- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 5, 2002

The European Club Cup, the strongest and deepest team competition outside of the biennial Olympiads, ended in a come-from-behind victory this year for the BOSNA Sarajevo team anchored by 2700-plus GM Alexei Shirov of Spain and Michael Adams of England.

Front-runner NAO Chess Club of Paris, with Russian stars Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler on the top boards, lost in the seventh round 3½-2½ to the Russian team Norilsky Nikel, allowing the Bosnian team to take the top prize.

The Russian Ladia-Kazan-1000 team finished sixth in the event, held in Halkidiki, Greece, but former FIDE world champ Alexander Khalifman turned in perhaps the event's best attacking game in defeating Turkish GM Suat Atalik in a Round 3 match.

Khalifman chooses a tame variation against the Petroff, but plays the rest of the game with admirable spirit. His pawn sacrifice 17. g5 d5 (Black banks on a central counterattack) 18. g6! hxg6 19. hxg6 presents Atalik with a dilemma. Keeping the g-file closed with 19…f6 20. Rh1 Nf8 makes the open h-file a perpetual soft spot, but his 19…fxg6?! appears to open too many lines after 20. Ne5 Bf6 21. Ng4 d4 22. Bc4!.

The White bishop grabs a critical diagonal and accepting the piece with 22…dxe3 23. Qxe3 Bg5 (Qb6 24. Nxf6+ gxf6 26. Qxe4) 24. f4! Qc7 (Bxf4 25. Qxf4, exploiting the pin of the knight) 25. fxg5 Bf5 26. Ne5 Rad8 27. Rxd8 Qxd8 28. Nxg6 leaves White firmly in charge.

Black in the end cannot cover all his central and kingside weaknesses: 24. Nxf6+ gxf6 25. bxc3 Qc7 (allows a killing shot, but 25…Bf5 26. Qh5! was no better; e.g. 26…Kf7 [g5 27. Bxg5! fxg5 28. Qxg5+ Kh8 29. Qf6+ and mate next] 27. Qh7+ Kf8 28. Bh6+ Ng7 29. Qxg7 mate) 26. Qg4! (hitting the Black vulnerable points at e4, e6 and g6 in a single move) Qe5 (see diagram) 27. Rd5!.

With the Black queen and bishop both overburdened defensively, Atalik has no good reply. The game concluded: 27…Qxc3 (Bxd5 28. Qxg6+ Kf8 29. Bxc5+! Nxc5 [Re7 30. Qg8 mate] 30. Qg7 mate) 28. Qxe4! Qa1+ 29. Kd2 Qxg1 30. Rd7!.

Since the Black king will be run to ground after 30…Re7 (Rad8 31. Bxe6+ Kh8 32. Qh4 mate) 31. Bxe6+ Kf8 (Rxe6 32. Qxe6+ Kh8 33. Qxf6+) 32. Bh6+ Ke8 33. Rxe7+ Kxe7 34. Bg4+ Kd8 35. Qd5+ Kc7 36. Qxc5+ Kd8 37. Qd6+ Ke8 38. Qf8 mate, Atalik resigned.

Classical world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia has begun a $1 million, eight-game match against reigning software world champion Deep Fritz in Manama, Bahrain. The contest is the first between a human world champion and a computer since Garry Kasparov's loss to IBM's Deep Blue in Philadelphia five years ago.

The match runs through Oct. 15. This column will have updates and games from the match in the coming weeks.

A new Brooklyn prodigy set a prodigious mark last weekend. Fabiano Caruana, 10, hailing from Bobby Fischer's home borough, became the youngest player ever to defeat a grandmaster in an official U.S. event.

Fabiano, already the highest rated American player under 12, upset Baltimore-based Polish GM Alex Wojtkiewicz in the first round of a Game/30 action tournament at New York City's Marshall Chess Club. The old record was held by Hikaru Nakamura, now a rising IM, who was two months older when he upset GM Arthur Bisguier in 1997.

Born July 30, 1992, Fabiano won the under-10 competition at the Pan-American Youth Chess Congress and will play in the 2002 World Youth Chess Championships to be held in Heraklio, Greece. With a U.S. rating of 2683, Wojtkiewicz is ranked eighth in the country and is a frequent prize winner at major open events.

