This article by Quah Seng-Sun was originally published in THE STAR, a Malaysian newspaper, on 16 Jan 1998
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India's Viswanathan Anand came within a hare's whisker of wresting the world chess championship crown from title holder Anatoly Karpov at the finals of the World Chess Championship in Lausanne, Switzerland, last week.

In my column last week, I wrote that at the halfway point of the six-game match between Karpov and Anand, both players were tied with 1.5 points each. Karpov had won the first game but Anand equalised the score with a win in the second game. The third game was drawn.

Continuing from where I left off, the fourth game between the two players was won by Karpov after Anand had played badly. After 12 h4, Karpov thought for about half an hour before he played a novelty move, 12...Nf5. Anand thought for some time and rejected Bxf5 which could have given him a small advantage.

Soon afterwards, Anand found a bad plan which wrecked his pawn structure and left himself with weak pawns and a bad bishop. At first, Karpov failed to capitalise on this advantage. However, as the game was heading towards a draw, Anand again chose a wrong plan in the opposite-colour bishop ending. This time, Karpov successfully seized on Anand's mistake and he went on to realise the full point.

Karpov took a step closer towards retaining his title when he and Anand drew the fifth game. Anand's 16...exd4 was a controversial decision which led to Karpov obtaining a small but clear edge. Anand then played the sharp 19...g5, forcing Karpov to trade off the queens. Anand defended accurately in the ensuing endgame to earn the draw.

By this time, almost everybody was ready to write off the Indian player. However, Anand's faith in himself never wavered. In the sixth game, he uncorked a marvelous opening idea which rattled Karpov enough to force the match into a play-off.

Anand essayed the rarely-played Trompovsky Opening which lead to a complex position. Karpov appeared very nervous during the game and his 28...Qd8 was the losing move. Better was 28...Rxg6 29. Rf8+ Rxf8 30. Qxf8+ Nc8 when the position was probably level or at most, a little better for Karpov.

When the resignation came on the 42nd move, Karpov left the playing hall almost instantly, leaving his entourage to try and catch him up.

With the result tied 3-3 at the end of the six-game match, the world championship now moved into extra time with a series of play-off games planned for the two players. These games would be played using Active Chess time control, that is, 25 minutes per player for each game.

At this stage, public opinion was running high that the chess world could soon have a new world champion as it was generally held that Anand was a better speed player than Karpov. Only the most optimistic bystander would dare give Karpov, at 46 years old, any chance of beating his 28-year-old opponent in the play-offs.

But Karpov proved everyone wrong. He showed the crowd why he was still one of the greatest sportsmen in chess history. In the first game of the play-off, Karpov, playing white, chose a closed opening system so that he could avoid having to think long and hard in the limited time alloted to each game.

However, he did not obtain his goal. As expected, Anand played extremely fast and well. Karpov could not follow that pace and he soon was left with only 10 minutes until the end of the game.

The turning point in the game came on Anand's 40th move. Karpov had about two minutes remaining on his clock and grandmaster Mikhail Gurevich, commenting on the game to spectators, said: "Anand has an overwhelming advantage, but he shouldn't move 40...a4 because he'll be lost."

But by some weird reason, or maybe it was just fatigue, Anand made the most terrible mistake in his career. After 40...a4, Karpov brilliantly smashed up his opponent. He exchanged the queens from the board and emded up with a huge advantage which he converted to a full point.

Ubilava, Anand's trainer, tried to revive his pupil's spirit during the break but it was already too late. Anand's resistance was broken and it showed in his down-heartened approach to the second game. In this game, the Indian grandmaster could only put in a poor resemblance of his usual self and he was wiped out by Karpov.

After the match, Anand said: "I had the first game almost won, but I suddenly felt panic. Don't ask me why, I don't know."


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 Sunday.

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).


Viswanathan Anand - Anatoly Karpov, Game 4

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Bd3 Nc6 9. O-O O-O 10. Re1 Bf6 11. Be4 Nce7 12. h4 Nf5 13. Qd3 Nxc3 14. bxc3 h6 15. h5 Nd6 16. Ne5 Nxe4 17. Qxe4 Bxe5 18. dxe5 f5 19. Qe2 Bd7 20. Rd1 Bb5 21. Qf3 Qe8 22. Bf4 Rc8 23. Rd4 Rc4 24. Rad1 Qf7 25. Rxc4 Bxc4 26. a3 Rc8 27. Rd4 Kh7 28. Bd2 Bd5 29. Qh3 b5 30. a4 bxa4 31. Rxa4 Rc4 32. Rxc4 Bxc4 33. Qh4 Bb5 34. c4 Be8 35. c5 Qd7 36. Bc3 Qd3 37. Qd4 Qxd4 38. Bxd4 a5 39. c6 Bxc6 40. f3 f4 41. Bb2 Be8 42. Bc1 a4 43. Bxf4 a3 44. Be3 Bxh5 45. Kf2 Be8 46. Bd4 Bc6 47. Bc3 a2 48. g3 h5 49. g4 h4 0-1

