Chess

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The Independent Culture
JUST DAYS after the colossal rapidplay clashes at Frankfurt, the troops are in action again, this time at a normal time limit, in the 27th annual Dortmund chess festival.

Traditionally murderously strong, the top Grandmaster tournament (there's a much weaker Grandmaster B and Open sections too) this time includes five of the top 10 in the revised July rating list and has breached the 2,700 barrier to average a forbidding 2,704.5 - category 19.

After a fairly gentle draw as White against Kramnik, Peter Leko (who will only be 20 in September and so still heads the junior list) won well against Topalov and Adams to lead the field after Monday's round with 2.5/3. In his wake came Karpov and Anand 2, Kramnik and Adams 1.5, Topalov and Ivan Sokolov 1 and Timman 0.5.

One of the most distinct features of really top-level events as compared to run-of-the-mill grandmaster tournaments is the intensity of the opening battles. Yesterday, I gave Alexei Shirov's splendid win in the first game of his six-game match against Judit Polgar in Prague. He won as Black in the second game too - more of that match later in the week. The battle in this "Kasparov variation" of the Sicilian Najdorf has also been raging in Dortmund, with two more games in the first two rounds.

The threat of repetition with 7 Bc1 when there's nothing better than 7 ...Nf6 and then 8 Be3 - of course White may vary - is one of the mind games they sometimes indulge in.

Shirov, if you recall, tried 13 Nf5 against Polgar - or rather, 11 Nf5, since he didn't "mess around" with 7 Bc1 but played 7 Bg5 at once - 11 ...Bxf5 12 exf5 h4 13 Bxh4!?.

In round one, Anand, this time as White had played (not 14 but) 12 Nd5 against Topalov. After 12 ...Nc6 13 Nf5 Bxf5 14 exf5 Bxb2 15 Rb1 Qa5+ 16 Qd2 Bd4 17 Qxa5 Nxa5 18 Nc7+ Kd7 19 Nxa8 Rxa8 Topalov had good play for the exchange and they drew in 51 moves.

18 Qf3 was Adams's improvement on (not 18 but) 16 Rab1, which Shirov played against Kasparov himself in Sarajevo in May. Kasparov captured Qxc3 and got a good game - they drew in 39 moves - so it made sense to defend the pawn which had turned out not to be too "hot" to take.

If 26 ...bxc4 27 Rb7 yields a dangerous initiative so Anand bailed out into the rook ending, which he drew easily.

White: Michael Adams

Black: Viswanathan Anand

Sicilian Najdorf

"Kasparov Variation"

1 e4 c5

2 Nf3 d6

3 d4 cxd4

4 Nxd4 Nf6

5 Nc3 a6

6 Be3 Ng4

7 Bc1 Nf6

8 Be3 Ng4

9 Bg5 h6

10 Bh4 g5

11 Bg3 Bg7

12 Be2 h5

13 Bxg4 hxg4

14 0-0 Nc6

15 Nf5 Bxc3

16 bxc3 Qa5

17 Qxg4 f6

18 Qf3 Ne5

19 Bxe5 Qxe5

20 h3 d5

21 Ng3 dxe4

22 Qxe4 Qxe4

23 Nxe4 Bf5

24 Rfe1 Kf7

25 Rab1 b5

26 c4 Rh4

27 f3 Bxe4

28 Rxe4 Rxe4

29 fxe4 Ke6

30 cxb5 axb5

31 Rxb5 Rxa2 32 Rc5 Ra4

33 c4 Kd6

1/2-1/2

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