- The Washington Times - Friday, October 8, 2004

Hell didn’t quite freeze over, but something nearly as rare has happened: Russians Vladimir Kramnik and Garry Kasparov both lost games in the space of three days, and they weren’t even playing each other.

Kramnik, defending his classical world chess title in Brissago, Switzerland, was ground down in a long ending by challenger Peter Leko of Hungary in last Saturday’s Game 5, evening the score in the overall match. The news got worse for the champ when he went down in just 32 moves on the White side of a Ruy Lopez Marshall in Game 8, giving Leko a 4-3 lead with six games to go.

Kasparov, the former champ and still the world’s highest-rated player, was upset earlier this week by veteran Russian GM Sergei Rublevsky while competing in the 20th European Club Cup team championship in Izmir, Turkey. Some of the world’s strongest players, including England’s Michael Adams and Russian Alexander Grischuk, are competing in the superstrong event.

Like Kramnik, Kasparov lost his way in an exquisitely conducted ending. This Rossolimo Sicilian contains a real oddity: White never moves his d-pawn, typically the crucial engine in his central play, until Kasparov captures it on its home square on move 41.

Black seems at least to equalize out of the opening but mishandles the transition to the ending on 26. Nd4 Rxf2 27. Ne6 R2f6?! (the simplification, surprisingly, will favor White) 28. Nxf8 Rxa6 29. Nxg6 hxg6 (see diagram). If White passively defends the weak a-pawn, Black can look forward to some pleasant times.

Instead, Rublevsky finds the remarkable 30. Kf2!! Rxa2 31. Ke3 Kf7 32. Rb7+ Kf6 33. Rb6+, giving away the pawn in exchange for a powerfully centralized king and strong play against Black’s immobile center. If now 33…Ke7, White has 34. Rxg6 Kf7 35. Rg5 Ke6 36. h4, setting his king-side majority in motion.

Kasparov tries 33…Kf7 34. Rd6 Ra5 34. h4 g5 36. hxg5 Ke7, but his center evaporates on 37. Rc6 Ra1 38. Kd4 Rd1 39. Kxd5 e3 (or 39…Rxd2+ 40. Kxe4 Rxg2 41. Kf5 Rf2+ 42. Kg6 Rg2 43. Rxc4) 40. Re6+ Kd7 41. Rxe3 Rxd2+ 42. Kxc4, and White emerges an outside passed pawn ahead. White skillfully maneuvers his king deep into the Black position, wrapping up the point by targeting Black’s forlorn king-side pawn: 53. Kd7 Rd1+ 54. Ke7! Rb1 55. Ra5+ Kd4 56. Kf8 Rb7 57. Rf5!.

The White c-pawn can be jettisoned as the Black g-pawn must fall; e.g. 57…Kxc4 58. Rf7 Rb8+ 59. Kxg7 Kd5 60. Kh7 Rb3 61. g7 Rh3+ 62. Kg8 Ke6 63. Kf8 and wins. Kasparov resigned.

New Yorker Hikaru Nakamura, America’s newest and youngest grandmaster, just passed a couple of new milestones.

The FIDE October 2004 rankings put the 16-year-old Nakamura in the world’s top 100 for the first time, debuting at No. 83 with a 2620 rating.

Nakamura also easily won his first New York state championship last month, dominating one of the oldest continuous events in the game and joining a roster of past champs that includes former world champion Jose Capablanca and American greats Frank Marshall and Reuben Fine.

At the New York championship, played in the town of Kerhonkson, Nakamura dispatched another American legend, longtime GM Arthur Bisguier, on his way to a 5- finish, a point ahead of the field. Black plays energetically against Bisguier’s too-modest opening setup, and with a timely break takes over the game.

After 18. Qf3 Nxe5 19.dxe5 Rc8 20. Qf4, there are some holes around Nakamura’s king, but White lacks the dark-squared bishop to exploit them.

