- The Washington Times - Friday, August 27, 2004

Anyone wanting to watch some big-time players at work should head on down to the 34th annual Atlantic Open, taking place this week at the Wyndham Washington Hotel at 1400 M St. NW.

Along with the year-ending Eastern Open, the Atlantic traditionally is one of the strongest events on the local chess calendar. With the U.S. Open having wrapped up last week in Florida, it’s a good bet that some of the country’s strongest grandmasters and IMs will be heading up the coast to compete here.

Play continues all day today and tomorrow, and there’s no charge to go and watch. Chess books, boards and other paraphernalia will be on sale at the site. We will have full coverage of the tournament in the coming weeks.

Speaking of the U.S. Open, which we wrote about here last week, we have a game between two of the seven players who tied for first.

Florida master Marcel Martinez was the surprise of the tournament. He surpassed a number of higher-ranked players to tie for first, but his one loss from the event came at the hands of Maryland-based GM and fellow prize-winner Alexander Onischuk.

In a Four Knights Opening, Onischuk as Black plays solidly at first, applying increasing pressure to the White pawn center. Black grabs the initiative with 16. exf5 d4! 17. Ne4 (exd4 exd4 18. Ne4 Ned5 is comfortable for Black) Ned5 18. Nxf6+ Nxf6 19. Rfe1 Nd5.

Better now for White might have been the more energetic 20. e4 Ne3 21. f6! g6 22. c3 Rad8 23. Re2, because after the game’s 20. exd4 exd4 21. Qf2 Nf6 22. c4 Rfe8 23. Rbc1 Re3, the backward d-pawn and the tender e3-square pose constant headaches for White.

With his opponent looking to shore up holes in the center and on the queen-side, Onischuk switches fields alertly with 25. Rxe3 dxe3 26. Qe2 (Qxe3 Qxb2 27. a4 Re8 28. Qg1 Qd2 and Black has all the play) Re8 27. Rc2 Qa5! 28. a3 Qc7!, zeroing in on the weak g-pawn.

White’s efforts to defend all his weak points leads to a cute finish: 29. d4?! (Rc4 Qe5 30. Be4 Nh5 31. Qxe3! [Qxh5? Qxb2+ 32. Kh1 e2] Qxb2+ 32. Kh1 Qxa3 is tougher but still favors Black) h5 30. Rc3 (h4 Ng4+ 31. Kh3 Qd7 32. Qd3 Nf2+, or 30. Qe1 Qd7 31. b4 Qxf5 32. Rc3 Qg5) h4 31. Rxe3 (see diagram).

The prosaic 31… hxg3+ wins a pawn, but the startling 31… Qxg3+! wins the game, for if 32. Rxg3 (Kh1 Qxe3), then 32 … hxg3+ 33. Kxg3 Rxe2 wins a full rook. Martinez resigns.

• • •

Perhaps no player in the history of the game has played more perfect games than former Russian world champion Anatoly Karpov.

He may not have had the incendiary brilliance of Alekhine or the dynamism of Fischer or Kasparov at their best, but Karpov had no peer in weaving games that were positionally, strategically and tactically impeccable from opening move to final combination. At his best, he could make even Kasparov look helpless.

However, perfection is a daunting standard. At the strong Category 16 rapid tournament held this week to help mark the 450th anniversary of the founding of Sao Paolo, Brazil, Karpov, now 53, could manage only a fifth-place finish in the double-round-robin field of six grandmasters.

Indian GM Viswanathan Anand, who lately has been pretty much unbeatable whatever the time limit, took first in Sao Paolo with an undefeated 81/2-11/2.

Just how hard it is to play in the Karpovian style can be seen in Karpov’s loss to Brazilian star Rafael Leitao. In a Petroff’s, Leitao employs the classic Karpov strategy of gradually constricting his opponent, forcing Black’s pieces onto passive squares while carefully heading off even a hint of counterplay.

Karpov’s decision to accept an isolated d-pawn with 17. Bxd6 cxd6?! (the natural 17 … Qxd6 18. Be4 Rad8 19. Qe2 Nce7 looks solid) doesn’t work out, and by 25. Bg4 Nf6 26. Re7 Qb6 27. Bf3 d5 28. R1e3 Rb8 29. Rb3, White’s pieces are taking over the entire board.

Leitao’s 30. a3! amounts to intellectual piracy on a Karpov patent, shoring up every possible weakness in an already superior position before getting around to the kill. But the pressure of perfectionism finally gets to White, who blunders badly just as he has his opponent lined up for the knockout.

Thus: 40. Rc6 Qe7 41. Rxf6?, throwing the win away. Karpov as world champion was renowned for his patience, but the young Brazilian punches a little prematurely. Now 41 … Rd8! would have ruined all of White’s fine previous work, as Leitao would have had nothing better than the inferior ending on 42. Rxf7+ Kxf7 43. Qc6 Qd7 44. Qc1 Kg7.

But Karpov, perhaps under the pressure of the tight time controls, returns the favor with the horrible 41 … Kxf6?, and it is a forced mate on 42. Qh8+ Kf6 (Ke6 43. Qe5 mate) 43. g4+ Kf4 44. Qxh6+ g5 45. hxg5, and Black gave up in the face of 45 … Rc7 (Qxg5 46. Qh2 mate) 46. g6+ Qg5 47. Qh2 mate.

105th U.S. Open, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., August 2004


1. e4e517. Ne4Ned5

2. Nf3Nc618. Nxf6+Nxf6

3. Nc3Nf619. Rfe1Nd5

4. g3Bc520. exd4exd4

5. Bg2d621. Qf2Nf6

6. h3h622. c4Rfe8

7. d3a623. Rbc1Re3

8. Be3Bxe324. c5Qb5

9. fxe3Ne725. Rxe3dxe3

10. Nh4c626. Qe2Re8

11. Qf3Be627. Rc2Qa5

12. 0-0Qb628. a3Qc7

13. Rab1d529. d4h5

14. Kh20-030. Rc3h4

15. Nf5Bxf531. Rxe3Qxg3+

16. exf5d4White resigns

Sao Paolo Rapid, Sao Paolo, Brazil, August 2004


1. e4e524. Bxf5Rcd8

2. Nf3Nf625. Bg4Nf6

3. Nxe5d626. Re7Qb6

4. Nf3Nxe427. Bf3d5

5. d4d528. R1e3Rb8

6. Bd3Nc629. Rb3Qa6

7. 0-0Be730. a3Rfc8

8. c4Nf631. Rc3Qb6

9. Nc30-032. g3Kf8

10. h3dxc433. Re5Rxc3

11. Bxc4Na534. Qxc3Rd8

12. Bd3Be635. Kg2Qd6

13. Re1Nc636. h4b6

14. Bg5h637. Re1g6

15. Bh4Nd538. Rc1Rd7

16. Bg3Bd639. Qc8+Kg7

17. Bxd6cxd640. Rc6Qe7

18. Qd2Nce741. Rxf6Kxf6

19. Re2Rc842. Qh8+Kf5

20. Rae1Qc743. g4+Kf4

21. Nxd5Nxd544. Qxh6+g5

22. Nh4Bd745. hxg5Black

23. Nf5Bxf5resigns

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

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