- The Washington Times - Friday, March 9, 2007

Indian GM Viswanathan Anand has the lead as the Category 20 SuperGM Morelia/Linares tournament heads for the finish line in Spain this weekend.

With two rounds to go, Anand clung to a half-point lead, just ahead of surprising Norwegian 16-year-old GM Magnus Carlsen and a full point clear of Russia’s Peter Svidler. Anand took the lead with a win earlier this week over Carlsen, but the young Norwegian bounced right back with a nice victory over veteran Ukrainian GM Vassily Ivanchuk.

Through Thursday’s Round 12, the scoreboard read: Anand 71/2-41/2; Carlsen 7-5; Svidler 61/2-51/2; 2006 winner GM Levon Aronian (Armenia) 6-6; Ivanchuk, GM Veselin Topalov (Bulgaria) and GM Alexander Morozevich 51/2-61/2; and GM Peter Leko (Hungary) 41/2-71/2.

Anand’s win over Carlsen in the Round 10 pairing of co-leaders was both a subtle positional masterpiece and an impressive tactical performance.

In a Closed Ruy Lopez, White’s 17. Bb3 Nb6 18. Be3! (the bishop had previously gone to h6 in this line) is an intriguing novelty that impairs Black’s queenside development by chaining Carlsen’s queen to the defense of the knight on b6. The first payoff comes on 20…Bxc8 (the more natural 20…Qxc8? hangs the knight), and the second comes on 22…Na8, a sad necessity to keep Anand from invading via the c7-square.

With Black focused on unwinding his queenside, White then pounces on the other wing: 23. Qd2 Qb8 24. Bg5!! (perhaps the game’s finest move; White willingly gives up an active bishop for a passive Black one, but the trade creates new kingside defensive targets) Bxg5? (Anand later criticized this move, suggesting the hangdog 24…Qd8; note that 24…f6? loses to 25. Nxe5! dxe5 [fxe5 26. Bxe7, or 25…hxg5 26. Nxd7] 26. d6+ Kh8 27. dxe7) 25. Nxg5 Rc8? — proof that Black does not suspect the danger.

White breaks through on 26. Rf1! h6 (see diagram; 26…Kxg7 27. f4 h6 28. Nxf7 Kxf7 29. fxe5+ Kg7 30. exd6 Qxd6 31. Qd4+ Kg8 32. Rf6 wins) 27. Ne6!!, when the White bishop comes into play with dominating effect after 27…fxe6 28. dxe6 Be8 29. Qxh6 Nb6 30. f4 Qa7 31. f5 Nc4+ 32. Kh1 Qg7 33. Qh4.

On the game’s 27… Kh7 28. f4! Qa7+ 29. Kh2 Be8 (fxe6 30. dxe6 Be8 31. f5, with a huge attack) 30. f5 gxf5 31. exf5 f6, White’s knight controls the game from its e6 perch, and Anand need only activate his rook to win.

The finale: 34. Rc3! e4 35. Rg3 (heading for g4, when with the idea of Qxh6+! and Rh4 mate) Nxe6 36. dxe6 Be8 37. e7! Bh5 (Qxe7 38. Bg8+ Kh8 39. Qxh6+ Qh7 40. Qxh7 mate; or 37…e3 38. Bg8+ Kh8 39. Qxd6, winning) 38. Qxd6, and Black is lost in lines like 38…Re8 (Rc1 does threaten mate in one, but still loses to 39. Bg8+ Kh8 40. Qxf6 mate) 39. Qxf6 Qxe7 40. Bg8+! Rxg8 41. Qxe7+; Carlsen resigned.

The nation of Georgia is famous for great wines and great women chess players.

Georgia-born WGMs Nona Gaprindashvili and Maya Chiburdanidze both won the women’s world crown and Georgia has been a regular medalist at the biennial women’s Olympiads, including a string of three golds in the mid-1990s.

