Owen Williams is Garry Kasparov's manager and a former South African Davis Cup star. He knows that Kasparov would not be rated the top chess player in the world if a tennis rating formula were applied to chess. The ranking in tennis is based on the results that players achieve during the previous 12 months. On that basis, Kasparov most likely would not be even among the top five. As it is now, the Russian grandmaster can play less and sit on his good rating.
What change should be made? Some players would not mind including rapid games in the FIDE rating list. Vishy Anand would like that. The Indian grandmaster is the king of a rapid play, a world champion, who consistently proves that he is the best in games under 30 minutes. Last week, Anand dominated in a six-grandmaster double-round rapid event played in Sao Paulo, Brazil. His incredible score of 81/2 points in 10 games placed him three full points ahead of second-place Ivan Morovic Fernandez of Chile. Rafael Leitao of Brazil had 41/2 points. Russia's Anatoly Karpov and Giovanni Vescovi of Brazil ended with 4 points each. Gilberto Milos of Brazil was last with 31/2 points.
Throughout the tournament, Anand gave several players lesson on the power of two bishops. Dutch grandmaster Jan Timman touched on this subject in his recent book "Power Chess With Pieces," issued by New in Chess. In a chapter on a bishop pair domination, Timman presents games where the advantage becomes decisive in the endgame. Against former world champion Karpov, who defended with the Scheveningen Sicilian, Anand's bishops came to work earlier.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0-0 a6 8.Kh1 Be7 9.f4 d6 (Settling into the Scheveningen variation.) 10.Be3 0-0 11.Qe1 Nxd4 12.Bxd4 b5 13.a3 Bb7 14.Qg3 Bc6 15.Rae1 Rae8 (After 15...Qb7 16.Bd3 b4 17.Nd1, black has to be careful. The game Yagupov-Arbakov, Alushta 2002, ended quickly after 17...bxa3 18.bxa3 Nh5 19.Qh3 g6 20.Ne3 Nxf4 21.Rxf4 e5 22.Nf5 exd4 23.Qh6 Bf6 24.Rh4 Rfb8 25.Qxh7+ Kf8 26.Qh8+! and white mates.) 16.Bf3 Kh8 (deciding to wait).
17.b4!? (Anand's novelty, fixing black's queenside pawns and controlling the square c5, often used for the black knight.) 17...Bd8 (Black is threatening to shut down white's attack with 18...e5.) 18.e5! dxe5 19.fxe5 Nd7 20.Ne4 Bxe4 21.Bxe4 Qc4 (After 21...f5 22.exf6 Qxg3 23.hxg3, Anand may soon pick up the weak pawn on a6.) 22.Ba1 f5 23.exf6 Bxf6 24.Bd3 Qd5 25.Qh3! (Weakening the light squares.) 25...h6 26.Qg4! (Shifting to the b1-h7 diagonal.) 26...Kg8 (After 26...Ne5 27.Bxe5 Bxe5 28.Qg6 wins.) 27.Qg6 Qg5 28.Qe4! (Karpov can hardly move. This is stronger than winning the exchange with 28.Bxf6 Qxg6 29.Bxg6 Nxf6 30.Bxe8.)
28...h5 29.Bd4 Kf7 30.c4! (Wrecking the black queenside.) 30...h4 31.Be3 Qh5 (After 31...Qe5 32.Rxf6+! wins, for example 32...Qxf6 33.Rf1; or 32...Kxf6 33.Bd4; or 32...gxf6 33.Qh7 mate.) 32.Be2 Qe5 33.Qxe5 (Again 33.Rxf6+! wins.) 33...Nxe5 34.cxb5 axb5 35.Bc5 Rh8 36.Bxb5 (Two connected passed pawns supported by a bishop pair spell the end for black.) 36...Rb8 37.a4 Ng6 38.Bc4 Rhe8 39.a5 Black resigns.
Hall of Famer
Before going to Sao Paulo, Karpov was inducted into the World Chess Hall of Fame in Miami. His style of play was always difficult to imitate. Although he preferred to strangulate his opponents, Karpov had excellent tactical skills. In the introduction to his fascinating new book, "The Grandmaster's Mind," Amatzia Avni shows an amazing example from Karpov's past, played in 1996 in the Spanish coastal town of Oropesa del Mar. It began innocently with a queen exchange in the Queen's Gambit Accepted.
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 a6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 Nf6 6.0-0 c5 7.Bb3 Nc6 8.Nc3 Be7 9.dxc5 (A rather boring decision, but Karpov has a lead in development and sees some weaknesses on the queenside.) 9...Qxd1 10.Rxd1 Bxc5 11.Bd2 Bd7 12.Rac1 Ba7 (After 12...Na5 comes 13.Nb5!) 13.Be1 Ke7 14.Na4 (Threatening to land on c5.) 14...b6?! (In this position Karpov considered continuing quietly with 15.Bc3, but then "a combinative idea suddenly occurred" to him.)
15.Rxd7+! Kxd7 16.Nxb6+! Bxb6 17.Ba4 (After two stormy moves, a quiet one. White wins the pinned knight with a clear advantage. Karpov did not explain how the combination came to his mind. "If a great idea just lands from a clear sky, there is not much we can do to emulate it," writes Avni.)
17...Kc8! (Gulko finds the best move. Black has problems after 17...Ke7 18.Bxc6 Rhc8 19.Bb4+ Kd8 20.Ne5 Ra7 21.Rd1+; or after 17...Rhc8 18.Bxc6+ Kd8 19.Rd1+ Kc7 20.Bxa8; or after 17...Rac8 18.Ne5+ Kc7 19.Nxf7!) 18.Ne5 Kb8 19.Nxc6+ Kb7 20.Ne5 Rac8 21.Bc6+ Ka7 22.Nxf7 Rhf8 23.Ne5 Nd5 24.Rd1 Rfd8 25.Ba4! Ne7 26.Nd7 Nd5 27.Kf1 Bxe3 28.Rxd5! exd5 29.fxe3 Rc4 30.b4 Re4 31.Bc3! and white won in 42 moves.
Solution to today's study by L. Kubbel (White: Kb1,Qd1,Na8; Black: Ka3,Qa5,P:a7,b4,c5): 1.Qc1+ Ka4 2.Qc4! Qd8 (or 2...a6 3.Kb2 Qd8 4.Qxa6+ Qa5 5.Nb6 mate.) 3.Qa6+ Qa5 (or 3...Kb3 4.Qa2+ Kc3 5.Qc2+ Kd4 6.Qd2+ wins.) 4.Nb6+! axb6 5.Qc4! and black loses the queen or gets mated.