Friday, Oct 06, 2000

Chess at the Olympics

By Quah Seng Sun

SO, HOW many of you remembered to log on to on the Internet on Sept 24 to watch the two games between Viswanathan Anand and Alexei Shirov at the Sydney Olympics?

By all accounts, it was a historic event as it marked the first time that a chessboard was officially recognised in the Olympic games village.

Although there were no medals at stake and the games were simply an exhibition, the two rapid-play games were hard fought and played till there was no life left in the positions.

The first game was a fashionable line of the Najdorf variation that will come under close scrutiny for its theoretical value. Anand, known for his speed of play, seemed to obtain an advantage on the board and the clock, but Shirov defended under pressure to reach an ending where Anand's extra bishop had no effect on the result of the game.

In the second game, Shirov played the French. Anand sacrificed a pawn but Shirov repulsed the initiative and was a full pawn to the good. In mutual time trouble, Anand won back his pawn and both players agreed to a second draw.

According to reports from Sydney, Shirov had problems coping with a 39-hour journey from Poland. He missed a connecting flight and arrived just six hours before the match. He was very jet-lagged and had trouble waking up in time for the event.

There was speculation that if chess makes it as an Olympiad event it would most likely be in the Winter Games. Salt Lake City in the United States, two years from now, would be the earliest available opportunity.

Whether it becomes a reality or not will depend on the success of negotiations between the World Chess Federation, the International Olympic Committee and the Winter Games organisers.

In the meantime, here are the two absorbing games that were played in Sydney.

Shirov vs Anand (Game 1)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. f3 b5 8. g4 h6 9. Qd2 Nbd7 10. O-O-O Bb7 11. h4 b4 12. Na4 Qa5 13. b3 Nc5 14. a3 Nxa4 15. axb4 Qc7 16. bxa4 d5 17. e5 Nd7 18. f4 Nb6 19. f5! (This variation is named after the Russian international master, Alexander Grischuk, who was the first to play this attacking move.) 19. ... Nxa4 20. fxe6 Nc3 21. exf7+ Kxf7 22. Bd3 Bxb4 23. Rdf1+ Kg8 24. Qf2 Ba3+ 25. Kd2 Ne4+ 26. Bxe4 dxe4 27. g5 (About two weeks earlier, Anand, himself using the white pieces against Boris Gelfand in the Chess World Cup tournament in Shenyang, played 27.Qf5 but could not avoid a draw after 27. ... Bb4+ 28.Kd1 Qc4 29.Ne6 Qd5+ 30.Ke2 Qc4+ 31.Kd1 Qd5+. Shirov tries a different tack.) 27. ... Bd5 28. gxh6 Bb2 29. Rb1 (After 29.Kd1 Qa5 30.Qf4 Rxh6 31.Nf5 Rh5 32.Rfg1 Kh8 33.Rg5 Rh7 34.Rxg7!, White has a crushing attack.) 29. ... Bc3+ 30. Kc1 Bxd4 31. Bxd4 e3 32. Qxe3 Bxh1 33. Rb6 Rc8? (Although Black has an extra rook, the win is not automatic. Possibly better is 33. ... Bd5, eg 34.Rg6 Rh7 35.e6 Rc8 36.c3 Qa5 37.Qg3 Qa1+ 38.Kd2 Qb2+ 39.Ke1 Qc1+ 40.Kf2 Qd2+ 41.Kg1 Qc1+ 42.Kf2 Rf8+ 43.Bf6 Rxf6+ 44.Rxf6 Rxh6 and White is losing.) 34. Qb3+ Qc4 35. hxg7 Rxh4 36. Rb8! Qxb3 37. Rxc8+ Kxg7 38. cxb3 Rxd4 39. Rc7+ 1/2-1/2 (Black's bishop cannot control the a1 promotion square, thus White ensures a draw in this position.)

Anand vs Shirov (Game 2)

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Be7 6. Bxf6 Bxf6 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Bc4 Nc6 9. c3 e5 10. d5 Ne7 11. Nxf6+ gxf6 12. Qd2 Kh8 13. O-O-O Bg4 14. Be2 Qd6 15. Nh4 Rg8 16. g3 Rad8 17. Bxg4 Rxg4 18. Qe2 Ra4 19. Kb1 Nxd5 20. Nf5 Qe6 21. Ne3 Rd6 22. Nxd5 Rxd5 23. a3 Raa5 24. c4 Rd4 25. Rxd4 exd4 26. Qd3 Rc5 27. Qxd4 Rxc4 28. Qd8+ Kg7 29. Rd1 Qf5+ 30. Qd3 Qxd3+ 31. Rxd3 f5 32. Rd8 a5 33. Rd5 a4 1/2-1/2


Allegro finals

THE Malaysian Chess Federation will hold the finals of this year's second Bank Pertanian Malaysia allegro Grand Prix at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur this weekend.

Unlike the earlier legs which were held in the State capitals throughout the year, this final tournament will be played over two days starting tomorrow at 2pm. Players are required to register at the playing venue between 10am and noon.

The winners of the various State legs will get free and automatic entry into the finals but all other participants will be charged entry fees which are RM10 for players under 12 years old, RM15 for women, players under 18 years old and staff of Bank Pertanian, and RM20 for all others.

The event will consist of nine rounds. Four will be played tomorrow and the remaining rounds on Sunday. The prize money totals RM2,600 and the winner will get RM500. The second to 10th prizes range from RM300 to RM80. There are minor cash prizes for the best veteran, woman, Bank Pertanian staff, under-16 and under-12 players.

Entry forms are available from the Riverside Restaurant, at the PWTC, Bank Pertanian headquarters building in Jalan Lebuh Pasar, Kuala Lumpur. For more information or to register, call Ibrahim Bakar ( 03-5519 8451), Ibrahim Yaacob ( 03-636 3082) or Hamid Majid ( 03-4021 9576).

Good prizes for Taiping

The UMNO Youth movements of Salak Baru and Bukit Gantang in Perak will jointly host an open chess tournament at Sekolah Menengah Tengku Menteri Changkat Jering in Taiping on Oct 15 beginning 8am.

This event, for the Dato' Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab trophy, will be played over seven Swiss rounds and run by the Perak International Chess Association (PICA).

The prizes are very attractive for a one-day event. The first prize is RM1,000; the second, RM800; the third, RM700; the fourth, RM600; the fifth, RM500; the sixth RM400; the seventh, RM300; the eighth, RM200; the ninth, RM100 and the 10th, RM50.

There are also trophies for the best veteran, woman, under-16 and under-12 players. The five best Umno players will also be given trophies.

Entry fees are RM10 for children under 12, RM15 for women and members of Umno or Pica, and RM20 for other participants.

For details call Mohd Rodi Nordin ( 05-241 1861, 019-570 8083), Fadil Salaudin ( 05-854 4502) or W.K. Wong ( 05-366 1692).

Quah Seng Sun's e-mail address is His previous chess articles are archived at Logo

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