Australia's premier mind sports happening, the ANU Chess Festival,
concluded last Sunday having attracted more than 600 participants and with
records broken in most events.
The Festival began a fortnight ago with the National Computer Championship,
won convincingly for the second time by the sole New Zealand entrant
There followed a chess film night, championships for primary and high
schools (won by North Ainslie and Radford respectively), a simultaneous
exhibition by English IM Gary Lane, and, on the final weekend, the ACT Go
Championship and the ANU Open.
The Go Championship, won by virtuoso David Huang, may have seemed out of
place in a chess festival, yet its success indicates that the Festival
could one day be a major national event for otherwise neglected mind
While chess and bridge have an established network of competitions around
Australia, the Canberra tournament was a rare opportunity for serious go
players. Expert scrabble, chinese chess and shogi players would probably
also relish having their own tournament at a future ANU Festival.
The key game from the ANU Open, given below, came in the final round, with
Alex Wohl half a point clear of the field and needing only a draw to take
ANU Open 2000
[1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.e3 0-0 5.Be2 d6 6.h3 Nbd7 7.0-0 b6 8.c4 Bb7
9.Nc3 Ne4 10.Nxe4 Bxe4 11.Bh2 e5 12.d5 Bxf3 13.Bxf3 e4 14.Bxe4 Bxb2 15.Rb1
Bg7 16.Bc2 Nc5 17.e4 Qd7 18.Qd2 Rae8 19.Rfe1 Re7 20.Bg3 Rfe8 21.f3 Bf6
22.Bf2 Qc8 23.a3 Qa6 24.Qb4 Qc8 25.Kh1 Kg7 26.Be3 h5 27.Rbd1 Rh8 28.Bc1 a5
29.Qd2 Qa6 30.Qe2 Bc3]
Wohl had succeeded in closing down the position and if White moves his rook
then Black has nothing to fear. However White's next move took Black
totally by surprise.
Poor judgement. In a position with no open files this bishop is worth more
than a mere rook. After 31...Rhe8 32.Re3 Bf6 Black had nothing to fear.
32.Rxe1 f6 33.Bb2 a4 34.Bc3 Rb8 35.Rb1 Nb3?! 36.Qd3!
36...Nc5 37.Qd4 Rf7 38.f4 Re8 39.Re1 Qc8?
39...Nd7 was the last chance although after 40.Qd3 Nc5 41.Qg3! the threat
of 42.e5 is strong.
If 40...dxe5 41.fxe5 fxe5 42.Rxe5 Rxe5 43.Qxe5+ Kh7 44.Qxh5+! mates. Now
Black hopes for 41.e6 Nxe6! with survival chances.
41...gxf5 42.e6 is even worse.
42.e6 Rff8 43.Qd1 Re7
This loses by force but after 43...Kh6 44.Bd2 followed by 45.h4 will decide
- the rooks are crippled in such a blocked position.
44.Qxh5+ Kg8 45.Bxf6! Rxf6 46.Qxg5+ Rg7 47.Qxf6 Qe8 48.Qh4 1-0
Leading final scores:
2eq.Wohl, Solomon, Martin(NZ) 6.
Regrettably, Festival director Andrew Greenwood is standing down after
three years at the helm. After the success of the 2000 event, his
successor, as yet unknown, will have a hard act to follow.
** Latvian Grandmaster Vladimir Bagirov died last week, aged 63. Bagirov
was one of the few Soviet Grandmasters to have competed in Australia and
was an early coach of both Garry Kasparov and Alexey Shirov. Bagirov
suffered a brain haemorrhage when one move short of victory in a tournament
game in Finland.