- The Washington Times - Friday, November 3, 2006

The seventh Cap d’Agde Tournament in the French Mediterranean resort town provided a glimpse of the game’s future, with a host of young talents competing in the Category 16 event.

Aside from 55-year-old former Soviet world champion Anatoly Karpov, who did not even qualify for the eight-player knockout finals, the 16-player field included some of the most promising players in the world younger than 25, from established Ukrainian GMs Sergey Karjakin and Andrei Volokitin to teenage wunderkinds such as Norway’s Magnus Carlsen, Chinese WGM Zhao Xue and Indian prodigies Humpy Koneru and 13-year-old GM Parimarjan Negi.

In the semifinals earlier this week, Karjakin defeated Carlsen, while Azerbaijani GM Teimour Radjabov ousted Volokitin. Thursday’s two-game final saw Radjabov take the title, edging Karjakin on the White side of a Sicilian in the second game to win 11/2-1/2.

The 19-year-old Radjabov has been a player to watch for several years now, often compared to another Baku native, former world titleholder Garry Kasparov. He displayed some of Kasparov’s killer instinct in putting away former women’s world champ GM Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria in the preliminary qualifying tournament.

Stefanova as Black adopts a nice fighting Queen’s Gambit line, but her inability to develop her king-side leads to drastic consequences.

White’s play contributes to his opponent’s development woes, as Radjabov continually poses tactical problems that hamper the flow of Black’s game. Thus, after 13. Bxa6 Nxa6 (Qxd4 14. Nxd4 Nxa6 15. Nxc6 Bc5 16. Bf4 0-0 isn’t great for Black, but at least her pieces are in the game) 14. Qd3! (White only helps his opponent by trading queens) Qa5 15. Qc4 Nc5 16. Be3, developing the bishop with 16…Be7? loses material to 17. Ne5!, hitting c6 and f7.

But Black’s neglect becomes criminal after 21. f4 (Bxc5? Rc8) h5?!, starting a king-side demonstration while her king’s bishop and king’s rook waste away on their home squares.

The bill comes due on 22. f5! gxf5 23. Nxf5 Qxe4 24. Qd2 Qd5 25. Qe2 Qe6 26. Rad1 Nd7 27. Qf3 Rc8 (see diagram) 28. Rd6!, and the rook is immune because of 28…Bxd6 29. Ng7+.

Black’s king-side pieces remain spectators as White carves up the Black defense with a series of forceful sacrifices: 28…Qe5 29. Rd5 Qxb2 (setting up a poetic finish, but going back to e6 loses prosaically to 30. Re1 f6 [Ne5 31. Rxe5! Qxe5 32. Bf2 wins] 31. Rd6 Qxd6 32. Nxd6+ Bxd6 33. Bxc5+ Be5 34. Bxb4) 30. Bd4! (crushing) cxd4 31. Ng7+! Kd8 (Bxg7 32. Qxf7+ and 33. Qxd7 mate) 32. Rxd7+! Kxd7 33. Qd5+, and Stefanova resigns in light of 33…Kc7 (Ke7 34. Rxf7 mate) 34. Rxf7+ Kb6 35. Qb5 mate.

Hungary’s Judit Polgar and Azerbaijani GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov shared first place in the just-concluded 10th Essent Chess Tournament in the Dutch city of Hoogeveen. The two scored 41/2-11/2 in the Category 20 double-round-robin event, with Mamedyarov taking the title on tiebreaks.

Bulgarian GM Veselin Topalov, who arrived in Essent just days after his draining world title match loss to Russian Vladimir Kramnik, had a rough tournament, losing twice to Mamedyarov and splitting his games with Polgar for a 21/2-31/2 result.

The Azeri star got off to a great start with a Round 1 upset of Topalov, employing some of the Bulgarian’s own aggressive ideas to win the point. Their Queen’s Gambit Semi-Slav follows known theory up through 20. Bd2, when Topalov deviates from the previously played 20…fxe5 with 20…Qd7.

White, though, has the better of the ensuing play, and Mamedyarov takes a Topalov-like gamble with 27. h4 Qd8 28. Bg5!?, giving up a piece for a strong king-side attack. White has a perpetual check in hand, but he decides to play for more with 32. Qf7+ Kh7 33. hxg5!.

