- The Washington Times - Friday, August 13, 2004


The hottest thing this summer may be Indian GM Viswanathan Anand.

Fresh from his win over world champ Vladimir Kramnik and a world-class field at the Dortmund Sparkassen knockout tournament in Germany, Anand earlier this week defeated Spanish superstar Alexei Shirov in an eight-game rapid match that was the featured bout at the Chess Classic staged by the German city of Mainz. Anand won two games and drew the rest for a 5-3 win, his fourth straight win in the annual event.

With former titleholder Garry Kasparov playing less frequently and less impressively, with Kramnik struggling and with the rival FIDE world-title belt held by relative unknown Rustam Kasimdhzanov of Uzbekistan, Anand ranks as perhaps the best player in the world.

Shirov may be the Indian’s equal as a tactician, but a weaker opening repertoire and a couple of oversights in critical positions cost the Spaniard dearly in Mainz. Anand all but clinched the match with a Game 6 win when he took on Shirov’s Marshall Gambit, countersacrificed an exchange and efficiently brought home the point.

The great Ruy Lopez gambit, devised by American legend Frank Marshall, is never one to be entered into lightly, as intricate lines for both sides have been developed well past the 25th move. (Even Kasparov routinely sidesteps the gambit as White.) In rapid chess, Black’s king-side attack and strong initiative make the opening an even more potent weapon, but Anand proves more than equal to the challenge.

With White badly undeveloped but Black facing a near-certain endgame loss, it is incumbent on both sides to play aggressively. Black obliges with 16. Rh4 Qf5 17. Nd2 g5!?. But White immediately gives up a rook for bishop to blunt Black’s attack, and White’s two bishops carry the subsequent play.

Thus: 19. Rh6! Ng4 (hitting the rook and threatening 20… Qxf2+ 21. Kh1 Qxh2 mate) 19. Ne4 Nxh6 20. Nxd6 Qg6 21. Ne4. The Black g-pawn can’t be saved after 22. Qd2, and though material is now nominally equal, the White bishops will dominate the Black rooks. A pair of bishops and the queens come off on 34. Bxc3 Ne6 35. Bxe6 (Qe5 Rb7 36. Ba4 was also strong) Qxe6 36. h4 Qd6 37. Qxd6 Rxd6 38. Ra7 Kg8 39. h5, and it becomes clear that only White can make progress in the position.

Anand nicely balances pressure on the weak c-pawn with steady advances on the king-side, squeezing his opponent on both flanks. In a game in which Black made no serious tactical errors, Shirov finds himself in an increasingly untenable situation, with no chance to introduce any of the complications that are his trademark.

With 53. e6 fxe6+ 54. Rxe6 Rf7+ 55. Ke4 Rdd7 56. Be5!, the bishop controls c7 and paralyzes Black’s game. After White’s careful 56…Rde7 57. Rc6 Rg7 58. Kf3 Rgf7 58. Kg3! (Rxc4?? Rxe5), the Black c-pawn will fall and the advance of White’s b-pawn can’t be stopped. Shirov resigned.

In a strong open rapid tournament also held at the Mainz gathering, Russian Alexander Grischuk also repeated his 2003 victory with a fine 9-1. American Yasser Seirawan, who was supposed to have retired earlier this year, was in a seven-way tie for second at 9-2.

Against Ukrainian GM Vladimir Baklan, Grischuk employed Anand’s idea of countersacrificing to halt a dangerous Black attack, producing a winning attack of his own.

In a French Defense, Black’s 17. b3 c4 18. b4 Nxb4!? must have been very tempting, destroying White’s pawn chain and creating a powerful Black phalanx on the queen-side. But giving up a piece against one of the world’s best players is always problematic, and Grischuk soon shows why.

With 21. Rb1 b4 22. f5!, White reveals he has no intentions of settling for passive defense, instigating a sharp attack on the Black king. The idea bears fruit on 29. Rbc1 Bxf1 30. Rxf1 Rc3? (tougher was 30…Bxg5 31. hxg5 b3 32. axb3 Qxb3, keeping up the queen-side pressure) 31. Ng7+ Kf8 (see diagram) 32. Nxf5!.

The opening of the f-file will prove fatal to Black. After 32…Bxg5 (White’s attack is too strong on 32…exf5 33. Qxf5 Ke8 34. Qxf7+ Kd8 35. Ne6+ Kc8 36. Qxe7 Rxe3 37. Rxc2+ Rc3 38. Rfc1) 33. hxg5 exf5 34. Qxf5 Ke7 35. Qxf7+ Kd8 36. e6!, the knight cannot flee with 36…Nb8 because of 37. e7+ Kc8 38. Qf8+ Rxf8 39. exf8=Q+ and wins.

But White emerges a clear piece to the good on 36…Qd6 37. Bf4 Qe7 38. Qxe7+ Kxe7 39. exd7 Kxd7 40. Kg2. The rest is a mop-up operation, and when the proud Black c-pawn falls on 46. Rxc2 Rc4 47. Rd2, Baklan resigned.

Mainz Chess Classic, Mainz, Germany, August 2004


1. e4e531. Ra6Kh7

2. Nf3Nc632. Kf2b4

3. Bb5a633. g4bxc3

4. Ba4Nf634. Bxc3Ne6

5. 0-0Be735. Bxe6Qxe6

6. Re1b536. h4Qd6

7. Bb30-037. Qxd6Rxd6

8. c3d538. Ra7Kg8

9. exd5Nxd539. h5Red8

10. Nxe5Nxe540. Kg3R8d7

11. Rxe5c641. Ra6Rd8

12. Re1Bd642. Kf4c5

13. g3Qd743. Ra5Rc8

14. d3Qh344. Kf5c4

15. Re4Nf645. f4Rdc6

16. Rh4Qf546. e5Rc5

17. Nd2g547. Ra4Kh7

18. Rh6Ng448. Ke4R5c7

19. Ne4Nxh649. Ra1Rd7

20. Nxd6Qg650. Ra6Rg8

21. Ne4Bg451. Kf5Rd3

22. Qd2Nf552. Rf6Rg7

23. Qxg5Bf353. e6fxe6+

24. Qf4Bxe454. Rxe6Rf7+

25. dxe4Ng755. Ke4Rdd7

26. Be3Rad856. Be5Rde7

27. a4Rd757. Rc6Rg7

28. axb5axb558. Kf3Rgf7

29. Bd4Re859. Kg3Black

30. f3h6resigns

Ordix Open, Mainz, Germany, August 2004


1. e4e625. Be3Qb6

2. d4d526. Ng5Ba6

3. Nc3Nf627. Nxh5c3

4. e5Nfd728. Qf3c2

5. f4c529. Rbc1Bxf1

6. Nf3Qb630. Rxf1Rc3

7. Ne2a531. Ng7+Kf8

8. c3a432. Nxf5Bxg5

9. g3Nc633. hxg5exf5

10. Bh3g634. Qxf5Ke7

11. 0-0h535. Qxf7+Kd8

12. Rb1Be736. e6Qd6

13. Be3Qa637. Bf4Qe7

14. Re1b538. Qxe7+Kxe7

15. Bf1Qb739. exd7Kxd7

16. Rc1a340. Kg2Rhc8

17. b3c441. g6Rg8

18. b4Nxb442. Bd2Rc4

19. cxb4Bxb443. Rf7+Kc6

20. Bd2Be744. g7Kb5

21. Rb1b445. Bh6Rxd4

22. f5gxf546. Rxc2Rc4

23. Nf4Ra647. Rd2Black

24. h4Rc6resigns

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

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