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The John Henderson Report. Round 1 January 15th 2000.
Round 1 (January 15, 2000) Kramnik, Vladimir - Adams, Michael 1-0 49 E11 Bogo indian Timman, Jan H - Anand, Viswanathan 1/2 42 E42 Nimzo indian Leko, Peter - Morozevich, Alexander 1/2 31 B33 Sicilian; Sveshnikov Polgar, Judit - Van Wely, Loek 1/2 42 B92 Sicilian; Najdorf Korchnoi, Viktor - Kasparov, Gary 0-1 54 D85 Gruenfeld indian Nikolic, Predrag - Short, Nigel D 1/2 35 D58 QGD; Lputian, Smbat G - Piket, Jeroen 0-1 46 E97 Kings indian; Main line
Wijk aan Zee, about an hours drive from Amsterdam, used to be a small fishing-village. Floods and fires, but in particular wars and piracy ruined the village in the middle of the 15th century. The nadir came however in 1811 (population 211, according to the local church!) when that "well-known" chess player, Napoleon, annexed Holland to France. In the middle of the 19th century some wealthy families from Amsterdam discovered Wijk aan Zee as their little paradise. And, since 1938, similarly the chess world discovered Wijk aan Zee as its own little paradise!
Once you arrive by train at nearby Beverwijk the first thing that hits you is the "chess fever" on the taxi journey into Wijk. Passing under the bridges you can't but fail to notice the large (and by that I mean the whole width of the bridges!) billboard advertising the tournament. And, just in case you miss those, there's large cardboard poster advertising the tournament attached to every (and I mean every!) lamppost until you get to the De Moriaan Community and Leisure Centre that plays host to one of the world's most influential chess congresses.
And that's the thing to remember about Wijk, its more than just a top-flight GM tournament, its actually a chess congress with the added bonus of Kasparov & Co. With over 1,000 players playing in the same hall as the GMs, it's the only tournament in the world where you'll find the world's elite and amateurs doing battle in the same hall. It's this special combination that makes for the special Wijk atmosphere.
The first round of the Grandmaster tournament started with a bang; but thankfully a traditional bang. The Chief Arbiter, Thomas van Beekum, got proceeding underway, as he'll get every subsequent round underway, by a loud bang on the gong. Play was at last underway.
Meanwhile, in the relative comforts of the packed custom made pressroom, each game was being relayed live to the assembled journalists on seven large TV screens. Each move on the board, including each second used on the clocks, was being played out before our very eyes. Now, with seven screens showing fourteen of the worlds best in action, you'd think everyone would be spoilt for choice?
Not for Yuri Dokhoyan, Garry Kasparov's assistant/coach. He only had eyes for the TV screen where "The Boss" was in action. He literally played every move from start to finish showing no sign of interest in the other boards.
Kasparov had much the better of the game against Viktor Korchnoi. And, after 54 moves of a Grunfeld Defence, a spontaneous round of applause from the spectators broke the silence in the tournament hall, but Kasparov was far from amused. He was angry with himself for not finishing the venerable Viktor off more quickly; nearly allowing him to wriggle out with a draw ..
Korchnoi,V (2659) - Kasparov,G (2851)
