This article by Quah Seng-Sun was originally published in THE STAR, a Malaysian newspaper, on 09 Jan 1998
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FOCUS ON WORLD CHESS MEET
On the international front, one recent chess event that has been in the news recently was the FIDE world chess championships that begun in Groningen, Netherlands, on Dec 8 last year and which will end today in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The first part of the championships in Groningen involved 96 players meeting in seven rounds of elimination matches with the winner qualifying to play Anatoly Karpov in a six-game match in Lausanne.
For only the first time since the World Chess Federation (FIDE) was founded in 1924, the knockout formula was employed to settle the world championship title. The main reason for this decision was the decline of interest among sponsors to foot the bills for the old match format after Gary Kasparov started to organise his own world championship events.
Although most of the world's best players took part, the two most notable absentees were Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik. Kasparov poured scorn on the championships, saying that FIDE "totally ignored the fact that I have held this title continuously since 1985." However, Kasparov himself conveniently forgot to add that he had given up his claim on the title when he chose to play Nigel Short in a match outside FIDE's jurisdiction in 1991.
On the other hand, Kramnik had opted out from the championships because the seeding of Karpov directly to the final was unacceptable to him.
But even if the world championships were without the presence of Kasparov and Kramnik, it was not any less competitive or without any tension. Amidst all the competition, eyes were now focussed on India's Viswanathan Anand who was suddenly propelled as the new top seed after Kramnik's withdrawal.
The first elimination round weeded out a lot of the no-hoper players who had qualified from the various zonal tournaments around the world last year. However, there were also a number of well-known casualties such as Peter Leko, Miguel Illescas, Alex Yermolinsky, Joel Benjamin.
The second round saw the elimination of two of the most highly regarded players in the event: Vasily Ivanchuk lost to Yasser Seirawan while Veselin Topalov was shocked by Jeroen Piket. Among the other players to be eliminated were Predrag Nikolic, Utut Adianto, Ivan Sokolov, Ulf Andersson, Viktor Korchnoi and Jaan Ehlvest.
The high point of the third round was the match between Alexander Khalifman and Anand. Khalifman dominated the whole match only to see the Indian seizing his one and only chance to go through to the next round. Seirawan missed many chances and was eliminated by Zvjaginsev.
The battle between the two Dutchmen, Loek Van Wely and Jeroen Piket, was messy but Van Wely made it through to the fourth round. Nigel Short made short work of Andre Sokolov while his compatriot, Michael Adams, also won impressively against Sergei Tiviakov.
The field was effectively whittled down to only 16 players for the fourth round. Anand was one of the earliest qualifiers for the fifth round when he beat Zoltan Almasi. Van Wely also moved through easily with a win against Kiril Georgiev.
The most interesting match of this round was that between Short and Alexander Beliavsky, in which the Englishman advanced to the next stage of the championships after a play-off. In other matches, Adams won against Peter Svidler, Mikhail Krasenkow went through after a struggle against Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Zvjaginsev was outlasted by Dreev, and Tkachiev fell to Boris Gelfand.
In the quarter-final fifth round, Anand stamped his authority by eliminating Alexei Shirov in a short match. Short also advanced to the sixth round when he grounded down Krasenkow in their match.
The other two matches went to playoffs. Van Wely against Adams was one of the most hard fought matches in Groningen with the latter eventually emerging as the winner when Van Wely lost one of his games on time. Gelfand dominated Dreev in the playoff to qualify.
In the sixth round elimination matches, Anand began to look like justifying his seeding when he eliminated Gelfand from the contest. Short and Adams were tied after their two normal time control games and this was followed by four fluctuating draws in the play-off games. Adams then won the first sudden death game to go through to a meeting with Anand.
The seventh round was the highlight in Groningen and it featured an interesting match between Adams and Anand. The four normal regulation games were drawn, but then Adams suddenly cracked in the play-off to put Anand through to challenge Karpov.
