Chess

THE PHENOMENAL Alexei Shirov completed a famous victory at the Archa theatre in

Prague on Sunday as he defeated Judit Polgar yet again - albeit this time starting from a

dubious position in his own time trouble - to produce a final Eurotel match result of 5.5-0.5.

Building on a pre-match lifetime score against Polgar of just 6.5-11.5 at a normal time limit (though he did lead 3.5-0.5 at rapidplay), Shirov nevertheless blitzkrieged her to settle the contest by 3.5-0.5 in four games - the minimum possible number.

His efforts won him the lion's share, $65,000, of the prize fund as compared to Polgar's $35,000; and he had not only repaired the lifetime score to 12-all by the close but also gained more than 20 rating points which would, if a new list were issued today, propel him above Morozevich into fourth.

With this superb victory Shirov has reiterated his claim as, apart from Kasparov himself, the best match player of the day; and, no doubt a considerable part of his motivation, highlighted the iniquity of Anand's getting a shot at Kasparov after he, Shirov, had qualified for one by beating Kramnik last June.

Although the expected announcement about their "Ultimate World Championship Match" didn't materialise during the Eurotel match, Kasparov and Anand will no doubt meet later in the year - another climbdown would be simply too embarrassing. Shirov, instead, is off to the Fide knockout world championships where, in their absence, he will be one of the very top favourites.

Usually thought of as utterly manic, Shirov is very much at home in quiet positions too, as he showed in the fifth game. 20 bxc3 is noteworthy, keeping up the pressure. Not 25...Bg2 26 Rxh5 Bxf3 (26 ...Rxf3 27 Rh8+ Bf8 28 Rxd6) 27 Rh8+ Bf8 28 Nd5! Whereas 36 ...Rxa5 lost the exchange to 37 Bb6.

White: Alexei Shirov

Black: Judit Polgar

Prague 1999 (Game 5)

Sicilian Najdorf

1 e4 c5

2 Nf3 d6

3 d4 cxd4

4 Nxd4 Nf6

5 Nc3 a6

6 Be3 e5

7 Nb3 Be6

8 Qd2 Nbd7

9 f3 h5

10 a4 Nb6

11 a5 Nc4

12 Bxc4 Bxc4

13 Na4 Rb8

14 Nb6 Be6

15 0-0-0 Be7

16 Qc3 Nd7

17 Nc5 Nxc5

18 Bxc5 Qc7

19 Bb4 Qxc3

20 bxc3 Rd8

21 Rd3 Rh6

22 Rhd1 Rg6

23 g3 Rf6

24 h3 Bxh3

25 Rh1 Be6

26 Rxh5 Rh6

27 Rxh6 gxh6

28 g4 f6

29 c4 Kf7

30 Kb2 Kg6

31 Nd5 Kf7

32 Kb3 Rc8

33 Rd1 Bf8

34 Rh1 Kg6

35 Bd2 Rc5

36 Be3 Rc8

37 Rh5 Rc6

38 Rh2 Rc8

39 Rh1 Rd8

40 Kc3 Rd7

41 Kd3 Rh7

42 Rb1 Rd7

43 Bb6 Kg7

44 Ne3 Kf7

45 Rh1 Re7

46 Nf5 Rd7

47 Nxh6+ Bxh6

48 Rxh6 Ke7

49 Bf2 Rc7

50 c5 Rc6

51 Bh4 Rxc5

52 Bxf6+ Kd7

53 Rh7+ Kc8

54 Rh8+ Kd7

55 Rh7+ Kc8

56 Rh8+ Kd7

57 Rd8+ Kc7

58 Be7 Rxa5

59 Rxd6 Ba2

60 Rh6 Rb5

61 g5 a5

62 Rh8 Kd7

63 Ba3 Rb1

64 Rh7+ Kc6

65 Rh6+ Kd7

66 Rd6+ Kc7

67 Rf6 Kd7

68 g6 b5

69 Bc5 b4

70 g7 Rd1+

71 Ke2 Rh1

72 Rd6+ Kc7

73 Rd5

1-0

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