Hungary’s Polgar sisters and string of strong Chinese women have challenged the Georgians’ distaff hegemony in recent years, but there’s still a lot of quality chess on tap in the south Caucasus chess powerhouse. In last month’s national championship in Tbilisi, WGM Sopiko Khukhashvili orchestrated a beautiful sacrificial attack to overcome master Maka Purtseladze.

The Panov-Botvinnik Attack in the Caro-Kann (3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4) is not the trendiest line these days, but it does retain its sting. With Black pursuing a queenside buildup, Khukhashvili lands the first blow with 16. a3 Nc6?! (like Carlsen, underestimating White’s kingside threats) 17. Nxf7!, when both 17…Rxf7 18. Re8+ Rf8 19. Bxh7+ Kxh7 20. Rxf8 and 17…Kxf7 18. Qh5+ g6 19. Qxh7+ Bg7 20. Qxg6+ Kg8 21. Qh7+ leave White clearly better.

Black survives and even recovers her pawn on 17…g6 18. Nh6+ Kg7 19. Ng4 Bxg4 20. Qxg4 Bxd4, only to be hit by a second piece sacrifice: 21. Bxg6!! hxg6 22. Re6, and White’s pieces are buzzing around the Black king.

With silicon sangfroid, the Fritz computer program gives Black some survival chances after 23. Rxf6 Kxf6 (Kxf6 24. Qd7+ Kh6 25. Bxh6 Rg8 26. Qh3 mate) 24. Re1, when 24…Kf7 25. Qd7+ Kf8 26. Qd6+ Kf7 (Kg7 27. Re7+! Nxe7 28. Qxb6 and the bishop can’t recapture because of the pin) 27. Qxd5+ Kf8 28. Re4 Bxf2+ leaves White with some work to do.

But White finds a crushing deflection on the game’s 24…Rg8? 25. Qf4+ Kg7 26. Re7+! Nxe7 (Kh8 27. Qh6 mate) 27. Bxd4+, picking off the Black queen.

Purtseladze tries to set up a blockade with her rook and knight, but White simply has too many pawns. In the final position, after 36. Qc8+ Kd6 37. b7, the passed pawn will cost Black her rook and she resigned.

24th SuperGM Morelia/Linares, Linares, Spain, March 2007


1. e4e520. Rxc8Bxc8

2. Nf3Nc621. Qc2Bd7

3. Bb5a622. Rc1Na8

4. Ba4Nf623. Qd2Qb8

5. 0-0Be724. Bg5Bxg5

6. Re1b525. Nxg5Rc8

7. Bb3d626. Rf1h6

8. c30-027. Ne6Kh7

9. h3Na528. f4Qa7+

10. Bc2c529. Kh2Be8

11. d4Nd730. f5gxf5

12. d5Nb631. exf5f6

13. Nbd2g632. Re1Nc7

14. b4cxb433. Rc1Bd7

15. cxb4Nac434. Rc3e4

16. Nxc4Nxc435. Rg3Nxe6

17. Bb3Nb636. dxe6Be8

18. Be3Bd737. e7Bh5

19. Rc1Rc838. Qxd6Black


64th Georgia Women’s Championship, Tbilisi, Georgia, February 2007


1. e4c620. Qxg4Bxd4

2. d4d521. Bxg6hxg6

3. exd5cxd522. Re6Rf6

4. c4Nf623. Rxf6Kxf6

5. Nc3e624. Re1Rg8

6. Nf3Bb425. Qf4+Kg7

7. cxd5Nxd526. Re7+Nxe7

8. Bd2Nc627. Bxd4+Qxd4

9. Bd30-028. Qxd4+Kf7

10. 0-0Be729. Qb6Rc8

11. Re1Bf630. g3Rc6

12. Nxd5exd531. Qxb7Rc2

13. Ne5Qb632. b4axb4

14. Bc3Nb433. axb4Ke6

15. Bb1a534. b5Rb2

16. a3Nc635. b6Nf5

17. Nxf7g636. Qc8+Kd6

18. Nh6+Kg737. b7Black

19. Ng4Bxg4resigns

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

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