A day's respite for travelling was all that Anand received after going through the gruelling eight qualifying rounds in Groningen. On Jan 2, the eighth round began in Laussane. Effectively, this was to be the world championship finals between a tired Anand and a fresh Karpov who did not have to endure the pressure of the Groningen rounds.
The first game between the two players ended badly for Anand. Karpov and his team found a powerful knight sacrifice on the 17th move which Anand found difficult to handle. The key moment was Anand's 19...Qd6 which brought about a long forcing line in which Anand probably overlooked 31. Qxg7. The ending was slightly tricky but winning, and Karpov took 108 moves to convert the double rook versus queen ending into the full point.
In the second game, Karpov tried to surprise Anand by adopting the 5...Bc5 line in an open Spanish game. Anand played a novelty with his 14 Qe2. 18 d4 introduced complications and Karpov answered with 19...Rxf3, giving up the exchange. Anand looked in a better position but then he seemed to lose the thread of the game.
In mutual time trouble, Karpov missed a chance to effectively finish off Anand in the six-game match. His 34. ...h6?? was a mistake as 34. ...Ne2+ 35. Kf1 Qe8 was winning. As it turned out, Karpov was forced to resign some time later.
Karpov sprang a novelty (14 Bb2) in the third game but then he went into a 35-minute think before playing his next move. It was probable that Karpov had discovered something wrong with his intended continuation and after that, he steered the game firmly to a draw.
The conclusion of the world chess championship will be covered next week. In the meantime, readers with Internet access may want to check out the world championship web page at http://www.chessweb.com for more information.
Members of the Penang Chess Association can look forward to play in a one-day tournament at the Residents Association of Bayan Baru clubhouse on Jan 18.
This event is the fourth and final leg of the Penang grand prix chess circuit. Each leg consists of a six-round event played to Active-30 rules, and the prizes include RM200 for the winner, RM150 for the runner-up, RM100 for third and five other minor cash prizes. Entry fee is RM20 per player.
Readers wishing to take part in the tournament can contact Goh Yoon Wah (tel: 04-644-5687 in the evenings) or Ooi Kiem Boo (tel: 04-657-4596 during office hours).
Meanwhile, the Universiti Sains Malaysia's Bridge and Chess Club will hold their annual USM open team tournament this weekend at their Lecture Hall "U". Entry fees are RM40 for school and university teams, and RM60 for others.
