- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 12, 2002

Classical world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia has bolted to an early lead in his eight-game match against world computer software champ Deep Fritz in their much-anticipated match in Bahrain.

Using a precise, anti-computer style, Kramnik easily drew Game 1 with Black and then convincingly took the next two games. Deep Fritz managed to draw with Black in Thursday's Game 4, leaving Kramnik with a 3-1 lead with four games to go. The match concludes Oct. 19.

The match is the first champ-vs.-chip contest since Garry Kasparov's celebrated loss to IBM's Deep Blue five years ago.

Play so far has presented a paradox: It's the human who prefers dry, mechanical positions, while Deep Fritz's German and Dutch programmers would be only too happy to mix it up in a romantic, tactical melee. Kramnik, who, like former world champ Tigran Petrosian, has a talent for making progress at the board while doing nothing in particular, has consistently aimed for static, queenless middle games in which Fritz has been outplayed positionally.

It's not as easy as it sounds (Kasparov never quite managed it in the Deep Blue match), as was seen in the human champ's Game 2 win. The Queen's Gambit Accepted is an opening Kramnik knows supremely well, but it also holds out the promise for the machine of at least a semiopen game.

But the queens come off early, and White's 9. Kf1!? is classic anti-computer play, taking Fritz out of its opening book memory banks. The computer's technical weakness is exposed on the weird12. Nb3 Bf8?. Fritz's logic is impeccable: It judged White's knight move inferior and calculated that White's best now was the retreat 13. Nbd2, fixing his "mistake."

But Black simply hands his opponent two free tempi and bollixes up his king-side development in the process. White steadily builds up his central control and threatens to overrun the Black position on 22. Nd6+ Kf8 23. Bf2 (the tempting 23. Nb5+ is met by 23…Nxc5 24. Nxc7 Rc8 25. Rac1 Bh3+! 26. Ke1 Rxc7 27. Rd8+ Ke7 28. Rxh8 Nd3+, equalizing) Bxd6 24. Rxd6 Ke7 25. Rad1 Rhc8 26. Bb5.

White dominates the d-file and threatens 27. Rxe6+! fxe6 28. Rxd7+ with a winning bind, but Fritz now displays the computer's customary tough defense: 26…Nc5! (overlooked by Kramnik) 27. Bc6 Bc4+! (preventing what seemed a sure loss of material) 28. Ke1 Nd3+. White now must find the one way to simplify to an ending in which the active White rook dominates its Black counterpart: 29. R1xd3! Bxd3 30. Bc5 Bc4 31. Rd4+! Kf6 32. Rxc4 Rxc6 33. Be7+! Kxe7 34. Rxc6. The Black rook is tied to the defense of the a-pawn, and the Black king must keep an eye on the White rook getting behind his king-side pawns.

With Fritz tied down, White brings his king up to the action and opens a second front on the king-side to increase Black's defensive burden. Black's 47…b3?! is an act of desperation, but waiting moves such as 47…Ra7 48. Rc5+ Kd7 49. Rc6 Ke7 50. Ra6 fare no better.

White wins a pawn and with 56. Kc3 Rd1 57. Rd5+! transposes to a carefully calculated pawn ending. One sample finish, pointed out by British IM Malcolm Pein: 57…Rxd5 58. exd5 Kd6 59. b4 axb4 60. Kxb4 Kxd5 61. Kb5 f5 62. a5 e4 63. a6, and the pawn will queen with check. Fritz signed off.

•••

Peruvian GM Julio Granda Zuniga is back with a vengeance.

One of the strongest talents to come out of South America since Brazil's great Henrique Mecking, Granda Zuniga has ended a three-year hiatus from the game with a dominating performance at the Peruvian national championships in Lima. Easily the highest-rated player in the 14-man field, Granda Zuniga raced to a 9-1 start and coasted from there to the title.

There was no rust in sight in the grandmaster's very first game, a convincing demolition of master Wilder Cotrina Moscoso. Black is outclassed from the outset in this Queen's Indian Accelerated Fianchetto, with his king caught disastrously in the middle. Granda Zuniga finishes the game in the attractive attacking style for which he was long known.

