- The Washington Times - Friday, January 20, 2006

Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov’s spectacular win in October’s FIDE (the International Chess Federation) World Chess Championship delivered a jolt to the rarefied world of elite chess.

Topalov dominated the Argentina event while playing a sharp, risk-taking brand of chess that his opponents could not match. Computers may have picked out flaws in his games the morning after, but the world’s best players proved unequal to the task when the clock was ticking.

At the Category 19 Corus 2006 Chess Tournament now under way at its traditional site in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, the Bulgarian’s peers seem determined to match his uncompromising approach, with half of the games through the first four rounds producing a decisive result.

Through midweek, Topalov had yet to draw a game, sharing the lead with India’s Viswanathan Anand at 3-1. The co-leaders have yet to play each other in the 14-grandmaster elite section.

American Gata Kamsky, appearing in his first premier invitational since returning to competitive play a little more than a year ago, has had a rough start in Wijk aan Zee, dropping some tough points to stumble out of the gate at 1-3. Kamsky’s Round 4 loss to strong Armenian talent Levon Aronian shows the combination of rust and bad luck that has plagued the only Yank in the field.

We pick up the game from today’s diagrammed position, where Kamsky as White has been putting up a determined resistance trying to hold a pawn-down position. In check, White could have fought on with 71. Bf2, although Black still has all the winning chances after 71…Qe5+ 72. Kf3 Qf5+ 73. Ke2 Qxg5 74. Qxa6 Qh5+.

Instead, it’s over after the game’s 71. Kf4? Qh4+ 72. Ke5 (Kf3 Qh1+ picks off the queen) Qh8+!, and White had to resign in light of the startling 73. Kf4 (Ke6 Qh3+ 74. Kd5 [Kf6 Qf5 mate] Qc3+ again snares the queen) Bd6+!!, again forcing the White king to the fatal diagonal as 74. Kg4 Qh5 mate and 74. Qxd6 Qh6+ both lose.

• • •

Short, sharp and double-edged was Anand’s Round 3 win over Ukraine’s Vassily Ivanchuk. The center quickly evaporates in this Symmetrical English, and Ivanchuk as White raises the stakes with a risky pawn grab (more harmonious might have been 15. Bf3, when Black’s position comes under siege in lines like 15…Rc8 16. Rfd1 Bc5? 17. Bg5 Be7 18. Ne4 Rc7 19. Bg4!).

On 16. Rad1 Bc5 17. b4!? (still equal was 17. Bb5 Rc7 18. b4 Rxa7 19. bxc5 bxc5 20. Rd3 Qb8) Be7 (Bxf2+? 18. Qxf2 Rxc3 19. Bxb6 Qe8 20. Bd4 is good for White) 18. Qd4 Rd6 19. Qc4 Be6 20. Qa6, the trapped bishop has forced White to divert his queen away from the defense of his king.

Two more missteps doom White after 22. Rfe1? (Rxd5 Rxd5 23. Bxb6 keeps Black’s edge to a minimum, while the trickier 22. Bxb6!? Rxb6 23. Rxd5 Rxa6 24. Rxd8 Rxa2 25. Bc4 Rxd8 26. Bxa2 Bxb4 is dead even) Rg6! 23. g3 (Bf3 Bxf3! 24. Rxd8 Rxg2+ 25. Kf1 [Kh1 Rg6 is mate] Rxh2 26. Rxf8+ Bxf8, and 27…Rh1 mate is unstoppable, while Black also rules on 23. Bf1 Bxb4 24. Re3 Bc5 25. Rg3 Rxg3 26. hxg3 Qf6) Bxb4 24. Bc4 Bxe1 25. Bxd5 Qe7 26. a4? Rf6!, and Black’s forces circle for the kill.

