Canberra Times Chess Column for February 6

Garry Kasparov should have been feeling on top of the world after winning Corus 2000 in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands - the first super-tournament of the new millenium. Not only had the 36-year-old Russian captured the $A15,000 guilder first prize by a one and a half point margin, he had also scored well enough to move his record world ranking to new heights.

Despite living on the edge - arguably being on the brink of defeat in four games - Kasparov had also completed the tournament undefeated. Yet one element was missing which would have made Kasparov's victory complete - public acclamation. Through 13 rounds, Kasparov had won the $350 public prize just one and a half times.

Just how much being passed over by the public hurt Kasparov became clear only when the final round had been completed. At the completion of the post-mortem of his win against Judit Polgar, Kasparov was due to give a short press conference. However just before he moved to the press room, Kasparov directed one question to the tournament organiser - "Who won today's public prize?".  After a pause, the answer came - "Morozevich." A look of disgust crossed Kasparov's face, he muttered "They know nothing about chess!" and left for his hotel.

Half an hour later, after Kasparov's manager had tried in vain to convince his client to change his mind, the press conference was definitively cancelled. Kasparov had cooled down enough by the evening to attend the closing ceremony but again the extent of his popularity became clear - veteran Viktor Korchnoi receiving far greater applause than the world number one.

Wijk aan Zee 2000
White A.Morozevich
Black: S.Lputian
Opening: French Defence

#1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Qe2!? dxe4 4.dxe4 b6 5.Nd2#

"The only way to play for an advantage," said Morozevich unconvincingly.

#5...Ba6 6.Nc4 Nf6 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.c3 Be7 9.e5 Nd7 10.Qe4 Bb7 11.Qg4 g6 12.Bh6?!#

"I could not believe that this position was not good for White, but after Black's next move, it seems I have nothing," continued Morozevich.

#12...b5!  13.Ne3 Ndxe5 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.Bxb5+ c6 16.Qe4?#

16.Qa4 was safer.

#16...Qc7 17.Be2 f5! 18.Qa4 Nf7 19.Bf4?!#

Giving up the bishop rather too readily. 19.Bg7 Rg8 20.Bd4 f4 21.Nc4 e5 22.Qa5 hangs on.

#19...e5 20.Bg3 f4 21.Nd5 Qd6 22.0-0-0 fxg3 23.Nf4 Qf6 24.Nd5 Qd6 25.Nf4 Qb8!#

Lputian is not fazed by Morozevich's inspired wriggling and avoids the draw.

#26.Ne6 Ng5! 27.Bc4 Nxe6 28.Bxe6 gxh2?#

"I have absolutely no idea why he played this move," confessed Morozevich. "After 28...gxf2 I must lose."

#29.Rxh2 Bd6 30.f4 e4? 31.g3!#

Lputian overlooked this quiet move, after which Black's king is in trouble.

#31...Qc7 32.Qd4 Rf8 33.Qxe4 Qe7 (Diagram) 34.Rxh7!! Qxh7 35.Rxd6 Qc7#

35...Rf6 36.Bf7++! is also fatal.

#36.Bf7++! Kxf7 37.Qxg6+ 1-0#

Wijk aan Zee
Final scores:
1.Kasparov(Rus) 9.5/13; 2eq.Anand(Ind), Kramnik(Rus), Leko(Hun) 8;
5.Morozevich(Rus) 7.5; 6.Adams(Eng) 7; 7eq.Piket(Ned), Timman(Ned) 6.5;
9.Nikolic(Bos) 6; 10.Short(Eng) 5.5; 11eq.Polgar(Hun), Korchnoi(Swi) 5;
13.Lputian(Arm) 4.5; 14.Van Wely(Ned) 4.