Canberra Times, March 4

While the chess world's attention has been focused on the elite Grandmaster tournament currently underway in Linares, another major event in the same Spanish town has been almost completely ignored.

The Torneo Internacional para Ciegos brings together almost all the top ranked visually impaired players in the world for a round-robin run in a hall adjacent to the theatre where Karpov, Kasparov and co are drawing the crowds.

While blindfold chess is an exhibition sport for Grandmasters, blind players must perform without sight of the board in all their games. Most players use their own braille set, being allowed to touch the pieces to determine their positions without the 'touch-move' rule applying.

The Linares blind tournament is sponsored by ONCE, an organisation which runs Spain's major lottery, thereby funding many causes for the disabled.

ONCE has been involved with chess for the past 15 years and has ensured that a team of the best Spanish blind players regularly competes in the Spanish Teams Championship.

Pressure from ONCE also led the World Chess Federation, FIDE, to allow a team of blind players from various countries to contest the Olympiads.

At the 2000 Istanbul Olympiad, the blind team performed well enough to be paired against the Australian team, losing only narrowly.

Many of the team which took on Australia are present in Linares, including dual World Champion Sergey Krylov.

At the start of the tournament it was suggested that Krylov's days at the top of blind chess were numbered, with either Vladimir Berlinski (who drew with Darryl Johansen at the Olympiad) or the Pole Piotr Dukaczewski tipped to take over at the top.

However Krylov is refusing to go quietly and at the time of writing, enjoys a clear lead in the Linares tournament with two rounds to play. In the parallel event, Garry Kasparov after a slow start is making every post a winner while Alexey Shirov is providing the entertainment.

Linares 2001
White: A.Shirov
Black: A.Grischuk
Opening: Sicilian Defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Ndb5 Bb4 7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.Nxc3 d5 9.Bd3!? d4

Korchnoi's preference, but Black usually prefers to exchange on e4.

10.Ne2 e5 11.0-0 0-0 12.h3 Re8?!

12...Qe7 was safer.

13.Ng3 Be6?!

Korchnoi's 13...Nd7 is better, albeit depressing after Shirov's idea 14.Qh5 Nf6 15.Qh4 Nd7 16.Bg5.

14.f4 exf4 15.Bxf4 Nd7 16.Qh5! 17.Qh6 Qf6?

Grischuk feared 17...f6 18.e5!? but Black can defend after 18...Ncxe5 19.Bxe5 Nxe5! (19...fxe5 20.Bxg6! wins for White.) 20.Nh5 gxh5!. 18.e5 is not obligatory - White can double on the f file - but then Black has some control over the dark squares around his king.

18.Bg5 Qg7 19.Qh4 Nce5 (Diagram) 20.Bh6! Qh8 21.Nf5! Bxf5

Forced, as 22.Bg7 was threatened, but now White's attack becomes overwhelming.

22.exf5 Nxd3 23.cxd3 Qe5 24.Rf4! Nc5 25.Raf1 Nxd3 26.fxg6 fxg6 27.Rf7! Nc5 28.Rg7+ Kh8 29.Rff7 Ne6 30.Rxg6 d3 31.Rg4 Rg8 32.Rxh7+! 1-0


In an effort to ensure the continuing success of ACT Juniors, Laura Moylan has organised a coaching weekend on 23-24 March where juniors anxious to improve can receive intensive coaching from young champions John-Paul Wallace (IM and NSW Champion), WIM Moylan and FM Brett Tindall. Details: 62581070 or actjcl@hotmail.com