Vishy Anand, a former world champion, is again winning premier tournaments with ease and efficiency. Yesterday at the Dutch coastal town of Wijk aan Zee, the Indian grandmaster won the traditional Corus tournament, scoring 8.5 points in 13 games. Almost matching Anand's score was the greatest woman in chess history, Judit Polgar of Hungary. She finished second with a brilliant performance, leaving behind a star-studded field that included three world champions and some of the world's top 10 players.
Final standing: Anand 8.5 points; Polgar 8 points; Evgeny Bareev 7.5 points; Vladimir Kramnik, Alexei Shirov, Alexander Grischuk, Vassily Ivanchuk and Loek Van Wely, all 7 points; Teimur Radjabov and Veselin Topalov, both 6.5 points; Ruslan Ponomariov and Anatoly Karpov, both 6 points; Michal Krasenkow 4.5 points; Jan Timman 2.5 points.
Two Poisoned Pawns Shirov often lights up his games with a few sparks, sacrificing one or two pawns, and before you know it the board is on fire. The next day, after his friend Alexander Shabalov clinched the U.S. championship in Seattle by sacrificing two pawns in the final game, Shirov took a similar approach in the game against Bareev several thousand miles away in Wijk aan Zee. While Shabalov merely tried to confuse his young rival Varuzhan Akobian by creating chaos on the board, Shirov's game is a textbook example how to punish a greedy opponent who wastes time moving one piece too often. The French defense duel is also theoretically important.
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 (The expansive Steinitz variation.) 4...Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.Be3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Bc5 9.Qd2 Bxd4 10.Bxd4 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Qb6 (Imaginative players love to have queens on the board, and trading them often blunts their attacking ambition. Shirov lures Bareev's queen to a dangerous journey.)
12.Qd2!? (First played by Garry Kasparov against Timman in Horgen, Switzerland, in 1995, it is not a simple pawn sacrifice because white has to shed two pawns to keep the black king in the middle. But Kasparov could not bring himself to repeat it against Bareev in Novgorod, Russia, 1997, choosing 12.Qxb6 instead.) 12...Qxb2?! (Whether the pawn is poisonous or not, Bareev puts Shirov on the spot: "Show me what you have." Timman declined the offer with 12...Nc5.) 13.Rb1 Qa3 14.Nb5! (Aiming for the square d6, the knight prevents the black king from castling.) 14...Qxa2?! (The less greedy 14...Qc5 allows white to break in the center 15.Nd6+ Ke7 16.c4! with a good compensation for the pawn.) 15.Nd6+ Kf8 16.Rd1 Qb2 (After 16...b6 17.Bb5 Nc5 18.0-0, threatening 19.Ra1 Qb2 20.Rfb1 to win the black queen.) 17.Be2 Qb6 (Only postponing white's castling, this is the sixth queen move in the last seven turns. Such a waste of time should not go unpunished.)
18.c4! (With most of his pieces in the play, Shirov needs to act aggressively to keep the initiative.) 18...d4 19.Bf3 (Not 19.0-0? d3+ and black wins.) 19...a5 20.0-0 (Black's rooks and bishop did not move yet. White has an enormous lead in development.) 20...d3+ 21.Kh1 Qd4 22.Nb5! (Shirovian punch! White gives up another pawn to open up the c-file for his heavy pieces.) 22...Qc5 (After 22...Qxc4 comes 23.Nd6 Qd4 24.Rc1! Nb6 25.Rc3, threatening both 26.Rxd3 and 26.Rfc1 with a crushing attack.) 23.Qxd3 g6 24.Nd6 (Threatening 25.Nxc8.) 24...Nb6 25.Rb1! Kg7 26.Rb5 Qc7 27.Qd4 Nd7 (After driving the black pieces back, Shirov's tactical imagination takes over. He breaks through with two consecutive sacrifices.)
28.f5! gxf5 (Or 28...exf5 29.Nxf5+! as in the game.) 29.Nxf5+! (Shirov plays with a bang, but 29.g4! was also good.) 29...exf5 30.e6+ Ne5 (Black is running out of good defenses, for example 30...Nf6 31.Rxf5 Qe7 32.Bd5; or 30...f6 31.exd7 Qxd7 32.Rxb7! white wins in both cases.) 31.Rxe5 f6 32.Rxf5 Rf8 33.Bd5 (Faster was 33.Bxb7! Bxb7 34.Rg5+ Kh8 35.Rxf6 and white mates soon.) 33...Qe7 34.Rh5 Kh8 35.Be4 Bxe6 36.Rxh7+ Qxh7 37.Bxh7 Kxh7 38.Qe4+ (Pocketing the bishop.) Black resigned.
Kasparov vs. Deep Junior The $1 million six-game match "Man vs. Machine" began yesterday in New York with Kasparov's victory in Game 1. It can be followed live on the X3D Technologies Web site at www.x3dworld.com.
U.S. Championship results
Shabalov won the championship and the $25,000 first prize with 6.5 points in nine games. Second through eighth place: Joel Benjamin, John Fedorowicz, Alexander Goldin, Boris Gulko, Alexander Ivanov and Alexander Stripunsky all 6 points. Local IM Larry Kaufman of Potomac scored 4.5 points.
Erik Anderson, one of the founders of America's Foundation for Chess, which organized the event, offered a bonus of $5,000 each to Shabalov and Akobian for their gallant efforts to win the title in a long fight in the last game of the championship.
Anna Hahn won the 2003 U.S. women's title and the $12,500 prize, defeating Irina Krush and Jennifer Shahade in a playoff. All three scored 4.5 points in the championship.
Solution to today's problem by O. Duras (White: Kh8,Qd7,Bh1; Black: Kb8,Na5,Ne6,P:a6,a7): 1.Ba8! Kxa8 2.Qc8 mate; 1...Nc4 2.Qb7 mate; 1...Nc7 2.Qd8 mate.