- The Washington Times - Friday, May 27, 2005

Young Georgian GM Zviad Izoria is $50,000 richer after winning the HB Global Chess Challenge outright last weekend in Minneapolis with a 71/2-11/2 score. The event, with a total prize fund of $500,000, was one of the most lucrative Swiss open events ever held and attracted a slew of top grandmasters from around the world.

Ten GMs, including Americans Gata Kamsky and Ildar Ibragimov, finished a half-point back at 7-2 in the 268-player Open section. Izoria put on a strong finishing kick, defeating Israeli GMs Ilya Smirin and Victor Mikhalevski and veteran Slovenian GM Alexander Belyavsky in the closing rounds before taking a last-round draw with Ibragimov to secure the win.

Reigning U.S. champion Hikaru Nakamura, perhaps the strongest American in the field, lost to Belyavsky in Round 6 and finished in a knot of players at 61/2-21/2.

Kamsky, once rated among the top five players in the world, returned to competitive chess last year after a lengthy layoff, posting some indifferent results. The rust may finally have come off for good in Minneapolis, based on the classic Kamsky victory over California master David Pruess.

Kamsky in his previous prime was famous for his sang-froid, calculating his way through the most treacherous positions. Here he allows Pruess perhaps the most frightening attacking battery in chess — a pair of rooks on the seventh rank — as he confidently brings his own attack home on the other flank.

White’s pawn sacrifice 11. 0-0!? Nxd4 12. Nxd4 cxd4 13. Bf2 proves justified in the long run as the Black pawn on d4 essentialy permanently shuts Pruess’ queen out of the game. Despite the pawn deficit, Kamsky serenely improves his position with 18. cxd3 h5?! (giving White a nice target later on) 19. Nf2 Rc8 20. Kh1!! (an extraordinarily deep preparatory move that safeguards the king and aids the king-side assault) Rc8 21. Qd1!, preparing to strike on either wing depending on Black’s response.

Pruess castles king-side and invades strongly on the c-file, but White’s attack proves stronger: 24. Qf3 Rc2 25. Qh3! (abandoning his queen-side to its fate) Rxb2 26. Bf6, when the tournament report notes that 26…Bxf6 27. exf6 Nxf6 28. Nxf6+ Kg7 fails to 29. Qh7+! Kxf6 30. f5! exf5 31. Rxf5+!! Kxf5 (or 31…gxf5 32. Qh6 mate) 32. Qxf7+ Kg5 (Qf6 33. Rf1+) 33. h4+ Kh5 34. Qf3+ Kh6 35. Qf4+ Kh7 36. Re7+, winning.

Black tries 26…Rcc2, but his defensive ramparts are breached on 27. f5! exf5 (gxf5 28. Bxg7 Kxg7 29. Qh6+ Kg8 30. Rg1!, taking the square vacated by the king 10 moves earlier to deliver the crushing blow) 28. Bxg7 Kxg7 29. Qh6+ Kg8 30. e6! (one hammer blow after another — another Kamsky trait) fxe6 31. Qxg6+, and Black resigned as White crashes through on 31…Kf8 32. Rxe6.

In a popular, statement-making triumph, Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov took the Category 20 M-Tel Masters Tournament in his hometown of Sofia, besting a field that included classical world champ Vladimir Kramnik and Indian superstar Viswanathan Anand. Topalov defeated both of his rivals in the double-round-robin event.

Topalov, who may top the ratings list for active players when the results from Sofia are tabulated, has long been seen as an extraordinary but erratic talent, typically spoiling promising tournaments with a single botched effort. He didn’t quite shake that tag at M-Tel — he should have lost his blunder-filled last-round game with Kramnik after hanging a piece — but he played by far the best and most adventurous chess against a world-class field.

Topalov’s only loss was to Ukraine’s Ruslan Ponomariov, and he got his revenge in the event’s second half, when the tournament co-leaders met for a rematch. It wasn’t even close.

Perhaps no top GM has produced more classic attacking games over the past five years than the Bulgarian star, and here he overwhelms his opponent right out of the opening: 11. Bd3 Nxc3?! (strongly criticized after the game as White’s attack now plays itself; both 11…f5 and 11…Nxd2 look stronger) 12. Rxc3 c5 (seeking central counterplay) 13. dxc5 bxc5 14. h4 h6 15. Bb1!, preparing to put the queen on the b1-h7 diagonal and go for mate.

Topalov said later that 15…Nd7, getting the knight back for defense, was the only hope here, as White just barrels ahead on 15…f5? 16. exf6 Bxf6 17. Qc2 d4 18. Ng5!!, ignoring the attack on the rook and offering up another piece. Black goes up a rook and a knight but still can’t stem White’s attack on 18…hxg5 19. hxg5 dxc3 20. Bf4 Kf7 (Bd4 21. Qg6 c2 22. Bxc2 Bc3+ 23. Kf1 Bxc4+ 24. bxc4 doesn’t change the verdict) 21. Qg6+ Ke7 22. gxf6+ Rxf6 23. Qxg7+ Rf7 24. Bg5+, and Black’s king can’t survive long.

A little deflecting sacrifice settles matters on 28. Qe8+ Kb6 29. Qd6+ Kc6 30. Be4+!, as 30…Qxe4 31. Qc7 is mate. Ponomariov resigned.

The final M-Tel tally: Topalov 61/2-31/2; Anand 51/2-41/2; Ponomariov, Judit Polgar (Hungary) 5-5; Kramnik, Michael Adams (England) 4-6.

HB Global Chess Challenge, Minneapolis, May 2005

KamskyPruess

1. e4e617. Rae1Bxd3

2. d4d518. cxd3h5

3. Nc3Nf619. Nf2Rc8

4. e5Nfd720. Kh1Rc6

5. f4c521. Qd10-0

6. Nf3Nc622. g4hxg4

7. Be3a623. Nxg4Rfc8

8. Qd2b524. Qf3Rc2

9. Bd3b425. Qh3Rxb2

10. Nd1Qb626. Bf6Rcc2

11. 0-0Nxd427. f5exf5

12. Nxd4cxd428. Bxg7Kxg7

13. Bf2a529. Qh6+Kg8

14. Bh4g630. e6fxe6

15. Nf2Bg731. Qxg6+Black

16. Ng4Ba6resigns

M-Tel Masters Tournament, Sofia, Bulgaria, May 2005

TopalovPonomariov

1. d4Nf616. exf6Bxf6

2. c4e617. Qc2d4

3. Nf3b618. Ng5hxg5

4. g3Ba619. hxg5dxc3

5. b3Bb4+20. Bf4Kf7

6. Bd2Be721. Qg6+Ke7

7. Nc30-022. gxf6+Rxf6

8. Rc1c623. Qxg7+Rf7

9. e4d524. Bg5+Kd6

10. e5Ne425. Qxf7Qxg5

11. Bd3Nxc326. Rh7Qe5+

12. Rxc3c527. Kf1Kc6

13. dxc5bxc528. Qe8+Kb6

14. h4h629. Qd8+Kc6

15. Bb1f530. Be4+Black

resigns

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

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