Apr 27, 2001

Genrih Chepukaitis makes comments on the first 6 rounds.

The Tournament Review After Round 6.

A big part of the tournament "Saraevo-2000" is over. The forecasts are almost going to be the truth. Kasparov and Shirov (4.5 of 6) are a wheel ahead of the Moscovites Morozevich and Bareev (4 of 6).

The brightest game should be announced the fight of Shirov vs.Topalov. Please try to investigate its tactical figures. We are showing the game to you and making our notes, as good as we can. But to grasp everything we are not very much quick-witted: the grandmasters muddled up the plot too dashingly.

Our self-proclaimed jury consisting only of me called the most instructive game also of Shirov vs. Gurevich. The unlucky fellow of the start (0 of 3), Mikhail Gurevich has almost recovered and taken 2.5 - isn't it a deed! Against Shirov the grandmaster has got a rare attacking column - the tripled e-pawns. In the primer-book on stratedy and tactics in a tank battle the General Guderian recommended to attack just in such a way. But Pawns are not tanks. It is no advisable usually to arrange the Pawns in a single file. Shirov has ckrushed that column and won the game.

Topoalov has got everything bad he could. Morozevech has performed his own line in French Defense without any flaw.
In Round 3 Kasparov against Morozevich and Shirov against Topalov differed their ways only on move 8. The World Champion #13 has chosen 8. g3, then sacrificed the exchange and hardly managed to win the battle, after he drove the opponent into the time trouble. Shirov's play was more convincing…

Shirov A. - Topalov V., C11
Round 3

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 dxe4 5. Nxe4 Be7 6. Bxf6 gxf6 7. Nf3 a6 

As it was mentioned above, this line is Morozevich's priority. But not everyone can stop White's attack in this variation. Unlike Kasparov who played 8.g3, Shirov used here another advance.

8. c4!? 

8...f5 9. Nc3 Bf6 10. Qd2 c5 11. d5 O-O 12. O-O-O e5 13. h4 b5 14. d6 Nc6 15. d7 Bb7 16. Qd6 e4 17. Nd5

Shirov has advanced his Pawn to d7 and is trying to cherish it like the apple of his eye.

17...Bg7 18. Ng5

To get rid of this Knight is now impossible.

18...Nd4 19. Ne7+ Kh8 20. Rh3

The Rook will be wanted in the attack.

20...f4 21. Kb1

This is the standard method of protecting the long castle position - like making-up the face. Shirov intends to develop his Bishop f1 onto g4, but it is not possible immediately - Black can take the Bishop with a check. That is why White's king has moved.

21...b4 22. Be2 f3 23. gxf3

White's Bishop wanted to get to g4 to eliminate comfortably the support of the centralized Black's Knight - the Pawn c5. At last Topalov takes the proposed piece, but after that Black's center vanishes leaving just recollections about it. 

23...Nxe2 24. Qxc5 Nf4 25. Qf5 Ng6 26. h5 Qxe7 27. hxg6

So, that's the story.


I hope you would find the variations with pleasure. The two wonderful tactic chess-players showed you the pretty chess performance. To make more detailed notes - just to spoil the impression. 

There was one more event in Round 5. Kasparov settled the scores with his offender. The host of the tournament I.Sokolov one day defeated the World Champion and spoiled his outstanding result. 

So we are expecting the developing of the plot.

The Final Review

After The "Fight"

It is clear that Kasparov had less fans than anybody. It's suggestive to see the holder of the highest rating vulnerable sometimes. However. The 13th champion finished according to his schedule. First. Having won six games on the way. Having finished on 8,5/11! The grandmaster would win dubious positions easily and tirelessly. He gave material credits to his opponents, "even fooled about", but... Sarajevo 2000 is nothing but a show for the chess world. Kasparov's potential appears to be even higher than the achieved result. The winner has shown up no one fresh novelty. No wonder. The match with Kramnik will become a serious soundness check of his crazy rating. So he must be thrifty.

The reputation of Alexei Shirov is OK, too. The challenger has let pass the "fast train" in the 10th round only. Whirlwinds of combination attacks, sacrifices, strategic and tactical niceties were in abundance at Shirov's command. Plus five in such a tournament is more than enough for the first place. And now it has turned out just in sharing of silver and bronze. Adams' final spurt is the very peak of the Englishman's career. There was no Movsesian for him there. The Czech spoiled the life of the ELO favourites. He beat Morozevich and Shirov. And he lost right to Kasparov. The coryphaei had forgotten Movsesian's success in Las Vegas. They had confused the desired thing with the real one. As a result, Movsesian has even caught up with Topalov and Bareev. This trio stands a bit far from the leaders, but then, they keep company. Each of them has 6 points. This is two points less than by Shirov and Adams. Well, may be it's all right. The last one is Bacrot. All the opponents of the youngest participant have ratings at least by 200 points higher than his own. No wonder, that this company has proved to be "inedible" for the Frenchman in the meantime.

Four grandmasters stand on a level, though not without losses. The start loser M. Gurevich, the "experimentalist" N. Short, K. Georgiev and the "trouble-maker" of the event S. Movsesian - each with 4 points only. In the very middle, on 4,5, there is the home player, I. Sokolov.

The brightest duel:

Shirov - Topalov
Third round

White is a piece down. Black's king is dying.

Not long ago, in April, the St.Petersburg championship 2000 took place. Playing with the commentator, S. Ivanov meditated very long after 17...Bc4??!

S. Ivanov proved to be more reckless and decisive than I. Sokolov. He accepted the sacrifice, won back the advantage, and only afterwards he wromgly lost the game. S. Sokolov has trusted M. Gurevich and not eaten the "poison". The result was a draw.

Now I think how quickly the information spreads out in the world. Or may be, M. Gurevich has invented this folly himself? E. Sveshnikow is right. The records ought to be handed over with the result only. Without texts. Or for cash, as the Russian law-defender recommends. As a great secret, I can confess that one cannot play 17...Bc4. This is just a bluff.

As for real theoretical findings, there were not many there. Guard posts of computer taboos are placed everywhere now. It's not Morphy's time. Not Anderssen's. It is easier now to find a poppy seed in the darkness than a new opening idea. Still, the titled gold-diggers do dig and spoil the ecological situation as much as they can. Never mind, what will an amateur do tomorrow. Just the same: blunder, miscalculate, take whatever he see and be happy or distressed. And what about professionals? They will be buried under the information stream. Go mad with computer recommendations. Or, more probably, they'll become entirely wild. The commentator's pessimism is a tribute to the fashion. And it is another reminder for the gladiators of the Olympus. A consensus is needed. With a very short time control. And with an incorruptible custom house that would prevent grandmasters from the use of any crutches or jacks. A scuffling knock-out-fight with the participation of players from all the continents, with aborigines, "tourists", any world champions and with one penguin to play for Antarctica. With golden laurels for the "real" champion. Such a show will surely attract the attention of the whole planet. And sponsors will make an appearance, too. So, how about privileges? They will be only for mental invalids and chess veterans. There is already no other way left for chess.

Genrikh Chepukaitis

"Chess is so interesting in itself, as not to need the view of gain to induce engaging in it;and thence it is never played for money."

Benjamin Franklin, "Chess made easy", 1802

"It is one of the insights of modern players, and especially of the best ones, that one has toplay the position itself, not some abstract idea of the position."

John Watson, "Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy", 1998

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