1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 Bd2 Bg7 6 e4 Nb6 7 Be3 00 8 Be2 Nc6 9 Nf3 Bg4 10 d5 Bxf3 11 gxf3 Na5 12 Bd4 Qd6 13 Bxg7 Kxg7 14 f4 Qf6 15 Qd2 c6 16 dxc6 Rfd8 Korchnoi now went into a deep think and it's easy to see why.The obvious 17 Nd5 losses in style. 17 Qe3 (17 Nd5 Nxd5 A) 18 cxb7 18 ..Nxf4!! 19 bxa8Q Rxd2 20 Bg4 (20 Kxd2 Qxb2+ 21 Ke3 Qxe2+ 22 Kxf4 Qxf2+) 20 ..Ng2+ 21 Kxd2 Qxb2+ 22 Kd1 Qxa1+);B)18 exd5 Nxc6 19 Rd1 Rd6 20 Qc3 Qxc3+ 21 bxc3 Na5 22 c4 Rc8 23 Rd4 e6 24 Kd2 exd5 25 cxd5 Nc6 B1) 26 Rd3 Nb4 27 Rd4 Rc2+ 28 Ke3 (28 Kd1 Rxa2) 28 ..Nxd5+; B2) 26 Rc1 26 ..Rcd8 27 Rd3 Nb4 28 Rb3 Nxd5; 17 ..Nac4 18 Qc5 Rac8 19 c7 (19 Bxc4 Rxc6 20 Qa5 (20 Qe5 Qxe5 21 fxe5 Nxc4) 20 ..Rxc4 21 f5 (21 Qe5 Qxe5 22 fxe5 Na4 23 Nxa4 Rxe4+ 24 Kf1 Rxa4) 21 ..Qg5) 19 ..Rd7 20 Bxc4 (20 Qg5 Qxg5 21 fxg5 Nxb2 22 Nb5 a6 23 Rb1 N2a4 24 Na3 Rdxc7) 20 ..Rcxc7 21 Qg5 Rxc4 22 Qxf6+ Kxf6 Perhaps this may be where Kasparov takes a wrong turning, allowing Korchnoi some chances.Strange as it may seem, the recapture with the pawn could prove to be more problematic for White. 22 ..exf6! 23 f3 (23 Rc1 is now met by23 ..Na4 ) 23 ..f5 and Korchnoi's position is starting to become untenable. 23 Rc1 Rcd4 24 b3 Rd3 25 Ke2 Rd2+ 26 Kf3 R7d3+ 27 Kg2 e6 (27 ..e5! 28 fxe5+ Kxe5 29 Rhe1 h5 30 h4) 28 Rhe1 Ke7 29 f5 Nd7 30 fxe6 fxe6 31 Kf1 Ne5 32 Re2 g5 33 Na4 Rd1+ 34 Re1 Rxe1+ 35 Kxe1 Rd7 36 Ke2 Nd3 37 Rc3 Nf4+ 38 Kf3 (38 Ke3 h5 39 Nb2) 38 ..Kf6 39 Nc5 Rc7 40 h4 e5 41 hxg5+ Kxg5 42 Rc4 b5 (42 ..h5! would probably have saved some time.) 43 Rc1 b4 44 Rc4 a5 45 Na4 Rf7 46 Ke3 Ng2+ The "Russian Torture".Whilst most would instinctively push the h-pawn, Russian's have a tendency to prolong your suffering by repeating a move. 47 Ke2 Nf4+ 48 Ke3 (48 Kf1? Rd7 49 Ke1 Kg4 50 Nc5 Rg7) 48 ..h5 49 Rc5 Ng2+ 50 Ke2 h4 51 Rxe5+ Kg4 52 Re8 (52 Rxa5 h3 53 f3+ Kh4 54 Kf2 (54 Ra8 Nf4+ 55 Kf2 Rg7 56 Rh8+ Nh5 is similar to how the game ends.) 54 ..Ne1) 52 ..Nf4+ 53 Ke3 h3 54 f3+ Kh4 01
Kasparov left the tournament hall without so much as an acknowledgement for the genuine enthusiasm for the crowd. Accompanied by Yuri, they stormed off to the hotel to start preparing for Sunday's second round, when he'll be playing Holland's Jeroen Piket.
And what of the young Dutchman, Jeroen Piket? Well, he turned in the best game of the day to win the first 500-guilder spectators' prize (decided by the large audience in the commentary room) of the tournament for his fine victory in 46 moves with Black in a King's Indian against Armenia's Smbat Lputian. He was then dragged into the pressroom to go over his game on the demonstration board much to the delight of the journo's who are always on the lookout for some free copy where analysis is concerned. "In the game," said Piket, "I won a pawn and kept the initiative. White tried to fight back but to no avail. He was forcibly lost from move 21 onwards."
Lputian,S (2605) - Piket,J (2633)
1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 d4 0-0 6 Be2 e5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 Nd2 a5 10 Rb1 Nd7 11 a3 f5 12 b4 Kh8 13 Qc2 Nf6 14 f3 axb4 15 axb4 The mainline is 15...f4 leading to your typical King's Indian queenside vs kingside attack.Piket opts for a sideline he's favoured over the years that attempts to breakdown the white pawns and also opens up interesting possibilities with a timely ...Qb6+. 15 ..c6 16 Nb3?! More to the point was Shirov's handling of this system against Piket from the Groningen Tournament of 1990, which went 16 dxc6 bxc6 (16 ..Nxc6?!) 17 b5 cxb5 18 Nxb5 Nh5 19 Nb3 fxe4 20 fxe4 Qb6+ 21 Kh1 Rxf1+ 22 Bxf1 Nf6 23 Ba3 Bb7 24 c5 dxc5 25 Nxc5 Qc6 26 Rd1 h6 27 Qb3 Nfg8 28 Bc4 Qb6 29 Nd7 Qf2 30 Nd6 Bc6 31 Bc5 Qh4 32 Nxe5 Ba4 33 Qb7 Bxd1 34 Qxa8 Kh7 35 Nxg6 Qh5 36 Nxe7 Nxe7 37 Nf5 Be5 38 Bg1 Bf3 39 Qb7 Bxg2+ 40 Kxg2 Qg6+ 41 Kh1 1-0 A Shirov-J Piket, Groningen, 1990.I wonder what improvement over this game Piket had up his sleeve? 16 ..fxe4 17 fxe4 cxd5 18 cxd5 Qb6+ 19 Kh1 Bd7 20 Na5 Ng4 21 h3 A mistake by Lputian, according to Piket.He thought that Whites best chance was 21 Bf3 - but even then he thought he was better after 21.Rac8 21.Rxf1+ 22 Bxf1 Rf8 23 Bg5 Nf2+ 24 Kh2 After what Piket called a "smooth opening" we reach the decisive moment. 24......Nxh3!! It's what we call in the trade as a "diagram moment".
