Chess summer started fabulously over the Independence Day weekend. Most of the world's best players went to Frankfurt, Germany, to play in three active chess tournaments with 25 minutes per game. Garry Kasparov once more demonstrated why he is the best player in the world, dominating the Siemens Giants in Frankfurt with the score 7.5 points in 12 games. Anand and Kramnik had 6 points and the FIDE champion, Anatoly Karpov, finished last with 4.5 points.
Kramnik and Karpov ganged up on Anand by playing the Petroff's defense against him in 4 games, but the Indian grandmaster came up with an important original idea.
Anand - Kramnik
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.c4 (Anand played more quietly with 8.Re1 Bf5 9.c4 Nb4 10.Bf1, after Karpov chose the Petroff for the second time. Anand won anyway.) 8...Nb4 9.cxd5 Nxd3 10.Qxd3 Qxd5 11.Re1 Bf5 12.g4!? (Kicking the bishop away from the square e6, Anand does not allow Smyslov's pawn sacrifice 12.Nc3 Nxc3 13.Qxc3 Be6!?, used by the former world champion in his Candidates match against Huebner in Velden in 1983.) 12...Bg6 13.Nc3 Nxc3 14.Qxc3 Kf8 (Kramnik must have concluded that this idea of Karpov is better than 14...Qd6, which he played against Anand in their first game and quickly drew.) 15.Bf4 c6
16.Rxe7!? (Enterprising sacrifice and more exciting than 16.Re3 that Anand played against Karpov before.) 16...Kxe7 17.Qb4+ Kd8 (This meek move leads to a lost position by force. Kramnik had to play more aggressively with 17...c5 18.dxc5 and now not 18...Qxf3? because of 19.c6+ Kd8 20.Qd4+ Ke8 21.Re1+ Kf8 22.Bb8!! with the idea 22...Rxb8 23.Qd6+ Kg8 24.Qxb8 mate, white is exposing the weakness of the back rank. Correct is 18...Kd8, for example 19.c6 bxc6 20.Qb7 Rc8 21.Bg5+ f6 22.Qxg7 fxg5 23.Qxh8+ Kc7, but white still has better chances after 24.Qf6.) 18.Qxb7 Rc8 19.Bg5+ f6 (On 19...Ke8 20.Qe7 mates, but white wins too many pawns now and the game is over.) 20.Qxg7 fxg5 21.Qxh8+ Kc7 22.Qe5+ Qxe5 23.dxe5 h6 24.Re1 Re8 25.h4 gxh4 26.Nxh4 Bf7 27.Nf5 (After 27...Bxa2 28.Nxh6 white has three connected passers.) Black resigned.
The computer program Fritz 6 edged some of the best human players in the Frankfurt-West Masters, scoring 9.5 points in 14 games. The humans followed in the following order: Veselin Topalov and Peter Leko both with 9 points; Peter Svidler 7.5; Judit Polgar and Christopher Lutz both with 6 points; Alexander Morozevich 5.5; Michael Adams 3.5 points.
Topalov played well and was leading the event before losing to Leko in the last round. His surgical performance against Polgar's King's Indian defense is strikingly simple and beautiful.
Topalov-Polgar1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 a5 10.Ba3 Nh5 11.c5 Nf4 12.b5 b6 (Polgar tries to improve on the game Piket-Nunn, Amsterdam 1995, where black played 12...Bg4, but after 13.Nd2 white dictated the tempo of the game.) 13.cxd6 cxd6 14.Rc1 Bh6 (Polgar is running out of space and hopes to create some play on the kingside. The bishop move prepares the pawn strike f7-f5.) 15.Nd2 f5 16.Re1 Bb7 17.Bf1 Rc8 (Black has to take a "wait and see" attitude. Clearing the center is disastrous after 17...fxe4 18.Ndxe4 Nexd5 19.Nxd6 Nxc3 20.Rxc3 Bd5 21.Nc4 black is in dire straits.) 18.Nc4 Rf6 19.Rc2 Rc7?! (Black was pinned down and could hardly move, but the rook move allows a tactical skirmish favorable to white.)
20.Nxe5! (A little combination with large consequences, dissecting black's position to pieces.) 20...Nexd5 (Hoping to mud the waters, since 20...dxe5 21.d6 Rd7 22. dxe7 Qe8 23.Qxd7! Qxd7 24.Rd1 Qe8 25.Rd8 Kf7 26.Bc4+ Ne6 27.Bd5 wins for white.) 21.Nxd5 Nxd5 (After 21...Bxd5 22.Rxc7 Qxc7 23.exd5 dxe5 24.d6 Qd7 25.Bc4+ Kh8 26.Rxe5 wins.) 22.Nc6! (Exposing the weakness of the d-pawn and using a deadly pin along the d-file.) 22...Bxc6 23.bxc6 Nb4 (Other knight moves are met with 24.e5.) 24.Bxb4 axb4 25.e5 (After 25...Rf8 26.exd6 the connected passed pawns on the 6th rank become monsters.) Black resigned.
The Dutch grandmaster Loek van Wely scored 9.5 points in 11 games to win the Ordix Open. This third tournament in Frankfurt was the largest and attracted 445 players, including 50 grandmasters.
The World Open
The traditional World Open in Philadelphia ended in a massive tie for the first place in the Open section with 10 grandmasters scoring 7 points in 9 games. They were Jaan Ehlvest of Estonia, Igor Novikov and George Timoshenko of Ukraine, Vladimir Akopian of Armenia and the Americans, Joel Benjamin, Boris Gulko, Alexander Fishbein, Gregory Serper, Alexander Shabalov and Alex Yermolinsky. Serper won the play-off and was declared the 1999 World Open Champion. Nearly 1500 players played in Philadelphia, with 228 in the Open section.
Today's solution to Vladimir Nabokov's problem (White:Kf8,Rc1,Nf6,Nf7,P:d2,e4; Black:Kd4,P:d3,d5): 1.Nd7! Kxe4 (or 1...dxe4 2.Nb6 e3 3.Rc4 mate.) 2.Rf1 d4 (or 2...Kd4 3.Rf4 mate.) 3.Nf6 mate. A pretty three-mover by a great Russian writer!