With White’s pawn on e5 cramping his game, Black makes a powerful bid for freedom with 20…Bg7 21. Bd3 f6! 22. exf6 Qxf6 23. Qxf6?! (White may have been looking to simplify, but quickly finds he has no counterplay; even on 23. Qg4 e5 24. f3 Qf8!, Black prepares a powerful break on b4) Bxf6 24. Nd1 (already a sign that White is back on his heels, as the risky 24. Ra3?! b4 25. Rb3 bxc3 26. Rxb7 cxb2 27. Bxa6 Rxc2 wins for Black) e5.

With his pieces perfectly positioned, Black breaches the White game with 28…b4! 29. Re3 (cxb4 d4 30. Be6 [b5 axb5 31. a6 Ra8 32. Nc3 Rxa6 33. Rxa6 Bxa6 34. Nxe4 b4+ 35. Kg1 Re8 36. f3 d3 37. Ra1 Bd4+] Rc7 31. Ra3 Be7 32. Rb3 Kf6 33. Bg4 Bd5 is overwhelming) bxc3 30. bxc3 d4! 31. Rh3 (cxd4 Bxd4 wins the exchange) dxc3 32. Rc1 Rd2, invading decisively.

Nakamura closes things out on 33. Nxc3 Bd4 34. Ke1 (Ne2 Rxe2 35. Rxc8 Rxf2+ 36. Ke1 Bxc8 and 34. Be6 Rc7 35. Ke1 Rb2 both win for Black) e3!, and Bisguier resigned. White is lost in lines like 35. Ne2 Rxc1+ 36. Nxc1 exf2+ 37. Kxd2 (Kf1 Bc6 and the threat of 38…Bb5+ is deadly) f1=Q and 35. fxe3 Bxc3 36. Rxc3 Rxc3 37. Kxd2 Rxb3.

20th Men’s European Club Cup, Izmir, Turkey, October 2004


1. e4c530. Kf2Rxa2

2. Nf3Nc631. Ke3Kf7

3. Bb5e632. Rb7+Kf6

4. 0-0Nge733. Rb6+Kf7

5. c3a634. Rd6Ra5

6. Ba4c435. h4g5

7. Qe2b536. hxg5Ke7

8. Bc2Ng637. Rc6Ra1

9. b3Qc738. Kd4Rd1

10. bxc4Nf439. Kxd5e3

11. Qe3bxc440. Re6+Kd7

12. Ba3Be741. Rxe3Rxd2+

13. Bxe7Nxe742. Kxc4Rxg2

14. Na30-043. Re5Kd6

15. Rab1f544. Ra5Rg4+

16. Qb6Qxb645. Kb3Rg1

17. Rxb6fxe446. Kb4Rb1+

18. Bxe4d547. Kc4Ke6

19. Bc2Neg648. Ra6+Kf5

20. Bxg6Nxg649. g6Rg1

21. Nc2e550. Kb5Ke5

22. Ne3Bf551. c4Rb1+

23. Nxf5Rxf552. Kc6Rg1

24. Rfb1Raf853. Kd7Rd1+

25. Rxa6e454. Ke7Rb1

26. Nd4Rxf255. Ra5+Kd4

27. Ne6R2f656. Kf8Rb7

28. Nxf8Rxa657. Rf5Black

29. Nxg6hxg6resigns

126th New York State Championship, Kerhonkson, N.Y., September 2004


1. Nf3Nf618. Qf3Nxe5

2. d4g619. dxe5Rc8

3. Nc3d520. Qf4Bg7

4. Bf4Bg721. Bd3f6

5. e30-022. exf6Qxf6

6. Be2b623. Qxf6Bxf6

7. Ne5c524. Nd1e5

8. 0-0Bb725. c3e4

9. a4a626. Bc2Red8

10. a5cxd427. Bb3Kg7

11. exd4b528. Kf1b4

12. Re1e629. Re3bxc3

13. Nd3Nfd730. bxc3d4

14. Bd6Re831. Rh3dxc3

15. Ne5Nxe532. Rc1Rd2

16. Bxe5Bf833. Nxc3Bd4

17. Bf1Nc634. Ke1e3

White resigns

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at dsands@washington times.com.

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