The tournament in the Netherlands looks not very captivating against thebackground of the continuing struggle of the chess giants. Just four players, competing in two round-robins. Polgar and Timman are more famous than Galkin. Nevertheless, the first round-robin was won by the fourteenth World Champion - no better result was possible, as he scored 3 of 3. It seems that the lion woke up and now is warming up. Most probably the champion will be victorious at this event, and time will show whether his performance at the World Championship will be as convincing. If he manages to show the same result again, then nobody will ever hint at a casino or a lottery any more. We hope for our city-fellow even though there are many worthy players at the highest levels of the chess pyramid, and one's career is always endangered. We shall report to you the results of the second round-robin, as well as final scores.
Polgar - Khalifman [C17]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Ba5
This variation which Alexander Khalifman investigated when preparing for the super tournament in Linares already returned him interest in the present tournament.
6. b4 cxd4 7. Qg4
7. Nb5 led to a less keen play.
7... Ne7 8. bxa5 dxc3 9. Qxg7 Rg8 10. Qxh7 Nbc6 11. Nf3
V. Anand tested 11. f4 twice in this year, and twice he was lucky, still, so far this method has attracted not many followers.
11... Qc7 12. Bf4 Bd7 13. Bd3 O-O-O 14. Bg3 Qxa5 15. O-O Rh8
The line until Black’s last move occurred already by the Hungarian chess player. In the game J. Polgar - Vaganian (Groningen, 1993) after 15... Qc5 16. Qh4 a6 17. Ng5 Be8 18. Qf4 Nd4 19. Rfe1 Nef5 20. a4 Rg7 21. Nf3 Nxf3+ 22. gxf3 Qd4 Black got an excellent play.
J. Polgar avoids the line 16. Qxf7 Rdf8 17. Qg7 Rhg8 18. Qh6 Rxf3 19. gxf3 Nd4 20. Qf4 Nef5 21. Kh1 Bb5 which was played in the first round in the game Galkin - Khalifman (Hoogeveen, 2000).
16... d4 17. Qg4
17. Rfe1 brought the game De Firmian - Lyrberg (Denmark, 1999) to a draw after 17... Rdg8 18. Qxf7 Rf8 19. Qg7 Rfg8 20. Qf7 Rf8 21. Qg7 Rfg8.
17... Nf5 18. Rfb1
An exchange 18. Bxf5 exf5 gave Black a good play on light squares after 19. Qf4 Be6.
White’s dark-squared bishop is often out of play in the French Defence. We have an example at hand – just look at the game Galkin - Khalifman from the first round. In the present case, the exchange of the knight for the bishop, performed by Black, is quite justified as the pawn e5, the pride of White’s position, loses of one of its protectors.
19. Qxg3 Qc7!
Another subtle move. Instead of pulling the queen to the square f4 with 19... Rdg8 White makes an ambush. We shall see soon how this circumstance will tell.
A major mistake was made by the Hungarian player. White attempts to take away the king from the file, occupied by the queen, thus losing the precious time. He should have ventured on 20. Qf4. After 20... f5 (if Black continued quietly 20... Rhg8, then after 21. Qf6 in was much harder for Black to display activity than in the game, the move 20... f6!? after 21. Qxf6 Rdf8 22. Qg5 Rhg8 23. Qh5 Be8 24. Qh3 Qd7 led to a position where Black had a sufficient compensation for a pawn, but it was not clear whether it promised anything more) 21. Nxd4 Nxe5 22. Rb3 there was a keen position with mutual chances.
20... Rhg8 21. Qf4 f5!
Now the queen on c7 comes in hand to Black, White cannot capture en passant – if he wants to keep his queen alive.
The move 22. Nxd4? cost a piece to White after 22... Rg4.
22... Kb8 23. Re1
Again no 23. Nxd4?, this time because of 23... Nxd4 24. Qxd4 Bc6, attacking White’s queen and g2-pawn at the same time.
23... Bc8 24. Ng5
White is a little confused and cannot find a plan how to struggle against Black’s growing initiative.
Forcing the white knight to go back.
