Canberra Times, June 17

The latest FIDE Laws of Chess, which come into force on July 1, introduce a new offence of bringing the game into disrepute. 

Certain players at the European Championship, which concluded in Ohrid, Macedonia on Friday, will be grateful that the new rule is not already in force. 

Scoring poorly, Russian Grandmaster Valentin Arbakov began arriving late and in an inebriated state for games before finally forfeiting the ninth round. 

He was expelled from the tournament but will probably experience no other penalty. 

A more complicated case arose in the eleventh round when experienced GM Konstantin Aseev was paired against Ruslan Ponomariov, until recently the world's youngest Grandmaster. 

The night before the game, Aseev approached his 17-year-old opponent and offered to pre-arrange a draw. 

Although such pre-arranged draws might seem to an outside observer to be bringing the game into disrepute and are in theory forbidden, for most GMs they are a standard tournament tactic; the Ohrid tournament saw around 50 pre-arranged draws. (Pre-arranging a win or loss, on the other hand, is considered absolutely unethical.) 

Since Ponomariov was tied in second place with Aseev and was due to play with the disadvantage of the Black pieces, the youngster assented to Aseev's proposal. 

Both players were thus able to dispense with onerous tasks such as preparing for the game and Aseev could even have joined Arbakov at the bar, had he wished to do so. 

However, the following day, an hour and a half before the game, Ponomariov came to Aseev and told him that the deal was off - apparently Ponomariov's sponsor demanded that their charge play for a win. 

Aseev, upset, lost the game and Ponomariov went on to tie for first in the tournament with Israeli Emil Sutovsky. (Sutovsky won the playoff.) 

For Aseev and many of his colleagues, Ponomariov's action warranted strong condemnation. 

In the looking glass world of top-level chess, 50 pre-arranged draws apparently do not bring a tournament into disrepute but Ponomariov's failure to stick to an illegal pre-game agreement was beyond the pale.

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Ohrid 2001 
White: E.Gausel 
Black: P.Blehm 
Opening: Slav Defence 

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 c6 3.d4 d5 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.a4 Na6!? 

An old favourite of Australian IM Robert Jamieson; rarely seen today. 

6.e3 Bg4 7.Bxc4 e6 8.0-0 Nb4 9.a5! Be7 10.Qe2 0-0 11.h3 Bh5 12.Rd1 b5 13.Bb3 Nd7 14.e4 Qc7 15.Be3 a6 16.Rac1!? 

A speculative sacrifice, worth a try with the new fast time limit. Now 16...Bxf3 17.Qxf3 Qxa5 would be quite safe but instead Black finds himself facing a nasty attack. 

16...Qxa5? 17.g4! Bg6 18.h4 h6 19.h5 Bh7 20.g5 Kh8 21.Kh1! hxg5 22.Nxg5 Bxg5 23.Bxg5 Rae8?! 

23...c5 was stronger, although White retains chances after 24.Be7 Rfc8 25.h6. 

24.Rg1 c5 25.dxc5 Nxc5 26.Qe3!! f6 

26...Nxb3 27.Bf6! Rg8 28.Qh6! is the beautiful point behind White's combination. 26...Nbd3 prevents 27.Bf6? due to 27...gxf6 28.Qh6 Nxf2+ 29.Kh2 Qc7+, but 27.h6! maintains the attack. 

27.h6! Rf7 28.hxg7+ Kg8 29.Qxc5 1-0 

After 29...fxg5, 30.Ra1 wins the b4 knight.



Two new tournaments begin this week: the Brindabella Snows, starting on 18 June at the Tuggeranong Valley RU Club (details Michael Whitely 62311782), and the Belconnen Premier (plus Swanson Sprint) on June 22 at the Belconnen Community Centre (details Ian Rout 62814501).