- The Washington Times - Friday, September 23, 2005

One of the most anticipated tournaments in years gets under way Tuesday in the Argentine city of Potrero de los Funes, as eight of the world’s strongest grandmasters fight it out for FIDE’s world championship title.

The double-round robin event, which runs through Oct. 16, evokes memories of the great 1948 FIDE title tournament in Moscow and The Hague, held two years after the death of former champ Alexander Alekhine. Mikhail Botvinnik’s triumph ushered in an age of Soviet domination of the game.

The chess world has endured a disastrous division since Russian champion Garry Kasparov broke with FIDE over the sponsorship of his match against English challenger Nigel Short in 1993. A series of efforts to unify the title over the past decade have all foundered.

The favorites in Argentina are India’s Viswanathan Anand, Bulgarian Veselin Topalov and Peter Leko of Hungary. Russian hopes are riding on Alexander Morozevich and Peter Svidler, while England’s Michael Adams, Uzbekistan’s Rustam Kasimdzhanov (the nominal FIDE champ) and Hungary’s Judit Polgar are given only an outside chance.

The one dark cloud over the tournament: the absence of Russian Vladimir Kramnik, who defeated Kasparov in 2000 and claims he is the rightful heir to the classical world title. Kramnik’s ratings and recent tournaments have been less than impressive, but his refusal to participate means the divisions still have not fully healed.

• • •

The Lausanne Young Masters tournament in Switzerland annually brings together eight of the world’s best players under 20 in a knockout competition.

Seventeen-year-old U.S. champion Hikaru Nakamura made it to the finals this year, falling to Ukrainian GM Andrei Volokitin, 19. Nakamura lost the first game of the minimatch and had to go for broke in Game 2. But his provocative 2. Qh5!? (a move that only a very bad or a very good player would play) Sicilian line meets with a swift punishment.

By 11. cxb5 Bh4 12. Qf3 Nb4, White has won a pawn, but his four queen moves have left him undeveloped and vulnerable. Black presses on with 13. Bd1 f5 14. a3 Nd6! 15. axb4 (there was already no safe bailout; e.g 15. Nf4 fxe4 16. Nxe4 Nxd3+ 17. Qxd3 Bf5! 18. Bb3+ Kh8 19. Bd5 exf4 20. Bxa8?! [tougher was 20. 0-0 Nxe4 21. Bxe4 Bxe4 22. Qxe4 Qe8, though Black is better] Qxa8 21. 0-0 Bxe4 is much stronger for Black) fxe4 16. Qh5 Bxh3.

Now 17. gxh3? Rxf2 18. Bb3+ c4 sets up a devastating discovered check, but White’s tactical efforts to recover the piece just leave him more vulnerable: 17. g3 Qf6! 18. Bb3+ (f4!? exf4 19. Qxh4 was an interesting alternative) Kh8 19. f3? (better survival chances were offered on 19. Qxh4 Qxf2+ 20. Kd1 Nf5) exf3 20. Kf2 Bg5!.

The open f-file and the overworked White queen prove too much for Nakamura: 21. Nxf3 (Qxh3 Be3+ 22. Kf1 [Ke1 f2+ 23. Kf1 Bxd2 24. Bxd2 Qf3 25. Qg2 Qxd3 mate] Qg6 23. Bc2 [Ne4 Nxe4 24. Bxe3 dxe3 25. dxe4 Qxe4 wins] c4 24. Ra6 Rad8, with the dominating threat of 25…cxd3 26. Bd1 e4) g6! (nudging the queen away from its coverage of f3) 22. Bxg5 Qf5 23. Qxh3 Qxf3+.

As 24. Ke1 (Kg1 Qf2 mate) Qxh1+ 25. Ke2 Qxa1 is hopeless, White resigned.

• • •

Finally, we have two quick, brutal lessons in military strategy, taught by an Army sergeant.

As we wrote here last week, a combined U.S. service team finished a creditable fourth in the NATO team chess championships in Poland last month. Sgt. Rudy Tia demonstrated the power of the early and efficient mobilization of forces in two lightning wins from the event.