It comes on 27…Qe3+ 28. Kh1 (Kg2 Qf2+ 29. Kh1 [White also won’t survive long on 29. Kh3 Rh6+] Rh6 30. Bg2 Qxg3 31. h3 Rxh3+! 32. Bxh3 Qxh3+ 33. Kg1 Qg3+ 34. Kh1 Qf3+ 35. Kg1 Bf2+ 36. Kf1+ Be3+ 37. Ke1 Qf2 mate) Bxg3!, and after 29. Qd3 (hxg3 Qxg3 30. Qxb6 Rxb6 31. Bxb6 Qh4+ 32. Kg2 Qg4+ 33. Kh2 Qxd1) Qxd3 30. Rxd3 Bxf4, Ivanchuk is down an exchange and two pawns and his bishop on a7 is still trapped; White resigned.

England’s Michael Adams dealt Topalov his only setback of the event in a style the champ may have appreciated. In a Sicilian Scheveningen, White’s energetic 22. f5! gxf5 23. Nxd5! busts up the center, as 23…exd5? 24. e6 Qb6 25. exf7+ Kxf7 26. Bh5+ wins out of hand.

Black tries 23…Qc4 24. Qd2 h6 (Black can’t allow the queen check at g5), but Adams’ 25. h3!, denying g4 to the Black queen, keeps the pressure on. After 25…exd5 26. Bxd5 Qxb4 27. c3 Qc5 28. Rxf5, the pressure on f7 is worth the sacrificed piece.

Adams pushes on with 29. Rxf7! Nb6 (Kxf7 30. Qf4+ Ke7 31. Bh4+ Ke8 32. Bxe6) 30. Rfd1 Nxd5 (loses the queen but English IM Malcolm Pein notes that 30…Bg7 falls to 31. Qf4 Qxd5 32. Rxg7+! Kxg7 33. Qf8+ Kh7 34. Rf7+ Kg6 35. Qg8+ Kh5 36. Qg4 mate) 31. Rxf8+ Qxf8 32. Rxf8+ Kxf5 33. Qxd5.

Black has two rooks for the queen and two pawns, but his exposed king provides White too many openings. Adams picks off the Black h-pawn, and his queen and bishop are ready to escort his own h-pawn down the board.

After 41. h4 Rc7 42. h5, Black has seen enough. We’ll have updates on the play in Holland, which continues through Jan. 29.

Corus A Tournament, Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, January 2006


1. Nf3Nf615. Bxa7b6

2. c4c516. Rad1Bc5

3. Nc3Nc617. b4Be7

4. e3e518. Qd4Rd6

5. Be2d519. Qc4Be6

6. d4exd420. Qa6Nd5

7. exd4Be621. Nxd5Bxd5

8. Be3dxc422. Rfe1Rg6

9. Qa4cxd423. g3Bxb4

10. Nxd4Bd724. Bc4Bxe1

11. Qxc4Rc825. Bxd5Qe7

12. 0-0Bd626. a4Rf6

13. Nxc6Rxc627. f4Qe3+

14. Qh40-028. Kh1Bxg3

White resigns

Corus A Tournament, Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands, January 2006


1. e4c522. f5gxf5

2. Nf3d623. Nxd5Qc4

3. d4cxd424. Qd2h6

4. Nxd4Nf625. h3exd5

5. Nc3a626. Bxd5Qxb4

6. Be2e627. c3Qc5

7. 0-0Be728. Rxf5Re6

8. a4Nc629. Rxf7Nb6

9. Be30-030. Rdf1Nxd5

10. f4Qc731. Rxf8+Qxf8

11. Kh1Re832. Rxf8+Kxf8

12. Bf3Bf833. Qxd5Ke8

13. Qd2Na534. Bh4Bd7

14. b3Rb835. Bf6b4

15. Rad1Nc636. Qe4Bc8

16. Bf2Nd737. cxb4Rb7

17. Bg3Nxd438. Qg6+Kd7

18. Qxd4b539. Qxh6Kc7

19. axb5axb540. Qf4Kb8

20. b4g641. h4Rc7

21. e5d542. h5Black


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



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