For more details, contact the Bridge and Chess Club, Pusat Mahasiswa, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Glugor, Penang (tel: 04-657-7888 ext 3491, 3497 or 3499).
GAMES OF THE WEEK
Anatoly Karpov - Viswanathan Anand, Game 1
1. d4 d5, 2. c4 c6, 3. Nc3 Nf6, 4. e3 e6, 5. Nf3 Nbd7, 6. Bd3 dxc4, 7. Bxc4 b5, 8. Bd3 Bb7, 9. O-O a6, 10. e4 c5, 11. d5 Qc7, 12. dxe6 fxe6, 13. Bc2 c4, 14. Qe2 Bd6, 15. Nd4 Nc5, 16. f4 e5, 17. Ndxb5 axb5, 18. Nxb5 Qb6, 19. Nxd6+ Qxd6, 20. fxe5 Qxe5, 21. Rf5 Qe7, 22. Qxc4 Rc8, 23. Qb5+ Ncd7, 24. Qxb7 Rxc2, 25. Bg5 Qd6, 26. Qa8+ Kf7, 27. Qxh8 Qd4+, 28. Kh1 Qxe4, 29. Rf3 Rxg2, 30. Kxg2 Ne5, 31. Qxg7+ Kxg7, 32. Bxf6+ Kg6, 33. Bxe5 Qxe5, 34. Rg1 h5, 35. b3 Qe2+, 36. Rf2 Qe4+, 37. Kf1+ Kh6, 38. Rg3 Qb1+, 39. Kg2 Qe4+, 40. Rgf3 Qg6+, 41. Kf1 Qb1+, 42. Kg2 Qg6+, 43. Kh1 Qb1+, 44. Rf1 Qxa2, 45. Rf6+ Kg7, 46. Rf7+ Kh8, 47. Rf8+ Kg7, 48. R8f7+ Kg8, 49. R7f3 Kg7, 50. h3 Qc2, 51. R1f2 Qe4, 52. Kg2 Qb4, 53. Re2 Qd4, 54. Re7+ Kg6, 55. Re6+ Kg7, 56. Rg3+ Kf7, 57. Rge3 Qd5+, 58. Kg3 Qg5+, 59. Kf2 Qh4+, 60. Ke2 Qd4, 61. R6e4 Qa1, 62. Kd3 Kf6, 63. Re6+ Kf5, 64. b4 Qc1, 65. Kd4 Qc8, 66. b5 Qd8+, 67. Kc5 Qc7+, 68. Kb4 Qf4+, 69. Kb3 Qc7, 70. b6 Qd7, 71. R3e5+ Kf4, 72. Re4+ Kg3, 73. Re3+ Kh2, 74. Kc4 h4, 75. Kc5 Qc8+, 76. Kd5 Qd8+, 77. Ke4 Qd7, 78. Kf5 Kg2, 79. Kg5 Qg7+, 80. Kxh4 Kf2, 81. R3e5 Qh8+, 82. Kg4 Qg7+, 83. Kf5 Qh7+, 84. Kf6 Qh4+, 85. Kf7 Qh7+, 86. Ke8 Qb7, 87. h4 Qb8+, 88. Kf7 Qb7+, 89. Kg6 Qb8, 90. h5 Qg8+, 91. Kf5 Qh7+, 92. Kf6 Kf3, 93. Re3+ Kf2, 94. Re2+ Kf3, 95. R2e3+ Kf2, 96. Kg5 Qg8+, 97. Kh4 Qd8+, 98. Kh3 Qd1, 99. Re2+ Kf3, 100. Kh2 Qd8, 101. R6e3+ Kf4, 102. b7 Qb6, 103. Re4+ Kf3, 104. R2e3+ Kf2, 105. Re7 Qd6+, 106. Kh3 Qb8, 107. R3e5 Kg1, 108. Rg7+ 1-0
Viswanathan Anand - Anatoly Karpov, Game 2
1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 Nc6, 3. Bb5 a6, 4. Ba4 Nf6, 5. O-O Bc5, 6. c3 b5, 7. Bb3 d6, 8. a4 Bg4, 9. d3 O-O, 10. h3 Bxf3, 11. Qxf3 Na5, 12. Bc2 b4, 13. Nd2 Rb8, 14. Qe2 Re8, 15. Nf3 bxc3, 16. bxc3 Nb3, 17. Bxb3 Rxb3, 18. d4 exd4, 19. cxd4 Rxf3, 20. Qxf3 Bxd4, 21. Ra2 Nxe4, 22. Qd3 c5, 23. Qxa6 d5, 24. a5 c4, 25. Be3 Be5, 26. Bb6 Qd7, 27. Qa7 Qc6, 28. Bd4 Bc7, 29. Rb2 c3, 30. Rb7 Rc8, 31. Bb6 Be5, 32. Rxf7 c2, 33. Rc1 Nc3, 34. Rf3 h6, 35. Qf7+ Kh8, 36. Re3 d4, 37. Rxe5 d3, 38. Bd4 Rg8, 39. Re6 d2, 40. Rxc6 dxc1=Q+, 41. Kh2 Qd2, 42. Rc8 1-0
Anatoly Karpov - Viswanathan Anand, Game 3
1. d4 d5, 2. c4 c6, 3. Nc3 Nf6, 4. e3 e6, 5. Nf3 Nbd7, 6. Bd3 dxc4, 7. Bxc4 b5, 8. Bd3 Bb7, 9. a3 b4, 10. Ne4 Nxe4, 11. Bxe4 bxa3, 12. bxa3 Bd6, 13. O-O O-O, 14. Bb2 Rb8, 15. Qc2 c5, 16. Bxb7 Rxb7, 17. dxc5 Bxc5, 18. Rfd1 Qe7, 19. a4 1/2-1/2
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