Independent Pursuits: Chess
Tuesday 30 March 1999
In the blindfold, last-round victories by Topalov and Shirov enabled both to catch Kramnik up, with the three finishing joint first equal on 8/11, well clear of Lautier 6.5, Nikolic and Karpov 5.5, Ivanchuk 5, Gelfand 4.5, Piket and Anand 4 and Ljubojevic and Van Wely 3.5.
Meanwhile Anand belied his lousy blindfold play with a powerful 7.5/11 in the rapidplay ahead of Kramnik 6.5, Ljubojevic, Topalov and Shirov 6, Karpov and Van Wely 5.5, Piket and Lautier 5, Gelfand and Ivanchuk 4.5 and Nikolic 4.
So the final combined scores were: Kramnik 14.5, Topalov and Shirov 14, Anand and Lautier 11.5, Karpov 11, Nikolic, Ljubojevic and Ivanchuk 9.5 and Piket, Gelfand and Van Wely 9.
After this barrage of figures, a stampede of blinkered horses - which must surely have given both players serious headaches!
In an Averbakh King's Indian, White gained space on the kingside and Black on the queenside. 16 Nf2! was essential to prevent ...b4 followed by a thematic knight sacrifice on e4, smashing White's carefully constructed position.
After the exchange of queens, White looked to have a clear edge but Ljubojevic's excellent 20 ...gxh5! left White with a weak h5 pawn to defend and after 32 ...Bg5! it was fairly unclear.
36 ...f5? was a bad blunder though - 36 ...Nd7 looks correct - and after 38 Nc7! the white cavalry carried the day. At the end if 48 ...Nce5 49 Ng6+ Nxg6 50 hxg6 Nf6 51 Rh7!+ Nxh7 52 g7 is mate.
White: Vladimir Kramnik
Black: Ljubomir Ljubojevic
Amber Blindfold 1999 (Round 2)
King's Indian Averbakh variation
1 d4 Nf6
2 c4 g6
3 Nc3 Bg7
4 e4 d6
5 Be2 0-0
6 Bg5 Nbd7
7 Qd2 e5
8 d5 Nc5
9 f3 a5
10 g4 Bd7
11 h4 c6
12 h5 cxd5
13 cxd5 a4
14 Nh3 Qa5
15 Rb1 b5
16 Nf2! b4
17 Ncd1 b3
18 a3 Qxd2+
19 Kxd2 h6
20 Be3 gxh5
21 gxh5 Rfc8
22 Nc3 Rab8
23 Rbc1 Ne8
24 Bf1 Nf6
25 Bh3 Kh7
26 Rxh3 Nb7
27 Rxh3 Nb7
28 Rxc8 Rxc8
29 Nc3 Nd7
30 Nd3 Bf6
31 Nb4 Ndc5
32 Nb5 Bg5!
33 Bxg5 hxg5
34 Ke3 Kh6
35 Nc6 Re8
36 Rh1 f5?
37 exf5 e4
38 Nc7! Rc8
39 Ne6 exf3
40 f6 g4
41 Ne7 Ra8
42 f7 Nd7
43 Nf5+ Kh7
44 Rg1 Na5
45 Rxg4 Rc8
46 Rg7+ Kh8
47 Ne7 Nc4+
48 Kf2 1-0
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