- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2002

Polish GM Bartlomiej Macieja scored the best result of his career, winning the strong European Individual Championships outright last month in the Georgian city of Batumi.
Macieja went 9-3, half a point ahead of Belgium's Mikhail Gurevich, Merab Gagunashvili of Georgia, Gabriel Sargissian of Armenia and Sergey Volkov of Russia.
The tournament is only 3 years old, but it is the one to watch: Last year's co-winner, Ukrainian teenager Ruslan Ponomariov, went on to win the FIDE world championship knockout tournament in Moscow a few months later.
FM Torstein Bae of Norway and Bulgarian IM Marijan Petrov staged one of the more exciting duels in Batumi, with Petrov turning aside a strong attack with the help of a striking queen sacrifice that produced a decisive mating attack.
In a Sicilian, Petrov as Black takes a gamble by grabbing a queenside pawn with 12. Nd4 a6 13.Nc3 Nxc4!? 14. Bxc4 Qxc4 15. Rc1 Qc7 16. g4 Qd8. White quickly assembles an imposing attack force as the Black queen takes several moves to get back to the defense, but Bae's light-squared bishop will be badly missed, and his all-out rush on the kingside leaves him open to a nasty counterpunch.
White's 19. Qh4 Re8 20. f5! seems very strong, as Black has to make a series of precise moves to keep his weak points at g6 and e6 from buckling. After 20…Bf8! 21. Rf3 Ne5! 22. Rh3 h5!, Bae should have settled for comfortable equality with 23. gxh6 Qxh4 24. Rxh4 Be7 25. Rh3 Nd3 26. Rf1 e5 27. Nd5, when White still enjoys a slight pull.
Going for more, White ends up with nothing on 23. Rf1?! Bd7 24. Nde2 exf5 25. Nd5 Bg7 26. exf5 (about to be overrun, Black counters just in time) Ng4! 27. Bb6 (see diagram) Rxe2!!.
In return for the queen, Black's two bishops spring to life, collaborating nicely with Petrov's well-placed rook and knight in the final kill: 28. Bxd8 (f6 Qe8! 29. fxg7 Qe4 30. Nf4 Bc6 31. Rhf3 Qxf4! 32. Rxf4 Rg2+ 33. Kh1 Rxh2+ 34. Kg1 Rxh4 and White must give up another exchange to stop the mate on h1) Bd4+ 29. Kh1 Bc6! (deadly, as the bishops now zero in on the White king) 30. Bf6 Bxd5+.
The pinned White pieces prove useless in defense: 31. Rhf3 Bf2! 32. R1xf2 (or 32. Qh3 Re3 33. Kg2 [R1xf2 Nxf2+ wins the queen] Rxf3 34. Qxf3 Bxf3+ 35. Kxf3 Bc5 and Black is a piece up) Rxf2, and White is paralyzed. On 33. Kg1 Bxf3 34. Qxf2 Nxf2 34. Kxf2, Black is a full rook ahead. Bae resigned.

Congratulations to FM Stanislav Kriventsov, winner of the 2002 D.C. Action Championship with a score of 5-. Kriventsov edged GM Alex Sherzer and masters Mikhail Belorusov and Ilye Figler by half a point for the title June 22 at the U.S. Chess Center downtown. The 10th annual action event was the largest and strongest to date, with 12 masters and titled players in the 60-player field.
Class A player Mark Young had a fine tournament, going 4-2 and taking the District action title as the highest scoring city resident in the tournament. Also enjoying a strong run at the event was expert Alex Barnett, who lost only to Sherzer while finishing at 4-1.

