A Kramnik-Kasparov Showdown

INTERNATIONAL MASTER

June 1

Position No. 5640: White to play and win. From the game Nijboer--Bischoff, Essen 2001.

Solution to Position No. 5639: Black wins with 1 . . . Qxe4 2 Qxe4 Rxd1+.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Another elite tournament has turned into a two-man race between world champion Vladimir Kramnik and his predecessor, Garry Kasparov. Both have won several impressive games without a single loss in the first eight rounds of a double round robin in Astana, Kazakhstan. With two rounds remaining, Kramnik leads with a score of 6-2. Kasparov has 5 1/2-2 1/2.

The tournament features three other grandmasters ranked among the world's top 10. Only Boris Gelfand of Israel, third at 4 1/2-3 1/2, has performed above expectations. Alexander Morozevich of Russia, at 3 1/2-4 1/2, and Alexey Shirov of Spain, at 3-5, appear outclassed by the two K's. Hometown favorite Darmen Sadvakasov, the 21-year-old grandmaster and 1998 world junior champion, has 1 1/2-6 1/2.

LOCAL NEWS

The Memorial Day Weekender, a hastily arranged tournament at Chess Palace in Los Alamitos, attracted a good turnout of 36 players last weekend, although only two masters participated. Expert David Bassett won the tournament, scoring 4 1/2- 1/2. Rasool Bayati, Tom Fries, Tom Kellogg, Nick Lita and William Morriss tied for second place and best Class A at 4-1. Other winners: Austin Ong, best expert; Ped Bashi, Pirouz Hendi, Julian Landaw and Jagdish Singh, tied for best B; Gary Ware, best C; and Francis Chen, best under-1400.

Chess Palace, which is open Wednesday through Sunday, will begin its four-round Wednesday Knights event on June 6. For the club's full schedule, call (562) 598-5099 or visit http://www.chesspalace.com.

Sid Rubin, Dave Nufer, Gregory Yakubovich and James Maclean won their sections at the Wilshire Chess Society tournament last Sunday in Los Angeles. The club's next tournament at the Westside Pavilion is scheduled for June 24.

The Joshua Tree Summer Open takes place Saturday in Faith Lutheran Church, 6336 Hallee Road in Joshua Tree. Register before 9:15 a.m., or call Mark Muller at (760) 367-2311 for details.

Chess teacher Diana Durham will run a five-round scholastic tournament Sunday in the main auditorium of Glendale Adventist Medical Center, 1509 Wilson Terrace in Glendale. Entrants will compete in Varsity (grades 7-12), Junior Varsity (grades 3-6) and Booster (grades K-2) sections. On-site registration closes at 9 a.m.

The Los Angeles County Open, a five-round tournament, will be held June 9-10 in the Service Club Building, Harding at McPherrin in Monterey Park. Junior players competing only for trophies may enter the tournament for only $10. Call Randy Hough at (626) 282-7412 for more information.

Southern California's only grandmaster, Eduard Gufeld, will give a lecture and simultaneous exhibition at the Santa Monica Bay Chess Club. The action begins at 7 p.m. Monday in Joslyn Park, 633 Kensington Road in Santa Monica. On the following Monday, the club starts a four-round tournament. For information, call Pete Savino at (310) 827-2789.

The Exposition Park Chess Club, which meets at 1 p.m. Sundays in the public library, 3665 S. Vermont Ave. in Los Angeles, will host a free three-round tournament June 3.

Can't wait for the Pacific Southwest Open, the traditional July 4th event? You're in luck. This year's PSW Open, the 41st in the series, has been moved to June 15-17 at the Sheraton Gateway, 6101 W. Century Blvd. in Los Angeles. The tournament begins at 8 p.m. Friday, then continues with three games Saturday and two Sunday. For more information, call Randy Hough at (626) 282-7412.

