Games: Chess:

Matthew Sadler is a strange chap: he can excel at speed chess against the best players in the world, but blindfold him and he goes to pieces. That, at any rate, seems to be the lesson of the early rounds in Monte Carlo, where Sadler leads the field in the rapidplay games, but has yet to open his score in the blindfold games.

Overall scores after four rounds are as follows: Kramnik 7; Lautier 5; Shirov, Topalov and van Wely 41/2; Ljubojevic, Anand and Sadler 4; Ivanchuk 31/2; Karpov 3; Nikolic 21/2; Piket 11/2.

Here is Sadler's win against van Wely. In the Rapid games, players are given 25 minutes at the start, and an extra 10 seconds is added for each move completed. (In the blindfold games, the initial allocation is the same, but 20 seconds are added per move).

Sadler gained the advantage from the opening thanks to 11.e5, which denied Black the chance of freeing his game with e5 after the recapture on c4. White kept up the pressure on the Q-side and seemed to have a big advantage when he played 21.Nbxd4 threatening a multi-pronged fork with Nc6. Van Wely then found 21...Qe8 (!) intending to meet 22.Nc6 with Nc5.

After 22.b4, however, he tried to repeat the trick with 22...Rbc8 23.Nc6 Nc5, but Sadler gave up his queen for two rooks to increase his advantage. Black must have overlooked 29.Rxe4 (when Qxe4 loses to Neg5+), and the rest of the game was just a question of how long Black could resist against the white plan of doubling rooks on the seventh rank. It turned out not to be very long at all.

White: Matthew Sadler

Black: Loek van Wely

1 d4 Nf6 20 Nb5 cxd4

2 Nf3 e6 21 Nbxd4 Qe8

3 c4 d5 22 b4 Rbc8

4 Bg5 h6 23 Nc6 Nc5

5 Bxf6 Qxf6 24 Nxd8 Nxe4

6 Nc3 c6 25 Rxc8 Qd7

7 e3 Nd7 26 Rb8 Qc7

8 Bd3 g6 27 Ra8 Qc2

9 0-0 Bg7 28 Nxe6+ Kh7

10 e4 dxc4 29 Rxe4 fxe6

11 e5 Qe7 30 Re1 Qa4

12 Bxc4 0-0 31 Re3 Qd1+

13 Re1 Rd8 32 Re1 Qa4

14 Rc1 b6 33 h4 Qxa3

15 Qe2 Bb7 34 Rd1 Qa4

16 Ba6 Rab8 35 Rc1 Qd7

17 Bxb7 Rxb7 36 Ra1 Qb5

18 a3 c5 37 R8xa7 Qxb4

19 Qe4 Rbb8 38 Rc7 resigns

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