The Ultimate world championship match between Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand, scheduled for October, will not take place this year. This is a serious blow to Kasparov, who defended his world title in New York 1995 against Anand and desperately needed another match. But according to Anand's manager, Kuruvilla Abraham, Kasparov triggered the main sponsor's pull-out. A Silicon Valley company saw conflict of interest after Kasparov's successful appearance on the Internet at the Microsoft Zone, playing against the world.

On the chessboard Kasparov is still a dominating figure and only a handful of players can claim they got under his skin. One of them is the new U.S. champion Boris Gulko, who has defeated Kasparov three times. This month at the 1999 U.S. Invitational Championship in Salt Lake City, Gulko won a tense semifinal match against a former U.S. champion, Yasser Seirawan. Both players, former world championship candidates, cracked under the pressure in their last regular game. It was a reversal of fortune -- both players hallucinated in their calculations. Seirawan missed a mating attack and Gulko later marched into the finals.

Seirawan-Gulko

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bb4 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 Re8 7.Nd5 Bc5 8.d3 Nxd5 9.cxd5 Nd4 10.Nd2 d6 11.e3 Nf5 12.Nc4 a6 13.b3 Ne7 14.Bb2 b5 15.d4 exd4 16.exd4 Bb6 17.Nxb6 cxb6 18.Re1 Bb7 19.Qh5 Qd7 20.Re2 f5? (Anxious to win the d-pawn, Gulko blunders. Seirawan was expecting 20...g6 21.Qg5 f5, leading to the game's position.) 21.Rae1 g6 22.Qg5? (Having set his mind where the queen should go Seirawan misses 22.Qh4! Nxd5 23.Bxd5+ Bxd5 24.Re7 winning. White threatens 25.Qh7 mate. But if white does not see it, he may hallucinate about black's counterplay 24...Rxe7 25.Rxe7 Re8?? 26.Rxd7?? Re1 mate. Of course 26.Qxh7 mate is a wake up call.) 22...Nxd5 23.g4 Rxe2. Both players, realizing what they have done, quickly agreed to a draw.

In the finals Gulko beat this year's World Open winner, Gregory Serper, with the score 2.5 to 0.5 and claimed the U.S. title. Gulko's victory came rather easily after Serper could not find a way out from a maze of complications in the first game. One of the key elements in chess mastery is the ability to transfer the game into a favorable variation of an opening. Gulko serves his younger opponent ideas from Queen's Indian defense, Queen's Gambit Accepted and the Tartakover variation of the Queen's gambit.

Serper-Gulko

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.Nc3 Bb7 5.a3 d5 6.Bg5 Be7 7.e3 Nbd7 8.Rc1 dxc4 (In a style of the Queen's Gambit Accepted, Gulko clears the center and is left without weaknesses there.) 9.Bxc4 0-0 10.0-0 h6 11.Bh4 c5 12.dxc5 (12.Qe2 cxd4 13.exd4 a6 leads to a position similar to the Tartakover variation.) 12...Nxc5 13.Qe2 a6 14.Rfd1 Qe8 15.Ne5 Ncd7 16.Nxd7 Nxd7 17.Bg3 Nc5 18.Qg4 f5! (Gulko is gladly provoked into this strike.) 19.Qe2 Qc6 20.f3 Rfc8 21.b4 (Serper might have thought that he had the veteran in trouble, but Gulko calculated further.)21...Ne4! (After 21...Nd7? 22.Bb3! black is hopeless against discovered attacks by the knight.) 22.Nxe4 fxe4 23.fxe4 Kh8! (Precise play. After 23...Qxe4? 24.Bd3 Qd5 25.Bc7 white threatens to win the queen with 26.Bh7+.) 24.Bd5 (The exchanges after this move are not in white's favor, but after 24.Qg4, black simply plays 24...Bg5 with a good game.) 24...Qxc1 25.Bxb7 Qxa3 26.Bxa8 Rxa8 27.Qc4 Bxb4 28.Qxe6 Qxe3+ 29.Bf2 Qe2 30.Qd5 (Better seems 30.Rf1, but after30...Bc5 31.Bxc5 bxc5 black is on top.) 30...Rf8 31.Bxb6 Be1 32.h3 Rf1+ (This also wins, but quicker was 32...Qf1+ 33.Kh2 Bg3+ 34.Kxg3 Qf4 mate.) 33.Kh2 Qxd1 (After 34.Qxd1 Bg3+ black is an exchange up.) White resigned.

Virginia Championship

"I didn't blow it this time," reports Arlington master Macon Shibut after posting a perfect 5-0 score in winning the Virginia championship in Charlottesville on Sept. 5-6. His win in the last round against a former Virginia champion, Steve Greanias, decided the title.

Greanias-Shibut

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nf3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 Nc6 7.d5 Na5 8.Nfd2 c5 9.Nc3 a6 10.Qc2 Rb8 11.b3 b5 12.Bb2 Bh6 13.f4 bxc4 14.bxc4 e5 15.Rab1 exf4 16.gxf4 Nh5 17.e3 Rb4 18.Bf3 Bf5 19.Nce4 Re8 20.a3 Bxe4 21.Bxe4 Rb7 22.Qa4 Nb3 23.Bc3 Nxd2 24.Bxd2 Rxb1 25.Bxb1 Nf6 26.Qb3 Bg7 27.h3 h5 28.Bd3 Ne4 29.Bxe4 Rxe4 30.Qd3 Re8 31.Rb1 Qh4 32.Kg2 Qd8 33.a4 g5 34.a5 Qe7 35.Kf3 gxf4 36.exf4 Qh4 37.Kg2 Kh8 38.Qf3 Bd4 39.Bc3 f6 40.Kh2 Bxc3 41.Qxc3 Qxf4+ 42.Kh1 Re3 43.Rb8+ Kg7 44.Rb7+ Kh6 45.Qc2 Qf1+ White resigned.

Scholastic chess

The U.S. Chess Center (1501 M Street, N.W.) kicks off a new scholastic year with an open tournament on Oct. 2. The Center offers many programs for kids, including Saturday classes, team leagues and individual tournaments. The first class for elementary students (K-grade 6) starts on Sept. 25. Visit its web site (http://www.chessctr.org) or call for more information at (202) 857 4922.

Solution to today's problem by J. Hartong (White: Kf2, Qf1, Rf3, P:f7; Black: Kf8, P:e7, g7): 1.Qa1! g5 2.Qh8 mate; or 1...e5 2.Qa3 mate.