Canberra Times Chess Column for May 7

Judit Polgar's victory in the Japfa Classic tournament in Bali was greeted with thunderous applause by the locals at the closing ceremony and massive media coverage throughout Indonesia. In a region where local female chessplayers had never registered any significant achievements, Polgar's hard-fought win, ahead of world title claimants Anatoly Karpov and Alexander Khalifman, was an enormous shot in the arm for chess, and women's chess in particular.

The spin-offs were immediate. The organisers of the Bali Open, which commenced the day after the Japfa Classic, were inundated with late entries, many of them from female players. The final tally for the Open was 230 players, a far higher entry than the organisers had anticipated. Included in that number were around 50 women, both numerically and proportionally far higher than any adult open tournament in Australia - supposedly the leader in women's chess in the region - has achieved.

The Bali Open is the third major tournament to be held on the island in the past year, the chess boom being stimulated by a local chess fan, 'Bali Jeff', who has set up a chess school on the island and hired some of Indonesia's top players as live-in coaches. When the school is fully operational Bali Jeff hopes to have 100 local students, each paying around $10 a week for their GM training.

With social chess already very popular on Bali - shopkeepers frequently while away the time between customers over a chessboard - Bali Jeff should have not shortage of willing candidates for the school. Although Polgar led the Bali tournament from the start, with one round to play she had been caught by three other players - the two Russians and Brazilian Gilberto Milos. While Karpov and Khalifman were drawing in the final round, Polgar took the $US20,000 first prize outright with the following game.

Bali 2000
White: G.Milos
Black: J.Polgar
Opening: Sicilian Defence

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.0-0 Be7 9.Qf3 Qb6 10.Be3 Qb7 11.Qg3 Nbd7

Delaying castling is a worthwhile finesse - Qxg7 can always be answered by ...Rg8 with annoying counterplay along the g file.

12.f3 Nc5 13.Rfd1 Bd7 14.Kh1 b4 15.Nce2 0-0 16.Bh6 Ne8 17.c4?! bxc3 18.Nxc3 Bf6! 19.Bg5!?

Unable to find a way to hold onto his pawns, Milos sensibly decides to force the issue and find compensation later.

19...Bxd4 20.Rxd4 Nxb3 21.axb3 f6 22.Bd2 Qxb3 23.Nd1 a5 24.Qe1! Qb6 25.Rd3 a4 26.Bb4 Rf7 27.Qd2 Bb5 28.Rd4 e5 29.Rd5 Rb7 30.Bc3

On 30.Bxd6, Bc4 is strong; White need be in no hurry to capture the weak d pawn.

30...Bc6 31.Rd3 Qa6 32.Ne3 Bb5 33.Rd5 Qb6 34.Nf5 Ra6 35.Rd1? (Diagram)

Walking into a vicious trap; 35.Qe3 leaves White's extra pawn not worth much.

35...Bc4 36.Nxd6 Nxd6 37.Rxd6 Qxd6 38.Qxd6 Rxd6 39.Rxd6 a3! 40.b4

On 40.Rd2 a2 41.Rd1 Bd3 and 42...Bb1 gives a simple win.

40...Rc7!  41.Kg1 Bb5 42.Bd2 a2 43.Rd8+ Kf7 44.Ra8 Rc2 0-1

On 45.Be3, Rb2 wins.

Japfa Classic
Final scores:
1.Polgar(Hun) 6.5/9;
2eq.Khalifman(Rus), Karpov(Rus) 6;
4.Milos(Brs) 5.5;
5.Seirawan(USA) 5;
6eq.Adianto(Rin), Timman(Ned) 4;
8.Ehlvest(Est) 3;
9eq.Gunawan(Rin), Zaw Win Lay(Bur) 2.5.