Black appears to mix systems with 7…g6 8. Nc3 Be7?!, preparing a fianchetto and then not following through. In the very next round, Granda Zuniga played the Black side of this same line, put the bishop on g7 and won handily.

White exploits the mix-up with 10. 0-0 Nfd7 11. Bh6!, preventing castling and not fearing lines such as 11…Bxh4 12. gxh4 Qxh4 13. Ne4! Qxh6 14. Nxd6+ Kf8 15. Nxb7 and 11…Ne5 12. Nf3 Nxf3+ 13. exf3, when Black's king looks very shaky.

Cotrina's efforts to punish the cheeky bishop backfire badly on 13. e4 g5!? 14. e5! Nxe5 15. Nxe5 dxe5 17. Bg7 Rg8 17. Bxe5. White recovers his pawn, and now the Black king is firmly trapped in the center of the board. White's pieces flood the attacking zone: 19. Qh5 Ne8 (Rg6 20. Rad1 gxf4 21. d6 Bxg2 22. dxc7 Qe8 23. Rfe1, and White's threats multiply ominously) 20. Rae1 Rg7 21. fxg5 Rxg5 22. Qh6+ Bg7 (see diagram).

Black's jerry-rigged defense is ripe for a combinational blow, and White finds a forced, sacrificial win: 23. Rxf7+! Kxf7 24. Qe6+ Kf8 25. Rf1+ Bf6 (Nf6 26. Bd6+ wins the queen) 26. Bxf6 Nxf6 27. Rxf6+ Kg7 28. Rf7+ Kh8 29. Rxb7. White recovers his material (and more), and after 29…Qg8 30. Ne4, he can simplify down to a won ending on 30…Rg7 31. Qe5 Re8 32. Qf6 Rf8 33. Qxg7+ Qxg7 34. Rxg7 Kxg7 35. d6, when the lone Black rook has no chance against the passed pawn, bishop and knight. Cotrina resigned.


Brains in Bahrain Match, Game 2, Manama, Bahrain, October 2002

KramnikDeep Fritz

1. d4d530. Bc5Bc4

2. c4dxc431. Rd4+Kf6

3. Nf3Nf632. Rxc4Rxc6

4. e3e633. Be7+Kxe7

5. Bxc4c534. Rxc6Kd7

6. 0-0a635. Rc5f6

7. dxc5Qxd136. Kd2Kd6

8. Rxd1Bxc537. Rd5+Kc6

9. Kf1b538. Kd3g6

10. Be2Bb739. Kc4g5

11. Nbd2Nbd740. h3h6

12. Nb3Bf841. h4 gxh4

13. a4b442. gxh4Ra7

14. Nfd2Bd543. h5Ra8

15. f3Bd644. Rc5+Kb6

16. g3e545. Rb5+Kc6

17. e4Be646. Rd5Kc7

18. Nc4Bc747. Kb5b3

19. Be3a548. Rd3Ra7

20. Nc5Nxc549. Rxb3Rb7+

21. Bxc5Nd750. Kc4Ra7

22. Nd6+Kf851. Rb5Ra8

23. Bf2Bxd652. Kd5Ra6

24. Rxd6Ke753. Rc5+Kd7

25. Rad1Rhc854. b3Rd6+

26. Bb5Nc555. Kc4Rd4+

27. Bc6Bc4+56. Kc3Rd1

28. Ke1Nd3+57. Rd5+Black

29. R1xd3Bxd3resigns


Peruvian Championships, Lima, Peru, October 2002

Granda Zuniga Cotrina

1. Nf3Nf616. Bg7Rg8

2. c4e617. Bxe5Bf6

3. g3b618. f4Kf8

4. Bg2Bb719. Qh5Ne8

5. d4c520. Rae1Rg7

6. d5exd521. fxg5Rxg5

7. Nh4g622. Qh6+Bg7

8. Nc3Be723. Rxf7+Kxf7

9. cxd5d624. Qe6+Kf8

10. 0-0Nfd725. Rf1+Bf6

11. Bh6Na626. Bxf6Nxf6

12. Nf3Nc727. Rxf6+Kg7

13. e4g528. Rf7+Kh8

14. e5Nxe529. Rxb7Qg8

15. Nxe5dxe530. Ne4Black

resigns

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


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