- The Washington Times - Friday, October 3, 2003

With his planned world-title semifinal match against Ukraine’s Ruslan Ponomariov in limbo, former champion Garry Kasparov has decided he needs to find some non-computer opponents to keep in shape.

Still the highest-rated player on the planet, Kasparov is taking a rare swim among the smaller fish at the European team championship now under way in Crete. The Russian is playing first board for the powerhouse Ladya-Kazan entry, which also includes GM Ilya Smirin of Israel and Moldovan GM Viktor Bologan.

Kasparov warmed up for the event, his first serious tournament in months, with a thrashing of Georgian GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili in a six-game exhibition match last week featuring two rapid (Game/25) and four blitz games. Azmaiparashvili is the reigning European champion but had no chance against an aroused Kasparov, managing only one draw and five losses.

The second rapid game was Kasparov’s best effort, a superb sacrificial attack with Black. In recent matches against computers, Kasparov has had to restrain his naturally aggressive inclinations, but against a human — and therefore possible to intimidate — opponent, Kasparov shows no such qualms.

In a Queen’s Gambit Slav, after 12. Na4 0-0 13. Nxc6 bxc6, White has a clear target in the backward pawn on c6, but he lags badly in development. Kasparov correctly goes for the initiative, often the critical factor in rapid games, with a startling piece sacrifice barely out of the opening.

Thus: 14. Qb6 Qe7! (abandoning the c-pawn to press the attack) 15. Bd3 (15. Rxc6 Rfb8 16. Qa5 Ne4, and Black’s open lines are compensation enough for the pawn) Bg6 16. Bxg6 fxg6!, an anti-positional capture away from the center, but one that gives Black the half-open f-file to play with as well.

Now 17. 0-0 Ne4 18. Rc2? (Be1 is passive but playable.) Bxh2+! 19. Kxh2 Qh4+ 20. Kg1 Nxf2 21. Rxf2 Qxf2+ 22. Kh1 Rf5 leads to mate, but White’s attempts to keep the Black knight out of e4 open new holes in his defense: 17. f3 Ne4!!? (White may have a defense, but it’s extremely hard to find over the board; this is the kind of move Kasparov never dared to play against Fritz or Deep Blue.) 18. fxe4 (declining with 18. Qxc6 appears to leave Black better in lines such as 18…Qh4+ 19. Kd1 [g3 Nxg3] Nf2+ 20. Ke2 Nxh1 21. Qxd6 Qf2+ 22. Kd3 Qxg2 23. Qxe6+ Kh8 24. Nc3 Rab8) Qh4+ 19. g3 Qxe4 20. Ke2 Qg2+ 21. Kd3 Rf2, and Black has a raging attack.

The straightforward 22. Rhd1 exposes the king on 22…Rb8 23. Qa7 Qe4+ 24. Kc3 Bb4+ 25. Kb3 Qd3+ 26. Rc3 (Bc3 Qc4 mate; 26. Nc3 Rb5! 27. a4 Bxc3+ 28. axb5 Qxb5+ 29. Kc2 Rxd2+ 30. Rxd2 Qxb2+ 31. Kd3 Qxd2 mate) Qb5 27. Kc2 Qxa4+ 28. Rb3 Rbf8 29. Kc1 Bxd2+ 30. Rxd2 Qc4+ 31. Rc3 Qf1+ 32. Kc2 Rxd2+ 33. Kxd2 Rf2 mate.

But the game’s 22. Qa5 Rb8 23. a3 (to stop 23…Bb4! 24. Bxb4 Qe4+ 25. Kc3 Qxe3 mate) allows the winning deflection 23…Bc7! 24. Qxc7 (Qc3 Qe4 mate) Rxd2+ 25. Kc3 Rdxb2!. With 26. Nxb2 (Qxb8+ Rxb8 27. Rb1 Rxb1 28. Rxb1 Qxh2 and the White king-side will vanish) Qxb2+ 27. Kd3 Rb3+ 28. Rc3 Rxc3 mate on the horizon, Azmaiparashvili resigned.

English GM Luke McShane defeated French GM Etienne Bacrot in the final to win a strong knockout event in Lausanne, Switzerland, last month that featured eight of the world’s best young players.

