- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 29, 2002

Chess these days is rarely played without an adjective.
There's rapid chess, blitz chess, correspondence chess, blindfold chess, shuffle chess, Japanese chess, computer chess, kriegspiel chess, 3-D chess, even Fischer random chess. Plain old vanilla seven-hour, you-punch-your-clock-I-punch-mine chess has come to be known as "classical chess," just to distinguish it from all the pretenders out there.
Perhaps the most pretentious pretender is "advanced chess," in which players are allowed to consult vast opening databases and sophisticated playing programs as they plot their moves. A series of annual matches held in Leon, Spain, has demonstrated that advanced players must walk a fine line between exploiting their silicon partners and trusting their own instincts, all while the clock ticks.
India's Viswanathan Anand has triumphed in several of these affairs, but classical chess world champ Vladimir Kramnik of Russia proved a very quick learner in a 6-game match with Anand that ended Monday. Kramnik won one and drew five to take the match 3-2.
Kramnik's lone win, oddly, owed little to the computer's vaunted calculating abilities and everything to the champ's deep understanding of the latent power of the isolated d-pawn, using principles laid down by German great Seigbert Tarrasch more than 100 years ago.
Both players have vast familiarity with this Queen's Gambit Accepted line, where virtually the entire strategic battle after 7. Bb3 cxd4 8. exd4 Nc6 9. Nc3 boils down to the White d-pawn. If Black can blockade and attack it, White's in trouble. If White can activate his pieces behind the pawn and eventually push it forward, he almost always wins.
Kramnik's 13. Rad1 varies from his fine Dortmund 2001 win over Spanish GM Miguel Illescas-Cordoba where he played 13. Qf4 immediately, and the subtle shift appears to rattle Black. Originally looking for pressure along the c-file, Anand reverses gears with 15Rc7 16. Nxc4 bxc4?! (Rxc4 17. Bb3 Rc6 18. Bxf6 Bxf6 19. d5! poses its own problems for Black), and Kramnik after a lengthy think goes for the thematic breakthrough: 17. Bxf6 Bxf6 18. d5! e5 (a fateful decision, for the White pawn's power increases with each advance; opening the game with 18exd5 19. Nxd5 Rb7 20. Rfe1 Rxb2 21. Ne7+ Qxe7 22. Rxe7 Bxe7 23. Qxc4 Be6 was also risky, according to Spanish annotators Sanchez Guirado and Sergio Estermera) 19. Qf3 Rb7 20. Qe4! g6 21. Qxc4.
The Black rook's foray into the White position is fraught with peril and Anand must work hard not to lose the exchange. Meanwhile, however, the advancing White d-pawn paralyzes Black's major pieces and Kramnik hardly needs the computer to chart his path.
By 29. d7 Rxb3 30. Qxf4, the position is close to a technical win for White. The kibitzing computers thought 35. Qe7 was a quicker knockout, but Kramnik's careful 35. Qxf5 gxf5 36. Rxa6 Rfd8 37. Rd6 leaves Black with no hope. His rooks are immobilized, his remaining pawns are weak, and the White king will soon join in the attack. Anand resigned.
Kramnik's facility with the mouse in Spain should give him a boost for the much-touted, long-delayed match with world software champ Deep Fritz in October in Bahrain.

A computer firm, WorldChessNetwork.com, was the sponsor of a match of a more traditional nature, as U.S. champ GM Larry Christiansen earlier this month defeated Canadian champion IM Pascal Charbonneau 4-1 in Richmond, British Columbia. The outrated Canadian managed to tie the match with a win in Game 2, but the more experienced Christiansen then reeled off three wins, including two as Black against his opponent's ill-judged King's Gambit.
Christiansen's quickest win, however, came from a very positional opening, as Charbonneau proved unable to handle White's aggressive treatment of the English Sicilian Attack in Game 5.
Black at several points in the opening fails to challenge White's provocative moves, notably declining the pawn sacrifice on 7. cxd5 Ne7 8. b4!?. By 14. exf4 Be7 15. Re1 Qd8 (see diagram), Black's queenside pieces are all on their home squares, and Christiansen has an overwhelming lead in development.
White strikes immediately, and the Black army is quickly overrun: 16. d6! cxd6 17. Rxe7! Nxe7 18. Ng5 (Black's game is so backward that White can develop the final assault at his leisure) d5 19. Qe2 h6 (Qb6+ 20. Kh1 Qd6 21. Re1 Nc6 22. Qd3 h6 23. Qc3 d4 24. Qc4+ Kh8 25. Nf7+ wins) 20. Re1!.
The simple attack on the e-file poses insurmountable problems for Charbonneau, even with the queens off the board. The finale: 20hxg5 21. Qxe7 Qxe7 22. Rxe7. Black has no good way to save his d-pawn: 22d4 (Rf6 23. Bxd5+ Kh8 24. Bxf6 gxf6 25. Rf7 gxf4 26. gxf4 a5 27. b5 Rb8 28. Rf8+ Kg7 29. Rg8+ Kh6 30. Kf2 b6 31. Kg3 Kh7 32. Kh4 Kh6 33. a4! Kh7 34. Kh5 d6 35. Be6, winning) 23. Bxd4 Rf6 24. Bd5+ Kf8 25. Bxf6 gxf6 26. Rf7+ Ke8 27. Rxf6 gxf4 28. gxf4 d6 29. Rxd6, and Black remains hogtied. Charbonneau resigned.

Advanced Chess Match, Game/60, Leon, Spain, June 2002
1. Nf3d520. Qe4g6
2. d4e621. Qxc4Rxb2
3. c4dxc422. Bb3Bg5
4. e3c523. d6Be6
5. Bxc4Nf624. Qa4Bxb3
6. 0-0a625. axb3Qb6
7. Bb3cxd426. Qg4Bf4
8. exd4Nc627. Nd5Qd8
9. Nc3Be728. Nxf4exf4
10. Bg50-029. d7Rxb3
11. Qd2Na530. Qxf4Rb8
12. Bc2b531. Rfe1Qb6
13. Rad1Nc432. h4h5
14. Qf4Ra733. Rd6Qc5
15. Ne5Rc734. Qf6Qf5
16. Nxc4bxc435. Qxf5gxf5
17. Bxf6Bxf636. Rxa6Rfd8
18. d5e537. Rd6Black
19. Qf3Rb7resigns

WorldChessNetwork.com North American Championship, Richmond, British Columbia, June 2002
Christiansen Charbonneau
1. c4e512. Nf3Qe8
2. g3Nf613. 0-0exf4
3. Bg2Nc614. exf4Be7
4. Nc3Bb415. Re1Qd8
5. Nd5Bc516. d6cxd6
6. e3Nxd517. Rxe7Nxe7
7. cxd5Ne718. Ng5d5
8. b4Bd619. Qe2h6
9. Bb20-020. Re1hxg5
10. a3f521. Qxe7Qxe7
11. f4Ng622. Rxe7Black
David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at [email protected]

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