Youth tournaments in Moscow tend to attract a lot of outside interest, since even the depleted Russian chess scene still boasts the world's deepest talent pool. So Boris Grachev may be a name to note, as the young Russian master just won a strong under-16 youth event in Moscow featuring players from a number of former states of the Soviet Union.
In today's second game, taken from last month's competition, Russian master Boris Savchenko plays like the second coming of the great Armenian-born Soviet champ Tigran Petrosian, with Petrosianesque obscure maneuvering, the preference for knights over bishops, and the eccentric king play that suddenly produce an unbreakable bind. His victim, Turkmenistan expert Mesgen Amanov, still may not know what hit him.
Start with the startling 10. c4 Bb4+ 11. Ke2!? Ba6 12. Kf3!!?, where White accepts a bizarre early king foray in order to preserve his positional advantages. Black's 16. Qd6 Qb6?! (Qxd6 17.exd6 Ng6 18. b3 c5 19. Nd3 Rc8 20. Re1 Bb7+ 21. Ke3 looks passive but playable for Black) is a fateful but understandable decision, keeping the queens on the board in hopes of an attack against the exposed White king.
That attack never develops, and Black's pieces find themselves with frustratingly little to do. On 23…Rc8 24. Rhg1! (an inspired posting, as the rook with soon find itself in the thick of the action from its unpromising square) Bb7 25.Ne5! (the Black bishop has a beautiful diagonal but no targets to shoot at, while the White knight freezes Black's game) g6 26. Rd3! Rg8 27. h4! (the pawn break comes not at g4 but h5, a much more powerful shot) Rd8 28. Rg3.
The Black king is drawn to the defense of the kingside, only to find itself trapped in a mating net: 31. h5 gxh5 32. Rxh5 Rxg3 (Rh8? 33. Ng6+) 33. Kxg3 (threatening to waltz into Black's position via the dark squares; White's unorthodox strategy has been a complete success) Kg7 34. Rg5+ Kf6 (no better was the retreat 34…Kf8 35. Kh4 Bb1 36. Kh5 Bxa2 37. Kh6 Bxb3 38. Kxh7 a4 39. Rg8 mate) 35. Kh4 Bc6 36. Kh5 Rh8 (h6 37. Rxg6 mate; but not 37. Kxh6?? Rh8 mate) 37. Kh6.
As 37…a4 38. Rg7 snares the Black king, Amanov resigned.
3rd Individual European Chess Championship, Batumi, Georgia, June 2002
Bae Petrov
1. e4c517. g5Nd7
2. Nf3Nc618. Qh5g6
3. d4cxd419. Qh4Re8
4. Nxd4Qb620. f5Bf8
5. Nb3Nf621. Rf3Ne5
6. Bd3e622. Rh3h5
7. 0-0Be723. Rf1Bd7
8. Be3Qc724. Nde2exf5
9. f4d625. Nd5Bg7
10. a30-026. exf5Ng4
11. c4Na527. Bb6Rxe2
12. Nd4a628. Bxd8Bd4+
13. Nc3Nxc429. Kh1Bc6
14. Bxc4Qxc430. Bf6Bxd5+
15. Rc1Qc731. Rhf3Bf2
16. g4Qd832. R1xf2Rxf2
White resigns
CIS International Youth Sports Games, Moscow, June 2002
1. e4c520. Nd3Nd4+
2. Nc3Nc621. Ke3Qxd6
3. Nf3e622. exd6Nxe2
4. d4cxd423. Kxe2Rc8
5. Nxd4Nf624. Rhg1Bb7
6. Nxc6bxc625. Ne5g6
7. e5Nd526. Rd3Rg8
8. Ne4Qc727. h4Rd8
9. f4Qb628. Rg3Kf8
10. c4Bb4+29. Rh1a5
11. Ke2Ba630. Kf2Be4
12. Kf3f531. h5gxh5
13. Nf2Ne732. Rxh5Rxg3
14. Be3Bc533. Kxg3Kg7
15. Bxc5Qxc534. Rg5+Kf6
16. Qd6Qb635. Kh4Bc6
17. Rd1Rd836. Kh5Rh8
18. b3c537. Kh6Black
19. Be2Nc6resigns

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

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