Marshall Chess Club officials report the grandmaster was laboring under a double handicap: His lower-rated opponent's solid play forced him to take dangerous risks, and he had lost a few precious minutes of thinking time looking for a place to park before the game. Still, Fabiano's play from the White side of a Sicilian shows poise, maturity and an ability to convert a won game against a world-class opponent.

White appears to be in simplifying mode from the get-go, even ceding his opponent the bishop pair in his eagerness to trade pieces. After 14. Qxd6 Bxc3 15. Qxd8 (bxc3!? Qxd6 16. Rxd6 Bxf3 17. gxf3 Re2, and White's extra pawn is balanced by his blasted pawn formation) Bxb2+ 16. Kxb2 Raxd8 17. Rxd8 Rxd8, Black enjoys a small edge if only due to the disconnected White queenside pawns and his bishop's greater range than the White knight.

But in an effort for force matters, Black gets into trouble: 19. g4 Be6 20. Re1 Rd2?! 21. Nd3! (unexpectedly trapping the rook) Bxg4 22. h3!, when 22…Bxh3 23. Kc1 Rxd3 24. cxd3 wins the exchange. After 22…Bf3 23. Re3, Wojtkiewicz might have tried 23…Bd1!? 24. Kc1 Rxc2+ 25. Kxd1 Rxa2, with three pawns for the piece and unbalanced ending.

White collects the exchange and one last odd decision by Black (29…f5?! instead of the natural and sturdier 29…Bd7) leaves Black in a very bleak ending. Wojtkiewicz's biggest problem is that White threatens repeatedly to simplify down to a won ending; e.g., if 33…Bxh3+, then 34. Rxh3+! Kxh3 35. Kxg5 Kg2 36. f4 and wins.

But Black quickly runs out of moves and in the final position faces a killing zugzwang after 44. Rb3 Kg2 45. Rxf3! gxf3 46. Ke3!. The Black king must give way, the Black f-pawn must fall, and the pawn ending is an elementary win; Wojtkiewicz resigned.

European Club Cup, Halkidiki, Greece,

September 2002


1. e4e516. Be3c5

2. Nf3Nf617. g5d5

3. Nxe5d618. g6hxg6

4. Nf3Nxe419. hxg6fxg6

5. Nc3Nxc320. Ne5Bf6

6. dxc3Be721. Ng4d4

7. Bf4Nd722. Bc4dxc3

8. Qd2Nc523. Qe2Qb6

9. 0-0-0Bg424. Nxf6+gxf6

10. Be20-025. bxc3Qc7

11. h3Bh526. Qg4Qe5

12. g4Bg627. Rd5Qxc3

13. h4Re828. Qxe4Qa1+

14. h5Be429. Kd2Qxg1

15. Rhg1Ne630. Rd7Black


September Action Tournament, Marshall Chess Club, New York,

September 2002


1. e4c524. Kc1Rxd3

2. Nf3g625. Rxd3Kg7

3. d4Bg726. Kd2Kf6

4. Be3Nf627. Ke3Kg5

5. Nc3cxd428. Kd4Kh4

6. Bxd4Nc629. Rg3f5

7. Bb5Nxd430. Ke5Be4

8. Qxd40-031. c4g5

9. e5Ne832. Rb3Bg2

10. 0-0-0d633. Kxf5h6

11. Qd2Bg434. Kg6h5

12. Bxe8Rxe835. Kh6g4

13. exd6exd636. hxg4hxg4

14. Qxd6Bxc337. Kg6Bf3

15. Qxd8Bxb2+38. Kf5Kh3

16. Kxb2Raxd839. Kf4Kg2

17. Rxd8Rxd840. Rb2a6

18. Ne5Bf541. c5Kh2

19. g4Be642. a4Kg2

20. Re1Rd243. a5Kh2

21. Nd3Bxg444. Rb3Kg2

22. h3Bf345. Rxf3gxf3

23. Re3Bc646. Ke3Black


David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at dsands@washingtontimes.com.



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