Vishy Anand, the world's top-rated grandmaster among active players, dominated the 14th Melody Amber tournament in Monaco last week. The Indian superstar scored eight points in 11 games in the blindfold competition and left his nearest rivals two points behind. In the rapid event, Anand scored 7.5 points, edging Alexander Morozevich of Russia by a half point. Anand triumphed over many of the world's best players with a combined score of 15.5 points in 22 games. Morozevich finished second with 13 points.
In a blindfold game against Francisco Vallejo Pons, Anand chose a known knight sacrifice in the Scheveningen Sicilian. The complications left the Spaniard confused and Anand won a nice game.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4!? (An attacking idea of Bela Perenyi, a Hungarian master who died in a car accident in 1988. White has to be prepared to sacrifice a knight in the main line. It goes 7...e5 8.Nf5 g6 9.g5 gxf5 10.exf5 d5 and now both 11.Qf3 or 11.gxf6 give white a powerful pressure for a piece. The line is so overanalyzed, that, for example, the game Shabalov-Novikov from this year's Foxwoods Open saw a novelty on move 33!) 7...h6 8.Bg2 e5 9.Nf5 g6 10.Qe2!? (A promising knight sacrifice. White has a substantial lead in development, controls central squares and threatens to push black farther back by advancing pawns on the kingside.) 10...gxf5 11.exf5 Bd7?! (The inclusion of moves 11...Rg8 12.h3 is a better choice.) 12.Bxb7 Bc6 13.Bxa8 Bxa8 14.Rg1 Nbd7 15.0-0-0 (Black has two light pieces for a rook, but white has too many pawns.) 15...Be7 16.h4 (16.Qxa6 is met by 16...Bf3.) 16...Qa5 (In a messy position, Anand sees more clearly.)
17.Bd2! (Preparing 18.g5.) 17...Nd5?! (Black drops a pawn, but after 17...Bb7 18.Kb1, white threatens 19.g5.) 18.Nxd5 Qxd5 19.Qxa6 Bb7 20.Qa3 Qc6 (Black should have activated his light bishop 20 ... Qc4 21.g5 Be4! with a playable game.) 21.Bb4 Nb6 22.g5 (Anand could have played 22.f6! Nc4 23.Qc3 Bxf6 24.b3 with a decisive advantage.) 22...hxg5 23.hxg5 Kd7 (Trying to find safety on the queenside.). 24.f6 Nc4? (An unfortunate leap that would leave the pawn on e5 unguarded. However, after 24...Bf8 25.Qb3 white has the advantage.) 25.Qc3 Bf8 26.b3 Nb6 27.Qxe5 Rh4 28.Bxd6! (Breaking the resistance.) 28...Qxd6 (After 28...Bxd6 29.Qe7+ Kc8 30.Rxd6 wins.) 29.Rxd6+ Bxd6 30.Rd1 Nc8 31.g6! (Going for a touchdown.) 31...Rh1 (Black is also lost after 31...fxg6 32.f7 Rh1 33.f8N+ Kd8 34.Qa5+ Ke8 35.Rxh1 Bxh1 36.Nxg6 etc.) 32.Qf5+ (After 32...Kc7 33.g7 wins.) Black resigned.
The 18-year-old New York junior Lev Milman tried to qualify for the next U.S. championship at the Foxwoods Open last month in Connecticut. He did not make it, but he created a wonderful combination in a Caro-Kann game that could be his calling card for the rest of his life.
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Bf5 5.Ng3 Bg6 6.h4 h6 7.Nf3 Nd7 8.h5 Bh7 9.Bd3 Bxd3 10.Qxd3 e6 11.Bf4 Bb4+ 12.c3 Be7 13.0-0-0 Ngf6 14.Kb1 0-0 (Castling on opposite wings makes this Caro-Kann variation exciting.) 15.Ne5 c5?! (Opening the game is risky. Blacks did well with 15...Qa5.) 16.Qf3! (Attacking the pawn on b7 gives white a long-lasting pressure.) 16...Qb6?! (Central clearing 16...cxd4 is better, although after 17.Rxd4 Nxe5 18.Bxe5 Qa5 19.Re1 white is still on top.) 17.Nxd7 Nxd7 18.d5! (Signaling a kingside attack and leaving black without a significant counterplay.) 18...exd5 (After 18...e5 19.d6! wins, for example 19...Bxd6 20.Nf5 exf4 21.Rxd6 Qd8 22.Rxd7 Qxd7 23.Qg4 threatening 24.Qxg7 mate and a discovered attack 24.Nxh6+.) 19.Nf5 Bf6 20.Rxd5 Qe6 21.Bxh6! Ne5 (After 21...gxh6 22.Rd6 Qe5 23.Rxd7 white should win.) 22.Qe4 Nc6 (Hoping to save the game because white has many pieces hanging. After 22...Rad8 23.Rxd8 Rxd8 24.Be3 white is a healthy pawn up.) 23.Qf3 Ne5 24.Qe4 Nc6 (A draw?)
25.Qg4! (By sacrificing a rook, white finally steps on a winning path.) 25...Qxd5 26.Bxg7 Qd3+ (After 26...Kh7 27.Bxf6 Rg8 28.Qf4 white mates soon.) 27.Ka1 Ne5 (Giving up the queen 27...Qxf5 does not save black after 28.Qxf5 Bxg7 29.h6 and white wins.) 28.Ne7+ Kh7 (Running into a beautiful ending, but on 28...Bxe7 29.Bxe5+ wins.) 29.Qg6+!! fxg6 30.hxg6+ Kxg7 31.Rh7 mate.
Karpov at UMBC
Former world champion Anatoly Karpov will appear at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, this week. On Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., he will play a simultaneous exhibition against scholastic opponents (grades 1-12). On Thursday at 7 p.m., Karpov will lecture on his best games. Both events are free and open to public. More information is at www.umbc.edu/chess.
Yesterday in Lindsborg, Kan., the UMBC team won the 2005 College Final Four of Chess. Congratulations!
Solution to today's problem by J. Vladimirov (White: Ka6, Rh6, Bh3, Nh4, P:e3; Black: Kc7): 1.Be6 Kd6 2.Kb6 Ke5 (Or 2...Ke7 3.Nf5+ Ke8 4.Rh8 mate.) 3.Bc4 Ke4 4.Re6 mate; or 1...Kc6 2.Nf5 Kc7 (Or 2...Kc5 3.Rh4 Kc6 4.Rc4 mate.) 3.Rh8 Kc6 4.Rc8 mate.