- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 13, 2002

All the favorites save one made it safely to the knockout matches at the candidates tournament to determine a challenger to classical world chess champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia.
As expected, Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and Spain's Alexei Shirov took the two qualifying spots in the four-player Group A. England's Michael Adams, though, was the odd man out in Group B as Russian Evgeny Bareev and Hungary's Peter Leko took the two qualifying spots in Group B. The tournament, sponsored by the Einstein Group, is being held in Dortmund, Germany, and runs through July 21.
The four semifinalists will pair off in elimination matches, with the ultimate winner to face Kramnik in a 16-game match next year. A still-evolving unification plan calls for FIDE world titleholder Ruslan Ponomariov of Ukraine and former world champion Garry Kasparov of Russia to stage their own match. The winner of Kramnik's match will meet the winner of the Ponomariov-Kasparov match sometime next year to end the disastrous division of the game's most important title..
German GM Christopher Lutz got into the tournament as the hometown hero, but he has been predictably outclassed by his higher-rated and more experienced rivals. Topalov, playing some of the strongest chess of his career recently, dismantled the German in the tournament's first round with some accurate attacking play.
Lutz presses the play gamely from the Black side of a Sicilian and appears to have at least some hopes of a queen-side attack after 11. Kb1 Nc4 12. Bxc4 bxc4 13. Nc1 Qb7 (d6?! 14. Nb5! axb5 15. Qxb4, hitting the b- and d-pawns). But Topalov demonstrates that he has the situation well in hand with 18…cxb3 19. axb3 a5 20. Rd4!, a high-class, multipurpose move that defends a4, freezes the Black attack and prepares for serious White action in the center.
Needing space, Lutz accepts a troublesome isolated d-pawn with 21. Qa3 d5!? (a gamble, but passive play probably would have lost even more quickly) 22. exd5 exd5 (Nxd5 23. Nxd5 exd5 24. Nf4 leads to similar play) 23. Nf4 Be6 24. Rhd1. Now the attempt to hunker down with 24…Rd8 25. Ne4 Nxe4 26. fxe4 Rad6 allows the cute 27. exd5 Bxd5? 28. Nxd5 Rxd5 29. Qxa5!, winning because of Black's back-rank vulnerability.
Black gives up the d-pawn for attacking chances, but Topalov turns the tables on 26. Nxd5 Rb8 (see diagram) 27. Nf6+!! (not an obvious attacking move, though Black must accept the knight; Topalov had to see at least up through Move 32 when pitching the knight) gxf6 28. Rd8+ Rxd8 29. Rxd8+ Kh7 30. Qf8 Kg6 31. Qg8+ Kh5 (Kf5 32. Qf4+ Ke5 33. f4+ Ke4 34. Qf3+ Kf5 35. Qxb7 and wins) 32. Qg7!.
White's threat is 33. g4+ Kh4 34. Qxh6 mate, and on 32…f5 33. Rd4!, the mate threat becomes 34. Rh4+! Kxh4 35. Qxh6 mate. Black tries 33…Bc8, but 34. g3 forces capitulation, as 34…Qe7 (Rg6 35. Rh4+ Kg5 36. f4 mate) 35. Rh4+ Qxh4 36. gxh4 Be6 37. Qd4 is a clear win for White.
More on Dortmund in the coming weeks.

