature demise of Leko thanks to Sloan, many should have been rightly congratulating a superb win for Hungary as Judit Polgar won the Benidorm Stars at the Bali Hotel after beating FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov in a blitz playoff. The two blitz games (3 min plus 2 seconds) started with a draw. Judit then went on to win the second one in dazzling fashion, giving up two pawns for a strong attack. "I just trusted my intuition, and it worked very well", said Polgar after her victory.


R Ponomariov - J Polgar
Benidorm Stars Playoff (2), English Hedgehog

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 c5 4 g3 b6 5 Bg2 Bb7 6 0-0 Be7 7 Re1 d6 8 e4 Nbd7 9 d4 cxd4 10 Nxd4 Rb8 11 b3 a6 12 Bb2 0-0 13 h3 Qc7 14 Qd2 Nc5 15 Rad1 Rfe8 16 f4 Ba8 17 Qf2 Ncd7 18 g4 h6 19 g5 hxg5 20 fxg5 Nh5 21 g6 Bf6 22 gxf7+ Kxf7 23 Bf3 Nf4 24 Bg4 g5 25 Nde2 Qc5 26 Nxf4 gxf4 27 Qxc5 bxc5 28 Rxd6 Bd4+ 29 Kf1 Ne5 30 Rxa6 Nxg4 31 hxg4 Rh8 32 Ra7+ Kg6 33 Kg2 f3+ 34 Kg3 Be5+ 35 Kxf3 Rh3+ 36 Ke2 Rh2+ 37 Ke3 Rxb2 38 Na4 Rxa2 39 Rh1 Bd4+ 40 Kf3 Rxb3+ 41 Kf4 e5 mate 0-1

4th December, 2002

TO great acclaim a new chess festival was launched last week in the Spanish resort of Benidorm, and was modelled on Jose Cuchi's highly-successful format for the popular New York Open, where a mixture of amateur and stars compete for a lucrative prize fund.

Organized by Alfonso Pedraza in conjunction with the Bali Hotel group, the Festival ran from 22 November through to 1 December with a field of almost 300 players from 17 countries. Pride of place for the new event, however, was a 12-player round robin 'Tournament of Stars' held on the final weekend which was headed by FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov; and also featured elite players such as Alexei Shirov and Anatoly Karpov, the world's strongest female player Judit Polgar, and new chess wunderkind Sergey Karjakin, the youngest grandmaster ever in the history of the game.

With a quick time-control of game/15 minutes with a 10 second add-on, the format proved an instant hit with Karjakin, who took the tournament by storm with an opening round victory over Shirov; and followed his superb start with draws against Ponomariov, Karpov and Polgar. Going into the final three rounds, Karjakin, unbeaten with four wins and six draws, found himself sharing the lead with Ponomariov and Polgar. Alas the final round proved to be Karjakin's undoing, as he lost to Spaniard San Segundo after overplaying his hand in pursuit of victory which would have given the youngster a memorable first place in a high-ranking event.

The tournament ended in a tie for first place between Ponomariov and Polgar on 8/11; with Shirov and Karpov third equal on 7.5, and Karjakin fifth outright on 7 with a big gap down to Lev Psakhis on 5.5. And, in a two-game playoff to decide the winner, Polgar (who also won their individual encounter below) sensationally beat Ponomariov 1.5-0.5 to take the title -- a magnificent result which yet again adds to her ever-growing credentials for being the strongest female player ever in the history of chess.

One of the main aims of the festival was to promote a much bigger and better second edition of the event with more big name stars which will take place in November 2003. The organizers are hopeful to announce this in January or February, giving enough time to many European and American amateurs to plan their holidays next year in Benidorm.


R Ponomariov - J Polgar
Benidorm Stars (4), Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 Ng4 7 Bg5 h6 8 Bh4 g5 9 Bg3 Bg7 10 h3 Nf6 11 Qe2 Nc6 12 Nxc6 bxc6 13 e5 dxe5 14 Bxe5 0-0 15 h4 g4 16 g3 Qb6 17 0-0-0 Be6 18 Bg2 Rfd8 19 Rhe1 h5 20 b3 Rac8 21 Na4 Rxd1+ 22 Rxd1 Qb5 23 Bf1 Bc4 24 Qxc4 Qxe5 25 c3 Qf5 26 Qc5 Qf3 27 Bd3 Bh6+ 28 Kc2 Ne4 29 Qe5 Nxf2 30 Be2 Qg2 31 Re1 Rd8 32 Qxe7 Rd2+ 33 Kb1 Qd5 34 Ka1 Ne4 35 Qe8+ Kg7 36 Nb2 Rxb2 37 Kxb2 Qd2+ 38 Ka3 Nf6 0-1

3rd December, 2002

AFTER following the exploits of septuagenarian Viktor Korchnoi as he fittingly won the Curaçao anniversary tournament forty years on, we now turn our attentions to the opposite end of the age barrier for the latest tournament outing for Ukrainian wunderkind, Sergey Karjakin.

