"Vishy is a better player," admitted Russian Grandmaster Evgeny
after being soundly beaten by Viswanathan Anand in the final of FIDE's
first World Cup tournament, held in Shenyang, China.
Anand fully deserved his World Cup title and the $US40,000 prize which
accompanied it. The Indian was the only undefeated player in the event and
played the strongest field, ousting FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman
in the preliminaries and then beating Vassily Ivanchuk, Boris Gelfand and
Bareev in the knock-out stages.
The semi-final match against Gelfand was Anand's toughest, Anand prevailing
only in the fourth tie-breaker, a five minute blitz game. Elizbar Ubilava,
Anand's trainer, attributed Anand's survival in that encounter to his
exceptional experience in knock-out play. "He has played many matches like
this one, against players such as [Michael] Adams and [Vladimir] Kramnik,
it stood him in good stead here."
The key game of the entire tournament was probably the following exciting
draw between Anand and Gelfand, a game which boosted the Shenyang
tournament's internet site so much that it was the most popular sports site
in Russia for that day!
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.a4 Bd7
9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Bg5 a5 11.Nc3 Na6 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.e4 Nb4
The Black position, solid but passive was a favourite of Anatoly Karpov but
hardly seems in Anand's style.
14.Rfd1 g6 15.Rac1 Re8 16.d5 exd5 17.exd5 Bd7 18.Nd4 Rc8 19.Ne4!? Be5
19...Bxa4 20.b3 Bd7 21.Nc6 is risky for Black.
20.Nc5 b6 21.Nc6! Bxc6 22.dxc6 bxc5!
The only way to set up a counterattack, but the loose Black pawns makes
Black's position extremely perilous.
23.Rxd8 Rcxd8 24.Re1 Bd4 25.Rxe8+ Rxe8 26.Qb5 Kg7 27.Qxa5 Re2 28.Qxc7 Rxf2
29.Kh1 Nd3 30.Qd8
Amazingly, 30.Bd5 Ne5 31.Qd8 h5 32.c7 Ng4! leads to a perpetual check.
30...Rc2 31.Bf1 Nf2+ 32.Kg2 Ng4+ 33.Kf3 Ne5+ 34.Ke4 Nxc6 35.Qc7 Nb4 36.g4
Rf2 37.Bb5 g5! 38.a5! Draw Agreed
Gelfand offered the draw and, in view of the variation 38...Rf4+ 39.Qxf4
gxf4 40.a6 Bxa6 41.Bxa6, Anand had little choice but to agree.
Due to Olympic related activities, it was initially feared that there would
be no Street Chess on the next two Saturday mornings at Garema Place. (Cafe
Essen was to host substitute games.) However Urban Services have reversed
their initial decision and Street Chess will now be allowed to operate
legally at its usual time and place.