25. Nf3 Ne7 26. Rab1 Ng6 27. Qh2 Qh7 28. Rb4
White could have prevented the black knight from getting to h4 with 28. h4?!, but after 28... Rh8 29. g3 his position was rather ugly, and a mere 28... Qc7! was enough to destroy its order.
A series of good positional solutions reinforces Black’s pressure upon White’s position.
J. Polgar evidently was not going to suffer torments without any counterplay after 29. Nxh4 Qxh4 30. Reb1 b6, so she decided to complicate the struggle with tactical means.
An apparently more active 29... Rxg2 was erroneous and encountered 30. Nc6+ Ka8 31. Rxh4! Qxh4 32. Qxg2 bxc6 33. Rb1, allowing White to take the initiative.
30. Reb1 Qd7 31. Ne2
An intermediate 31. Bb5 was not dangerous for Black, as after a cool 31... Qd8! White experienced difficulties, and complications like 32. Nc6+ (no 32. Ne2 because of 32... Rd1+) 32... bxc6 33. Bxc6+ Kc7 34. Bxd5 Qxd5 allowed Black to prepare a crafty strike from the diagonal a6-f1.
Having sacrificed by an exchange, Black ruined White’s last weak defence on the way to his king.
32. cxd3 Qxd3 33. Rc1 c2 34. Rd4
34... Qd1+ was threatening.
34... Qf3 35. Nf4
A capture 35. Rxc2 after 35... Ne3+ 36. Ke1 Nxc2+ was punished with considerable material losses. In case of 35. Ng1 Black won with 35... Qxa3 36. Ne2 (no 36. Rxc2 because of 36... Qa1+) 36... f4 37. Rxc2 (if 37. Rc4, then 37... f3) 37... f3 38. Nc1 b6, and a check from the diagonal a6-f1 was fatal for White.
The threat of an appearance of Black’s bishop on the diagonal a6-f1 decided the duel in his favour.
36. Nxg2 Ba6+ 37. Kg1 Bb7 0-1
Timman - Galkin [B17]
The opponents went for one of the most topical variations of the Caro-Kann Defence.
8... h6 9. Ne4 Nxe4 10. Qxe4 Qc7 11. Qg4 Kf8 12. O-O c5 13. Qh4 b6 14. Be4 Rb8 15. Rd1
At the tournament in Indonesia the Dutch grandmaster got a perceptible advantage after 15. b3 Nf6 16. dxc5 bxc5 17. Bb2 Nxe4 18. Qxe4 Bb7 19. Qg4 f5 20. Qh5 Bxf3 21. Qxf3 Kf7 22. Qh5+ g6 23. Qh4 in the game with Karpov (Bali, 2000), but then there were found convenient ways to an equalisation for Black, proven in one of games by the ex-World Champion: 15... Be7 16. Qf4 Bd6 17. Qh4 Be7 18. Qf4 Bd6 19. Qh4 (Leitao - Karpov, Buenos Aires, 2000).
15... c4 16. d5
The Dutch grandmaster tried to play differently in this position: 16. Ne5 Nf6 17. Bf3 Bb7 18. Bxb7 Rxb7 19. b3 cxb3 20. cxb3 Nd5 21. Bf4 Qe7, but gained nothing from this position, as the game Timman - Seirawan (Bali, 2000) showed.
16... e5 17. Bf5 Kg8
A new move. In the game Wells - Speelman (Millfield, 2000) the line 18. Nd2 Nf6 19. Bxc8 Rxc8 20. Nf1 Qd7 21. b3 cxb3 22. cxb3 Kh7 23. Ng3 Bc5 brought to a tense play.
18... Nf6 19. Bxc8 Rxc8 20. a4 Qd7 21. c3 Rc7 22. Nd2 Ng4
Cutting off the white queen from the pawn c4 and preparing f7-f5, at the same time.
23. h3 Nxe3 24. fxe3 f5 25. e4 f4 26. Nf3 g5 27. Qh5 Qf7
28. Qg4 Qd7 29. Qh5 Qf7 30. Qg4 Qd7 31. Qh5
Draw. There was a position of dynamic balance on the board, and it was not advantageous for both sides to avoid a repetition of moves.
"He who fears an isolated queen's pawn should give up chess". Siegbert Tarrasch
"The most powerful weapon in chess is to have the next move"! David Bronstein.