Independent Pursuits: Chess

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The Independent Culture
IN THE perfectly justified brouhaha over the wonderful tournament at Wijk aan Zee, sight seems to have been lost - or rather I certainly lost sight of - the fact that here were many other gradated sections, including a far from weak Grandmaster B tournament.

This 11-round event, which averaged 2,520 (category 11), started three days after the main tournament and, with one rest day fewer, was timed to finish simultaneously on 31 January.

After a run of five straight wins in the middle - which would be pretty special were it not so overshadowed by Kasparov's seven - the pre-tournament favourite, the Armenian Smbat Lputian, ran out the clear winner on 8.5/11. He was followed by (all Dutch unless otherwise labelled) Leitao (Brazil) 7.5, Ionov (Russia) and Van der Wiel 7, Glek (Russia) and Nijboer 6.5, De Vreugt 5, Brodsky (Ukraine) 4.5, Christian Bauer (France) - the victor of the Andorra zonal but out of sorts here - and Janssen 4, Bosch 3 and Van den Doel just 2.5.

Lputian, who has a deep voice and somewhat saturnine appearance but belies these with a very pleasant personality away from the board, is a rather defensive-minded positional player, strong in defence and with excellent technique. Most of his games in Wijk were fairly routine. But certainly not this against a potentially very dangerous attacking player.

In the opening, 12 Kd2 was extraordinary. I think that the idea was to prepare 12 ...Bxh4 13 Nxh5 Rxh5 14 g3 Rh8 15 gxh4 Rxh4 16 Rxh4 Qxh4 17 Qh1 when if Qxf2+ 18 Be2 White has dangerous play.

19 Rb1 threatened 20 Nxb5 - not 19 Nxb5 axb5 20 Qxb5 Rb8.

29 ...Qxg3 must be better, 30 Qb2+ when Qe5 31 Qxe5+ dxe5 32 Be4! Bxc4 33 Rc1 Rd8+ 34 Ke1 Bd3 35 Bb7! is far from clear; but the messy 30 ...f6 looks right and if 31 Qb7+ Bf7 Black is probably first, eg 32 a6 d5 33 Re1 Rb8!

White: Smbat Lputian

Black: Friso Nijboer

Wijk aan Zee B 1999 (Round 8)


1 d4 Nf6

2 Bg5 e6

3 e3 h6

4 Bh4 d6

5 c4 g5

6 Bg3 Ne4

7 Ne2 h5

8 h4 Nxg3

9 Nxg3 g4

10 Nc3 Be7

11 Bd3 Nc6

12 Kd2 Bd7

13 Rh2 a6

14 a3 Na7

15 d5 b5

16 dxe6 Bxe6

17 cxb5 Nxb5

18 Qa4 Kf8

19 Rb1Nxc3

20 bxc3 Rb8

21 Rxb8 Qxb8

22 Rh1 Qd8

23 Qxa6 Bxh4

24 Qa7 Kg7

25 a4 Bxg3

26 fxg3 c5

27 a5 Qg5

28 Qb6 Qe5

29 c4 d5

30 Qxc5 Rd8

31 Qd4 f6

32 Qxe5 fxe5

33 c5 e4

34 Be2 d4

35 exd4 Rxd4+

36 Ke3 Ra4

37 a6 Kf6

38 Rxh5 Bf5

39 Kf4 e3+

40 Kxe3 Ke5

41 Bd3 1-0