Sun-Herald Chess Column for May 7

Asia's highest category tournament, the Japfa Classic in Bali, concluded this week with victory for the youngest competitor, 23-year-old Judit Polgar. After a dramatic final round which saw Anatoly Karpov barely survive a six hour battle against his fellow claimant for the FIDE world title, Alexander Khalifman, Polgar edged half a point clear of the field to take the $US20,000 first prize.

According to Karpov second Mikhail Podgaets, Polgar's success was fully deserved - "Her wins were very convincing." Podgaets blamed Karpov's second place on the Russian's failure to beat tailender Zaw Win Lay in the penultimate round. Zaw, one of four Burmese amateurs who have entered the world's top 100 through Burma's systematic exploitation of defects in the world ranking system, was hopelessly outclassed in Bali, as the game below demonstrates. However, to his credit, Zaw learned from his defeats and gritty defence in the final rounds enabled him to reach a semi-respectable score.

Bali 2000
White: Zaw Win Lay
Black: A.Khalifman
Opening: French Defence

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 c5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Ngf3 cxd4 6.Bc4 Qd6 7.0-0 Nf6 8.Nb3 Nc6 9.Nbxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 a6 11.Re1 Qc7 12.Bb3 Bd6 13.Nf5!?

Zaw enters the sharpest line but, as Zaw soon discovers, one's homework needs to be extremely good to survive at this level

13...Bxh2+ 14.Kh1 0-0

14...Kf8 15.g3 exf5 16.Bf4 Qc6+ 17.Kxh2 works out well for White.

15.Nxg7! Rd8!

15...Kxg7 16.Qd4! e5 17.Qh4 Ng4 18.Bh6+! is another line Black must avioid.

16.Qf3 Kxg7 17.Bh6+ Kg6 18.Rad1?

The latest try for White, but as Khalifman shows, it loses almost by force. 18.c3!? remains critical.

18...Rxd1 19.Rxd1 e5! 20.Kxh2

20.g3 Ng4 is also good for Black.

20...Ng4+ 21.Kg1 Kxh6 0-1

Japfa Classic
Final scores:
1.Polgar(Hun) 6.5/9;
2eq.Khalifman(Rus), Karpov(Rus) 6;
4.Milos(Brs) 5.5;
5.Seirawan(USA) 5;
6eq.Adianto(Rin), Timman(Ned) 4;
8.Ehlvest(Est) 3;
9eq.Gunawan(Rin), Zaw Win Lay(Bur) 2.5.