Coffs Harbour 13-year-old Zhao Zong Yuan this week became the youngest International Master in Australia's history by taking second place in the Oceania Zonal tournament in Auckland. Zhao scored the 6 points necessary to secure the IM title with one round to spare and briefly threatened to challenge tournament winner Alex Wohl for the single World Championship qualifying place.
Wohl beat Zhao in the first round and then rode his luck - surviving a number of very dubious positions - to reach 6.5/7 before coasting to victory with two short draws.
Wohl's last round game was also the subject of the tournament's only dispute, New Zealand veteran Bob Smith complaining that his pairing against Wohl was incorrect given that a player with a higher score could have played the tournament leader.
Smith's protest was probably valid, albeit late, but the arbiters had another consideration in mind - avoiding a too-easy pairing for IM aspirant Anthony Ker. If Ker had achieved an IM title by drawing with Fijian tailender Sakasena in the final round, some eyebrows might have been raised. Instead Ker was forced to play the much higher ranked Brett Tindall of Sydney, but Ker played well enough to earn the title in any case - a relief for the Olympic veteran who had been so close to the IM title so many times.
Leading final scores:
4eq.Garbett(NZ), Tindall(Aus), Dive(NZ), Watson(NZ) 5.
Garry Kasparov kept his perfect winning record for 2000 intact with a 3/3 finish at the Bosna 2000 tournament in Sarajevo. Kasparov took the $A10,000 first prize half a point ahead of Michael Adams and Alexey Shirov, even finding time to hob-nob with the Bosnian President for three hours on the day before the final round. No side-effects were evident, as can be seen by his convincing final round victory, given below.
Opening: Sicilian Defence
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.f3 b5 8.Qd2 Nbd7 9.0-0-0 Bb7 10.g4 Nb6 11.Qf2 Nfd7 12.Kb1?! Rc8 13.Bd3
White's play was designed to provoke the following routine sacrifice, against which he had successfully defended in earlier blitz games. However, to be able to obtain such long-term attacking chances for such a minor investment is a gift for Kasparov and he does not need to be asked twice.
13...Rxc3! 14.bxc3 Qc7 15.Ne2 Be7 16.g5 0-0 17.h4 Na4 18.Bc1 Ne5 19.h5 d5! 20.Qh2 Bd6!
Avoiding the trap 20...b4 21.exd5 Bxd5 22.Bxh7+! when White's attack comes first. The rest is very smooth for Kasparov; Black has targets galore, while Black's king remains quite safe.
21.Qh3 Nxd3 22.cxd3 b4 23.cxb4 Rc8 24.Ka1 dxe4
As Kasparov later pointed out, 24...Bxb4 25.Qh2 Qc2! was the simplest win.
25.fxe4 Bxe4! 26.g6
26.dxe4 loses to 26...Be5+, but now Black wins back his material with a continuing attack.
26...Bxh1 27.Qxh1 Bxb4 28.gxf7+ Kf8!? 29.Qg2 Rb8 30.Bb2 Nxb2 31.Nd4 Nxd1! 32.Nxe6+ Kxf7 0-1