Team Russia, led by Garry Kasparov, won gold medals yesterday at the 35th Chess Olympiad in Bled, Slovenia. The Russians were pressed by the Hungarian team and even lost to them, but were able to pull away, scoring more board points in the final rounds. Russia finished with 38.5 points in 56 games. Hungary won the silver medals with 37.5 points; bronze medals went to Armenia with 35 points. The U.S. team finished with 30.5 points; Yasser Seirawan on board 2 had the team's best result with 6.5 points in nine games.
China won the Women's Olympiad in dramatic fashion, scoring 29.5 points in 42 games. Russia was second with 29 points, Poland third with 28 points. The U.S. women finished ninth with 25 points; Irina Krush on the top board posted an excellent score nine points in 13 games. Nearly 1,500 players from 137 countries took part in this mammoth FIDE event.
Kasparov dominated on the first board, achieving the best overall performance rating of 2933 and scoring seven points in nine games. Judit Polgar of Hungary was impressive on the second board with 8.5 points in 12 games, helping her team to the silver medals. Her good homework paid off when she faced Shakhriyaz Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan. Polgar had to dig into her memory to pick up the right moves in a sharp line of the Open Spanish, making only two moves on her own.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Nbd2 Nc5 10.c3 d4 11.Ng5!? (One of many innovations by Igor Zaitsev, a brilliant Russian analyst. White sacrifices the knight for a punishing attack along the vulnerable diagonal a8-h1.) 11...Bd5?! (Considered the best way to decline the offer. Kasparov's dazzling rook sacrifice after 11...dxc3 12.Nxe6 fxe6 13.bxc3 Qd3 14.Bc2! Qxc3 15.Nb3!! turned around his world championship match against Anand in New York in 1995.
(Accepting the knight 11...Qxg5 gives white a strong initiative after 12.Qf3, for example 12...Kd7? 13.Bd5! Bxd5 14.Qxd5+ Bd6 15.Nc4 [15.cxd4] Qh5? 16.Nb6+! winning; or 12...Bd7 13.Bxf7+ Ke7 14.Bd5 Nxe5 15.Qe2 d3 16.Qe1 with white's advantage; or 12...0-0-0!? 13.Bxe6+ fxe6 14.Qxc6 Qxe5 15.b4 Qd5!? 16.Qxd5 exd5 17.bxc5 dxc3 18.Nb3 d4 with a complicated endgame that seems to favor white.) 12.Nxf7! (The best.) 12...Kxf7 13.Qf3+ Ke6 14.Qg4+! (Better than 14.Ne4 that led to a draw in last year's game between two Czech players, Kalod and Virostko, after 14...Nxb3 15.Qg4+ Kf7 16.Qf5+ Kg8 17.e6 h6 18.Qf7+ Kh7 19.Ng5+ hxg5 20.Qh5+ Kg8 21.Qf7+ with a perpetual check.) 14...Kf7?! (Allowing white to bring his queen to the fifth rank with a tempo. The move 14...Ke7 is tougher to crack. The game Svidler-Anand, Dos Hermanas 1999, continued 15.e6! Bxe6 16.Re1 Qd7 17.Bxe6 Nxe6 and now instead of 18.Nf3 white could have played 18.Nb3!, threatening to win with 19.Nc5!. After 18...Qd5 19.Nc5 Ncd8 [on 19...Ne5 20.Qxe6+ Qxe6 21.Nxe6 Kxe6 22.cxd4 wins] 20.cxd4, threatening 21.Re5, white has a fierce attack; and after 18...Kf7 19.Qf5+ Kg8 20.Qxe6+ Qxe6 21.Rxe6 Nd8 22.Re4 dxc3 23.bxc3 Nb7 24.a4 white has a slight edge.)
15.Qf5+! (The most precise way. After 15.e6+ Bxe6 16.Qf3+ Qf6 17.Bxe6+ Nxe6 18.Qxc6 black can hold with 18...Rd8.) 15...Ke7? (White gets a mating attack now. It would make more sense to play 15...Kg8, although after 16.e6 Ne5 17.Qxe5 Nxb3 18.Nxb3 dxc3 17.Qf5! h6 18.bxc3, white is a healthy pawn up.) 16.e6! Bxe6 17.Re1 Qd6 18.Bxe6 Nxe6 19.Ne4! (Polgar is following a published suggestion, but she could have also played 19.Nb3! with a decisive advantage either after 19...g6 20.Bg5+ Kd7 21.Qf7+ Be7 22.Rxe6! Qxe6 23.Nc5+ wins; or after 19...Ncd8 20.Bg5+ Kd7 21.Bxd8 Rxd8 22.Nc5+ Kc8 23.Rxe6 wins.) 19...Qe5 20.Bg5+ Kd7 (After 20...Ke8 21.Nf6+! gxf6 22.Rxe5 fxe5 23.Qxe6+ Ne7 24.Qxe5 wins.) 21.Nc5+ Bxc5 22.Qf7+! (The first independent move, stronger than 22.Rxe5.) 22...Kd6 (After 22...Kc8 23.Rxe5 Nxe5 24.Qxe6+ Nd7 25.cxd4 white should win.) 23.Be7+! Kd5 (Black gets mated after 24.Qf3+ Kc4 25.b3 mate, but the result would not be different after 23...Nxe7 24.Rxe5 Kxe5 25.Re1+ Kd6 26.Qxe6 mate.) Black resigned.
Steve Greanias and Stan Fink shared first place at the Arlington Open, held Oct. 12-13, scoring 4.5 points in five games.
The Oscar Shapiro D.C. Open, played Oct. 26-27, ended in a five-way tie for first place between Sal Rosario, Paul Yavari, Oladapo Adu, John Meyer and William Morriss. Rosario became the D.C. champion. The open attracted 94 players.
The Eighth Northern Virginia Open, played Nov. 2-3, drew 65 players. IM Larry Kaufman won all five games and took a clear first place.
The 43rd Annual Baltimore Open, a five-round Swiss event, will be played Saturday and Sunday at the Best Western Hotel and Conference Center, 5625 O'Donnell St., Baltimore. Registration is at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
Solution to today's problem by W. Speckmann (White: Kh5,Qb1,Ra5,Rc1,Ba2,Nf5; Black:Kf6,P:a3,b2,c2,h6,h7): 1.Bg8! cxb1Q 2.Rc6 mate; or 1...bxc1Q 2.Qb6 mate; or 1...a2 2.Qxb2 mate.