- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2007

The news has been piling up so fast lately that we’ll dispense with the clever introductions and cut right to the chess.

m Local fans can see some U.S. greats in action this weekend at the third annual Richard K. Delaune Jr. Memorial, being played through tomorrow evening at the U.S. Chess Center downtown.

GMs Joel Benjamin, a two-time U.S. national champ, and John Fedorowicz, former U.S. Open winner, will be competing in the five-round Swiss event. Both were friends of Delaune, the Virginia IM who passed away much too soon in 2004. The center is at 1501 M St. NW. Round times and other information can be found at www.chessctr.org.

m After more than 12 years on ice, the reincarnated Springfield Open attracted 78 players the weekend of May 19 and 20. The top section saw a four-way tie for first: IM Larry Kaufman; his son, FM Ray Kaufman; FM Rodion Rubenchik; and NM Andrew Samuelson, all at 41/2-1/2. The senior Kaufman and Samuelson, both with perfect scores, quickly drew their final round matchup, while Rubenchik and Ray Kaufman won.

Matt Grinberg took the top expert prize at 4-1, while Josh Downey and Gil Guo shared the Class A prize at 31/2-11/2. Saf Benouameur matched that score to take the Class B prize, with his only loss to Ray Kaufman in the final round. Four players shared the Class C prize — Tom Labue, Fiona Lam, Kun Liu and Walt Carey — while John Spoone took the Class D prize with a fine 3-2 score, and John Russell won the under-1200 prize.

Mike Atkins organized and directed the event, which promises to be a nice addition to the local calendar.

m China’s women confirmed their powerhouse status with a dominating performance at last week’s inaugural World Women’s Team Championship in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Aided by a 4-0 whitewash of the Russian team, the Chinese took the gold in the 10-team event, with Russia settling for silver and Ukraine taking bronze.

Among the stars for the Chinese team was 13-year-old Zhao Xue, who scored 7-2 on Board 2. China won all but one of its matches, ceding only a 2-2 draw to Georgia.

m Last and certainly not least, the eight FIDE candidates’ matches finish up this weekend in Elista, Russia. The two knockout rounds of six-game matches will produce four finalists to compete in the world title tournament, set for late September in Mexico City. Reigning FIDE champ Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, compatriots Peter Svidler and Alexander Morozevich, and Indian GM Viswanathan Anand already are seeded into the Mexico finale.

U.S. GM Gata Kamsky, the only American in the title hunt, was one of the first to advance, dismissing France’s Etienne Bacrot with a win in Thursday’s Game 4, giving him an insurmountable 31/2-1/2 lead. Hungarian star Peter Leko is also through to the next round, beating Turkish GM Mikhail Gurevich by the same margin.

Kamsky, who recently returned from a decade away from the game, is still a bit rusty on the openings but looks to be his old world-class self given a half-playable middlegame. In Game 3 against Bacrot, he adopted a modest Anti-Marshall line as White in the Ruy Lopez, only to take full control of the game just a few moves out of the opening books.

Black’s 13…Qd7 and 17…f6?! suggest a certain lack of a coherent plan, an absence Kamsky punishes alertly with 18. Nc3! Ncb4 19. Qe2!, attacking both e7 and b5. Already fighting for a draw, Bacrot surrenders a pawn to set up opposite-colored bishops on 22…Nd3 23. Rd1 Nxc1 24. Raxc1 Bxf3 25. gxf3.

White’s king-side is in ruins, but it is Kamsky’s c- and d-pawns that decide. White efficiently moves them down the board and wins a piece on 32. d5 Kg7 33. d6! cxd6 (f5 34. dxc7 Bxc7 35. Rxd8 Bxd8 36. Ra7+ Kf6 37. Ba2 keeps White’s edge) 34. c6! d5 35. Ra7+ Kh7 37. c7. Because Black must give up a bishop to stop the pawn, Bacrot resigned.

With two games to go, the youngest candidate, Norwegian teenager Magnus Carlsen, was putting up a tough fight against No. 1 seed GM Levon Aronian of Armenia, trailing just 21/2-11/2 against the world’s fifth-highest-rated player. Carlsen’s Game 3 win was particularly impressive, accurately judging a double-edged ending to take the point.

White gets a good game out of the English, and the character of the position is sealed following Aronian’s committal 17. Bg5 cxd4?! 18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. cxd4 e5 20. Qxc8 Raxc8 21. d5. Black will struggle mightily to find compensation to offset the passed d-pawn.

White’s coldblooded 29. Re4 Kf8 30. Rg4! Rc7 31. Rg7 b5 32. Rxh7 shows excellent judgment. Black’s queen-side pawns — where White has no defenses — look dangerous, but Carlsen gambles that his own king-side pawns will prove more powerful more quickly.

His judgment is borne out on 35. Kf3! b4 (Rxd6 36. Rxf7 a5 37. Kg4 b4 38. Kh5 a4 39. Kg6 is winning) 36. Ke4! (forcing Black’s hand, as 37. Kd5 is threatened) Rxd6 37. Rxf7 Ra6 (see diagram) 38. g4! Kg8 39. h7+! Kh8 40. g5! fxg5 41. f6, and the infiltration Kf5-g6 will prove decisive. Aronian gave up.

Candidates’ Matches, Semifinals, Elista, Russia, May 2007

KamskyBacrot

1. e4e519. Qe2Bd6

2. Nf3Nc620. Qxb5Nxc3

3. Bb5a621. Qxd7Rxd7

4. Ba4Nf622. bxc3Nd3

5. 0-0Be723. Rd1Nxc1

6. Re1b524. Raxc1Bxf3

7. Bb30-025. gxf3Bf4

8. h3Bb726. Ra1Rd6

9. c3d527. c4Rb6

10. exd5Nxd528. Rd3g6

11. d3Qd629. c5Rb5

12. Nbd2Rad830. Bc4Rb4

13. Ne4Qd731. Be6Rd8

14. a4Kh832. d5Kg7

15. axb5axb533. d6cxd6

16. d4exd434. c6d5

17. cxd4f635. Ra7+Kh6

18. Nc3Ncb436. c7Black

resigns

Candidates’ Matches, Semifinals, Elista, Russia, May 2007

CarlsenAronian

1. Nf3Nf622. h5Nc4

2. c4b623. Nh4Nd6

3. g3c524. h6Rc3

4. Bg2Bb725. Rac1Rfc8

5. 0-0e626. Rxc3Rxc3

6. Nc3Be727. Nf5Nxf5

7. Re1d528. exf5Kg8

8. cxd5Nxd529. Re4Kf8

9. d4Nxc330. Rg4Rc7

10. bxc3Be431. Rg7b5

11. Ne5Bxg232. Rxh7Kg8

12. Kxg20-033. Rg7+Kh8

13. e4Qc834. d6Rd7

14. Qg4Bf635. Kf3b4

15. Nf3Kh836. Ke4Rxd6

16. h4Nc637. Rxf7Ra6

17. Bg5cxd438. g4Kg8

18. Bxf6gxf639. h7+Kh8

19. cxd4e540. g5fxg5

20. Qxc8Raxc841. f6Black

21. d5Na5resigns

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

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