Sun Herald, June 24

Modern chess study for Grandmasters tends to involve playing through all the latest games by their colleagues, looking for new ideas and searching for weaknesses amongst their future opponents. 

However BGN World Champion Vladimir Kramnik has turned this study method on its head with his statement in a recent interview with Mark Glukhovsky on KasparovChess.com that "I do my best to examine as few games as possible." 

Kramnik further exploded conventional wisdom with the admission that: "Before the [recent, elite] Astana tournament, I hadn't examined any fresh games for a month and...it didn't hurt me a bit!. I don't think a chessplayer should analyse too many games of his colleagues." 

Such an approach is the antithesis of that used by Kramnik's peers, world number one Garry Kasparov and FIDE World Champion Viswanathan Anand; the latter is renowned for examining (and remembering!) thousands of games. 

After the extraordinarily sharp first game of the Sydney Olympic exhibition against Alexey Shirov, Anand was able to cite precisely where his opponent's play had varied from an obscure correspondence game - a game he was sure Shirov had also noted. 

With that background knowledge, what at first sight appeared a risky choice of opening turned out to be more like the extension of a research project. 

Kramnik explains the difference as follows: "I rarely play any fashionable [opening] variations: I have a chess theory of my own. From the point of view of my approach, analysing other chessplayers' games is not that important." 

Sun-Herald Winter Chess Competition Puzzle #2 

The second of four puzzles. From the diagrammed position, White is to move and force a win. How? The first four correct entries opened after July 4, will win a set of commemorative envelopes from the 2001 Linares Grandmaster tournament. The 3 grand winners, chosen from those solving all four puzzles correctly, will win a souvenir medal from the 1972 Fischer-Spassky match. 

Entries to: Sun-Herald Winter Chess Competition, Puzzle #2, GPO Box 506, Sydney 2001 or faxed to 02-92822151. 

Puzzle #2 - White to move and win.