Canberra Times Chess Column for February 13

Olympic Squads

In a radical change to previous practice, the Australian Chess Federation has decided to select the teams for the 2000 Istanbul Chess Olympiad in two stages. In the past, the ten team members were selected early in the Olympic year, leaving eight months or more for fund-raising. Unfortunately early selection also allowed plenty of time for a player to lose form and ruled out consideration of outstanding performances close to the Olympics.

The new policy will involve choosing a squad of 18 early in 2000, with the final selection being made in August, at the conclusion of the Koshnitsky Chess Festival. With the make-up of the Olympic teams more unclear than at any time since the 1980s, the late selection date will probably advantage rapidly improving juniors such as David Smerdon and Zhao Zong Yuan at the expense of veteran Olympic team members.

The two month Koshnitsky Festival, encompassing the Gold Coast International, the QVB events in Sydney, the Australian Masters in Melbourne and a concluding event in Adelaide, is also likely to benefit considerably. Most border-line Olympic players will be under pressure to participate in as many events as possible and take their last chance to impress the selectors.

Wijk aan Zee 2000
White: G.Kasparov
Black: J.Polgar
Opening: Sicilian Defence

#1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 Ng4 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4 g5 9.Bg3 Bg7 10.h3 Nf6!?#

Previously Black had always preferred 10...Ne5. Kasparov's response implies a pawn sacrifice of doubtful soundness.

#11.Bc4 Qb6! 12.0-0 0-0 13.Nde2 Qxb2 14.Bb3 Qa3 15.f4 Nc6 16.Kh1 Be6 17.Qd3 Rac8?! 18.fxg5 hxg5 19.Nd5 Rfe8 20.Rad1!?#

20.Nxf6+! Bxf6 21.Bxe6 Qxd3 22.Bxf7+ Kxf7 23.cxd3 is drawish but Kasparov prefers to take his chances a pawn down.

#20...Nb4 21.Qf3 Nbxd5#

After 21...Bxd5 22.exd5 Nxc2 both players agreed that White's attack was too dangerous after 23.Rd2 Nb4 24.Qf5.

#22.exd5 Bd7 23.c3 a5 24.Qd3 a4?#

Forcing the bishop where it wants to go.  24...Qc5 followed by ...Bb5 was critical.

#25.Bc2 Qc5 (Diagram) 26.Rxf6! exf6#

On 26...Bxf6 27.Qh7+ Kf8 28.Nf4! gxf4 29.Bxf4 e6 30.Bg6! Bg7 31.Bh6 Qxc3 32.Rf1 wins.

#27.Qh7+ Kf8 28.Nd4! Re5! 29.Bxe5 fxe5?#

29...dxe5 30.Nf5 Bxf5 31.Qxf5 b5 is not attractive for Black - the bishop on g7 is an invalid - but at least Black's king is safe.

#30.Ne6+! Bxe6 31.dxe6 Rc7 32.Bxa4#

32.Bg6! was much stronger. Over the next ten moves Kasparov misses many faster wins but Polgar's king remains too exposed for long-term resistence to be feasible, especially given the approaching time control.

#32...d5 33.Qf5 Qc4 34.Bd7 Qf4 35.Qb1 fxe6?!#

Hoping for 36.Rf1? Rxd7 when Black is fine, but Kasparov's simple reply wins a pawn. 35...Qc4 was Black's best chance when Black still has some work to do.

# 36.Bxe6! Ke7 37.Bxd5 Rd7 38.c4 Qe3 39.Qh7 Kd8 40.Rb1 Qf4 41.Be6 Re7 42.Bg4 Rf7 43.Qd3+ Qd4 44.Qg6 1-0#

**

The Italian amateur who last year became the first chessplayer to be tested positive for performance enhancing drugs has been cleared of all charges. Guiseppe Fabiano was found to have taken two banned substances - one apparently the asthma drug Ventolin - under medical advice so no action was taken against him by the Italian Olympic Committee.