- The Washington Times - Friday, June 10, 2005

The theory that the retirement of Garry Kasparov would make unifying the divided world chess crown easier has been taking a beating recently.

To its credit, FIDE, the international chess federation, has organized a strong eight-grandmaster double-round-robin tournament for this fall in Argentina, to be played at classical time controls. The format strongly resembles the famous 1948 tournament in which Russian great Mikhail Botvinnik won the title vacated with the death of Alexander Alekhine two years earlier.

But Russian Vladimir Kramnik, who beat Kasparov in a title match in London five years ago, won’t be playing in the FIDE event. The obvious unification scenario would have the winner of the Argentine tournament — which includes such legitimate contenders as Bulgaria’s Veselin Topalov, Viswanathan Anand of India and Hungary’s Peter Leko — play Kramnik for the undisputed crown, something Kramnik has said he would consider.

But FIDE Vice President Georgios Makropoulos, in a new interview with the Russian magazine Sport Express, has ruled out the common-sense solution, saying the winner in Argentina will be FIDE’s world champion, period. Makropoulos even said the players were required to promise not to play a match against Kramnik as a condition for playing in Argentina.

?Kramnik made a decision not to play in Argentina. We cannot ask our world champion to play against him,? Makropolous reportedly said.

All of which means that the ruinous division plaguing the game’s most valuable asset is likely to be with us for a while to come.

Reunification may be on hold, but area players still can square off against a top grandmaster Thursday night when three-time U.S. champion Joel Benjamin gives a lecture and simultaneous exhibition at the Arlington Chess Club. The fun starts at 7 p.m., and the cost to participate is $20.

Organizer Mike Atkins says more than half the boards are already claimed. More information on the event can be found at the ACC Web site, https://members.cox.net/arlingtonchessclub.

The eight-game rapid match between Leko and English star Michael Adams, which ended Sunday in the Hungarian city of Miskolc, featured some bizarre momentum shifts. Adams burst out of the blocks with three straight wins only to have Leko tie things up with three points in the next three games. The players drew the last two games and thus split the eventful match, 4-4.

Leko finally caught up with a fine display of power chess in Game 6 as Adams fell to a powerful central attack. Woozy from watching his lead evaporate, Black desperately tries to simplify the position, but his passive play only leaves him more exposed.

Things develop normally in this Ruy Lopez until 20. Qd2 exd4?!, when Black voluntarily surrenders his strong point at e5. Adams was clearly trying to suck the life out of the position with 21. Nxd4 Nxd4 22. Bxd4 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 Rc8, hoping to trade off the heavy pieces. But Leko’s psychologically astute 24. Re1! Be6 25. Ne3 keeps the rook on the board and prepares for White’s central push.

With 26. f4 Bf6 27. Rd1, the weak backward d-pawn is already proving a headache for Black, and Adams’ attempts to seek counterpressure against White’s center backfire badly: 27…Qa8?! 28. Bxf6 Nxf6 29. Qxd6 g6 (a mandatory preparatory move as 29…Nxe4?? 30. Bxe4 Qxe4 31. Qd8+ leads to mate) 30. f5!, embarrassing both the bishop and the loose knight on f6.

Now on 30…Qa7 31. Kf2 Ne8, the bishop is lost after 32. Qb4! gxf5 33. exf5 Bc4 34. b3 axb3 35. axb3, but Black’s choice proves even less effective: 30…Nxe4 31. Bxe4 Qxe4 32. Ng4!, when the bishop is still en prise and White also threatens 33. Nf6+. Removing the pawn with 32…Qxf5 walks into a second fork on 33. Nh6+; Adams gave up.

The Lina Grumette Memorial Day Classic has long been a holiday-weekend fixture in Southern California. Armenian IM Andranik Matikozian was this year’s winner, with a 51/2-1/2 score that included a win over chief rival IM Enrico Sevillano.

Against California master Reynaldo Del Pilar, Matikozian picked up a quick point with a classic Sicilian piece sacrifice on d5. The offer of a bishop with 10. Bd5 exd5 11. exd5+ Be7 12. Nf5 discombobulates Black’s game, and Del Pilar never recovers his bearings.

A better response to the sacrifice would have been 12…Kf8 13. Qg4 Bf6 (g6? 14. Nxe7 Nxe7 15. Bg5) 14. Bf4 h5 15. Qf3 Nh6 16. Bxd6+ Kg8 17. Nxh6+ Rxh6 18. Bxc5, though even here White has a strong pull. On the game’s 12…Bc8 13. Nxg7+ Kf8 14. Nh5 Bf5 15. Qd4, blocking with 15…Bf6? loses to 16. Bh6+! Nxh6 17. Nxf6 Qc7 18. Ne8 Rxe8 19. Qxh8+ Ng8 20. Rxe8+ Kxe8 21. Qxg8.

Black hangs on with 15…f6 16. Ne2 Nd7 17. Qf4 Bg6 18. Nd4, but the defensive strain gets to him with 18…Bf7? (see diagram; 20…Qc8! 19. Qh4 [Ne6+ Kf7 20. Ng5+ Kf8 leaves White with no better than a perpetual] Ne5 20. Nf4 Qg4 gives Black real survival chances) 19. Qg4!, winning in all variations.

The game ended with 19…Qa5 (Ne5 20. Qg7+ Ke8 21. Qxh8 and 19…Bg6 20. Ne6+ both are equally disastrous for Black) 20. Bh6+!, and Black resigned facing 20…Nxh6 (Ke8 21. Ng7+ Kf8 22. Nde6+ Bxe6 23. Nxe6+ Kf7 24. Qh5 mate) 21. Qg7+ Ke8 22. Qxh8+ Bg8 23. Rxe7+! Kxe7 24. Nc6+, picking off the queen.

Rapid Match, Game 6, Miskolc, Hungary, June 2005


1. e4e517. Rc1Rac8

2. Nf3Nc618. Nf1Qb8

3. Bb5a619. Bb1Rc7

4. Ba4Nf620. Qd2exd4

5. 0-0Be721. Nxd4Nxd4

6. Re1b522. Bxd4Rxc1

7. Bb3d623. Rxc1Rc8

8. c30-024. Re1Be6

9. h3Na525. Ne3Nd7

10. Bc2c526. f4Bf6

11. d4Qc727. Rd1Qa8

12. Nbd2cxd428. Bxf6Nxf6

13. cxd4Nc629. Qxd6g6

14. Nb3a530. f5Nxe4

15. Be3a431. Bxe4Qxe4

16. Nbd2Bd732. Ng4Black


Lina Grumette Memorial Day Classic, Los Angeles, May 2005

MatikozianDel Pilar

1. e4c511. exd5+Be7

2. Nc3a612. Nf5Bc8

3. Nf3d613. Nxg7+Kf8

4. d4cxd414. Nh5Bf5

5. Nxd4e615. Qd4f6

6. Bc4b516. Ne2Nd7

7. Bb3Nd717. Qf4Bg6

8. 0-0Nc518. Nd4Bf7

9. Re1Bb719. Qg4Qa5

10. Bd5exd520. Bh6+Black


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

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