Chess v

The "Lord Novgorod the Great" tournament - the second in the three- event PCA Super Classic series - ended in a clear victory for Garry Kasparov a point ahead of Nigel Short, Vassily Ivanchuk, Jaan Ehlvest and Veselin Topalov, who all shared second place. Although Kasparov led from start to finish, his victory became certain only at the end of an exciting last round.

Kasparov, playing White against Jan Timman, was half a point ahead of Ivanchuk, who had White against Topalov. While Ivanchuk seemed to be doing well in a sharp Modern Benoni, Kasparov had run into a piece of opening preparation. Improving on a Kasparov-Short game from 1993, Timman rattled out his moves in a hugely complex position and emerged with a satisfactory position and half an hour's advantage on the clock. Rather than push his luck, Kasparov took a draw.

Meanwhile, Ivanchuk's promising attacking position had slipped away into a bad endgame that led to his only loss of the tournament.

Nigel Short continued trying to beat Rafael Vaganyan until only two kings and a knight remained. The draw still gave him a share of second place, which, in one of the strongest tournaments this year, confirms his return to form.

Short's most entertaining game was his fifth-round win as Black against Boris Gulko. They reached the diagram position after 30 moves.

, , ,a,

,h, ,hn

h,f, , n

,h, N ,

fN ,HN ,

N , , ,H

, b , ,


With two of the most unhappy bishops since the Reformation, and Black's rook ready to pick off pawns at will, White is in a miserable mess, but Gulko created some counterplay with 31.h4 Ra2 32.Bh3 Rxa3 33.e6! when 33...Rxh3 is met by 34.Rxc6! bxc6 35.e7!

Short kept calm with 33...f6 when Gulko gambled with 34.Bf5 g6! 35.Bxf6! (35.Bxg6 Rg3+ loses the bishop) gxf5 36.Rd1 fxe4 37.Rd8+!

Now 37...Nxd8 38.e7 forces the pawn through. Short played 38...Kh7 when 39.f5 threatened Rh8 mate. But he had it all under control. The game continued 38...Nxd8! 39.e7 Rg3+ 40.Kf2 Rg8 41.exd8(Q) Rxd8 42.Bxd8 Nc3 and Black, two pawns ahead, won comfortably.

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