Canberra Times Chess Column for June 11

"I was able to wake up much more pleasantly this morning," said Viswanathan Anand the day after a drought-breaking victory in the 'Advanced Chess' tournament in Leon, Spain, which concluded earlier this week. 'Advanced Chess' is a hybrid version of the game in which players are able to consult computer programs for assistance during the game.

With a 5-1 victory in 1999 over computer illiterate Anatoly Karpov, Anand has shown himself to be a master of this style of game, but this year the Indian faced a sterner test with the Leon organisers bringing together four players young enough to have no inhibitions about accepting suggestions from a computer.

Although the Fritz program is by far the best known in Australia, it was noticeable that these four players, and Anand in particular, preferred Hiarcs, with Junior the second most consulted program and Fritz only occasionally used.

Anand's path to victory was not entirely smooth, being forced to a rapid playoff in the first round by Judit Polgar while his rival Alexey Shirov was demolishing Miguel Illesacs 2-0.

However in the final Anand showed his class, overruling the protestations of his computer to play a long-term sacrifice in the endgame just when Shirov thought the game was drifting towards a draw and was using his computer as a drunk uses a street light - for support rather than enlightenment.

"I knew the opinion of [the computer] but I trusted my intuition," said a contented Anand who thereby walked away with half of the $US50,000 prize fund.

Leon 2000
White: V.Anand
Black: A.Shirov
Opening: French Defence

#1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Nce2!? c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.f4 b5!? 8.a3 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Nxd4 10.cxd4#

Shirov, playing White has previously tried 10.Qxd4 and suffered mightily, perhaps the reason why he was happy to play this variation with Black.

#10...b4 11.a4 Qa5#

A very logical new move, intending to facilitate a later exchange of light-squared bishops.

#12.Bd2 Be7 13.Nf3 0-0 14.Bb5 Nb6 15.b3 Ba6 16.Bxa6 Qxa6 17.a5 Nd7 18.Qe2 Nb8 19.Kf2 Qxe2+ 20.Kxe2 Nc6 21.Rhc1 Rfc8 22.Ra2 Rc7 23.Rac2 Rac8#

Around here Shirov was so confident of securing a draw that he filled in that result on his computer. However Anand keeps plugging away.

#24.a6 Kf8 25.g4 Ke8 26.f5 Kd7 27.Bf4 g5? 28.Be3 h6 29.f6! Bf8 30.Kd3

Here virtually all computer programs suggest that Black move his knight, to a5 or b8. Unfortunately Shirov blindly follows the suggestion, but Anand,
using his own head, has prepared a winning sacrifice in response.

#30...Na5?  31.Rxc7+ Rxc7 32.Rxc7+ Kxc7 33.Nxg5!! hxg5 34.Bxg5 Nxb3 35.h4#

The point - now Shirov could see that White's h pawn cannot be prevented from marching, slowly but surely, to victory but his computer was still
thinking that Black was winning!

#35....Na1 36.Bc1 Nb3 37.Be3 Na5 38.g5 Nc4 39.Bc1 1-0#

1st round
Shirov(Spa) def Illescas(Spa) 2-0
Anand(Ind) def Polgar(Hun) 2.5-1.5
Anand def Shirov 1.5-0.5

Isaac Arsanis outclassed the field in the Tuggeranng Chess Club
Championship, winning with a perfect 9/9 score.

Leading final scores:
1. I.Arsanis 9;
2eq. D.Messina, M.Whitely 6.5;
4eq. R.Green, Nyugen Tran 6;
6. J.Heazlett 5.5.

Swanson Sprint
Leading final scores:
1. J.De Gier 4/4;
2. G.Oliver 3.5;
3eq. S.Oliver, R.Morton, M.Hummel, P.Murphy 3.