Since FIDE introduced its knock-out format for the World Championship in
1997 no Australian player has survived beyond the first round.
Unfortunately, despite high hopes in 2000, the tradition was continued this
week in New Delhi.
After a modest result at the Istanbul Olympiad, the Oceania representative
Alex Wohl was determined to bounce back in Delhi.
A relatively friendly first round pairing of World Junior Champion
Alexander Galkin gave Wohl hope that he could move forward in the
tournament, possibly even to a fourth round match-up against Viswanathan
Instead Wohl let the tension of the occasion overwhelm him, losing two
sub-par games to Galkin with barely a fight.
The Australian number three was not helped by the cramped and noisy playing
conditions, plus an unlucky drawing of lots which gave him the white pieces
in the first game against Galkin - a well-known, if minor, handicap in a
two game match. (With the white pieces in the first game, a player is under
tremendous pressure not to make a single mistake as after a loss there is
almost no way back. The player with the black pieces in the first game
knows that even after a first game loss they will take the first move into
the nextgame and have good chances of bouncing back.)
The shambolic nature of the Delhi Championships was well illustrated by the
organisers' mishandling of the absence of an Oceania player in the Women's
World Championship tournament. The world body was informed a fortnight ago
that Oceania would probably not be represented in Delhi yet, in breach of
their own rules, allowed the absent Oceania player to forfeit rather than
use the reserve, WGM Antoaneta Stefanova, who was on site in Delhi.
Spectators in Delhi - those who could squueze into the playing hall - were
greeted with two empty boards on the first day as a US woman player who had
failed to get a visa in time was also not replaced.
Istanbul Olympiad 2000
Opening: Queen's Gambit Declined, Meran Variation
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7
9.0-0 b4 10.Ne4 Be7 11.Nxf6+ Nxf6 12.e4 0-0 13.e5 Nd7 14.Be4 Rb8 15.a3!
A brilliant idea, devised by Australian Open Champion Vadim Milov, which
recently won an award from the prestigious journal *Informator* for the
best opening innovation. White aims to clamp down on the ...c5 break, with
the tactical point that 16...Bxb4 lures the bishop away from the e7-g5
diagonal and allows the classic sacrifice 17.Bxh7+! Kxh7 18.Ng5+.
16...a5 17.bxa5 Qxa5 18.Bxa3! Bxa3?
18...Qd8, as played in the original game, was the best defence. Leseige no
doubt saw the coming sacrifice but thought he might be able to survive it.
19.Bxh7+! Kxh7 20.Ng5+ Kg6 21.Qd3+! f5
On 21...Kxg5 White can choose between the prosaic 22.Rxa3 and 22.f4+! Kh6
23.Qh3+ Kg6 24.f5+ gxf5 25.Rf3! f6 26.Rxf5 with a winning attack.
22.Nxe6 Ra8 23.Rfb1! Bc8 24.Rb3 1-0