Sun-Herald Chess Column for January 23

At the opening press conference of the elite Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands, Garry Kasparov and Viswanathan Anand were quizzed about their long delayed private world title match. "Like everyon else, I wanted the match to take place last year," said Anand, who received $US200,000 as compensation for the match not being held in 1999, "but we were let down."

However a few days into the Corus tournament, spectators at Wijk aan Zee were wondering whether the Kasparov-Anand match, now scheduled for September, will be a contest worth watching. After four rounds of the Wijk aan Zee tournament, Kasparov and Anand were near the top of the standings, but both were showing that their six month lay-off from top chess, a break which had not affected their world rankings of one and two, had left them seriously short of match practice. Kasparov's extensive opening knowledge has given him an early edge in almost every game but, with one exception, his general play has looked very shaky.  Twice Kasparov survived on his fighting spirit alone, being fortunate to scrape draws from two losing endgames against local hero Jeroen Piket and England's Michael Adams. Anand has looked equally unconvincing, finding himself in trouble in three out of his first four games while his rival for the number two position on the world rankings, Vladimir Kramnik, has been in ominous form.

Wijk aan Zee 2000
White: V.Kramnik
Black: N.Short
Opening: Queen's Gambit Declined

#1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Nxd5 exd5 10.a3 Nc6 11.Bd3 Be7 12.0-0 Bf6#

A tiny inaccuracy which soon lands Short in trouble. 12...Be6 was correct.

#13.Qb3!#

"After this move Black is lost," declared Short after the game - an exaggeration, although Black is under pressure after 13...g6 14.Rfd1. Short's choice is much worse.

#13...Qb6? 14.Qxd5 Rd8?!#

14...Qxb2 was dangerous but necessary.

#15.Qe4 g6 16.Bg5! Qxb2#

Too late, yet 16...Bf5 17.Qh4 is worse.

#17.Bc4! Kg7 18.Qh4 h5 (Diagram) 19.Bxf7! Bxg5#

Accepting that Kramnik can steal a pawn and get away with it. However 19...Kxf7 20.Rab1 Qc3 21.Rfc1 was fatal - after 21...Bxg5, 22.Nxg5 is check. The rest is easy for Kramnik, who doesn't mind returning his extra pawn to gain time for the decisive attack.

#20.Nxg5 Qf6 21.e4 Rd4 22.Rae1 Bd7 23.f4 Rf8 24.Ba2 Qd6 25.Kh1 Qxa3 26.Bb1 Qe7 27.Qg3 Kh6 28.Nf3 Rb4 29.Nh4 Be8 30.e5 Rxb1 31.Rxb1 Nd4 32.Qg5+ 1-0#

Corus Grandmaster Tournament
Wijk ann Zee, the Netherlands
Round 5 results:
Kasparov(Rus) def Morozevich(Rus)
Kramnik(Rus) def Lputian(Arm)
Leko(Hun) drew withTimman(Ned)
Nikolic(Bos) defeated Piket(Ned)
Polgar(Hun) drew with Anand(India)
Korchnoi(Swi) drew with Short(Eng)
Van Wely(Ned) lost to Adams(Eng)
Leading scores:
1eq.Kasparov, Kramnik 4/5;
3eq. Piket, Anand, Leko 3;
6eq. Korchnoi, Adams, Morozevich, Short, Nikolic, Timman 2.5;
12. Polgar 1.5;
13. Van Wely 1;
14. Lputian 0.5.