Computer Assists Anand in Victory Chess


June 15, 2001

Position No. 5642: Black to play and win. From the game Ivakhin - Gabdrakhmanov, Tomsk 2001.

Solution to Position No. 5641: White wins with 1 Rd4, setting up 2 Rg5 mate.


Viswanathan Anand, the world's third-ranked player, won the unique "Advanced Chess" tournament last weekend in Leon, Spain. In Advanced Chess, players may search a computer database of master games or have a chess program analyze the current position. Anand seems comfortable with the format; he has now won all three Advanced Chess events.

The knockout tournament featured four leading grandmasters competing in matches of four 20-minute games. Anand suffered his first Advanced Chess loss ever in the preliminary against Peter Leko, but he recovered to tie the match, 2-2, and qualified for the final by winning a tiebreaker of five-minute games, 1 1/2- 1/2. Then Anand faced maniacal attacker Alexey Shirov, who had defeated Veselin Topalov, 2 1/2-1 1/2. Anand outplayed his formidable opponent easily, clinching the match by victories in the second and third games. A loss in the meaningless fourth game brought the official tally to 2 1/2-1 1/2.

Garry Kasparov invented Advanced Chess with the hope of creating games more brilliant than human or computer could produce alone. That dream remains unfulfilled. Nevertheless, the format holds great promise.


Occasionally we must credit chess officials for wise decisions. In 1999, the Southern California Chess Federation recognized that old-fashioned tournaments faced extinction. Weekend events, once the mainstay of local chess, had trouble competing with the huge prize funds and optional schedules of mammoth holiday tournaments. Worse, no tournament could match the convenience of 24-hour Internet play. Yet SCCF leaders believed that many chessplayers retained their fondness for traditional tournaments. They decided to revive the Los Angeles County Open, a one-section tournament with moderate entry fees and modest prizes.

Last weekend, the SCCF ran its third Los Angeles County Open in Monterey Park. All three have been successful, a notable accomplishment during these times of slumping attendance. This one attracted 69 players, including four International Masters.

State champions Levon Altounian and IM Jack Peters and Armenian visitor IM Melikset Khachian tied for first place with scores of 4 1/2- 1/2. Khachian defeated IM Varuzhan Akobian in a crucial fourth-round game, then drew Altounian while Peters drew Akobian.

Next at 4-1 were masters Carlos Garcia, Ron Hermansen and Charles Van Buskirk, experts Minas Nordanyan, Austin Ong (the 2000 county champion) and John Williams, and Class A winner Stuart Gaede. Other prizes went to Craig Clawitter, Elsagav Shaham, Rommel Revilla and Marina Asami.

Monterey Park city councilman and chess expert Francisco Alonso, who helped provide the playing site, invited all players to a June 28 dinner celebrating his imminent installation as mayor. All proceeds will benefit the Monterey Park Library Foundation. For reservations, call (626) 307-1269.

The Pacific Southwest Open begins at 8 tonight in the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, 6101 W. Century Blvd. in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Unified School District conducted its Middle School and Elementary School Championships on June 2 at Hale Middle School in Woodland Hills. The host school, led by top scorer Igor Gampel and David Shein, earned team honors. Ross Kats and Roman Sandler, both of second-place Nobel Middle School, won individual prizes.

First St. Elementary School took the elementary school team title, ahead of San Jose St. Elementary. David Arabyan, Esteban Selaya, Javier Ramirez and Vana Bonyodi had outstanding individual results.

Marc Schatkun, the librarian and chess sponsor at Hale Middle School, ran the tournament.

The 2001 Emperors of Chess Scholastic Championship will be held June 23 at St. Anthony of Padua School, 1003 W. 163rd St. in Gardena. The tournament consists of a four-round Championship section (for students in grades K-12) and a five-round Junior Varsity (for students in grades K-8 rated below 800). For details, call Kurt Stenzel at (310) 704-8660 or John Surlow at (310) 479-8377.

David Argall swept the 24-player B.T. McGuire Memorial, which finished Monday at the Arcadia Chess Club, with a perfect 5-0 score. William Kiplinger and Daniel Kravec (tied for best A), Romeo Milan (best B) and Andras Mohai (best C) earned class prizes.

