- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2005

The FIDE world championship tournament got off to a rollicking start this week as two of the favorites won in the very first round — a sign, one hopes, of some good fighting chess to come.

In Wednesday’s Round 1 in the Argentine province of San Luis, India’s Viswanathan Anand defeated Hungary’s Judit Polgar from the Black side of a Caro-Kann in scintillating fashion, while Bulgarian Veselin Topalov escaped from some opening difficulties in a sharp Sicilian to pin a loss of Polgar’s compatriot, Peter Leko. The eight-grandmaster double-round robin is designed to produce a legitimate world champion after more than a decade of division and disunity in the game.

In other early action, Russian Peter Svidler and England’s Michael Adams agreed to a draw in their Round 1 game as did FIDE’s nominal world champ, Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan,and Russian Alexander Morozevich. Play continues through mid-October.

Polgar, the greatest female player in history, has always had a tough time against Anand, who can match her tactical skills and is unmatched by players of either sex in his calculating abilities.

Here Polgar bravely presses for the initiative in the early middlegame with 14. Qc2!? Bxf3 15. gxf3 Qh5 16. 0-0-0!?, daring Black to grab the f-pawn as she prepares an attack along the open g-file. But Anand opts for patient defense, shoring up his weaknesses along the open file while preparing to bust open the queenside on his own terms. Black’s 17. Kb1 b5! is nicely timed, as 18. axb5 cxb5 19. Bxb5? loses a piece to 19…Nxe3 20. fxe3 Qxb5.

White may have been better advised to seek a queen trade with 23. Qg4, as her decision to press on with her kingside hopes allows the Black queen to redeploy to the other flank: 23. h4?! f5! (covering the g4-square) 24. Qe2 Qf7 25. Rg2 Bf4 26. Rhg1 Rg8 27. Be3 Qd7, and White’s decision to castle queenside now looks exceedingly risky.

White’s kingside array is superficially impressive, but it is the Black queenside forces that do the real damage: 33. Qe2 Qa6! 34. Bh6 (see diagram; Polgar’s “threat” is easily sidestepped, but even worse was grabbing the piece with 34. cxb5? Qa2+ 35. Kc1 Rbc8+ 36. Kd1 Qa1+, winning) Nc3+! (and not 34…gxh6?? 35. Qe5+, leading to mate) 35. bxc3 Bxc3, and the White king is caught in a mating net.

Anand’s 36. Kc1 Qa3+ is good enough, but for the sadists in the audience, my Fritz computer program served up the even nastier 36…b2+!, with lines like 37. Kc2 Qa2! 38. Kxc3 Rb3+ 39. Kd2 b1=Q+ 40. Ke3 Qxe2+ 41. Kxe2 Qxd3+ 42. Ke1 Rb1+ 43. Bc1 Rxc1 mate. Polgar, in time pressure, manages to limp on after 37. Kd1 Qa1+ 38. Bc1 b2 39. Qe3 Bxd4! (a nice touch, as 40. Qxd4 bxc1=Q+ creates a queen and wins one as well) 40. Qd2 bxc1=Q+ 41. Qxc1, emerging with just a single pawn deficit, but after 41…Qa2, her position is hopeless.

Contemplating at leisure lines like 42. Re1 Rgd8 43. Re2 Bb2 44. Qc2 Qa1+ 45. Kd2 Rxd3+! 46. Kxd3 (Qxd3 Qc1 mate) Rd8+ 47. Ke3 Bc1+ 48. Rd2 Bxd2+ 49. Qxd2 Qe5 mate, Polgar resigned.

• • •

The fabled Washington Plumbers not only had the coolest name of any D.C. sporting collective this side of the Homestead Greys, they were perhaps the only Washington team in any sport to retire undefeated.

The Plumbers took the inaugural and only season championship of the fabled “National Chess League,” an inter-city telephone team competition staged by the U.S. Chess Federation in 1976.

Thoughts of the Plumbers came flooding back (as it were) with the news that a new U.S. Chess League has now been formed, an eight-city team competition that plays via the Internet. Washington doesn’t have an entry — yet — but there’s a terrific Web site at www.uschessleague.com and some fine individual games to offer.

GM Alex Stripunsky, of the East Division-leading New York Knights, scored a key point over IM Vince McCambridge of the San Francisco Mechanics in a recent match game from the league. Black tries to construct a solid central defensive wall in this Closed Sicilian, but Stripunsky’s dominating light-squared bishop helps push through the final assault.

After 23. f4! Bb7 (the long diagonal looks nice, but this bishop proves next to useless, while its White counterpart on b3 dictates the play) 24. Rf3 Raa8 25. Ref1 Nd6?! (Bc6 26. fxe5 fxe5 27. Qf2 Bd7 looks tougher, despite the imposing White array down the f-file) 26. Rg3 Qe8 27. f5! Nxe4 28. dxe4 Ba6, White brushes off the X-ray attack on his queen and rook by going straight for the jugular.

Thus: 29. Qg4 Rf7 30. Rh3! (Bxf7!? Qxf7 31. Rc1 gives Black some survival hopes based on his two bishops) g5 (Bxf1? 31. Qg6! Qg8 32. Bxf7 is crushing) 31. fxg6 Rg7 32. Rxh7+ Rxh7 33. gxh7, and Black resigned in the face of 33…Bxf1 34. Bh6 and mate in a couple of moves.

FIDE World Championship, San Luis, Argentina, September 2005


1. e4c622. Qe4Kh8

2. d4d523. h4f5

3. Nc3dxe424. Qe2Qf7

4. Nxe4Nd725. Rg2Bf4

5. Bd3Ngf626. Rhg1Rg8

6. Nf3Nxe427. Be3Qd7

7. Bxe4Nf628. Qd2Bd6

8. Bd3Bg429. Bc2Qb7

9. Be3e630. Bg5b4

10. c3Bd631. c4b3

11. h3Bh532. Bd3Bb4

12. Qe2Qa533. Qe2Qa6

13. a40-034. Bh6Nc3+

14. Qc2Bxf335. bxc3Bxc3

15. gxf3Qh536. Kc1Qa3+

16. 0-0-0Nd537. Kd1Qa1+

17. Kb1b538. Bc1b2

18. Rdg1f639. Qe3Bxd4

19. axb5cxb540. Qd2bxc1=Q+

20. Bc1Rab841. Qxc1Qa2

21. Qe2Rfe8White resigns

New York vs. San Francisco, U.S. Chess League, Internet Chess Club, September 2005


1. e4c518. Qxe4e5

2. Nc3Nc619. Kh1Qe8

3. Bb5Nd420. Qe2Qg6

4. Bc4e621. Ng3Nf5

5. Nge2a622. Ne4Be7

6. Nxd4cxd423. f4Bb7

7. Ne2Bc524. Rf3Raa8

8. Ng3b525. Ref1Nd6

9. Bb3Ne726. Rg3Qe8

10. 0-0d527. f5Nxe4

11. d30-028. dxe4Ba6

12. Bg5f629. Qg4Rf7

13. Bd2Kh830. Rh3g5

14. Qe2Ra731. fxg6Rg7

15. a4b432. Rxh7+Rxh7

16. Rae1a533. gxh7Black

17. Nh5dxe4resigns

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

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