Chess

HARDLY OF the same importance as their august namesake, but still engaging the egos of those involved, the results of the "1998 Chess Oscars" were announced late last week.

The Oscars are a tradition restored in 1996 by Alexander Roshal, editor- in-chief of the Russian periodical 64 Chess Review; and this time Roshal received 271 lists from chess journalists and experts from no fewer than 57 countries ranking players from 13 points for first, then 11, 9, 7, 6... down to 1 point for tenth.

Of course, the period covered was before Kasparov's staggering revival this year; he has already won Wijk aan Zee and Linares and with only yesterday's last round to play was half a point clear in Sarajevo too; full results from there tomorrow. As a result, it was Viswanathan Anand who was first on 3,278 points, way ahead of Alexander Morozevich 2,146 and Kasparov himself, just 1,993. The other leading scores were Kramnik 1,865, Shirov 1,853, Karpov 764, Svidler 736, Ivanchuk 609, Adams 510, Leko 474, Korchnoi 390, Judit Polgar 360, Short 321, Ponomariov 221 and Gelfand 217.

Not that a beauty contest has anything like the impact of "the real thing". This is what happened when Kasparov played Morozevich at Sarajevo on Monday.

When Morozevich employed a trendy opening line, Kasparov replied fairly quietly, shying away from the latter's greatest talent which is in "irrational" positions. 8 ...e5 freed the black position but was something of a structural concession.

After 19 g3! Bxh3 is possible though even something like 20 Nxd5 Nxd5 21 Bxd5 Qb6 (against 22 Qd4) 22 Rac1 Bg4 23 Rxc8 Rxc8 24 Rc1 Rxc1+ 25 Qxc1 Qc7 26 Qd2 Ba7 27 Bd4 Bxd4 28 Qxd4 (or perhaps 28 exd4 making a passed pawn) is better for White.

Morozevich got saddled with a weak isolated queen's pawn and lost it after 28 Nf4 though he still retained drawing chances. Even near the very end 52 ...Ra3! may possibly defend. But as played Morozevich resigned in view of 55 ...Ra1 56 a7 h4 57 Rf8! Rxa7 58 Rxf7+.

White: G Kasparov

Black: A Morozevich

Queen's Gambit Slav

1 d4 d5

2 c4 c6

3 Nc3 Nf6

4 e3 a6

5 Qc2 b5

6 b3 Bg4

7 Nge2 Nbd7

8 Nf4 e5

9 dxe5 Nxe5

10 h3 Be6

11 Be2 Bd6

12 0-0 0-0

13 Bb2 Ng6

14 Nxg6 hxg6

15 cxd5 cxd5

16 Bf3 Rc8

17 Qd2 Bb8

18 Rfd1 Qc7

19 g3! Rfd8

20 Rac1 Qd7

21 h4 Ba7

22 Ne2 Rxc1

23 Qxc1 Bg4

24 Bxg4 Qxg4

25 Bxf6! gxf6

26 Rd2 Re8

27 Qd1 Qf3

28 Nf4 Qxd1+

29 Rxd1 d4

30 exd4 Rd8

31 d5 Bb8

32 Ne2 Kg7

33 Kg2 f5

34 Kf3 Bd6

35 Nf4 Rd7

36 Ng2 Bb8

37 Ne3 Ba7

38 h5 Bc5

39 a4 bxa4

40 bxa4 Bxe3

41 Kxe3 gxh5

42 Kd4 Kf8

43 Rb1 f4

44 a5 fxg3

45 fxg3 Ke7

46 Rb6 Rd6

47 Kc5 Rg6

48 d6+ Kd7

49 Rb7+ Kc8

50 Rc7+ Kd8

51 Ra7 Rxg3

52 Rxa6 Rc3+?

53 Kb4 Rc1

54 Ra8+ Kd7

55 a6 1-0

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