- The Washington Times - Friday, December 26, 2003

It’s not too late to catch some of the action at the Eastern Open, the blockbuster Swiss tournament that traditionally closes out the Washington chess year.

Play continues through Monday at the Wyndham Hotel downtown just off Thomas Circle at 14th and M streets NW. The watching is free, and some of the country’s best players are expected to compete. Call the U.S. Chess Center at 202/857-4922.

• • •

Lindsborg, Kan., isn’t usually considered a hotbed of chess, but the prairie town’s Little Sweden celebration this month featured former world champion Anatoly Karpov, top-ranked U.S. GM Alexander Onischuk and four other top players in a Category 13 rapid invitational in one of the strongest events on U.S. soil this year.

Karpov showed his class by winning the event with an undefeated 31/2-11/2 score, a half-point ahead of Onischuk.

In his game against the former champ, U.S. GM Yuri Shulman adopted an almost Karpovian strategy, patiently milking an early positional edge in hopes of an endgame win. But it has always been hard to be more patient than the Russian great, and it is Karpov who emerges from the skirmish with a winning ending.

With 18. a4 Rc8 19. Kb2, Shulman banks on a positional squeeze, the anacondalike suffocation strategy that his opponent made famous. White is even willing to give up the exchange for a pawn to get his imposing queen-side pawns in gear: 27. Bg4 (forcing matters) h5 28. Bxd7 Bxd7 29. Rd6 Rdc8 30. Ne2 Be6 31. Ng1?! (a little too subtle; simpler was 31. c4, and if 31…Nd5 [Bd5? 32. c5 wins a piece], then 32. Rxe6+ fxe6 33. exd5 exd5 34. cxd5 is very agreeable for White) Bd5 32. R6xd5 (Nxd5+ Nxd5 33. R6xd5 cxd5 34. Rxd5 Rxc2 35. Rxe5+ Kf6 36. Nf3 Rg2 and Black is winning) cxd5 33. exd5.

Black alertly stops the White pawns in their tracks with 33…Rc3!, and four moves later, returns the exchange for a better ending: 37. Nd2 f5! 38. Nec4+ R3xc4 39. bxc4 Nxc4+ 40. Nxc4+ Rxc4 and one of Shulman’s weak pawns must fall.

By 50. Rxa5+ Kd6 51. Ra6+ Ke5, White has played a weak hand about as well he could, but the advancing Black king and the passed e-pawn prove too strong a combination. If White tries 57. Kb5 Kf2 58. Kb6, he comes up just a move short on 58…e2 59. a7 Rxa7 60. Kxa7 e1=Q 61. Rxe1 Kxe1 62. c4 f3 63. c5 f2 63. c5 f2 64. c6 f1=Q 65. c7 Qxh3 and wins.

White’s rook must fall on its sword after 60. c6 f1=Q 61. Rxf1 Kxf1, and the unconnected pawns are restrained easily by the rook. Shulman resigned.

• • •

To win a 23-round tournament, it helps to catch a breather now and then.

GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly is India’s new national champion, scoring 171/2-51/2 in the mammoth competition earlier this month and edging IM Sandipan Chanda on tie-breaks.

Ganguly caught a midtournament break when he won two consecutive 19-move miniatures, notching two quick points and conserving some energy for the final sprint. The cuter of his two short games came at the expense of 16-year-old master M.R. Venkatesh.

In a Richter-Rauser Sicilian, Venkatesh as Black appears determined to play aggressively right out of the gate. Thus: 10. h4 e5 11. Qe3 Ng4?! 12. Qe1 b5 13. Kb1 b4, going after the castled White king while Black’s king-side remains on the bench.

One more b-pawn move by Black illustrates the tragic case of stopping one’s analysis a move too soon, as Venkatesh’s queen sacrifice contains a teeny-tiny flaw — 14. Nd5 b3?? 15. Qxa5 bxc2+ 16. Kc1 cxd1=Q+ 17. Kxd1 Nxf2+ 18. Ke1 Nxh1 (see diagram). All, apparently, according to plan, with a nicely unbalanced game in which Black gets two rooks for his queen.

But two can sacrifice a queen, and Ganguly’s first real offensive move of the game decides things in an instant: 19. Qd8+!!, drawing the rook away from the c-file and foreseeing 19…Rxd8 20. Nc7 mate. Venkatesh resigned.

A hearty thanks to all our readers and best wishes for the holiday season and the new year.

Third annual Little Sweden Festival, Lindsborg, Kan., December 2003

Shulman Karpov

1. e4 c6 32. R6d5 cxd5

2. d4 d5 33. exd5 Rc3

3. f3 e6 34. Re1 Rac8

4. Nc3 Nd7 35. Nf3 f6

5. Be3 Bb4 36. Kb2 Kd6

6. Nge2 dxe4 37. Nd2 f5

7. fxe4 e5 38. Nec4+ R3xc4

8. a3 Ba5 39. bxc4 Nxc4+

9. Ng3 Ngf6 40. Nxc4+ Rxc4

10. Be2 0-0 41. c3 Kxd5

11. Qd2 Bb6 42. Rd1+ Kc5

12. d5 Bxe3 43. Rd8 Rf4

13. Qxe3 Qb6 44. Kb3 Rf2

14. Qxb6 Nxb6 45. Ra8 Kb6

15. 0-0-0 Bd7 46. Re8 e4

16. Rhf1 Rad8 47. Re6+ Kc5

17. b3 a5 48. Rxg6 h4

18. a4 Rc8 49. Ra6 e3

19. Kb2 Rfd8 50. Rxa5+ Kd6

20. h3 Kf8 51. Ra6+ Ke5

21. Rd3 Be8 52. Ra8 Rxg2

22. Rfd1 g6 53. a5 Kf4

23. Nf1 Nfd7 54. Re8 Kf3

24. dxc6 bxc6 55. a6 Rg7

25. Ne3 Ke7 56. Kb4 f4

26. Ka3 Ra8 57. c4 Ke2

27. Bg4 h5 58. Rf8 f3

28. Bxd7 Bxd7 59. c5 f2

29. Rd6 Rdc8 60. c6 f1=Q

30. Ne2 Be6 61. Rxf1 Kxf1

31. Ng1 Bd5 White resigns

Indian National Championships, Calicut, India, December 2003

Ganguly Venkatesh

1. e4 c5 11. Qe3 Ng4

2. Nf3 Nc6 12. Qe1 b5

3. d4 cxd4 13. Kb1 b4

4. Nxd4 Nf6 14. Nd5 b3

5. Nc3 d6 15. Qxa5 bxc2+

6. Bg5 Bd7 16. Kc1 cxd1=Q+

7. Qd2 Rc8 17. Kxd1 Nxf2+

8. 0-0-0 Nxd4 18. Ke1 Nxh1

9. Qxd4 Qa5 19. Qd8+ Black

10. h4 e5 resigns

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

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