Current FIDE world champion Uzbek Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan shared first place with Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu of Romania in a major all-grandmaster tournament that ended yesterday in Pune, India. They scored 6 points in nine games. Pentala Harikrishna of India, 18, was third with 5 points.
In the 1970s, Swede Ulf Andersson and Yugoslav Ljubomir Ljubojevic began to experiment with the dynamic Hedgehog formation in the Sicilian. After 30 years the counterpunching defense is still alive and suits well Nisipeanu's style. In Pune, the ponytailed Romanian grandmaster confused his Indian opponent, Chanda Sandipan, by unleashing his h-pawn and finished the game with an instructive tactical play.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nb5 d6 6.c4 (This has been a dangerous weapon in the hands of former world champion Anatoly Karpov, who loved to contain black's central break d6-d5 and squeeze the life out of black's position.) 6...Nf6 7.N1c3 a6 8.Na3 b6 (The Kasparov gambit 8...d5?!, which led to a fascinating modern zugzwang in the 16th game of Karpov-Kasparov, played in Moscow in 1985, is still played on some occasions.) 9.Be2 Bb7 10.Be3 Be7 11.0-0 Ne5!? (Rearranging the knights more flexibly is popular among the Hedgehog players these days. After the older 11...0-0 black may face Karpov's iron grip: 12.Qb3!? Nd7 13.Rfd1 Nc5 14.Qc2 [After 14.Bxc5 bxc5 15.Qxb7? Na5! wins the white queen.] 14...Bf6 15.Rac1 Be5 16.Nab1! as in Karpov- F. Olafsson, Amsterdam 1976.)
12.f3 0-0 13.Qb3 (Not as strong as in the previous note. Connecting the rooks with 13.Qe1, followed by 14.Qf2, seems better.) 13...Ned7 14.Rfd1 (Trying to win a pawn with 14.Na4 is met by 14...Bc6!, e.g. 15.Nxb6? Rb8!) 14...Qc7 15.Rac1 Rac8 16.Kh1 Rfe8 17.Nab1 (The Indian grandmaster continues to follow Karpov's idea. Black is locked in a typical Hedgehog setup and can wait and see. Or he can get active in the center or on the king side. One plan is 17...Kh8, followed by Re8-g8, and g7-g5. Nisipeanu comes up with another idea. )
17...h5!? (A new way to disturb white's kingside.) 18.a3 Qb8 19.Bf2 h4! 20.Bxh4? (The march of the h-pawn scared white into an ill-advised exchange, giving up a central pawn. However, after 20.h3 Nh5 black's control of the dark squares freezes white's kingside.) 20...Nc5 21.Qa2 (The queen almost slides off the board. To stay closer to the kingside with 21.Qc2 was better, although after 21...Nfxe4 22.Nxe4 Bxe4 23.fxe4 Bxh4 black possesses the vital square e5, leaving white without a counterplay.)
21...Nfxe4! (A little combination, giving black the edge.) 22.Nxe4 Nxe4 23.Bxe7 (After 23.Be1 Nf6 the break d6-d5 comes soon.) 23...Nf2+ 24.Kg1 Nxd1 25.Bg5 (The knight is caught on d1, but white's pieces are not well organized.) 25...d5! (Opening the way for the black queen to become active from the center of the board.) 26.Bxd1?! (White misses the cool 26.b3! to counter 26...Qe5 with 27.Qd2, bringing the queen back to action. Of course, 26.Rxd1? loses to a double attack 26...Qe5!) 26...Qe5 27.Bd2 (After 27.h4 both 27...dxc4 and 27...Rxc4 28.Rxc4 Qe1+ 29.Kh2 dxc4 30.Bc2 f6 win for black.) 27...dxc4 (Black has a clear edge.)
28.Rxc4? (The last blunder, but even after 28.Bc2 Qd4+ 29.Kh1 Qf2 white is under a great pressure, for example 30.b4 Bxf3! 31.gxf3 c3! 32.Nxc3 Rxc3 33.Bxc3 Qxf3+ 34.Kg1 Qe3+ 35.Kg2 Qxc1 and black should win.) 28...Bd5 29.Rxc8 (After 29.b3 Bxc4 30.bxc4 Red8 the black rooks are stronger than white light pieces.) 29...Rxc8! (A simple way, better than 29...Bxa2.) 30.b3 (After 30.Qa1 Rc1!; or 30.Bb3 Qd4+ 31.Kf1 [31.Kh1 Qxd2! wins] 31...Qd3+ wins.) 30...Rc1! (Making a good use of the weak first rank. On 31.Bxc1 Qe1 mates.) 31.Nc3 Qd4+ 32.Kf1 Bxb3! (A decisive final punch, almost a relief for the clumsy white pieces.) 33.Qxb3 (After 33.Qb2 Bc4+ wins.) 33...Qxd2 34.Qxb6 Rxc3 White resigned.
Virginia Closed Championship
Daniel Miller again won the Virginia state championship, played in Springfield over Labor Day weekend. He shared first place with fellow master Macon Shibut, both scoring 5 points in six games. A tiebreaker decided in Miller's favor gave him the title. Ettie Nikolova was the top woman with 31/2 points. Nick Halgren won the amateur section with a 6-0 perfect score.
FIDE to President Bush
FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov sent a letter to President Bush on behalf of 164 national chess federations asking him for leniency in dealing with Bobby Fischer. He writes: "From Fischer's actions since Reykjavik, when he turned himself into a virtual recluse, it is possible to postulate that he is not very well and as he is now seeking sanctuary far from his motherland, we kindly urge you, Mr. President, to let the matter lie." The full text is available at www.fide.com. Solution to today's study by H. Rinck (White: Kh4,Bd5,Bf4,Nb7; Black: Ka8,Rf5,P:a7): 1.Bg2! Rxf4+ 2.Kg3 and the rook is lost, for example 2...Ra4 3.Nc5+; or 2...Rf5 3.Nd6+; or 2...Rf6 3.Nc5+ Kb8 4.Nd7+; or 2...Rb4 3.Na5+ Kb8 4.Nc6+ wins.