British master Peter Hugh Clarke, a former chess correspondent of the Sunday Times in London, once wrote that short draws are necessary, a means of conserving energy. "As such they can contribute to raising the standard of play rather than lowering it," he said. He would not dare to run this excuse by Erik Anderson, the man behind recent U.S. championships and the founder of the America for Chess Foundation. Anderson hates short draws, and anybody who tries them earns his wrath. But aren't short draws more honest than a spectacular game that copied recently published analysis leading to a perpetual check?
At the 2005 U.S. Chessmaster Championship in San Diego, grandmasters Alexander Onischuk and Julio Becera performed analysis by the Israeli grandmaster Boris Gelfand in the Semi-Slav defense without playing a single original move.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.g4!? (Alexander Shabalov's bayonet attack.) 7...dxc4 8.Bxc4 b6 9.e4 Bb7!? (Allowing the fork, black stirs a fury on the long diagonal a8-h1.) 10.e5 c5 11.exf6 (11.Qe2 or 11.Be2 is simply met by 11...cxd4.) 11...Bxf3 (Wrong is 11...Qxf6? 12.Be2 Bxf3 13.g5! and white wins.) 12.fxg7 Rg8 13.Qxh7 Nf6 14.Bb5+ Ke7 15.Bg5 Bf4! (Trying to deflect the bishop from g5. On 15...Bxh1 comes 16.Qh6!) 16.Qh3! Bxh1 17.Bxf4 Qxd4 (After 17...Rxg7 18.Be5 cxd4 19.0-0-0, white should win.) 18.Qg3 Ne4 19.Qh4+ (Stronger seems 19.Nxe4!? Qxe4+ 20.Be2 Rxg7 21.f3 with white's advantage.) 19...Qf6 (After 19...Nf6? 20.Rd1 Qxf4 21.Rd7+ and white wins.)
20.g5 Qxg7! (An improvement on the game Gelfand-Shabalov, Bermuda 2004, where after 20...Qf5 21.0-0-0 Rad8 22.Rxd8 Kxd8 23.Bd3 Rxg7 24.Nxe4 Rh7 25.Bc7+ black resigned, because of 25...Kxc7 26.Qg3+ e5 27.Nf6! and white wins.) 21.0-0-0 Rad8! (After 21...Rh8 22.Nxe4!! Rxh4 23.Bd6+ Kd8 24.Be5+ Ke7 25.Bxg7 Bxe4 26.Rd7+ Ke8 27.g6! fxg6 28.Rxa7+ Kd8 29.Bf6+ wins.) 22.g6+ f6 23.Rxh1 Rh8 24.Qg4 Nxf2 25.Qf3 Nxh1 26.Bd6+! (Gelfand's discovery leading to a perpetual check. Wrong is 26.Qb7+ Kf8 27.Bd6+ Kg8 and the black king escapes.) 26...Kxd6 (Not 26...Rxd6 27.Qb7+ Kf8 28.Qc8+ Ke7 29.Qc7+ Kf8 30.Qxd6+ Qe7 31.g7+ and white wins.) 27.Qc6+ Ke5 28.Qe4+ (Gelfand still gave 28...Kd6 in the Chess Informant number 89, which is met by 27.Qc6+ etc.) Draw.
On the other hand, the game between grandmaster Alexander Ivanov and FIDE Master Dmitry Zilberstein would please Anderson. It is a pure joy to watch how black swung his pieces into attacking positions from the Moller variation of the Spanish. He used the central square e5 that white had covered with a pawn on d4. A stunning idea!
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.a4 Rb8 8.c3 d6 9.d4 Bb6 10.Na3 0-0 11.axb5 axb5 12.Nxb5 exd4 13.cxd4 Bg4 14.Ra4 (It would be interesting to see what black had in mind after 14.Ba4 that gave white a quick victory in Kramnik-Topalov, Monaco 2004.) 14...Re8 15.Bc2 (A new idea, trying to save a move on the usual 15.Re1 d5 16.e5 Ne4 17.Bc2.) 15...Qd7!? (After 15...d5 16.e5 Ne4 17.Nc3 Bxf3 [17...f5 18.Nxd5!] 18.gxf3 Ng5 19.f4 Ne6 20.Be3 and white protects the center and the extra pawn.) 16.Nc3 Bxf3 17.gxf3 Qh3 (The black queen is not a welcome quest in white's camp, looking to deliver at least a perpetual check.)
18.Be3 Re5!! ( A brilliant way to swing the rook to the h-file. The square e5 is like a trampoline allowing black to spring his pieces into a dangerous attack. Black can already make a draw with 18...Bxd4!? 19.Bxd4 Nxd4 20.Rxd4 [On 20.Qxd4 Ng4! draws.] 20...Re5 21.Qc1 Ng4 22.fxg4 [On 22.Qf4 comes 22...Nxh2!] 22...Qxg4+ with a perpetual check.) 19.Re1 (After 19.dxe5? Nxe5, white can't defend against 20...Nxf3. But he should have played 19.Ne2, for example 19...Rh5 20.Bf4 Qxf3 21.Qd3 Qg4+ 22.Bg3 with a small edge, because now black's attack gathers speed.) 19...Rh5 20.Bf4 Rh4! (Making a room on h5 for the knight.) 21.Bg3 Nh5! (Another amazing attacking touch, possible because white's light bishop can't help the king.)
22.Re2 (After 22.Bxh4 Nf4 and the black queen delivers mate on g2. The rook move allows to defend with Qd1-f1. But it is now too late.) 22...Ne5! (This leap, threatening 23...Nxf3+, wins the game.) 23.Rd2 (White has to give up the queen, since after 23.dxe5 black wins with 23...Nxg3.) 23...Nf4 24.Bxf4 (After 24.Qf1 Nxf3+ 25.Kh1 Qxf1 mates.) 24...Nxf3+ 25.Qxf3 Qxf3 (With only two minor pieces for the queen, white is lost. But black is playing the next moves rather carelessly.) 26.Bg3 Rh6 27.Nd5 Re6 28.Ra3 Qh5 29.Kg2 Ree8 30.Bf4 c6 31.Rh3 Qg4+ 32.Rg3 Qh4 33.Bg5 Qxg3+ (Forced, since 33...Qh5 34.Nf4 traps the black queen.) 34.hxg3 cxd5 35.exd5 Ba5 36.Rd3 Rxb2 (Black is winning easily.) 37.Bd1 Be1 38.Be3 Ra8 39.Kf1 Bb4 40.Bg4 Rb1+ 41.Kg2 Ra2 42.Bf4 Ra3 43.Rxa3 Bxa3 44.Be2 Kf8 45.g4 Ke7 46.Kf3 Bc1 47.Bd3 Ra1 48.Bg3 Ra4 49.Bxh7 g6 50.Bh4+ Kf8 51.Bf6 Bh6 White resigned.
Solution to today's two-mover by L. Zoltan (White:Kb6,Qf4,Rb8,Rd7; Black: Kd5,P:d6,e7): 1.Re8 Ke6 2.Rxd6 mate; or 1...e6 2.Rxd6 mate; or 1...e5 2.Rxe5 mate.