Anatoly Karpov fell behind the leaders after the seventh round. Defending his position with Black against Nigel Short through the whole game, he managed to hold and got a draw in a slightly worse endgame, whereas his main rivals, Viorel Bologan and Judith Polgar, won their duels. Playing Black, Bologan made use of a slight positional advantage he had, and after many hours of struggle he scored a whole point. A series of tactical blows made Judith Polgar winner in her game with Milos, so now she occupies the first line of the fixture list together with V. Bologan, two rounds before the finish. The rest two games, Milov - Ricardi and Leitao – Flores, were also effective. In the former in the Main Variation of the Gruenfeld Defence Black castled carelessly on the queenside while the queens were still on the board, and his opponent punished him finally for this imprudence. As for the latter, the Brazilian grandmaster managed to uncover weak points of Black’s position and achieved the victory despite the presence of bishops of different colours on the board.
Polgar - Milos [C96]
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Bb7 12. Nbd2 cxd4 13. cxd4 exd4 14. Nxd4 Re8 15. b3
The opponents go for one of topical variations of the Ruy Lopez.
Not long ago White won a good victory in the game Svidler - L. Bo Hansen (Esbjerg, 2000): after 15... g6 16. Bb2 Nd7 17. Nf1 Bf6 18. Ne3 Nc6 19. Nxc6 Bxc6 20. Bxf6 Nxf6 21. Qd4 Re6 22. f3 a5 23. b4! he got a promising position and achieved his advantage confidently.
16. Bb2 g6 17. Qf3 Bg7 18. Rad1 Rc8 19. Bb1 Nc6
19... b4 20. Nf1 d5 occurred previously as well as 19... Qe7 with the idea of 20... Nc6.
20. Nf1 Ne5 21. Qe3 Ned7 22. Qf4 d5
After this advance the play should become equal unless White finds a tactical refutation.
23. Ng3 Qc7
This way namely. In case of 23... Qe7? White had 24. Ndf5! gxf5 25. Nxf5 Qf8 26. e5 with a very strong attack.
Judith Polgar took the chance to transfer the play into tactical manner. Objectively, this move gives White more chances to lose the game than to win it, but after a normal 24. Qxc7 Rxc7 25. exd5 Rxe1+ 26. Rxe1 Nxd5 27. Re8+ Nf8 the position got much simpler, and Milos hardly would have encountered any problems to achieve a draw.
24... Rxe5 25. Rxe5 Qxe5 26. Qd2 Nh5
Even though Black has a healthy extra pawn, he should be rather careful. After 26... Ne4?! 27. Bxe4 dxe4 he had to reckon with 28. Ndf5! Qxb2 29. Nh6+ Kh8 30. Nxf7+ Kg8 31. Nh6+ Kh8 32. Qxd7, and 26... Qc7? was still worse because of the same 27. Ndf5! gxf5 28. Nxf5 Qd8 (the move 28... h6 gave nothing because of 29. Nxh6+ Kh8 30. Nf5 Bf8 31. Qg5) 29. Nxg7 Kxg7 30. Qg5+ Kf8 (if 30... Kh8, then 31. Bf5) 31. Ba3+ Nc5 32. Re1, and White’s attack was irrepressible.
27. Nxh5 Qxh5 28. Re1 Bh6
Too pretentious. Simpler was 28... Nc5!, and if 29. Re7, then 29... Qh4.
29. f4 Qh4
As the result of Black’s inaccurate twenty seventh move, White managed to confuse things seriously.
There was no capture of the bishop. After 30... gxf5 31. Nxf5 Bxf4 32. Qe2 Qd8 (no 32... Qg5 because of 33. Ne7+ Kf8 34. Nxc8) 33. Qg4+ Qg5 34. Ne7+ Kf8 35. Qxd7 Qg3 White had a fine refutation of 36. Bg7+! Qxg7 (and no 36... Kxg7 because of the fork 37. Nf5+) 37. Nxc8 Qd4+ 38. Kh1 Qf2 39. Qe7+ Kg7 40. Nd6, making his attack irrepressible: in case of 40... Bxd6 White mated with 41. Qg5+ Kf8 42. Qh6+ Kg8 43. Re8+. The capture 30... Bxf4 was also risky because of 31. Qe2 Qd8 32. Rf1 Bb8 33. Be6!.
31. Qe3 Rb8??
A most unlucky move which brings Black to an immediate disaster. You can judge how dangerous Black’s position is by the line with the move 31... Qc7: after 32. Be6! (no 32. Bxd7 Qxd7 33. Qe5 because of 33... Bg7) 32... Qd6 (32... Bg7? is bad because of 33. Bxf7+ Kxf7 34. Nxb5 with the decisive threat of 35. Qe7+) 33. Nf5 Qxe6 34. Nxh6+ Kf8 35. Ba3+ Kg7 36. Qf2 Rc2 37. Rxe6 (in case of 37. Qh4? White might even lose after 37... Qb6+ 38. Kh1 d4) 37... Rxf2 8. Re7 Rxa2 39. Rxf7+ Kxh6 40. Be7! the threat of a mate would make Black go for a most unpleasant endgame: 40... g5 41. Bxg5+ Kg6 42. Rxd7. Probably Black’s best defensive resource was 31... Ra8. After 32. Nc2 White had some kind of compensation for the pawn, no more.
32. Bxd7 Qxd7 33. Qe5 1-0 Black resigned.
"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.