Canberra Times, June 3

The advent of the internet has not been an unqualified blessing for Australia's international chessplayers. 

Whereas in years past a bad result in an overseas tournament might not be reported in Australia until weeks or months after the event, in 2001 Australian chess fans can follow on the internet - often move by move - every blunder, miscalculation and misjudgement their chess representatives can create. 

In 1978, this writer managed to lose 5 consecutive games in my first GM tournament, but at the time the feat was noted only by the local chess fans in Manila. 

Seven years later Stephen Solomon doubled my losing streak at a Zonal (also in the Philippines) yet caused hardly a murmur back home. 

No such luxury was afforded Alex Wohl last month when he crashed to last place at a Grandmaster tournament in Havana, Cuba. 

After challenging for the lead in Havana with a 3.5/5 start, Wohl's form fell away dramatically and he compiled a losing streak of seven games. 

The seventh indicates just how demoralised Australia's number three had become: 

Capablanca Memorial III Havana 2001 
White: F.De la Paz 
Black: A.Wohl 
Opening: Philidor's Defence 

Click here to see the game in Palview

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Be7 4.c3 Nf6 5.d3 0-0 6.Bb3 Nbd7 7.0-0 Re8?? 8.Bxf7+! 1-0 

(Black's queen is trapped after 8...Kxf7 9.Ng5+ and 10.Ne6.) 

In Wohl's defence, a full-length, 13 round, GM tournament can be something of an endurance test, one where any player showing a sign of weakness will be dealt with ruthlessly by the other competitors. 

Wohl's first experience of this type of pressure was made more difficult by the unusual conditions in Havana; disco music permeating the playing hall and constant harassment by prostitutes. 

Yet directly after the Havana tournament, internet pundits back in Australia began calling for Wohl's omission from the next Olympic team. 

Forgotten were Wohl's multiple victories in 2000 and his solid results in England and France earlier in 2001. 

Fortunately Wohl has found an effective method of answering his critics, finding his form at a subsequent GM tournament in a more peaceful part of Cuba, Santa Clara. 

The following original game from the first round was the confidence-builder Wohl needed. 

Santa Clara 2001 
White: A.Wohl 
Black: V.Ancheyta 
Opening: Murshed Attack 

Click here to see the game in Palview

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3!? d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3 0-0 6.Be2 c6 7.Ne5 Nfd7 8.h4!? 

The point behind White's opening, although a one pawn attack should not be especially dangerous. 

8...Nxe5 9.Bxe5 f6 10.Bg3 e5 11.Qd2 Nd7 12.h5 f5 13.hxg6 hxg6 14.0-0-0 f4 15.Bh2 exd4 16.exd4 Qf6 17.g3!? f3 18.Bf1 Nb6 19.g4 Qh4! 

An effective way to hold up 20.Be5 but one which leads Wohl to discover highly creative, if precarious, method of exploiting the queen's position. 

20.g5 Bf5 21.a4!? 

Completely irrelevant, Ancheyta may have thought, but he is soon to be disabused of this notion. 

21...Rfe8 22.a5 Nd7 23.a6 b5 (Diagram) 24.Bxb5! cxb5 25.Bg3! Qxd4? 

Excessive respect combined with shock must have combined to lead Black to exchange into such a difficult endgame. It would not have taken too much calculation to realise that after 25...Qg4 26.Rh4 b4! Black is well in the game. 

26.Qxd4 Bxd4 27.Rxd4 Rac8 28.Rdh4 b4? 

28...Nf8 was obligatory. 

29.Rh8+ Kf7 30.R1h7+ Ke6 31.Rxe8+ Rxe8 32.Nb5! 1-0