At the Bled Olympiad this year, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) distributed the FIDE Golden Book 1924-2002. The information in this monumental work was compiled by Willi Iclicki, a former FIDE treasurer. It embraces the federation's history from its founding in 1924 in Paris to the present, listing results and performances from various competitions, individual and team champions, FIDE officials and special personalities. It is a great reference book.
FIDE began to rate chess players worldwide 31 years ago. Last January, 40,697 players were rated, including 770 International Grandmasters and 2,209 International Masters. Since 1971 only three Americans -- Bobby Fischer, Gata Kamsky and I -- made it to the world's Top 10, which is dominated by world champions and grandmasters from the former Soviet Union.
Yet the United States has had many young talented players and produced several world junior champions: William Lombardy (1957), Mark Diesen (1976), Yasser Seirawan (1979), Maxim Dlugy (1985), Ilya Gurevich (1990) and Tal Shaked (1997).
One of America's new hopefuls is Hikaru Nakamura, 15, who intended to participate at the world junior championships in Goa, India, this month. Unfortunately, his plane was delayed several hours by a snowstorm, causing him to miss connections. Realizing that he wouldn't reach India before the third round, Hikaru abandoned the journey.
The title went to Armenian Grandmaster Levon Aronian, 20, who scored 10 points in 13 games, edging English GM Luke McShane by a half-point. In the girls' section the Women's Grandmasters Humpy Koneru of India and Zhao Xue of China scored 10.5 points, but Zhao, 17, won the title on a tie-breaker. American Women's International Master Cindy Tsai finished 39th with 5.5 points.
Many talented youngsters did not play in Goa. One of them was GM Arkady Naiditsch, 17, who preferred to participate in the strong German championship instead. Two rounds before the end Naiditsch was in the lead, having defeated GM Robert Huebner, a former world championship candidate, and the eventual winner, GM Thomas Luther. But losses in the last two rounds spoiled his great efforts. His tactical brilliance shines in a win against Frank Zeller in the Paulsen Sicilian.
Naiditsch - Zeller
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Bd3 Bc5 6.Nb3 Be7 (A less traveled way in this variation of the Paulsen Sicilian. The usual 6...Ba7 looks at the pawn on f2 and its tactical justification comes after 7.Qg4?! Nf6! 8.Qxg7? Rg8 9.Qh6 Bxf2+!, e.g. 10.Kxf2?? Ng4+ winning.) 7.0-0 (After 7.Qg4 black can simply play 7...g6.) 7...d6 8.c4 Nf6 9.Nc3 b6 (Zeller is content with the dynamic but passive Hedgehog formation.) 10.f4 Nbd7 11.Qf3 Bb7 12.Kh1 Qc7 13.Bd2 h5?! (A modern way to combat white's kingside initiative. Black does not mind keeping his king in the middle or even castling to the queenside.) 14.Qh3 Ng4 15.Rac1 Ndf6 16.f5! Qd7 (After 16...exf5 17.Nd5! is strong.) 17.Nd4 Rc8 18.b3 Bd8 19.fxe6 fxe6 (It seems that black is holding his own, but the white finds a wonderful way to disorganize black's forces.)
20.Nd5! 0-0 (Accepting the knight sacrifice 20...exd5 opens up roads for the white pieces, riding free on the light squares after 21.exd5, for example 21...Qf7 22.Bf5 Qg8 23.Rce1+ Be7 24.Bf4 Rd8 25.Nc6! Bxc6 26.dxc6 g5 27.Bd2 and black can't stop 28.c7 winning material; or 21...0-0 22.Bf5 Qe8 23.Rce1 Be7 24.Ne6 Rf7 25.Ng5 Rf8 26.Qd3 and black can't cope with numerous threats.) 21.Nxf6+ Bxf6?! (Sacrificing a pawn, hoping to stop white's kingside attack by plugging the square e5 with the knight. After 21...Rxf6 22.Nf3! Ne5 23.Nxe5 dxe5 24.Bc3 black would have saved a pawn, but his hands would be full covering several weaknesses.) 22.Qxh5 Ne5 23.Bb1 Rc5 24.Qh3 Bc8 25.Ne2! (White sees a way how to break black's barrier, but he has to reshuffle his pieces first.) 25...b5 26.Be3 Rc6 27.Nf4! (Preparing an astonishing combination that black fails to see.) 27...bxc4? (Allowing a beautiful kaleidoscope of sacrifices, but after 27...Qe8 either 28.c5 or 28.Nh5 is unpleasant.)
28.Ng6!! Nxg6 (Black does not have much choice, e.g. 28...Qd8 29.Qh8+ Kf7 30.Nxf8 Qxf8 31.Qh7 Ke7 32.Bd4 and white should win.) 29.e5! (Opening the diagonal b1-h7 is fatal to black.) 29...Nxe5 (After 29...Qf7 30.Qh5! wins.) 30.Qh7+ Kf7 31.Rxf6+! (The first of the rook sacrifices flashes the black king out.) 31...Kxf6 32.Rf1+ Ke7 33.Qxg7+ Nf7? (After this move white blasts through. More stubborn was 33...Kd8 although after 34.Qxf8+ Kc7 [or 34...Qe8 35.Bg5+ Kd7 36.Qg7+ wins.] 35.Be4 white wins material, since 35...d5 36.Bf4! wins.) 34.Rxf7+! Rxf7 35.Bg5+ Ke8 36.Qg8+ (After 36...Rf8 37.Bg6+ Qf7 38.Bxf7+ Kd7 39.Qxf8 black is left with painful memories.) Black resigned.
In today's study by A. Havasi (White: Kc3,Rf4,Be7,P:h4; Black: Kg1,Rh2,Bc8,P:c7,d7) it seems that white can win after 1.Bc5+ Kg2 2.Rf2+ Kh3 3.Rxh2+ Kxh2 4.Bd6+!, blocking the black bishop, for example 4...cxd6 5.h5 Bb7 6.Kd4 and the h-pawn can't be stopped. However, the author overlooked the less greedy 4...Kg2! 5.h5 Bb7 6.Kd4 Kf3! 7.h6 Be4, and ended with a draw.