TODAY'S GAMES

GM Kramnik (Russia)--GM Sadvakasov (Kazakhstan), Astana 2001: 1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 The Queen's Gambit Accepted. 3 Nf3 Still the main line, although 3 e4 has grown in popularity. Nf6 4 e3 e6 5 Bxc4 c5 6 0-0 a6 7 a4 Rubinstein's move. The alternative is 7 Qe2 b5 8 Bb3 Bb7 9 Rd1. Nc6 8 Qe2 Qc7 Approved by theory. Isolating the d-pawn by 8 . . . cxd4 9 Rd1 Be7 10 exd4 0-0 11 Nc3 does not quite equalize for Black. 9 Rd1 Bd6 10 dxc5 Black has no problems with his pawn structure, so White must rush his pieces into action if he wants any advantage. The other method is 10 Nc3 0-0 11 h3 b6 12 d5!? exd5 13 Bxd5 Bb7 14 e4, as in Portisch--Radulov, Nice 1974. Bxc5 11 b3 0-0 12 Bb2 e5 Black has no time to eliminate White's KB with 12 . . . Ng4 13 Nbd2 Nge5?, as 14 Nxe5 Nxe5 15 Rac1, threatening 16 b4, costs material. 13 Nc3 New. In Zhukova--Skripchenko, Belgrade 2000, White got the advantage from 13 h3 e4?! 14 Ng5 h6 15 Bxf6 hxg5 16 Bb2, but Black could have improved with 13 . . . Bf5 14 Nc3 e4. e4? Natural, but premature. Black maintains a satisfactory position with 13 . . . Nb4! 14 Rac1 Qe7. If 13 . . . Nb4! 14 Nd5!? Nfxd5 15 Bxd5, Black defends with 15 . . . Bd6 16 Rac1 Qe7 17 Bc4 Bg4 18 h3 Bh5. 14 Ng5 Kramnik will meet 14 . . . Bg4?! not by 15 f3? exf3 16 gxf3 Rae8!, but by 15 Nd5! Bxe2 16 Nxc7 Bxd1 (also 16 . . . Bxc4 17 bxc4 Rad8 18 Nd5 costs Black a pawn) 17 Nxa8 Bh5 18 Bxf6 gxf6 19 Nxe4, winning a pawn. Nor will 15 . . . Qc8 16 Qc2 Bxd1 17 Rxd1 save Black. Then 17 . . . Be7 loses material to 18 Nb6 Qf5 19 Nxf7, while Black suffers on the a1-h8 diagonal with either 17 . . . Nb4 18 Nxf6+ gxf6 19 Qxe4 fxg5 20 Qe5 or 17 . . . Qf5 18 Nxf6+ gxf6 19 Nxe4 Ne5 20 Rd5 Rac8 (hopeless is 20 . . . Be7 21 f4) 21 Nxf6+! Qxf6 22 Rxe5 Qg6 23 Rg5! Qxg5 24 Qc3. Bd6 Best. If 14 . . . Bf5 15 Nd5 Nxd5 16 Rxd5 Ne7 17 Rxf5! Nxf5 18 Qh5 Nh6 19 Nxe4 Be7 20 Rc1, White's ferocious attack outweighs Black's tiny material plus. 15 Nd5 Nxd5 16 Rxd5 Bxh2+ White refutes 16 . . . h6? by 17 Qh5! (threatening 18 Nxe4 and 18 Nxf7) hxg5 18 Rxg5 Be5 19 Bxe5. The Bishops show their might in the finishes 16 . . . Nb4? 17 Qh5 h6 18 Rxd6! Qxd6 19 Nxf7 and 18 . . . hxg5 19 Rh6! gxh6 20 Qg6 mate. 17 Kh1 Be5 18 Qh5 Bf5? Black's only chance is 18 . . . h6 19 Nxf7 Rxf7 (not 19 . . . Bxb2?, as 20 Nxh6+ Kh7 21 Nf7+ Kg8 22 Rd7! leads to mate). Neither 20 Bxe5 Qe7 nor 20 Rxe5!? Nxe5 21 Bxe5 Qe7 22 Qg6! Qh4+! 23 Bh2 Qf6 ends Black's resistance. 19 Nxf7! Winning. Rxf7 If 19 . . . Bxb2 20 Rxf5 g6, White wraps it up with 21 Qh6! gxf5 22 Nd8+! Rf7 23 Bxf7+ Qxf7 24 Nxf7 Bxa1 25 Ng5. Or, if 19 . . . Bg6, then 20 Nxe5 Bxh5 21 Rd7+ wins a piece. 20 Qxf5! Another stunner! White relies on 20 . . . Rxf5 21 Rd8 mate and 20 . . . Bxb2 21 Rd7. g6 21 Bxe5, Black Resigns. Games like this one should dispel the notion that Kramnik plays too peacefully.

GM Glek (Russia)--IM S. Arkhipov (Russia), Russian Team Championship, Tomsk 2001: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Quick development against the Sicilian Defense. e6 4 0-0 Nge7 5 Re1 a6 Or 5 . . . Nd4. 6 Bxc6 Nxc6 7 d4 cxd4 8 Nxd4 Qc7 Also 8 . . . d6 and 8 . . . Be7 are reasonable. 9 Nxc6 bxc6 10 e5 Bb7 11 Nd2 c5? Preparing to blunder. Instead, 11 . . . d6 or 11 . . . Be7 12 Qg4 0-0 13 Nc4 f5 defends. 12 Nc4 Bd5?? Black should gamble on 12 . . . Be7 13 Qg4 0-0-0. 13 Nd6+! Bxd6 Neither 13 . . . Kd8 14 Nxf7+ nor 13 . . . Ke7 14 Qh5 g6 15 Qg5+ helps. 14 Qxd5!, Black Resigns.

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