Chess: Novgorod host to six of the best

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
A VERY select tournament is in progress in Novgorod, where Garry Kasparov and the PCA have set up a six-man event of enormous strength. Kasparov and Short are there, together with Ivanchuk, Kramnik, Shirov and Bareyev, the four best players to have been knocked out of both world championships.

According to an official press release, 'On behalf of the Novgorodians, the Mayor, Alexander Korsunov, expressed their gratitude to the PCA.' The players have been repaying that gratitude with some fine chess, including the following first-round game between two of the most imaginative tacticians around.

Black's entire strategy in this Sicilian Defence variation (known as the Pelikan, Sveshnikov or Chelyabinsk, depending on your source) is to exchange the white centre pawns and get his own pawns rolling. White must try to hold them back and attack on the weakened white

squares. The exchange of knight for bishop with 15. Bd3 Nxd5 16. Bxf5 accelerated both sides' plans and the game came to a sudden crisis with 20. Be4. If White can continue with 21. Nf5, Black will stand clearly worse. So Kramnik sacrificed his queen.

After 23 . . . f5, the routine continuation would be 24. Bc2 followed by Rd1, but Ivanchuk complicated further, using his bishop to hunt pawns. The idea became clear with 27. Kg3, when Rd3+ would lose to Qxd3. The white queen and bishop have not only taken two pawns, but lined themselves up to defend d3. Nevertheless, White's king looked very vulnerable on g3 and the manner in which Ivanchuk sneaked it back to safety was most impressive. Kramnik finally overstepped the time limit in a lost position at move 40.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Ivanchuk Black: Kramnik ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1 e4 c5 21 Rxd8 exf2+ 2 Nf3 Nc6 22 Kxf2 Raxd8 3 d4 cxd4 23 Qe2 f5 4 Nxd4 Nf6 24 Bb7 Rd7 5 Nc3 e6 25 Bxa6 Rfd8 6 Ndb5 d6 26 Qxb5 Rd2+ 7 Bf4 e5 27 Kg3 e4 8 Bg5 a6 28 Re1 Ng6 9 Na3 b5 29 Re2 Be5+ 10 Bxf6 gxf6 30 Kf2 Rd1 11 Nd5 f5 31 Re1 R8d2+ 12 exf5 Bxf5 32 Kf1 Rxe1+ 13 c3 Bg7 33 Kxe1 Rxg2 14 Nc2 Ne7 34 Bc8 f4 15 Bd3 Nxd5 35 Bf5 Bf6 16 Bxf5 Ne7 36 Bxe4 Rxh2 17 Qg4 0-0 37 a4 Ne5 18 Rd1 d5 38 a5 f3 19 Ne3 d4 39 a6 Rh1+ 20 Be4 dxe3 40 Kd2 1-0 -----------------------------------------------------------------