Chess: The battle continues

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THE BATTLE between the International Chess Federation (Fide) and the breakaway Professional Chess Association (PCA) continues this month with the PCA world championship qualifier in Groningen, the Netherlands. The total prize fund of dollars 230,000 has attracted 14 of the top 21 players on the new Fide rating list, with Karpov, Ivanchuk, Salov and Gelfand - all in the top 8 - the most notable absentees.

The two top seeds are Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik, both of whom have already won through to the last 16 of the Fide world title. Both won their opening games on Sunday. The two British players, Michael Adams and Julian Hodgson, were less successul: Adams drew with Vladimir Tukmakov, while Hodgson lost to Jeroen Piket.

Of all the young players who might topple Kasparov and Karpov, Kramnik has been looking the most impressive. Aged only 18, he is already ranked 4th in the world and has hardly had a setback in his career. His win against Oleg Romanishin at the recent Belgrade grandmaster tournament was a brilliant demonstration of effective attacking play.

In the opening, Black delayed Bxc3 until he was ready to follow up with Qa5, but Kramnik's 9. b4] must have come as a surprise. For the pawn, White obtained a long-lasting initiative which turned into a venomous attack with 17. g4] After 20. Nb5, such possibilities as 20 . . . Rd8 21. Nc7 Nxc7 22. Bc6 mate convinced Black to give up his rook, and Kramnik played the endgame to perfection.

White: Kramnik

Black: Romanishin

1 Nf3 Nf6

2 c4 e6

3 Nc3 Bb4

4 Qc2 c5

5 a3 Ba5

6 g3 Nc6

7 Bg2 Bxc3

8 Qxc3 Qa5

9 b4 cxb4

10 axb4 Qxb4

11 Qxb4 Nxb4

12 Nd4 d5

13 Ba3 Nc6

14 Nb5 Kd7

15 Nd6 Rf8

16 Rc1 b6

17 g4 Ne7

18 g5 Nfg8

19 cxd5 Nxd5

20 Nb5 Ba6

21 Nc7 Bb7

22 Nxd5 Bxd5

23 Bxd5 exd5

24 Bxf8 Rxf8

25 Rg1 Ne7

26 Rg3 Nc6

27 Rgc3 Rc8

28 Rh3 Rh8

29 Rhc3 Rc8

30 d4 a5

31 f3 Ne7

32 Kd2 Rxc3

33 Kxc3 b5

34 Kb2 Nf5

35 Rc5 Ke6

36 Kc3 Nd6

37 Kd3 a4

38 Kc3 a3

39 Rc6 Kd7

40 Ra6 Nc4

41 Kb4 1-0