When Garry Kasparov announced that in October he would be defending the world title he claims in a match against Vladimir Kramnik, many felt sorry for Viswanathan Anand, who was scheduled to meet Kasparov last year. Yet the player feeling most aggrieved by Kasparov's fickle attitude to his potential challengers is Alexey Shirov.
Shirov had beaten Kramnik in a 1998 qualifier organised by Kasparov's World Chess Council, only to find that Kasparov had no sponsor for the title match.
Worse still, although Kramnik was paid for losing the match, Shirov received nothing and Shirov's $200,000 'guarantee' if the Kasparov match fell through also went unpaid.
When, in April, Kasparov announced that he would be playing Kramnik in October, Shirov issued an open letter stating that "I do not believe that the Kasparov-Kramnik match can have anything to do with any kind of World Championship, be it official, historical, brain or whatsoever. I am the legitimate candidate for it since 1998."
Shirov's letter was shrugged off by Kasparov who claimed that Shirov's win over Kramnik was only valid in 1998 and can now be disregarded. This week, however, Shirov has decided to let his pieces do the talking. In the ongoing elite Grandmaster tournament in Sarajevo, Shirov has edged ahead of an in-form Kasparov and may become the first player in 18 months to outperform the world number one.
**The Oceanic Zonal tournament - a qualifier for the 2000 World Championship - concludes today, with victory for the favourite, Alex Wohl, near certain and 13-year-old Zhao Zong Yuan in line for his International Master title.
Sydney's Brett Tindall helped his countrymen by outclassing the nominal top seed, New Zealand IM Russell Dive, in the game given below.
Auckland Zonal 2000
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.d4 d6 5.exd6 cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3
Australia's top two players usually prefer 7.Bd3 Bg7 8.Nge2 but Tindall's set-up, a Wohl favourite, is equally strong.
7...Bg7 8.Rc1 0-0 9.b3 e5?!
Heading straight for a difficult endgame. The next day Dive reached the same postion and varied with 9...Bg4, going on to win.
10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Qxd8 Rxd8 12.c5 N6d7 13.Nf3 Nc6 14.Ne4 Nd4 15.Bc4!
The point behind White's play - he just ignores the knight on d4.
15...Nf8 16.Nd6 Nxf3+ 17.gxf3 Rd7
17...Ne6 18.Bxe6 fxe6 is also ugly.
18.Ke2 h6 19.b4 Re7 20.Nxc8! Rxc8 21.Rhd1 Rd7
This allows White to execute his plan of pushing his queenside pawns. However on 21...Ne6 22.Bxe6 Rxe6 23.Rd7 is simple and strong.
22.b5 g5 23.Rxd7 Nxd7 24.Bd5 b6 25.cxb6 Nxb6 26.Rxc8+ Nxc8 27.a4 Bf8 28.a5 Bb4 29.b6 axb6 30.axb6 Ne7 31.b7 Bd6 32.Bc5 1-0
**Ian Rout held off a last round challenge from Ian Wright to take the Canberra Cup
with an undefeated six points from seven games.
Leading final scores:
1. Rout 6;
2. Wright 5.5;
3eq. Doel, Rafizedah 5;
5. S.Stojic 4.5.
The next event to be held at the Canberra Chess Club - Griffin Centre, Civic, will be the Cold Comfort Cup. The tournament, open to all, begins on Wednesday at 7.30pm.
**The free Saturday morning chess coaching programme at Tuggeranong RU Club, Waniassa, is to be extended to adults as well as juniors.