Emil Sutovsky must love the Irish Sea. For the second straight year the Israeli grandmaster and former world junior champion won the Monarch Assurance Open at the Isle of Man. This time, it was on a tiebreak over Russia's Sergei Shipov, after they both scored 6.5 points in 9 games. At first it looked as if Nigel Short would run away with the first prize, starting fabulously with 5.5points after 6 games, but the English grandmaster suffered two subsequent loses, allowing Sutovsky and Shipov to sneak half a point ahead of him.

The most exciting game of the tournament, between two Russian grandmasters, Petr Kiriakov and Sergei Tiviakov, featured a king hunt. Usually the monarch is chased all over the board in spectacular fashion. It must be equally humiliating to castle and then be driven back to the original square, where the king proudly stood at the beginning of the game.

Kiriakov - Tiviakov

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 (Easily the most popular choice against the Nimzo-Indian defense today.) 4...c5 5.dxc5 Bxc5 6.Nf3 Qb6 (A bit provocative, but it narrows the range of the bishop on c1.) 7.e3 Qc7 8.b3 b6 9.Bb2 Bb7 10.Be2 a6 11.Rd1 Be7 12.0-0 0-0 (Black only needs to play 13...d6 and 14...Nbd7, to get to a rope-a-dope or a hedgehog defensive set-up.) 13.Ng5! (Timing is everything in launching a successful attack. White threatens a thematic jump 14.Nd5, followed by removing the knight on f6 which covers a mate on h7.) 13...Rd8 (Black lets the threat go unnoticed, freeing squares for a king escape. After 13...h6? 14.Nd5! wins at least a pawn, e.g. 14...exd5 15.Bxf6 hxg5 [Not 15...Bxf6 16.Qh7 mate.] 16.Bxe7 Re8 17.Bxg5 and black has a hard time.)

14.Nd5!? (The fun begins. If nothing else, white gets lot of pawns for the sacrificed piece.) 14...exd5 15.Bxf6 Bxf6 16.Qxh7+ Kf8 17.cxd5 d6 (Forced, since after 17...Bxg5?? 18.d6, threatening 19.Qh8 mate, white wins the queen.) 18.Bh5! Bxg5 (The pressure against the pawn f7 was too much and black is forced to accept another piece, since 18...g6 loses to a deadly check 19.Ne6+!, e.g. 19...fxe6 20.Qxc7 winning.) 19.Qh8+ Ke7 20.Qxg7 (Because of the threat 21.Qxf7 mate, black has to give one piece back.) 20...Rf8 21.Qxg5+ Ke8 (Back home again!) 22.Rc1! (White shifts his offensive to the c-file.) 22...Qd8 23.Qf5 Qe7 (Black is running out of good moves. For example after 23...Qd7 24.Qe4+ Kd8 [On 24...Qe7 25.Qxe7+ Kxe7 26.Rc7+ wins] 25.Qh4+ Ke8 26.Rc4!! Bxd5 27.Re4+! Be6 [Or 27...Bxe4 28.Qxe4+ Qe7 29.Qxa8 winning.] 28.Qf6! and black is unable to stop 29.Rxe6+. Relatively best was 23...Nd7 although after 24.Qe6+ Qe7 25.Rc7 Qxe6 26.dxe6 Nc5 27.b4 Kd8 28.e7+ Kxc7 29.exf8Q Rxf8 30.bxc5 dxc5 31.Rd1 white keeps the advantage.)

24.Rc4 Nd7 (Black didn't have much else against the pin 25.Re4 and had to allow a rook invasion to the 7th rank.) 25.Rc7 Bc8 (After 25...Rb8 26.Rfc1 white is threatening 27.Rxb7 Rxb7 28.Rc8+ winning.) 26.Rfc1 Kd8 27.Bg4! (Seals the win. Black is tied up and has only limited options. Inaccurate is 27.Qc2 because of 27...Qe5! 28.Rxc8+ Rxc8 29.Qxc8+ Ke7 and white has to give up his bishop.) 27...Qe8 28.R1c6 (In tripling on a file the rooks should go first and the queen pushes them through.) 28...Rg8 29.h3 b5 30.Qf4 (It was possible to finish it with a subtle 30.Qc2 Ke7 31.e4 and white threatens a decisive break with 32.e5.) 30...Qf8 (Black cannot buy a freedom with 30...Qe5 31.Qxf7 Rg7, since white ends it with 32.Rxd7+! Bxd7 33.Qf8+ and now either after 33...Qe8 34.Qxg7 Bxc6 35.dxc6 Qxc6 36.Bf3; or after 33...Be8 34.Rxd6+ Kc7 35.Re6 Qa1+ 36.Kh2 Rd7 37.Qc5+ Kd8 38.Qb6+ Rc7 39.d6 black cannot escape.) 31.Bxd7 Bxd7 32.Qf6+ Ke8 (Not much different is 32...Qe7 33.Rxd7+ Kxd7 34.Rc7+ Kxc7 35.Qxe7+ Kc8 36.Qxd6 and white is winning.) 33.Rxd6 Rd8 34.Rdxd7! (After 34...Rxd7 35.Rc8+ Rd8 36.Rxd8 mates.) Black resigned.

Northern Virginia Open

This year's tournament attracted 80 players and ended in a six-way tie for the first place. The winners, scoring 5 points in 6 games, were: GM Alek Wojtkiewicz, IM Larry Kaufman, IM Oladapo Adu, Stas Kriventsov, Boris Reichstein and Rusty Potter.

Before the Open, on Nov. 12, Wojtkiewicz gave an unusual simultaneous exhibition on 25 boards at the Arlington Chess Club. Since he recently broke his leg, he had to be wheeled around on a wheelchair. He won 23 games and drew with the club champ Marvin Lazo and a junior player, John Rouleau. Here is one of the draws, where the Polish grandmaster had to fight for it.

Wojtkiewicz-Rouleau

1.g3 d5 2.Bg2 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nf3 e6 5.0-0 Bd6 6.d4 Nbd7 7.Qc2 Ne4 8.Nbd2 f5 9.b3 Ndf6 10.a4 Bd7 11.Ba3 Bb8 12.Ne5 h5 13.Ndf3 g5 14.h4 Ng4 15.hxg5 Nxe5 16.Nxe5 Qxg5 17.Qc1 Qg7 18.Qf4 Bxe5 19.Qxe5 Qxe5 20.dxe5 Nd2 21.cxd5 Nxf1 22.dxe6 Bxe6 23.Kxf1 Bxb3 24.Rb1 0-0-0 25.Bd6 Be6 26.Bxc6 bxc6 27.Rb8+ Kd7 28.Rb7+ Kc8 draw.

Solution to today's problem by R. Zangger (White:Kf5,Nc5,Ne4,P:c3,d6; Black:Kd5,P:c4,c6,c7,e5): 1.Kf6! cxd6 2.Ke7! (Closing the net.) 2...dxc5 3.Nf6 mate.