Anatoly Karpov - Viswanathan Anand, Game 5

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. Bd3 O-O 8. O-O dxc4 9. Bxc4 a6 10. Rd1 b5 11. Be2 Qc7 12. Ne4 Nxe4 13. Qxe4 e5 14. Qh4 Re8 15. Bd3 h6 16. Bc2 exd4 17. Qxd4 Bf8 18. b3 Nf6 19. Qh4 g5 20. Qg3 Qxg3 21. hxg3 c5 22. Bb2 Bg7 23. Rd6 Be6 24. Rad1 Rec8 25. Bxf6 Bxf6 26. Be4 Ra7 27. Bd5 Bxd5 28. R1xd5 Kg7 29. Rd2 Be7 30. Rb6 Bd8 31. Rbd6 Be7 32. R6d5 a5 33. Kf1 a4 34. Ke2 axb3 35. axb3 Ra3 36. b4 Rc3 37. bxc5 R3xc5 38. Rxc5 Rxc5 39. Nd4 Bf6 40. g4 b4 41. Rb2 Rc4 42. Kd3 Rc3+ 43. Kd2 Bxd4 44. exd4 Rc4 45. Kd3 Rc3+ 46. Kd2 Rc4 47. Kd3 Rc3+ 48. Ke4 b3 49. f3 Kf6 50. d5 Rc4+ 51. Kd3 Rf4 52. Rxb3 Ke5 53. Rb6 Kxd5 54. Rxh6 Ke5 55. Ke3 Ra4 1/2-1/2

Viswanathan Anand - Anatoly Karpov, Game 6

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 e6 3. e4 h6 4. Bxf6 Qxf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Qd2 g5 7. Bc4 Nc6 8. Nge2 Bg7 9. Rd1 Bd7 10. O-O O-O-O 11. Nb5 a6 12. Na3 g4 13. f4 gxf3 14. Rxf3 Qe7 15. c3 h5 16. Rdf1 Rdf8 17. b4 Na7 18. Nc2 Bh6 19. Qe1 Kb8 20. Bd3 Bc6 21. Nf4 Rfg8 22. d5 Be8 23. Qf2 Bg7 24. Nd4 Bd7 25. dxe6 Bxd4 26. cxd4 fxe6 27. e5 Bc6 28. Ng6 Qd8 29. Nxh8 Bxf3 30. Nf7 Qh4 31. Qxf3 Qxd4+ 32. Kh1 d5 33. Rd1 Qxb4 34. Rb1 Qa4 35. Qxh5 Nc6 36. Qe2 Ka7 37. Qf2+ b6 38. Rc1 Kb7 39. h3 Rc8 40. Qf6 Nd4 41. Nd8+ Kb8 42. Nxe6 1-0

Anatoly Karpov - Viswanathan Anand, Play-off Game 1

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 c6 4. O-O Bg4 5. d3 Nbd7 6. Nbd2 e6 7. e4 Be7 8. Qe2 O-O 9. h3 Bh5 10. Re1 dxe4 11. dxe4 e5 12. b3 Qc7 13. Bb2 Rfe8 14. Qf1 Rad8 15. a3 b5 16. Bc3 Bf8 17. Nh4 Nc5 18. Bf3 Bg6 19. Nxg6 hxg6 20. Bg2 a6 21. Qe2 Ne6 22. Nf3 Nd7 23. a4 b4 24. Bb2 a5 25. c3 bxc3 26. Bxc3 Rb8 27. Rab1 Bb4 28. Rec1 Bxc3 29. Rxc3 c5 30. Qe3 Qd6 31. h4 Nd4 32. Bh3 Nb6 33. Rbc1 c4 34. bxc4 Nxa4 35. c5 Qe7 36. Ra3 Nxc5 37. Rac3 Ncb3 38. Rc7 Qf6 39. R1c3 Nxf3+ 40. Qxf3 a4 41. Qxf6 gxf6 42. Bd7 Nd4 43. Bxe8 Ne2+ 44. Kg2 Nxc3 45. Bxf7+ Kf8 46. Bxg6 Nb5 47. Rf7+ Kg8 48. Rxf6 Ra8 49. h5 a3 50. h6 a2 51. Bf7+ Kh7 52. Bxa2 Rxa2 53. g4 Nc3 54. g5 Nxe4 55. Rf7+ Kg6 56. Rg7+ Kf5 57. h7 Rxf2+ 58. Kg1 Kg4 59. h8=Q Kg3 60. Re7 Rg2+ 61. Kf1 Nd2+ 62. Ke1 1-0

Viswanathan Anand - Anatoly Karpov, Play-off Game 2

1. d4 d5 2. Bg5 h6 3. Bh4 c6 4. Nf3 Qb6 5. b3 Bf5 6. e3 Nd7 7. Bd3 Bxd3 8. Qxd3 e6 9. c4 Ne7 10. c5 Qa5+ 11. Nc3 b6 12. b4 Qxb4 13. O-O Nf5 14. Rfc1 bxc5 15. Rab1 c4 16. Qc2 Qa5 17. Rb7 Qa6 18. Rcb1 Bd6 19. e4 Nxh4 20. Nxh4 Rb8 21. Rxb8+ Bxb8 22. exd5 cxd5 23. Ng6 fxg6 24. Qxg6+ Kd8 25. Qxg7 Re8 26. Qxh6 Qa5 27. Qg5+ Kc8 28. Qg6 Rf8 29. Rc1 Qb6 30. Ne2 e5 31. Qh5 Qf6 32. Rf1 Rh8 0-1

Copyright: Star Publications (M) Berhad. Thank you. Author: SSQuah

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