Twice an unsuccessful challenger for the world title - which he came within one game of winning in 1978 - Korchnoi has never lost his appetite for chess. Unlike most successful veterans, he always seems eager to play games of great strategic and tactical complexity rather than relying on technique. In the final round, needing only a draw against John Nunn to be sure of first prize, he opened 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.b4!? lurching into relatively unexplored areas where most professional grandmasters would have kept the game as dull as humanly possible with 3.g3.
Korchnoi's quickest win in San Francisco was against Robert Hbner, providing a rare example of a former world title candidate losing in fewer than 20 moves as White.
9.Ncb5 and 10.Nf5 must have been part of White's opening preparation, but once off the leash the knights seemed to gallop out of control. 14.Nxg7 would be fine after 14...Kxg7 15.Qg5+ Kf8 16.Qh6+ but Korchnoi's calmly played counter-attack refuted White's play completely.
At the end, after 19.Nxe4 dxe4, White cannot prevent both Kxe8 and e3.
White: R. Hbner
Black: V. Korchnoi
1 e4 e6 11 Bxc5 Nxc5
2 d4 d5 12 Nbd6+ Kf8
3 Nc3 Nf6 13 Qh5 Nd8
4 e5 Nfd7 14 Nxg7 Qb4+
5 f4 c5 15 c3 Qxb2
6 Nf3 Nc6 16 Rd1 Qxc3+
7 Be3 cxd4 17 Rd2 h6
8 Nxd4 Qb6 18 Nge8 Ne4
9 Ncb5 a6 White resigns.
10 Nf5 Bc5
Meanwhile, in the super-grandmaster tournament in Linares, Spain, Nigel Short scored his first win by beating Ljubomir Ljubojevic in the fourth round. In the fifth round, however, he was beaten by the Fide world champion, Anatoly Karpov. It was Karpov's first win of the event, after starting with four draws.
After five rounds, Vesselin Topalov leads with 4 points, points, just ahead of Belyavsky and Khalifman on 31/2 and Illescas, Ivanchuk, Shirov and Karpov on 3.Reuse content