Slovak organizers decided to open this year's national championship event to some foreign gunslingers. Israeli GM Emil Sutovsky edged Russian GM Konstantin Landa to win the tournament, which wrapped up earlier this month in the Slovak resort town of Kaskady.
Sutovsky not only won the event, but played perhaps the best attacking game of the tournament against Slovakia's Sergie Movsesian, a recent transplant from Armenia. Despite the demoralizing loss, Movsesian would go on to capture the national title as the highest-scoring Slovak citizen in the Category 12 tournament, edging fellow Slovak Lubomir Ftacnik in a two-game playoff.
In another Sicilian, Sutovsky shows the kind of single-mindedness in pressing the queen-side attack that might have benefited Lutz against Topalov. Here, the Black knight doesn't even come into play until Move 24 as Sutovsky works first the c-file and then the a-file in a struggle to wrest the initiative from his opponent.
In a tricky tactical duel right out of the opening, Black shows he is ready to take a punch if it means he can land one of his own: 14. Nxd5 Bxd5 15. Be2 (Qxd5?? Rd8) a5 16. Bb6 (the bishop is still poison: 16. Qxd5 Qxc2+ 17.Ka1 Qxe2 18. Qxb7 Nc6! 19. Rc1 Qxf3 and Black's coordinated pieces give him the edge) Qxb6 17. Qxd5 Qc7 18. Bd3 a4 19. Nd2 a3 20. Bc4 axb2! (Black will not be deterred, even by the attack on f7) 21. Qxf7+ Kh8.
The Black king actually can breathe easy in the corner, but the constant pressure on the White queen-side forces Movsesian to plug multiple holes. White appears to be organizing a defense just when Sutovsky strikes in startling fashion 28. Bd5 Bf6 29. Bxe4 Rxa2!!. The Black queen is hanging, and the Black rook can be taken two ways, but White dares not capture either piece: a) 30. Bxf3? Rxb2+ 31. Ka1 Ra8+ 32. Qa2 Raxa2 mate; b) 30. Kxa2 Ra8+ 31. Kb1 Qa3! 32. Nd3 (Nd1 Qb4+ 33. Kc2 Nd4+, forking king and queen) Qa1+ 33. Kc2 Nd4+ 34. Kd1 Qa4+ 35. Ke1 Nxe6, winning; and c) 30. Qxa2 Qxe4+ 31. Ka1 (Rc2 Qxh1+) Bxb2+ 32. Qxb2 (Kxb2 Rf2+) Ra8+ 33. Qa2 Rxa2+, winning once again.
Movsesian tries 30. Rc2, but on 30…Rxb2+! 31. Rxb2 Qa3 32. Qb3 Bxb2 33. Qxb2 Qe3, Black has won a clear pawn, and, more important, the White king remains a target in the open field.
Black must watch his back rank, but a clearly rattled White gives up the struggle soon after time control: 41. Qxb7?! (maybe hoping to catch Black napping, but the swindle is easily avoided) Rb8 42. Kc1 Qf4+! (and not 42…Rxb7?? 43. Rd8 mate) 43. Kc2 Qc4+, and now if 44. Kd2, Black can safely capture the queen because the White rook's path to d8 is blocked by his own king.
Movsesian resigned.

Dortmund Sparkassen Tournament, Dortmund, Germany, July 2002
1. e4c518. Qxd6cxb3
2. Nf3e619. axb3a5
3. d4cxd420. Rd4Ra6
4. Nxd4Nc621. Qa3d5
5. Nc3Qc722. exd5exd5
6. Be3a623. Nf4Be6
7. Qd2Nf624. Rhd1h6
8. 0-0-0Bb425. Ncxd5Nxd5
9. f3Ne526. Nxd5Rb8
10. Nb3b527. Nf6+gxf6
11. Kb1Nc428. Rd8+Rxd8
12. Bxc4bxc429. Rxd8+Kh7
13. Nc1Qb730. Qf8Kg6
14. N1e2Rb831. Qg8+Kh5
15. b30-032. Qg7f5
16. Bf4Ra833. Rd4Bc8
17. Bd6Bxd634. g3Black

Slovakian Championship, Kaskady, Slovakia, June 2002
1. e4c523. Bb3Qxc3
2. Nf3d624. Nc4Nc6
3. d4cxd425. Nxb2e4
4. Nxd4Nf626. Rc1Qxf3
5. Nc3a627. Qe6Rf8
6. Be3e528. Bd5Bf6
7. Nb3Be629. Bxe4Rxa2
8. f3Be730. Rc2Rxb2+
9. Qd20-031. Rxb2Qa3
10. 0-0-0Qc732. Qb3Bxb2
11. g4Rc833. Qxb2Qe3
12. Kb1d534. Bc2Nd4
13. exd5Nxd535. Rd1Nxc2
14. Nxd5Bxd536. Qxc2Qb6+
15. Be2a537. Kc1Qe6
16. Bb6Qxb638. Qa4Qh6+
17. Qxd5Qc739. Kb1Qxh2
18. Bd3a440. Qb4Ra8
19. Nd2a341. Qxb7Rb8
20. Bc4axb242. Kc1Qf4+
21. Qxf7+Kh843. Kc2Qc4+
22. c3Ra3White resigns

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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