in his prime, from about 1907 to 1922, one of the world's very top players, this year's edition averaged 2,605 - category 15.
A powerful tournament though still a step down from the exceptionally strong category 17 event last year (average 2,652), which was won by Boris Gelfand. But, while organisers generally fret about category, an appreciable diminution of average strength in a "mixed" tournament with some slightly weaker players does generally bring the benefit of more trenchant play; and whereas 25 of the 45 games were drawn last year - indeed I've always thought of Polanica as one of those strong, tough events with such backbone that the majority of games end in draws - this time there were only 17 draws out of 45.
Following a fairly peaceful-looking first-round draw as Black against Mikhail Gurevich, the Dutchman Loek Van Wely won six games in a row which propelled him, from round four onwards, into the sole lead. He eased up at the end with three draws but was still the clear winner on 7/9 ahead of Gurevich (Belgium) 6.5, Alexander Onischuk (Ukraine) 6, Vadim Milov (Switzerland) 5, Igor Khenkin (Ger- many) 4.5, Robert Kempinski (Poland) and Emil Sutovsky (Israel) 4, Alexander Rustemov (Russia) 3.5, Dimitrij Bunzmann (Germany) 2.5, and Tomasz Markowski (Poland) 2. The list provides an interesting microcosm of the effect of the collapse of the Soviet Union on the chess world, for despite the disparate chess nationalities - which don't necessarily coincide with citizenship - at least six of the players though not the Poles or Van Wely nor, presumably, Bunzmann either, were originally Soviet.
In an unusual King's Indian, Van Wely got a space advantage after 8 e5. If 13 ...Nxb2 14 Rab1 will capture on b7 after the knight moves so Bunzmann played 13 ...b6.
24 ...Bxh3 initiated a manic tactical sequence. Of course if 25 gxh3?? Nf3+ but Van Wely hit back with 25 Nf6+!. 29 fxg7 Rxd1 30 Rxd1! (but not 30 gxf8Q+ Qxf8 31 Rxd1 g5! 32 Bxg5 f6) was cleaner, but Van Wely still got a big advantage and won a piece at the end.
White: Loek Van Wely
Black: Robert Kempinski
King's Indian Defence
1 d4 Nf6
2 c4 g6
3 Nc3 Bg7
4 e4 0-0
5 Nf3 d6
6 Be2 Na6
7 Bf4 Qe8
8 e5 Nd7
9 Qd2 dxe5
10 dxe5 Ndc5
11 0-0 Bg4
12 Qe3 Na4
13 Ne4 b6
14 b3 N4c5
15 Nc3 Nb4
16 Rad1 Ne6
17 Bg3 c5
18 h3 Bf5
19 Nd5 Nc2
20 Qd2 Rd8
21 Bh4 Rd7
22 Bd3 Ncd4
23 Nxd4 Nxd4
24 Rfe1 Bxh3
25 Nf6+! exf6
26 exf6 Qa8
27 Be4 Nf3+
28 Bxf3 Rxd2
29 Rxd2 Bh6
30 Bxa8 Bxd2
31 Re2 Bc3
32 Bd5 Bg4
33 f3 Bf5
34 Bg5 Bd4+
35 Kh2 h5
36 Re7 a5
37 Bh6 Bxf6
38 Bxf8 1-0
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