Pursuits: Chess

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AS MENTIONED briefly on Wednesday, following just two rounds of play on Saturday and Sunday the players at Wijk aan Zee had a rest day. Rather odd, you may think; but in

fact this "rest" consisted of 13 five-minute games in the annual Wijk aan Zee blitz tournament.

Everybody took part apart from Shirov, who withdrew at the last moment and was replaced by Manuel Bosboom - a manic attacking player very dangerous both to his opponents and himself. Indeed it was Bosboom who scored the only victory against the runaway tournament winner, Gary Kasparov.

Kasparov clearly means business at Wijk. He dominated the blitz tournament, winning nine of the 13 games to take the first prize of 5,000 guilders with a round to spare, ending up on 10.5/13, clear of Anand and Ivanchuk 9, Kramnik 8.5, Ivan Sokolov 8, Svidler and Topalov 6.5, Kasimdzhanov 6, Piket and Bosboom 5.5, Timman 5, Van Wely 4.5, Reinderman 3.5 and Yermolinsky just 3.

In this first-round game, Kasimdzhanov set up a reasonable position with the so-called Maroczy bind pawn structure characterised by the e4 and c4 pawns against Black's fianchettoed king's bishop. But Kasparov was very active and the attempt to punish him with 19 b4? in the diagram - rather than 19 Rb1 or 19 Qb1, say - misfired badly. Kasimdzhanov's idea was to win the exchange after 20 ...Nc6 21 Qxa5 Nxa5 22 Nb6. This isn't too clear, but Kasparov's queen sacrifice 20 ...Nxd5! was even better.

Kasparov emerged with approximate material equality - a rook, a minor piece and a pawn for the queen. But here both of his minor pieces, especially the inviolable knight on c5, were better than White's knight, he had play against White's weakened queenside pawns, his own pawn structure was excellent, and above all, his king was quite safe. In the absence of targets a queen is pretty useless and Kasimdzhanov was dispatched effortlessly.

White: Rustam Kasimdzhanov

Black: Gary Kasparov

Wijk aan Zee Blitz 1999

Sicilian 4 Qxd4


1 e4 c5

2 Nf3 d6

3 d4 cxd4

4 Qxd4 a6

5 c4 Nc6

6 Qd2 g6

7 Nc3 Bh6

8 Qc2 Bg7

9 Be3 Nf6

10 Be2 0-0

11 0-0 Bg4

12 Rad1 Nd7

13 b3 Rc8

14 a4 Qa5

15 Nd4 Bxe2

16 Ndxe2 Nc5

17 f3 Rfd8

18 Nd5 Rd7

(see diagram)

19 b4? Nxb4

20 Qd2 Nxd5!

21 Qxa5 Nxe3

22 Rb1 Nxf1

23 Kxf1 Rdc7

24 Nf4 e6

25 g3 h5

26 Ng2 Bd4

27 Rd1 e5

28 Qb4 Rc6

29 a5 R8c7

30 Ke2 Ne6

31 Rc1 b5

32 axb6 Rxb6

33 Qa4 Kg7

34 Ne3 Bxe3

35 Kxe3 Nc5

36 Qa5 Rb3+

37 Ke2 Rcb7

38 Rc2 Ne6

39 Rd2 Nd4+

40 Rxd4 exd4

41 Qxa6 Re3+

42 Kf1 Rb1+

43 Kg2 Rb2+

44 Kh3 Ree2

45 Kh4 Kh6 0-1