Chess

YESTERDAY, I discussed Viswanathan Anand's possible "Ultimate World Chess Championship" match with Garry Kasparov this October.

Easily faster than any other player I've ever analysed or had a post- mortem with - Kasparov, Karpov and Tal included - Anand to work with was once (some while ago, as you can tell from the outdated hardware analogy) likened by John Nunn to grappling with a Pentium-100 while you yourself were a 486- 33!

Like any title contender, Anand is quite singular and he has created no "Indian Chess School" in his wake. But they do have some other strong players including two grandmasters, the 32-year-old Dibyendu Barua and Praveen Thipsay, who will be 40 this year. Meanwhile much the most promising prospect is I.M. Krishnan Sashikiran, who was 18 in January.

I first met Sashikiran at the British Championships two years ago in Hove, where he impressed me both with his apparently effortless command of tactical melees and his great self-confidence; and although I had the White pieces in our game, I ended up having to take some care to make a draw. Last year in Torquay, he was less impressive against me, though we still drew; but he showed himself to great advantage with draws against Short and Sadler, both of whom he came close to defeating.

Sashikiran had a disaster at the Goodricke Open in Calcutta in February, scoring abysmally against his countrymen and women. But he recovered splendidly (in the absence, of course, of Anand but also Barua) to take first place in the Indian Championship in Nagpur - a monumental event running from 27 March to 12 April - with 13/17 (11 wins, four draws and two losses) a point ahead of Thipsay 12, another good prospect, 22-year I.M. Abhijit Kunte, and G.B. Prakash (who's 27) on 11.

This second-round win against his main rival shows another facet of Sashikiran's play: excellent technique in an advantageous middlegame and then potentially treacherous rook ending.

White: Krishnan Sashikiran

Black: Praveen Thipsay

King's Indian Defence

1 d4 Nf6

2 c4 g6

3 Nc3 Bg7

4 e4 d6

5 Nf3 0-0

6 Be2 Na6

7 0-0 e5

8 Be3 Ng4

9 Bg5 Qe8

10 dxe5 h6

11 Bd2 dxe5

12 h3 Nf6

13 Be3 Qe7

14 Nd5 Qd8

15 Qc1 Kh7

16 Rd1 Nd7

17 c5 c6

18 Bxa6 cxd5

19 Rxd5 bxa6

20 c6 Qe8

21 cxd7 Bxd7

22 Rc5 Qe6

23 Qc4 Rfc8

24 Qxe6 Bxe6

25 Ra5 Rc4

26 Rxa6 Rxe4

27 b3 Rb4

28 Rc1 Rb7

29 Rc5 Re8

30 Rca5 Rd7

31 Rxa7 Rd1+

32 Kh2 Bd5

33 Nd2 Rd8

34 Nc4 Bf6

35 R5a6 Kg7

36 Bxh6+ Kxh6

37 Rxf6 Kg7

38 Rd6 Bxc4

39 Rxd8 Rxd8

40 bxc4 Rd2

41 f3 Rc2

42 c5 Kg5

43 c5 Kg5

44 a4 f5

45 Rb5 Kf4

46 a5 e4

47 fxe4 fxe4

48 a6 e3

49 a7 Ra2

50 Rb7 e2

51 Re7 Rxa7

52 Rxe2 Rc7

53 Rc2 Rc6

54 Rc4+ Ke3

55 Kg3 g5

56 Kg4 Kd3

57 Rc1 Kd2

58 Rf1 1-0

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