Polish expert Witold Sarnowski comes to quick grief against Tia after an ill-advised knight sortie — 9. Kh1 Ng4? (the trivial threat against f2 is rudely turned aside) 10. Bxf7+!, when 10…Kxf7 11. e6+! leads to disasters such as 11…Kxe6 12. Ng5+ Bxg5 (Ke5 13. Rf5 mate) 13. Qxg4+ Kd6 14. Rd1+ Kc7 15. Qg3+ Kd8 16. Bxg5+ Ke8 17. Qd6 Nf6 18. Bxf6 gxf6 19. Qxf6 Rg8 20. Qe5+ Kf7 21. Rf1+ and mate in a few moves.

But on the game’s 10…Kf8 11. h5 12. Bg6 Qc7 13. Qc4!, the nasty crossfire targeting the f7-square costs Black a piece.

Sarnowski could honorably pack it in after 14. Nxe5+ Bf6 15. Bf4, but that would deprive us of the satisfying finish: 15…Qe7 (see diagram) 16. Nd7+! Bxd7 17. Bd6!, when 17…Qxd6 allows 18. Qf7 mate. Black resigned.

Tia’s win over Michal Bielawski, another Polish expert playing for the combined NATO squad, lasts just three moves longer. Black’s doubled d-pawns after 10. exd6 exd6? (Qxd6 was far more logical) 11. Nxd5 cxd5 kill his queen-side hopes, and White’s kingside attack proceeds apace.

The breakthrough is not long in coming: 14. h5! Bxf3 (opening the g-file, but 14…Bxh5 15. Rxh5! gxh5 16. Bxh7+! Kxh7 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. Qg5+ Kh7 19. Rh1 Rg8 20. Rxh5 mate is no better) 15. gxf3 f5 16. hxg6 hxg6 17. Rdg1 Rf6 18. Bxf5! Rxf5 19. Rxg6 Rf7 20. Bxg7 Rxg7, and Bielawski resigned before White could administer 21. Qh6! Rxg6 (Qe7 22. Qh8+ Kf7 23. Rxg7+ is also a crush) 22. Qxg6+ Qg7 23. Qe8+ Qf8 24. Rg1+ Kh7 25. Qxf8 Ra7 26. Qg8+ Ra7 27. Qg8+ Kh6 28. Rh1 mate.

Finals, 6th Lausanne Young Masters, Lausanne, Switzerland, September 2005


1. e4c513. Bd1f5

2. Qh5Nf614. a3Nd6

3. Qh4Nc615. axb4fxe4

4. Be2e516. Qh5Bxh3

5. d3Be717. g3Qf6

6. Qg3d518. Bb3+Kh8

7. Nd20-019. f3exf3

8. c3b520. Kf2Bg5

9. Nh3d421. Nxf3g6

10. c4Ne822. Bxg5Qf5

11. cxb5Bh423. Qxh3Qxf3+

12. Qf3Nb4White resigns

16th NATO Championship, Kolobrzeg, Poland, August 2005


1. e4d610. Bxf7+Kf8

2. d4Nd711. Qe2h5

3. f4c612. Bg6Qc7

4. Nf3e513. Qc4Ndxe5

5. fxe5dxe514. Nxe5+Bf6

6. Bc4Be715. Bf4Qe7

7. 0-0Ngf616. Nd7+Bxd7

8. dxe5Qb6+17. Bd6Black

9. Kh1Ng4resigns

16th NATO Championship, Kolobrzeg, Poland, August 2005


1. e4d611. Nxd5cxd5

2. d4Nf612. Bh60-0

3. Nc3g613. h4Bg4

4. Nf3Bg714. h5Bxh3

5. Be3c615. gxf3f5

6. Qd2a616. hxg6hxg6

7. Bd3Qc717. Rdg1Rf6

8. 0-0-0b518. Bxf5Rxf5

9. e5Nd519. Rxg6Rf7

10. exd6exd620. Bxg7Rxg7

and Black resigns

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

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