The elite tournament in Dortmund has always been a happy hunting ground for
Vladimir Kramnik and this year's tournament, which finishes tonight, might
yet give the 25-year-old Russian reasons to be cheerful.
Kramnik, the new world number two, began the Sparkassen Chess Meeting with
an undefeated streak in serious contests which had run for 80 games and
almost two years.
In round four that streak came to an end, courtesy of England's Michael
Adams, who then led the tournament together with Viswanathan Anand, the man
Kasparov dumped as challenger in favour of Kramnik.
Kramnik's fortunes looked as if they might go the way of all Kasparov's
chosen challengers - disastrously - but after a free day and a massage for
his painful back, Kramnik began his run.
In round six, while Anand was seeing off Adams, Kramnik scored a simple
victory over Junior, the computer which had until then been performing
extremely creditably amongst the world's elite.
Then a full house braved a rainy day in Dortmund to see Kramnik outpoint
the sole leader Anand in a bruising 65 move round seven marathon. After
fighting back from a disastrous position, Anand had his opponent on the
ropes, with Kramnik having only seconds on the clock for three moves plus
problems on the board. Then Anand made what Adams described as "probably
[Vishy's] worst blunder in the past ten years" - a horrible move which
handed Kramnik the game on a plate.
Anand may yet win the Dortmund tournament but the psychological boost for
Kramnik going into his October match against Kasparov cannot be
underestimated. Kramnik, a player who used to seem happy to draw against
his peers, has shown that he is capable of winning the big games, a quality
that had previously seemed to be the province only of Kasparov and Anand.
Opening: Ruy Lopez
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 b5 6.Bb3 Bc5
All the rage only a few years ago, the Archangelsk variation is currently
going through a slump, not helped by games such as this.
7.a4 Rb8 8.axb5 axb5 9.c3 d6 10.d4 Bb6 11.Na3 0-0 12.Nxb5 exd4
The immediate 12...Bg4 is well met by John-Paul Wallace's 13.d5!.
13.cxd4 Bg4 14.Ra4! Re8 15.Re1 h6?
"Despite preparing until 20 minutes before the game, I had a black-out and
couldn't remember anything about this line," admitted Piket after the game.
Such a "half-move" (Anand's term) when a pawn down is unlikely to help
Black, although the Indian also likes White's chances in the main line
16.Bc2 d5 17.e5 Ne4 18.Nc3 (Diagram)
Now any quiet move will leave Black simply a pawn down so Piket, already
short of time, tries a radical solution.
19.fxe5, exposing f2, would be far more messy.
19...Rxe4 20.Bxe4 dxe4 21.d5!
The refutation of Black's play - the lateral pin negates the pressure
21...Bxf3 22.gxf3 Qh4 23.Raxe4! Qxf2+ 24.Kh1 f5? 25.Rc4!
Now Black must either abandon his knight or allow his queen to be trapped
on an open board.
25...Na5 26.Rf1 Nxc4 27.Rxf2 Bxf2 28.Qe2 1-0
Ian Wright coasted to victory in the Belconnen Premier with an undefeated
six points from seven games.
Leading final scores:
Belconnen First Division
Leading final scores:
1eq. A.Fitzpatrick, J.de Gier 4/5.
**The Logan U/1600 tournament, open only to players rated below 1600 and
players new to tournament chess, will begin at the Southside Chess Centre,
Kambah, on July 20. Details from G.Butler: 62966801