25 Bb5. Forced. Everything else leads to a quick win. 25 Bxe7 Qg1+ 26 Kg3 Bh6! 27 Nd1 Bf4+ 28 Kh4 Qh2 mating.; 25 gxh3 Rf2+ 26 Qxf2 Qxf2+ 27 Bg2 b6! 28 Nc4 (28 Bxe7 Bh6 29 Rf1 Bf4+ 30 Kh1 Qg3) 28 ..Nc8 29 Rc1 b5 30 Na3 h6 25 ..Nxg5 26 Bxd7 Rf4! Piket has designs on the e4 pawn.Apart from that, he's also threatening a mate in five with ideas like 27...Rh4+ 28 Kg3 Qe3+!! 29 Kxh4 Bf6. 27 Nc4 Qc7 The pressroom all opted for 27 ..Qd8 28 Bb5 Ng8 29 Kg1 (29 Ra1 Nf6) 29 ..Nf6 30 Re1 Qb8! 31...Qa7+ followed by Ng4 is deadly. 31 Nb6 (31 Ra1 Ngxe4 32 Ne2 Rf5 33 Ne3 Rh5 34 Bd3 Bh6) 31 ..Qa7 32 Nca4 Nfxe4 33 Qc7 Rf7 28 Bb5 Ng8 29 Kg1 (29 Ra1 Qf7 30 Ra8 Rh4+ 31 Kg1 Qf4 with no way of stopping 32...Qh2+ followed by 33...Rf4+.) 29 ..Nf6 The e-pawn is doomed. 30 Rf1 Rg4 31 Qa2 Ngxe4 32 Nxe4 Rxe4 33 Qa5 Rxc4 34 Bxc4 Qxc4 35 Qd8+ Ng8 36 Qxd6 e4 37 Re1 Qd4+ 38 Kh1 Be5 (38 ..e3 is even quicker.) 39 Qc5 e3 40 Qxd4 Bxd4 41 d6 Nf6 42 g4 Nxg4 43 d7 Bb6 44 Kg2 Kg7 45 Rd1 Bd8 46 Rd4 Nf6 0-1
The "oops factor" was on full show in the encounter between Holland's Jan Timman and India's Vishy Anand. After building-up a nice advantage from Anand's Nimzo-Indian, the Dutchman wisely decided to return it for what he thought would be a lasting imitative had built-up a nice advantage with White in a Nimzo Indian to reach the diagram position.
He then let Anand off the hook with 28 Be3? - and the game soon became drawn after 28 Bxe3 29 Rxe3 h5 30 g3 b5 31 Rf3 Kg7 32 Kg2 Kg8 33 Kh2 Kg7 34 Kg1 Kg8 35 Kg2 Kg7 36 Rc3 Re8 37 Rf3 Rf8 38 Kh2 Kg8 39 Rc3 Re8 40 Qc6 Qxc6 41 Rxc6 Re6 42 Rxe6 ½-½
Back in the analysis room, Anand revealed that he would have been more concerned if Timman had opted instead for 28 Be7 Ra8 29 Bd8 Kg7, with a likely unclear continuation of 30 h5 gxh5 31 Re8 Qxa3 32 Qf4 Qd3 33 Bf6+ Bxf6 34 Rxa8 Qd1+ 35 Kh2 Qd4 36 Qxd4 Bxd4 37 Kg3 and although Anand is still under a bit of pressure, it was felt that he could still hold the draw. "Fortunately there were no forced wins," said Timman afterwards. "I'm still suffering from the remainder of a serious flu I got in Pamplona. No wonder I missed a couple of things. On the other hand, not feeling 100 percent fit has the advantage that you don't get nervous. So maybe, it wasn't so bad after all, having the flu, I mean."
But did Jan miss his golden opportunity from the above position? Playing around with Fritz6, the silicon beast, and a prerequisite for any chess journalist, soon found the "in-flu-ential" continuation: 28 Qd7! Bg7 (28 ..Qd3? 29 Be3! Qc3 30 Rc1 Qxe3 31 fxe3 Bxe3+ 32 Kf1 Bxc1 33 a4; 28 ..Qb6 (suggested by Gert Ligterink, who thought the attack on f2 would save Black. Typically of Fritz6, it just ignores the threat and gets on with its own mating attack! 29 Re8 Bxf2+ 30 Kh1) 29 Be7 Ra8 30 b5 Qb6 31 Rc1 Qe6 32 Qxb7 Re8 33 Bb4, which all looks pretty conclusive to me. But then again, I'm only a journalist!