Chess prodigies come and Chess prodigies go, but this one looks as if he’s here for the long haul -- and has even been bold enough to declare that he now wants to be world champion by 16!

Cherubic-featured Karjakin hit the headlines earlier this year when he became the youngest grandmaster in the world after literally smashing an age record once held by the legendary Bobby Fischer at the age of 15½. Aged just 12 yrs and seven months, Karjakin obliterated the previous record held by China’s Bu Xiangzhi by more than a year to set a new one that, unlike Fischer’s that stood for over 30 years, may never be broken again.

Playing in his strongest event to date in Spain at a new rapid tournament in Benidorm alongside the current FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov, legendary ex world champion Anatoly Karpov and many elite players such as Alexei Shirov and Judit Polgar, Karjakin once again is hitting the headlines

After getting off to a sensational start by outplaying Shirov, Karjakin soon showed that this was no flash in the pan result and quickly followed it up with draws against Ponomariov, Karpov and Polgar. Now, after eight rounds of the tournament at the Hotel Bali in Benidorm, Karjakin is not only undefeated but also finds himself sharing the lead on 6/8 with Ponomariov and Karpov!


S Karjakin – A Shirov
Benidorm Superstars (1), Sicilian Kalashnikov

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 e5 5 Nb5 d6 6 N1c3 a6 7 Na3 b5 8 Nd5 Nce7 9 c4 Nxd5 10 exd5 bxc4 11 Nxc4 Nf6 12 Be3 Rb8 13 Be2 Be7 14 a4 0-0 15 0-0 Bb7 16 Nb6 Nd7 17 a5 f5 18 f3 Nxb6 19 Bxb6 Qd7 20 b4 Bd8 21 Be3 Bf6 22 Rb1 Rbc8 23 b5 axb5 24 Rxb5 e4 25 fxe4 Rfe8 26 Rb4 Bc3 27 Bb5 Qd8 28 Bxe8 Bxb4 29 Bc6 Ba6 30 Rxf5 Bxa5 31 h3 Rb8 32 Kh2 g6 33 Bg5 Qc7 34 Rf3 Rb4 35 Bh6 Rb8 36 Qa1 Be2 37 Rf2 Bd3 38 Qf6 1-0

2nd December, 2002

THE Curaçao Candidates’ tournament of 1962 is often regarded as one of the defining moments in chess history, as eight of the world’s top players battled it out at the height of the Cold War in a quadruple round robin to determine the challenger for Mikhail Botvinnik’s crown.

All of the player’s that participated in the tournament -- Petrosian, Tal, Keres, Korchnoi, Geller, Fischer, Benko and Filip -- were household names in their own right; and, in the aftermath of this seminal event, the unknown, yet tranquil little Dutch island of the Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean rose from relative obscurity to be placed firmly on the world map by staging one of the most famous Candidates’ cycles in chess history.

However, there’s been a dearth of top class events staged on the island since, and it’s only in the last couple of years or so that local organizer Ger Jan Meijer has built-up the tournament from a rather modest Open to an international Open to properly commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Candidates tournament.

And, with the invitation of Viktor Korchnoi -- who, at 71 is still one of the most active players around and placed 62nd in the world rankings -- as the star attraction among the cosmopolitan field, he couldn’t have wished for a better ending as the veteran of 1962, forty years on, fittingly won the title!

The indefatigable Korchnoi, after losing the lead in round seven, stormed back with successive wins against the European champion Bartomiej Maceija and Riku Molander to tie for first on 7/9 with Yona Kosashvili; however Korchnoi took the title on tiebreak from the Israeli.


Final standings: 1-2 GM V Korchnoi (Switzerland), GM Y Kosashvili (Israel) 7/9; 3-6 GM J Timman (Netherlands), GM B Macieja (Poland), IM C Gallegos (Venezuela), IM G Ligterink (Netherlands) 6.


R Molander – V Korchnoi
Curaçao 1962-2002 (9), Advanced French

1 e4 c5 2 c3 e6 3 d4 d5 4 e5 Qb6 5 Nf3 Nc6 6 a3 Nh6 7 b4 cxd4 8 cxd4 Nf5 9 Bb2 Be7 10 Bd3 a5 11 Qa4 0-0 12 b5 f6 13 0-0 fxe5 14 dxe5 Bd7 15 Nc3 Ncd4 16 Nxd4 Nxd4 17 Rad1 Rf4 18 Kh1 Raf8 19 Bc1 Ne2 20 Qc2 Nxc1 21 Bxh7+ Kh8 22 Rxc1 Rxf2 23 Rxf2 Qxf2 24 Qd3 Bg5 25 Rd1 Be8 26 Ne2 Bh5 0-1

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