In a surprise announcement last week, the World Chess Federation, FIDE has proclaimed that the 2000 World Championship tournaments -open and women's - will begin in New Delhi in November, with the two open finalists moving to Tehran for the last match.
However the shaky nature of the successful $US2.5m Indian-Iranian bid became apparent when high ranking Indian FIDE official Ummer Koya started giving interviews in the days after FIDE's announcement. Koya was unable to confirm that the tournament would be in New Delhi, mentioning Mumbai and Calcutta as other possible venues. The site would depend on the wishes of the Indian sponsors, of which there were currently none.
According to Koya, the only confirmed funding for the bid was from Iran, although FIDE President Kirsan Illjumzhinov had promised to meet any shortfall in the $US3 prize fund. (Illjumzhinov has been the sole sponsor of the previous three FIDE World Championships.)
Sitting the final in Iran may cause other problems, for example if Judit Polgar wins through. FIDE has already announced that if an Israeli representative qualifies for the final - and Boris Gelfand will be one of the favourites - the match will be moved to Illjumzhinov's fiefdom, Kalmykia.
Reigning FIDE World Champion Alexander Khalifman was taken by surprise when told of the Indian bid, but expressed pleasure that the FIDE event might actually take place. (Past bids from South Africa and China had proved to be illusory.)
For the ACT's Laura Moylan, the Oceanic qualifier for the Women's World Championship, FIDE's announcement may put an end to 12 months of uncertainty over the venue for her event. (The zonal tournament to find our qualifier for the Open World Championship began in Auckland yesterday.) However given FIDE's past record of last-minute changes, Moylan is probably best advised not to buy her ticket to India just yet.
This week's game is an exciting last round encounter from the recent Bali Open.
Japfa Open, Bali 2000
1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.e4 d6 6.Nge2 h5!?
Early aggression, but understandable in a game where a win was worth $6,000 and a draw only $1,300.
7.h4 Bg4 8.f3 Be6 9.Nd5 Qd7 10.d3 Nd8!? 11.d4 Nc6 12.Be3 f5 13.dxe5 dxe5 14.Bg5 fxe4 15.fxe4
Barua's original intention of 15...Bg4 can be met by 16.0-0 Nd4 17.Nxd4! Bxd1 18.Nb5! but 15...Bg4 16.0-0 Bxe2! 17.Qxe2 Nd4 was simple and strong.
15...Nd8 16.Qc2 c6 17.0-0!
Particularly gutsy, since a draw offer was on the table.
17...cxd5 18.exd5 Bf5 19.Be4 Nh6?!
19...Nf7! 20.Bxf5 gxf5 21.Rxf5 Ngh6 gives Black chances to untangle.
20.Bxh6 Bxe4 21.Qxe4 Rxh6 22.c5
Now Black is in difficulties, with most of his pieces doomed to passivity.
22...a5 23.Rac1 Rc8 24.Rc3 Qb5?! 25.a4! Qb4
25...Qxb2 26.Rb1 is also good for White.
26.Rc4 Qb3 27.Kg2! Rc7?
Overlooking White's threat.
(Diagram) 28.Nc1! Qxb2+ 29.Rf2
Suddenly Black's queen is trapped and the game is over.
29...Qa3 30.Ra2 Qxc5 31.Rxc5 Rxc5 32.Nd3 Rc7 33.d6 Rd7 34.Qd5 g5 35.Qg8+ Bf8 36.Re2 Rf7
** The Kambah Autumn Weekender, open to all, begins next Saturday 9.45am at the Southside Chess Centre. Details from Ian Rout 62814501(AH).