Canberra Times, March 11

After losing his world title to Vladimir Kramnik last October, Garry Kasparov has felt he has something to prove.

This week at the elite Linares tournament in Spain, Kasparov did so in spades, with a record-breaking performance which should refute any suggestions that at 37, Kasparov is a spent force.

After a slow start, Kasparov was unstoppable in Linares, winning the tournament by a record 3 point margin and leaving the rest of the field trailing in equal second (and equal last!) place.

On the way to his seventh Linares title, Kasparov won five games, lost none, and would have been disappointed not to have converted at least two other winning positions into more than draws.

Kasparov blamed his draws in the first three rounds on "personal problems; amongst other things a crisis in my internet business. That obliged me to use a lot of energy but the competitive spirit needed to win the tournament then took over."

"Actually," Kasparov added, "if you take only the games from round 4 onwards, I achieved a historic triumph."

Kasparov was chased briefly by Judit Polgar, the only player to break even in the two games against Kasparov, but the Hungarian 24-year-old fell away in the final rounds of the tournament, a 0.5/3 finish dropping her back to the pack.

Linares 2001
White: G.Kasparov
Black: P.Leko
Opening: Ruy Lopez
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.a4 Bb7 9.d3 d6 10.Nbd2

A wise old head told Kasparov long ago that if played Nbd2-f1-e3 in these positions White would always have a small but safe advantage.

10...Na5 11.Ba2 c5 12.Nf1 Re8 13.Ne3 h6 14.Bd2 c4!? 15.Bc3 Qb6! 16.Nd2

Kasparov had originally intended 16.Qd2 Nc6 17.Nd5 but then noticed that 17...Nxd5 18.exd5 b4 19.dxc6 bxc3 20.Qxc3 Bxc6 21.Qxc4 Rf8! 22.Nd4 Bd7 was fine for Black.

16...Nc6?!

16...Rec8! 17.Bxa5 Qxa5 18.dxc4 b4 was stronger.

17.Nd5 Nxd5 18.exd5 Na5 19.Bxa5

After the game, Kasparov admitted that 19.dxc4 b4 20.c5 Qxc5 21.Ne4 Qb6 22.Bd2 was better, answering 22...f5 with 23.Be3 Qc7 24.Nc5!.

19...Qxa5 20.dxc4 Qxa4??

"I can't believe it," said Leko. "Before now I didn't even see 20...Qxa4. Then when I get to the position, instead of playing the more I had intended, 20...b4!, I see I can take the 'a' pawn and I do it." "But it just loses," added Kasparov helpfully. "I know," replied Leko.

21.c5! Qb4?!

The final error. 21...dxc5? was impossible due to 22.d6 Bxd6 23.Bxf7+, but 21...Qd4 22.c6 Bc8 keeps Black in the game.

22.Ne4! Qxb2

22...dxc5 again loses, to 23.c3 Qxb2 24.Re2 Qa3 25.d6.

23.cxd6 Bf8 24.c3 f5 25.d7 Red8 26.d6+ Kh8 27.Nc5 Bc6 28.Nd3! Qxc3 29.Nxe5 Be4 30.Nf7+ Kh7 31.Ng5+! 1-0

It's curtains after 31...Kh8 32.Nxe4 and 33.Qd5.

Linares final scores:

1.Kasparov(Rus) 7.5/10;

2eq.Polgar(Hun), Karpov(Rus), Shirov(Spa), Leko(Hun), Grischuk(Rus) 4.5.


Second seed Michael Whitely won the 2001 Woden Cup tournament with an undefeated 4.5/5 score.