Azerbaijani GM Shakriyaz Mamedyarov fell to the winner in the semifinals but showed his tactical acumen in a tense struggle in Round 1 with Russia’s Alexandra Kosteniuk. White gets a difficult position out of this Queen’s Gambit Semi-Slav and must go to ingenious lengths not to lose material in the game’s critical sequence.

After 18. exd5 Nf6 19. d6 Bc6!, White’s position is under considerable pressure. Mamedyarov’s next move appears at first glance to lose material, but White finds a series of clever ideas and reaches an endgame in which he simply outplays his opponent.

On 20. Bf3!? Rxg3, White stays in the game with the mandatory 21. Qd4! Qxd4 (Black has an instant draw with 21…Bxf3 22. Qxb6 Rxg2+ 23. Kh1 Rxf2+ 24. Kg1 Rg2+, but Kosteniuk understandably wants more.) 22. Bxc6+ (Nxd4 Rxf3! 23. gxf3 Bxd6 is better for Black) Kd8 (and again, 22…Rxc6 23. Nxd4 Rxd6 24. fxg3 Rxd4 25. Rxf6 Bg7 26. is only equal) 23. Nxd4 Rd3.

White’s knight, bishop and d-pawn are all under fire, but somehow he holds it all together with 24. Rad1! e5?! (still looking for the knockout, but 24…Rxd4! 25. Rxd4 Rxc6 26. Rc1 Bxd6 27. Rdxc4 Rxc4 28. Nxc4 Nd5 gives Black a very comfortable game) 25. d7 Rc7 (Nxd7 26. Bxd7 Kxd7 27. Nf5) 26. Nf3!.

Amazingly, 26…Rxc6 27. Nxe5 Rxd1 28. Nxc6+ Kxd7 29. Nb8+ Kb7 30. Nc5+ Kc6 33. Na6 Kb7 34. Nc5+ is only good for a draw, but on 26…Bd6 27. Bb5 Nxd7 28. Bxc4! Rxd1 29. Rxd1 Rxc4 30. Rxd6 f6 31. b3, Mamedyarov has reached an ending in which only White has winning chances.

White quickly obtains an outside passed pawn, and Black’s efforts to run it down soon cost her her other rook pawn. After 47. Rxh6 Ra1 48. Rc6+ Kd4 49. h6, the pawn will cost Black at least a piece. Kosteniuk resigned.

Rapid Exhibition Match, Game/25, Gerapotamos, Crete

AzmaiparashviliKasparov

1. c4c614. Qb6Qe7

2. d4d515. Bd3Bg6

3. Nf3Nf616. Bxg6fxg6

4. e3a617. f3Ne4

5. Qc2Bg418. fxe4Qh4+

6. Ne5Bh519. g3Qxe4

7. Qb3Qc720. Ke2Qg2+

8. cxd5cxd521. Kd3Rf2

9. Nc3e622. Qa5Rb8

10. Bd2Bd623. a3Bc7

11. Rc1Nc624. Qxc7Rxd2+

12. Na40-025. Kc3Rdxb2

13. Nxc6bxc6White resigns

Fourth Lausanne Young Masters, Lausanne, Switzerland, September 2003

MamedyarovKosteniuk

1. d4d526. Nf3Bd6

2. c4c627. Bb5Nxd7

3. Nc3Nf628. Bxc4Rxd1

4. Nf3e629. Rxd1Rxc4

5. Bg5h630. Rxd6f6

6. Bh4dxc431. b3Rc3

7. e4g532. Nd2Ke7

8. Bg3b533. Ra6Nc5

9. Be2Bb734. Rxa5Nxb3

10. h4g435. Ra7+Ke6

11. Ne5Rg836. Ne4Rc1+

12. 0-0Nbd737. Kh2f5

13. Nxg4Nxg438. Ra6+Kd5

14. Bxg4Qb639. Nf6+Kd4

15. a4a540. Rd6+Kc4

16. d5cxd541. Nd7Re1

17. Nxb5Rc842. h5Nd4

18. exd5Nf643. a5e4

19. d6Bc644. Nb6+Kd3

20. Bf3Rxg345. Nd5Nb5

21. Qd4Qxd446. Nf4+Kc4

22. Bxc6+Kd847. Rxh6Ra1

23. Nxd4Rd348. Rc6+Kd4

24. Rad1e549. h6Black

25. d7Rc7 resigns

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

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