Alexei Shirov is an angry young man. The former Latvian star, who now lives in Spain, believes that he earned the right to play Garry Kasparov for the world championship. Shirov qualified for the match under rules set up by Kasparov himself. Moreover, a rating system Kasparov prefers is placing Shirov right behind him in the second place in the world. Yet Kasparov prefers to play the Indian star Vishy Anand for the title, dodging Shirov almost as elegantly as the IBM's Deep Blue is dodging him, not allowing him a rematch after he failed to defend the mankind in a famous 1997 New York match.
But Deep Blue is disassembled, Shirov is not. Deep Blue has no feelings, Shirov is angry. It is almost irresponsible to throw someone to this young lion's den and hope he or she will survive. Shirov's latest victim was Judit Polgar, the best woman in chess history. Shirov won five of the EuroTel Trophy six game match, which ended yesterday in Prague. Polgar managed one draw.
Shirov started impressively like Bobby Fischer, winning the first three games. In the second game he shocked Polgar by playing the French defense.
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bc5 9.Qd2 0-0 10.0-0-0 a6 11.h4 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 13.Rh3 b4 (This was played before, but Igor Glek worked out a new idea, rolling the queenside pawns as quickly as possible. It was eventually adopted by Korchnoi and Morozevich.) 14.Ne2 (In Amsterdam 1994, Kasparov played against Short 14.Na4 Bxd4 15.Qxd4 but the English grandmaster erred with 15...f6?! and after 16.Qxb4 fxe5 17.Qd6! Qf6 18.f5!! Kasparov skillfully steered the game to victory. But instead of 15...f6?! Glek kept the kingside intact and played 15...a5 with the idea 16.Bb5 Rb8! forcing favorable exchanges.) 14...a5 15.Qe3 Qc7 (A similar position has been reached in the game Topalov-Morozevich, played this year in Sarajevo, with the only difference that instead of 13.Rh3 white played 13.h5 b4 14.Ne2 a5 15.Qe3 Qc7 and now choose 16.Kb1. After 16...Ba6 17.Bxc5 Nxc5 18. Ng3 Rfc8 19.Rc1 a4 black had the initiative.)
16.Bxc5 Nxc5 17.Nd4 a4 18.Kb1 a3 (Shirov uses the same plan as Morozevich, weakening the square c3. White would have to watch the black knight jumping there via the square e4.) 19.b3 Ba6 20.Bxa6 Rxa6 21.Qe1 (Controlling the square e4 with 21. Nb5 Qc6 22.Nd6 is easily countered by 22...Nb7 23.Nxb7 Rc8 24.Rd2 Qxb7 followed by 25...Rac6 and black has a green light along the c-file, while white's attack on the kingside is going nowhere.) 21...Rb6 22.c3 (Polgar hoped to invade black's position via the c-file, but it backfires. Shirov is happy to see the queenside opening up.) 22...Qb7 23.Rc1 Ne4 24.cxb4 (Backpedaling does not work either. After 24.Ne2 bxc3 25.Nxc3 Rxb3+ wins.) 24...Rxb4 25.Rd3 Rc4! (Typical Shirov! Not only exchanging the most active white's piece, the rook on c1, stopping any aggressive attempt of white, but suddenly files and diagonals open up for black's pieces.) 26.Rxc4?! (Making black's task easier, although after 26.Rdd1 Rfc8 black is in the saddle.) 26...dxc4 27.Rd1 Nc5 28.Qc3 Qxg2 (Black already had a nice selection, for example 28...cxb3 29.Nxb3 Nxb3 30. Qxb3 Qe4+ 31.Ka1 Qxf4 and white's kingside pawns fall.) 29.b4 (After 29.bxc4 black goes after the pawns with 29...Qe4+ 30.Nc2 Qxf4, winning.) 29...Nd3 30.Qxa3 Ra8 (The final nail. White has to give up material.) 31.Rxd3 cxd3 32.Qxd3 Qxa2+ 33.Kc1 Qa1+ 34.Kd2 Rd8 35.Ke3 Qe1+ White resigned.
In the third game of the match Shirov came up with a subtle novelty in the Sicilian Najdorf and succefully navigated the game through some turbolent tactical spins to victory, utilizing his bishop pair.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Ng4 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Bg710.h3 (A clean cut alternative to 10.Be2 h5 11.Nf5 Bxf5 12.exf5 h4, played in the first game of the match.) 10...Ne5 11.Nf5!? Bxf5 12.exf5 Nbc6 13.Nd5!? (Important novelty. After 13.Be2 Nd4! black has a good game.) 13...0-0 (Now 13...Nd4? loses a piece after14.f6!) 14.Be2 e6 15.fxe6 fxe6 16.Ne3 d5 17.0-0 Qb6 18.Ng4 (What is a pawn to a man? As long as his pieces are active Shirov does not mind shedding a few pawns.) 18...Rf5 (After 18...Qxb2 19. Rb1 Qxa2 20.Rxb7 black has to expect assaults from all sides.)
19.c3! (Forcing black to accept the gift.) 19...Qxb2 20.Rb1 Qxc3 21.Rxb7 Rf7 22.Qb1 Rxb7 23.Qxb7 Re8 24.Qxa6 (Creating a dangerous passed pawn. The bishop pair takes care of black's weaknesses.) 24...Nxg4 25.Bxg4 Nd4 26.Rb1 Qc2 27.Rb7 Qg6 28.a4 (Run, rabbit, run.) 28...h5 29.Bd1 h4 30.Bd6 e5 31.Qa7 Nf5 32.Bc5 e4 33.Rb6! Re6 34.Bb3 (The black center collapses.) 34...Rxb6 35.Bxd5+ Kh7 (After 35...Re6 36.Qd7 decides.) 36.Qxb6 Qh5 37.Qb1 Kh6 38.Bxe4 Black resigned.
Meantime on Saturday, Vishy Anand tied for the third place with Anatoly Karpov and Michael Adams in Dortmund, Germany. The Hungarian Peter Leko won this major tournament. Vladimir Kramnik finished second.
Solution to today's problem by C. Gilbert (White: Kg5,Qa6,Re1,Rh6,Ba2,Bc5,Ne6; Black:Ke5,Qe4,Rd5,Ne8,P:g6): 1.Qf1! Kxe6+ 2.Qf5 mate; or 1...Qxe1 2.Qxe1 mate; or 1...Rxc5 2.Qf4mate; or 1...Ng7 2.Qf6 mate.