Now 33…Be8! 34. Qxe6 Qd7 35. Qc4 Rxd6 36. exd6 Qxd6 is dynamically equal, but Black instead returns his extra piece for an attack that simply doesn’t pan out.

Thus: 33…Ng6? 34. Rxc6 Qxg5 35. Rc8!? (Qxe6 Nf4 36. Qxf5+ Qxf5 37. Nxf5 Ne2+ 38. Kf1 Nxc1 39. Rxc1, with a slightly superior ending, may have been preferable, as it turns out Black can defend White’s idea in the game) Nf4? (the tricky 35…Rxc8 36. Rxc8 Rxd6! 37. exd6 Qd2! was mandatory to save the game, as White must settle for the draw after 38. d7 Qd1+ 39. Kh2 Qh5+ 40. Kg1 Qd1+ 41. Kh2 Qh5+, since 42. Kg3?? hands Black the game after 42…Qh4+ 43. Kf3 Qe4+ 44. Kg3 Qf4+ 45. Kh3 Qh4 mate) 36. g3, and Black’s defense is stalled.

Mamedyarov puts the game away with 40. Qh8+ (covering the h-file and stopping all Black hopes of perpetual check) Kg6 41. Rc7 Qd1+ 42. Kh2 Qh5+ 43. Qxh5+ Nxh5 44. Re7!, and the e-pawn falls while the Black knight finds itself trapped at the edge of the board.

It’s over on 44…Rc6 45. Rxe6+ Kh7 46. Nf7! Rxe6 (Rc2 47. Ng5+ Kg8 48. Re8 mate) Ng5+, and Black is lost in the pawn ending after 47…Kg8 48. Nxe6 Kf7 49. Nf4 Nxf4 (g6 50. Nxh5 gxh5 51. f4 Ke6 52. Kh3 Kf7 53. Kh4 Kg6 54. e6 a4 55. e7 Kf7 56. Kg5!) 50. gxf4 Ke6 51. Kg3 g5 52. fxg5 Kxe5 53. f4+, winning easily. Topalov resigned.

7th Cap d’Agde Tournament, Cap d’Agde, France, October 2006


1. d4d518. h3g6

2. c4c619. Nd4c5

3. Nc3dxc420. Nxe6Qxe6

4. e3b521. f4h5

5. a4b422. f5gxf5

6. Ne4Qd523. Nxf5Qxe4

7. Ng3e524. Qd2Qd5

8. Nf3exd425. Qe2Qe6

9. e4Qa526. Rad1Nd7

10. Bxc4Ba627. Qf3Rc8

11. Qxd4Nf628. Rd6Qe5

12. 0-0Qc529. Rd5Qxb2

13. Bxa6Nxa630. Bd4cxd4

14. Qd3Qa531. Ng7+Kd8

15. Qc4Nc532. Rxd7+Kxd7

16. Be3Qa633. Qd5+Black

17. Qc2Ne6resigns

10th Essent Tournament, Hoogeveen, Netherlands, October 2006


1. d4d525. Be3Rfa8

2. c4c626. Qe2Ra6

3. Nc3Nf627. h4Qd8

4. e3e628. Bg5hxg5

5. Nf3Nbd729. Qh5+Kg8

6. Bd3dxc430. Qf7+Kh7

7. Bxc4b531. Qh5+Kg8

8. Bd3Bb732. Qf7+Kh7

9. e4b433. hxg5Ng6

10. Na4c534. Rxc6Qxg5

11. e5Nd535. Rc8Nf4

12. Nxc5Nxc536. g3Rxc8

13. dxc5Bxc537. Rxc8Qg4

14. 0-0h638. Qg8+Kg6

15. Nd20-039. Qe8+Kh7

16. Ne4Bd440. Qh8+Kg6

17. Nd6Bc641. Rc7Qd1+

18. Bh7+Kxh742. Kh2Qh5+

19. Qxd4f643. Qxh5+Nxh5

20. Bd2Qd744. Re7Rc6

21. Rac1a545. Rxe6+Kh7

22. Qd3+f546. Nf7Rxe6

23. Rc5Ne747. Ng5+Black

24. Rfc1Ra7resigns

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

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