When a last round loss at the Gold Coast Zonal in April cost Alex Wohl a place in the
World Championship tournament, the burly Queenslander declared
he would give up chess. Wohl sold most of his library of chess books to the local chess club and moved to Byron Bay and for six months the Australian International Master kept to his pledge.
However in September Wohl was spotted spectating at a Grand Prix tournament, although
he maintained that he was very hapy to be watching and
not playing. Yet by October Wohl was playing and winning the Greater Sydney Open and in November Wohl was back on the international circuit with results so far which have been excellent.
At last month's American Open in LA, Wohl led for much of the event, his biggest scalp
being GM Alex Yermolinsky. (Wohl eventually fell to the winner, GM Eduard Gufeld.) Wohl
then travelled to Mexico for a tournament which doubled as an archaeological tour, the
games moving from town to town around the country.
Wohl again raced out of the blocks with 3/3 - GM Jesus Noguieras was one of his victims - before falling back to the pack later in the event. Nonetheless, his 6/9 final score earned him a proze of $2,000.
His post-retirement form has now virtually guaranteed Wohl a place in the 2000 Olympic
team, probably on board three, while giving food for thought
for active players such as Stephen Solomon who are struggling to regain form; could a six-month break from the game be the formula for renewed success?
1999 American Open
Opening: Alekhine's Defence
#1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.c4 Nb6 5.exd6#
Wohl is normally found behind the Black pieces in this opening, and here he chooses a poisonous system against which he has sometimes struggled.
#5...cxd6 6.Nc3 g6 7.Be3 Bg7 8.Rc1 0-0 9.h4 Nc6 10.d5 Ne5 11.b3 Ng4#
11...h5 would better test White's idea.
#12.Bd4 Bh6?! 13.h5! Bxc1 14.hxg6 fxg6 15.Qxc1 e5#
Rather desperate, but with a super-bishop on d4 and an open h file, White already has excellent compensation for the sacrificed material.
#16.dxe6 Qe7 17.f3 Qxe6+ 18.Nge2 Nf6 19.Qh6 Rf7 20.Kd1 Re7#
20...Nh5 21.g4 helps little.
#21.Nf4!! Qe1+ 22.Kc2 Bf5+ 23.Bd3 Bxd3+ 24.Kxd3 Qg3 25.Bxf6 Rf7 26.Ne4 1-0#