Chess: Karpov finally beats Kasparov

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WHEN Garry Kasparov said that the winner at Linares would have the right to call himself 'world tournament champion', he must have been expecting to be able to claim that honour for himself.

If someone else won, it would probably be Anand or Ivanchuk, both of whom have been known to finish ahead of Kasparov in tournaments, and it would only confirm that tournaments do not count for much in the world of championship matchplay.

What Kasparov could not have envisaged was that his old foe Karpov would win the tournament. Karpov had not, after all, finished ahead of Kasparov in a tournament since 1981. Yet with one of the greatest performances of his career, Karpov carried it off magnificently.

The result only confirms the damage to the world title caused by last year's split. The Fide championship lacks credibility because Kasparov is not there; the PCA/Intel championship now looks equally incomplete through Karpov's absence. The Linares result may speed up the unification process, leading again to a single world championship.

Scores with one round left to play: Karpov 10 (out of 12); Kasparov 81 2 ; Shirov 8; Bareyev 7; Kramnik 61 2 ; Anand, Kamsky & Lautier 6; Topalov & Gelfand 51 2 ; Ivanchuk 5; Illescas 41 2 ; Polgar 31 2 ; Belyavsky 2.

The highlight of round 11 was Bareyev's win against Topalov, with a double rook sacrifice and a king-hunt giving it the romantic flavour of the last century. The fun begins with 13 . . . Nxf4] inviting 14. gxf4 Bh4+ catching the white king in the centre. Topalov refused the sacrifice, but ran into a bigger one with 16 . . . Re8]] and 17 . . . Bf5] As White's queen is made to stand in the corner, his king is hounded to death. At the end, 23. Kxd5 Be6 is mate, while 24. Kb3 Qe6+ or 24. Kb4 Qe4+ also mate quickly.

White: Topalov

Black: Bareyev

1 e4 e6 13 a3 Nxf4

2 d4 d5 14 Nxf6+ gxf6

3 Nc3 Nf6 15 Bxh7+ Kg7

4 Bg5 dxe4 16 Qe4 Re8

5 Nxe4 Be7 17 Qxe8 Bf5

6 Bxf6 Bxf6 18 Qxa8 Qe4+

7 c3 Nd7 19 Kf2 Qg2+

8 Qc2 e5 20 Ke3 Nd5+

9 dxe5 Nxe5 21 Kd4 Qd2+

10 f4 Ng6 22 Kc5 Qe3+

11 g3 0-0 23 Kc4 Nb6+

12 Bd3 Qd5 White resigns

The main cause of chatter in Linares, however, is still the Polgar-Kasparov game.

ch15out-harts-nws In the diagram position, with both players short of time, Kasparov, playing Black, moved his knight from d7 to c5, thought better of it, returned it to d7, thought again, and retreated it to f8. By interrupting the rook's action on the c-file, Nc5 would have lost to Bc6. Exhibit A, a video recording of the game, has been cited as evidence that his hand let go of the knight. Kasparov says his conscience is clear - he believes that he always maintained contact with the piece; if he broke the rules, it was unwittingly.