The Arcadia Chess Club meets at 6:30 p.m. Mondays in the Senior Citizens building, 405 S. Santa Anita Ave. in Arcadia. The club will start the five-round Arcadia Summer Open on June 18. For more information, call Fred Brock at (626) 331-1638.


GM Shirov (Spain) - GM Topalov (Bulgaria) No. 2, Advanced Chess, Leon 2001: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5 9 Bxf6 gxf6 Sveshnikov's variation of the Sicilian Defense. Black's Bishops usually compensate for his wretched pawn structure. 10 Nd5 f5 11 Bxb5!? Such speculation makes sense in a 20-minute game, as it requires more time to defend accurately than to attack. axb5 12 Nxb5 Ra4 13 b4!? Rxb4 Approved by theory. The materialistic 13 . . . Nxb4? 14 c4 Nxd5 15 Qxa4 leaves White in charge. 14 Nbc7+ Kd7 15 0-0 Intending 16 Qh5. Qxc7 Reasonable, as are 15 . . . h5 and 15 . . . Qg5. But 15 . . . Rb7? led to disaster in Shirov-Lautier, Monaco 2000, by 16 Qh5 Ne7 17 Qxf7 Kc6 18 Rab1 fxe4 19 Rxb7 Kxb7 20 Rb1+ Kc6 21 Rb6+ Kc5 22 Rb3. 16 c3!? An amazing novelty. Previous games tested 16 Nxc7 Kxc7 17 Qh5 Rxe4 18 Qxf7+ Be7, with rough equality. Rxe4 Probably best. Instead, 16 . . . Qa5?! 17 cxb4 Nxb4 lets White attack strongly with 18 Qd2 Nc6 19 Qg5 Nd4 20 Rfc1! Ne2+ 21 Kh1 Nxc1 22 Rxc1. 17 Qh5 Kd8 Prudent. After 17 . . . Qd8, both 18 Qxf5+ and 18 Qxf7+ Ne7 19 Nxe7 appear promising for White. 18 Nxc7 Kxc7 19 Qxf7+ Be7 Shirov's spectacular idea has produced a tiny gain, the extra move c2-c3. Chances are still nearly even. 20 Rab1 Ba6 21 Rfd1 Rf8 22 Qb3 Rb8 23 Qe6 Rxb1 24 Rxb1 Bd3 25 Rd1 f4? Either 25 . . . Bc2 or 25 . . . Re2 improves. 26 Qd5 Bc2 27 Rc1 Re2 28 a4! Black's scattered pieces cannot cope with the passed a-pawn. White relies on the trap 28 . . . Bxa4? 29 Qc4 Rc2 30 Ra1, winning the Bishop. e4 29 a5 Bd3 A futile attempt to stop the passer. A counterattack also fails; after 29 . . . e3 30 fxe3 fxe3 31 Qb5 Rd2 32 Qb6+ Kd7, White can win with the simple 33 Qxe3 Rd1+ 34 Rxd1 Bxd1 35 a6 or the complicated 33 Qb7+ Kd8 34 Qxc6 e2 35 Kf2 Rd1 36 Qb6+ Ke8 37 Qb5+ Kf7 38 Qxe2 Rxc1 39 Qd2. 30 Ra1 Rb2 Useless is 30 . . . Ba6, as 31 Qb3 invades at b6. 31 c4 Rb7 32 a6 Ra7 33 f3! Ne5?! Tougher is 33 . . . Bf6 34 Qf7+ Be7 35 fxe4 Bxe4 36 Qxf4 Bg6, although White should still win. 34 fxe4 Bxc4 35 Rc1 Rxa6 36 Rxc4+ Nxc4 37 Qxc4+ Rc6 Or 37 . . . Kb6 38 Kf2, and Black's pawns will fall. 38 Qf7 Kd8 39 Qg8+ Kd7 40 Qxh7 Rc5 41 Qf7 Rc1+ 42 Kf2 Rc8 43 Qf5+ Kc7 44 Qe6, Black Resigns.

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