Chess may be enjoying an internet-induced boom worldwide but the first elite internet tournament, which concluded last weekend, demonstrated that internet tournaments have a long way to go before they enjoy the credibility of their traditional counterparts.
When the web site KasparovChess.com announced that the world number one, 14 of his
Grandmaster mates and one computer would be competing in an internet
knock-out tournament, interest was intense. However the event turned into something of a shambles, with games frequently being delayed and two being abandoned completely due to problems with the internet server.
The first of the abandoned games cost the computer, Deep Junior, a place in the
semi-finals, while the other, the first game of the final between Garry Kasparov and
outsider Jeroen Piket was replayed the following day. That game was drawn, leaving
everything hanging on the next game, one which amazed the internet spectators around the
world. After 39 moves of the second game, Kasparov, Black, had reached the diagrammed
position, an endgame that every endgame book shows is a
comfortable draw for Black. Unfortunately the world number one's technique was not up to the task and he lost as follows:
How could Kasparov (Black, to move) lose this endgame?
#39...h5 40.f4 g6#
Reasonable, but 40...f6 was simpler.
#41.e5 Rd3 42.Kh3 Re3?! 43.Kh4! Kg7 44.Kg5 Re1?#
The rook belongs on b6 or b5, holding up the e6 advance.
#45.Rc7 Re2 46.Re7!#
Thanks to Kasparov's help, Piket has already achieved almost everything he could ask for. Black has no time for 46...Rxh2 due to 47.e6!.
Kasparov sets a cheap trap - 47.e6 Ra5+ 48.Kh4 Kf6! and walks into disaster. At first sight waiting with 46...Re1 was still acceptable, since after 47.f5 Black can play 47...gxf5! (not the tricky 47...Rxe5? as the pawn endgame is lost after 48.Rxe5 f6+ 49.Kf4 fxe5+ 50.Kxe5 gxf5 51.Kxf5 Kh6 52.h4!.) 48.Kxf5 (On 48.Kxh5, Kf8 holds) 48...Re2 49.Kg5 h4! and Black hangs on. However had Kasparov played 46...Re1, Piket would have won with 47.e6! Rxe6 48.Rxe6 fxe6 49.h3! Kf7 50.Kh6 Kf6 51.g4 h4 52.g5+! Kf5 53.Kg7 Kxf4 54.Kxg6 e5 55.Kh5 e4 56.g6 e3 57.g7 e2 58.g8(Q) e1(Q) 59.Qg5+! Kf3 60.Qg4+! when White exchanges queens and wins - a remarkable line.
#47.f5! gxf5 48.e6!#
The point - Black has no check on a5.
#48...h4 49.Rxf7+ Kg8 50.Kf6! 1-0#
The e pawn is a winner.
Piket fully deserved his victory and $US20,000 prize, the largest of his career. In order to reach the final Piket had beaten the two highest ranked internet players in the world, Alexander Morozevich and Peter Svidler. The Dutchman, who played the entire tournament from his home in Leiden, later revealed his recipe for internet success - talking to himself during games!