1. Game 1 "Coming on..." (28.11.2000)
Round 1. Game 2
But some of them fail at this. Sakaev lost in the second game to Volkov, and Speelman allowed the Polish player Macieja to recover. Serper, Onischuk, Lputian, Nataf, Leitao, Yermolinsky, Adianto, Ivanov and Chernin acted in the most pragmatical manner. They ignored rating differences and made draws. Really, for what should they tempt providence? Also Nevednichy, Vaganian, Galkin, Benjamin, Dao, Kharlov, Malakhov, Van Wely, Sasikiran, Vladimirov, Bologan and Lesiege joined the pleasant company of those who will continue struggle. So we are waiting for the rest 15 participants. 28 players were known from the very beginning, 21 already won round one, and 15 pairs will have to struggle in rapid games. 25 min for a game, 2 games. Still, the balance may remain unchanged even then, so we forecast 2-4 blitz games.
Quite suddenly, the Byelorussian grandmaster Fedorov and the French star Lautier dropped out from the group of favourites. The young hope of Ukraine, Ruslan Ponomariov leaves India too.
Men’s peaceableness is enviable, women’s manners are more tough. Their play is aggressive and resourceful. Krus, Zhukova, Zayac, Matveeva and Skripchenko-Lautier already won round one. The Russian player Stjazhkina recovered in the second game. There will be many rapid duels by women.
We annotate two games today. You will see how the Russia Champion Volkov can hold and how the Polish player managed to restore the balance after a defeat. These games were chosen just to demonstrate how one’s will can help in a most difficult situation.
Volkov, Sergey - Sakaev, Konstantin [E25]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 d5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 c5 7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. dxc5 Qa5 9. e4 Nf6 10. Be3
Well, Volkov plays 4. c3 more often, and this old and quiet continuation brought many victories to him. The Champion of Russia frequently begins his mortal combat after all theoretical lines are left behind. But this time he applied a comparatively rare continuation 4. f3. So far, it’s OK. White has the advantage of two bishops and a strong pawn on c5. Sakaev is an inveterate White-player, so it’s particularly hard for him to look for chances with Black, and Volkov is free to torture his opponent, relying on his slight positional advantage.
10... O-O 11. Kf2 Nfd7 12. Rb1 Rd8 13. Rb5 Qxa3 14. Ne2 Nc6 15. Nd4
White’s position becomes more dreadful. His queen’s bishop is still resting on c8, and the rook is locked in the corner.
15... e5 16. Nxc6 bxc6 17. Rb1 Ba6 18. Bxa6 Qxa6 19. Qd6 Nb6
Sakaev attempts to transfer the knight through a mine-strewn square but fails.
20. Qxc6 Rac8 21. Rbd1
So White holds the files and keeps the queen.
21... Qa2+ 22. Kg3
The white king strolls in his residence. This walk is not dangerous, moreover, it reduces the way to the centre in the endgame, provided that there will be any.
22... Re8 23. Qb5 Qa4 24. Qb4
Now Black’s problems are obvious. He cannot exchange the queens. The terrible ram, c5-pawn, is going to queen. White’s advantage is overwhelming.
24...Qxb4 25. cxb4 Nc4 26. Bf2 Rb8 27. Rd7 Rxb4 28. Rc1 Rc8 29. Rxa7 Nb2 30. Rd7 h5 31. c6 Kh7 32. c7 Nc4 33. Bc5 Ra4 34. Rxf7 Kg6 35. Rd7 Kf6 36. Rb1
So the second game between two Champions of Russia also was ended before the first time control. Missing two pawns, without any sensible continuation, Sakaev resigned.
Macieja, Bartlomiej - Speelman, Jonathan S
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Ng5 Ngf6 6. Bd3 e6 7. N1f3 Bd6 8. Qe2 h6
The position is well known. It occurs so frequently in the Caro-Kann that we should suppose Black to have some chances here. Speelman searches for them actively and succeeds.
9. Ne4 Nxe4 10. Qxe4 Qc7 11. a4 c5 12. O-O Nf6 13. Qh4 c4 14. Be2 Bd7 15. c3 Bc6 16. Nd2 Bd5
For a moment Black takes control over the centre but this is a mere illusion. White can set off at any moment. The bishop on d5 does not hold, and a way forward will be open for White. Macieja begins the attack.
17. b3 cxb3 18. c4 Bc6 19. Nxb3 Be4 20. c5 Be7 21. Bf4 Qd8 22. Be5 Bd5 23. Bb5+ Kf8 24. Qg3 h5 25. Nd2 h4 26. Qh3 Nd7 27. Bf4 g5
The English grandmaster is not a shy kitten. Now it’s hard to decide who is attacking. White exchanges his good bishop for Black’s one which is evidently worse. He hardly wanted to do this. So White creates a passed pawn on d6 and time to damage the redoubts of Black’s king while Black will hunt it.
28. Bd6 Bxd6 29. cxd6
You see, the d6-pawn is uncovered. Black’s position is not yet lost, but time trouble and nerves… Speelman suffered a thousand blows from ranks, files and diagonals which Macieja delivered vigorously, and had to make great efforts to choose the most safe square for his king every time.
29... Rg8 30. Rfc1 Nf6 31. Qa3 a6 32. Bc4 Bc6 33. Nf3 Bxf3 34. Qxf3 Kg7 35. Qe3 Kh6 36. Rab1 b5 37. axb5 axb5 38. Rxb5 Qxd6 39. g3 Ra3 40. Bb3 Qf4 41. Qc3 Qg4 42. d5 Nxd5 43. Rxd5 Rxb3 44. Qf6+ Kh7 45. Rd7 Rg7 46. Rxf7 Rxf7 47. Qxf7+ Kh6 48. Qf6+ Kh5 49. Qf7+ Kh6 50. Re1 Rb6 51. Qf6+ Kh7 52. Qf7+ Kh6 53. Qf6+ Kh7 54. Qe7+ Kg6 55. Qe8+ Kg7 56. Qe7+ Kg6 57. Qd8 Rb7 58. Qg8+ Kf6 59. f4 Rf7 60. Rf1 Ke7
White’s move is evident, 61... Ra1, and Speelman resigned without waiting for his opponent to make it. His position is lost.