The brutal knockout system of the FIDE World Cup claimed its first unlikely victims. Two former world championship finalists, Ukraine's Vassily Ivanchuk and Spain's Alexei Shirov, were eliminated. Gone is the 17-year-old U.S. champion Hikaru Nakamura. Other Americans, Alexander Onischuk, Gregory Kaidanov, Alexander Ivanov and Sergei Kudrin, were sent packing. Only Gata Kamsky and Yuri Shulman were still hanging in before today's tiebreakers that would establish the last 16 players out of 128 entries.
The $1.5 million event, underway in the Russian town of Khanty-Mansyisk, is a qualification for the next FIDE world championship, and 10 players will advance. The result of the youngest participant, the 15-year-old Norwegian grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, is a pleasant surprise. After two regular games in the round of 32, he was still locked in a tie with Ivan Cheparinov, a Bulgarian grandmaster who knocked out Ivanchuk.
Another teenager, the 18-year-old Azerbaijani Teimur Radjabov, is playing fighting chess, mixing victories with defeats. His loss to the Dutch champion Loek van Wely in the Classical King's Indian is theoretically important. Radjabov could not cope with a prepared novelty, an early knight's leap into black's position.
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 Nc6 8.d5 Ne7 9.b4 (The Bayonet Attack.) 9...Nh5 10.Re1 f5 11.Ng5 Nf6 12.f3 (A more solid way to protect the center than 12.Bf3.) 12...Kh8 (Judit Polgar's 10-year-old idea, freeing the square g8 for the awkwardly placed knight on e7. Opening up the diagonal a7-g1 with 12...c6 backfired in the game Bareev-Topalov, Dortmund 2002, after 13.Kh1 h6 14.Ne6 Bxe6 15.dxe6 Ne8 16.Qb3 Nc7 17.c5! with a strong pressure for white. In the duel Bareev-Radjabov, Wijk aan Zee 2003, white was better after 12...Nh5 13.c5 Nf4 14.Bc4 Kh8 15.Rb1.)
13.Ne6! (Van Wely advances the theory of this variation by jumping into black's position without being forced. His knight's leap makes the square g5 available for the dark bishop. Radjabov had some experience as black with the alternative moves. Against Ruslan Ponomariov in Wijk aan Zee in 2003, after 13.Rb1 h6 14.Ne6 Bxe6 15.dxe6 fxe4 16.fxe4 Nc6 17.Nd5 Ng8 18.Bd3 Nd4 19.Qg4 g5 20.Qh3 c6 21.Ne3 Qf6, he surrounded the pawn on e6, grabbed it and won the game. Against Zoltan Gyimesi in Moscow this year, he faced 13.c5 and prevailed in the complications after 13...dxc5! 14.bxc5 h6 15.Ne6 Bxe6 16.dxe6 Qd4+ 17.Qxd4 exd4 18.Nb5 fxe4 19.fxe4 d3! 20.Bf3 a6 21.Nxc7 Rac8 22.e5 Nfg8 23.Nd5 Nxd5 24.Bxd5 Rfd8 25.Bxb7 Rc7 26.Bf3 d2 and black won in 70 moves. Kramnik's move 13.Be3 can be met by 13...Ne8 with the idea 14.c5 f4 15.Bf2 Nxd5! 16.Nxd5 Qxg5.)
13...Bxe6 14.dxe6 fxe4 15.fxe4 Nc6 16.Nd5 Nxe4?! (Taking the pawn opens the game to white's advantage. The point of van Wely's idea is clear after 16...Ng8 17.b5 Nd4 [17...Nce7 is too passive.] 18.e7! Nxe7 19.Bg5. The pin nets white material advantage, for example: 19...Re8 20.Nxe7 Rxe7 21.Rf1 h6 22.Bxe7 Qxe7 23.Bd3; or 19...Nxd5 20.Bxd8 Nc3 21.Qd3 Ncxe2+ 22.Rxe2 Nxe2+ 23.Qxe2 Raxd8 24.Qd2 and white should win.) 17.Bf3 Nf6 18.b5 Nxd5 19.bxc6 Nb6? (After this retreat everything runs smoothly for white. The sharp complications 19...e4?! 20.cxb7 still favor white after either 20...exf3 21.gxf3 Rb8 22.cxd5 Bxa1 23.e7 Qe8 24.exf8Q+ Qxf8 25.Qa4!; or after 20...Nc3!? 21.Qc2 exf3 22.e7! and white should win.) 20.cxb7 Rb8 21.c5 e4 (After 21...dxc5 22.Qxd8 Rfxd8 23.Bb2, white has the advantage.) 22.Rxe4 (It was possible to play 22.e7, for example 22...Qxe7 23.Rxe4 Qd8 24.cxb6 Bxa1 25.bxa7 Rxb7 26.Ra4 and white wins.) 22...dxc5 23.Qxd8 Rfxd8 24.Bg5! (White is winning now.) 24...Re8 (Eliminating a pair of rooks, 24...Bxa1 25.Bxd8, is not better, since white's advantage is decisive either after 25...Rxd8 26.e7 Re8 27.Re6! Kg7 28.Bc6; or after 25...Nd5 26.Rf4! Rxd8 [On 26...Nxf4 27.e7 wins.] 27.Bxd5.) 25.Rd1 Bd4+ (After 25...Rxb7 26.e7, followed up with 27.Rd8! wins.)
26.Rexd4! (Finishing in style, although 26.Be3 Bxe3+ 27.Rxe3 Nc4 28.Re2 Nd6 29.e7 Nf5 30.Rd7 is also good.) 26...cxd4 27.e7! (White's two pawns on the seventh rank paralyze the black rooks.) 27...h6 (After 27...c5 28.Bc6! wins.) 28.Bf6+ Kg8 29.Rxd4 Kf7 30.Rd8! (Just in time, the rook move breaks black's resistance.) 30...Nd7 (After 30...Kxf6 31.Rxe8 Rxe8 32.Bc6! wins.) 31.Bh4 g5 32.Rxd7 Ke6 (After 32...Rxb7 33.Bh5+ Ke6 34.Bxe8 wins.) 33.Bg4+ (33.Rd8! is more precise, for example 33...Rexd8 [Or 33...gxh4 34.Rxe8 Rxe8 35.Bc6 wins.] 34.exd8Q Rxd8 35.Bf2 and 36.Bxa7 white wins.) 33...Kf6 34.Be1 Rxb7 35.Bc3+ Kg6 36.Bf3 Rb1+ 37.Kf2 Rc1 38.Rxc7 Kf5 39.Bh5 Rc2+ 40.Kf3 Black resigned.
Chess Movie on TV
Ted Danson stars in "Knights of the South Bronx," a real-life story about a teacher who introduces chess to kids in the South Bronx, tomorrow on A&E at 8 p.m. He shows them a new way of looking at life through the game and helps them succeed in the national scholastic championships. Solution to today's study by L. Kubbel (White: Kb1,Be1,Ne8,P:e7; Black: Ka3,Rf7,P:a4,c6): 1.Nd6 Rxe7 2.Nc4+ Kb3 3.Na5+ Ka3 4.Bf2! and black can only cover the threat 5.Bc5 mate by giving up the rook.