Chess: A question of timing

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The Independent Culture
THE FIRST Intel World Chess Grand Prix tournament, which took place in Moscow last week, ended in victory for the Indian grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, who defeated Vladimir Kramnik 2 1/2 -1 1/2 in the final.

The earlier rounds of this rapid- play event comprised two games, with each player restricted to 25 minutes on his clock. In the event of a 1-1 tie, they toss for choice of colour in an ingeniously handicapped play-off. The winner of the toss may choose to play White, with six minutes on the clock, or Black, with five minutes. The catch is that Black needs only a draw to go through to the next round.

With half the first round matches decided in this manner, several winners seemed to owe their survival as much to luck as skill. Viktor Korchnoi, back in Russia for the first time since his defection in 1976, scrambled draws from two lost positions against Michael Adams, then drew again with Black in the decider, to eliminate the English grandmaster from the competition.

Nigel Short, on his return to international competition after last year's unsuccessful world title match, did a little better, beating Ehlvest 1 1/2 -1/2 before going out 0-2 to Ivanchuk. Garry Kasparov also lasted only until the second round, when he was beaten in a wondrous game by Vladimir Kramnik.

The semi-final line-up was Vyzhmanavin-Kramnik and Anand-Ivanchuk. Anand went through competently enough with a win and a draw, but the other match went to the speed play-off. It was finally decided when Vyzhmanavin, holding a clear advantage, offered a draw, forgetting that he was playing White and that a draw meant instant elimination.

Anand's victory in the event was no surprise. For a player who often spends no more than an hour on his clock in serious games, such quick play is second nature. Indeed, he finished some of his games in Moscow in under 10 minutes. For Anand, thoughts speed up to fill less than half the available time.

The tournament, which was billed as the first commercial event to be held inside the Kremlin, was the first of four in the series organised by the Professional Chess Association and sponsored by Intel. Anand's win earns him dollars 30,000 and six 'Grand Prix' points towards the dollars 100,000 bonus pool to be shared among the top four at the end of the series. Events will be held in New York, London and Paris.

Here are the moves of the game that eliminated the PCA World Champion. Kramnik's sacrifical combination beginning with 24. c5] (taking advantage of the overworked knight on d7) and continuing with 26. fxe5] and 29. Rxf5] brought him five pawns for a rook, but it was his enduring attack that won the game.

32. Rg4+ was a nice way to force Black further back, with 32 . . . Nxg4 allowing mate in two with 33. Qg6+. At the end, 41 . . . Qb5+ is met by 42. Kc7 and Black runs out of decent checks.

White: Kramnik

Black: Kasparov

1 Nf3 Nf6 22 f4 Rb8

2 c4 g6 23 Rhf1 Nh6

3 Nc3 Bg7 24 c5 Bxd5

4 e4 d6 25 exd5 Nf5

5 d4 0-0 26 fxe5 Nxh4

6 Be2 e5 27 exd6 Ne5

7 d5 Nbd7 28 Rxd4 Nf5

8 Be3 Ng4 29 Rxf5 exf5

9 Bg5 f6 30 Qxf5 Kg7

10 Bh4 h5 31 Bxh5 Rh8

11 Nd2 Nh6 32 Rg4+ Kf8

12 f3 Nf7 33 Qe6 Rb7

13 Qc2 Bh6 34 c6 Rxb2+

14 0-0-0 c5 35 Kxb2 Qb6+

15 dxc6 bxc6 36 Ka3 Qc5+

16 Kb1 a5 37 Ka4 Qc2+

17 Na4 c5 38 Kb5 Qb2+

18 Nc3 Be3 39 Ka6 Qe2+

19 Nd5 Bd4 40 Kb7 Rh7+

20 Nb3 Bb7 41 d7 1-0

21 Nxd4 cxd4

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