Apr 21, 2001

Round 1

In the first round there were four games of five in which grandmasters played Black against opponents whose ratings were much more modest, and three of them managed to win despite the unfavourable colour. In the game Ricardi - Bologan the grandmaster from Moldavia overwhelmed his opponent gradually in an approximately equal endgame after the time control. The duel of one of the main favourites of the tournament Anatoly Karpov against Flores, a player of inferior class, was one of the most tense in the round. The advantage travelled from one side to another, but in the final result White was the last to make a mistake in this game, so Black won. A little sensation occurred in the game Milos - Short. Not that the result itself was unexpected, but its quickness. The English grandmaster won a victory over one of the semi-finalists of the recent World Cup in Shenyang in less than thirty moves, though even five moves before White resigned nobody would be able to forecast such a quick end. The only ELO favourite who failed to break the opposition of an inferior opponent was Vadim Milov who had to be content with a draw with Pirrot. The game J. Polgar - Leitao was won by the Hungarian chess player who also has a higher ELO-rating. On the eighteenth move White applied a novelty, having played 0-0 instead of Nc7+ which gave a new character to the play. Black defended not in the best way and was defeated.

Flores - Karpov [B22]

1. e4 c5

An unusual choice for Anatoly Karpov. Usually he prefers to advance the c-pawn on the first move to the sixth horizontal.

2. c3 Nf6 3. e5 Nd5 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nf3 e6 6. cxd4 d6 7. Nc3

An important decision. In case of 6... b6 the move 7. Nc3 would have looked quite proper, but after 6... d6 White prefers 7. a3 more often.

7... Nxc3 8. bxc3 Qc7 9. Bd2 Nd7 10. Bd3

White ventures on a sacrifice of the pawn, trying to prevent Black from the completion of his development after 10. exd6 Bxd6.

10... dxe5 11. O-O Be7 12. Re1 exd4 13. cxd4 O-O 14. Rc1

14... Qd8!

Stronger than 14... Qd6?! which occurred previously, allowing White to gain a perceptible advantage after 15. Re4 b6 16. Bf4 Qa3 17. Re3.

15. Re4 a6

Better, than a seemingly active 15... Nc5?! which allowed White to hamper the development of Black’s queenside after 16. dxc5 Qxd3 17. Rd4 Qf5 18. Bf4.

16. Qe2 Nf6 17. Rh4 Bd7 18. Bg5 g6

Black repels the threats to his kingside in cool blood.

19. Ne5 Nd5 20. Bxe7 Qxe7 21. Qg4 Bb5?

For so long Black played excellently and refuted all White’s immediate threats, but his last move is an essential mistake. Now White’s pieces can pounce upon Black’s kingside with a new strength. Better was 21... Rac8 22. Re1 Rc3, leaving to White minimal chances for the organisation a counterplay which would compensate him the missing pawn.

22. Bxg6!

White did not miss his chance.

22.... fxg6 23. Nxg6 hxg6 24. Qxg6+ Qg7 25. Qxe6+ Rf7?!

Despite the allowed mistake, Black continues to play for a win. Probably stronger was 25... Qf7, but after 26. Rg4+ Kh7 (if 26... Kh8, then there was 27. Qe5+) White forced a draw with 27. Rh4+. In case of 27. Qe4+ Qf5 28. Rc3 Nf4! (no 28... Nxc3? because of 29. Qe7+ Kh6
30. Qe3+, White mating) 29. Rh4+ Kg7 Black repelled immediate threats to his king.

26. Rg4 Bc6 27. Re1 Nf6 28. Rxg7+ Kxg7 29. Re5?

Now it’s White’s turn to make a mistake. After 29. Qf5 Rd8 30. Qg5+ Kh8 (if 30... Kf8, then Black had to reckon with 31. Re6 Re8 32. Qh6+ Kg8 33. d5) 31. Qh4+ Kg8 32. Re3 Black’s problems got worse.

29... Rd8 30. Rg5+ Kf8 31. h3?!

White does not play well. After 31. Qe5 Rd5 32. Qb8+ Ne8 the position was still unclear.

31... Rxd4

32. Rf5??

A blunder which will cost dearly to White. After 32. Rg6 both sides had mutual chances.

32... Bd7 33. Qe5 Rd1+ 34. Kh2 Bxf5 35. Qxf5 Rd5 36. Qf4 Ne8 37. Qh6+ Ke7 38. Qb6 Nd6 39. Qc7+ Ke6 40. Qc2 b5 41. g3 Nc4 42. h4 Rxf2+! 0-1 White resigned. After 42... Rxf2+ 43. Qxf2 Rd2 White’s opposition was absolutely senseless.

"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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