The tournament was won by V. Bologan and J. Polgar who played
each other in the last round. The grandmaster from Moldova
equalised without any particular problems. Until Black’s
twentieth move the opponents repeated the game Milos - Timman
(Bali, 2000). The move 20... Qxe7 allowed Bologan to maintain an
equality even sooner than was done in that game. Anatoly Karpov
could have joined the leaders, he had an extra pawn and good
winning chances in the game with P. Ricardi, but he ran out of
time. Nigel Short, who defeated easily D. Flores, gained profit
from Karpov’s disaster, having left him behind, and finished
third. R. Leitao failed to overwhelm the defensive redoubts of F.
Pierrot with White in the Petroff Defence and had to be content
with a draw. The game Milov - Milos was the longest in the ninth
round but was also drawn despite Milov’s violent efforts to
Karpov - Ricardi [A58]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. g3 c5
P. Ricardi wants to exacerbate the play, avoiding a quiet
variation of the King’s Indian or Gruenfeld Defences.
4. d5 b5
Black decided for the Volga Gambit. In this opening he gets
good piece play on the queenside for a pawn, and simplifications
usually don’t help White to achieve his extra pawn but only
increase the potential of his opponent’s major pieces.
5. cxb5 a6 6. bxa6 Bxa6 7. Nc3 Bg7 8. Bg2 d6 9. Nf3 Nbd7
There was also a popular move 10. Rb1 with the idea that if
10... Nb6, then 11. b3.
10... Nb6 11. Nh4
11. Re1 is played more often.
11... O-O 12. Qc2 Qd7 13. Rd1 Bb7
A reinforcement. This move is more precise than 14. e4 which
allowed White to simplify the position and put pressure upon
White’s centre after 14... Na4 15. Nxa4 Rxa4 16. Bd2 e6.
14... Rfb8 15. e4 Ne8 16. b3 Nc7 17. Bb2 e6 18. dxe6 Qxe6
After 18... fxe6 19. f4 Black’s position was rather passive.
19. Rab1 Bc6 20. Ne2
White forces a favourable exchange of the dark-squared
20... Bxb2 21. Rxb2 Na6 22. Qc3
A tactical operation 22. Nd4 cxd4 23. Qxc6 Nb4 24. Qc1 d3 gave
Black a strong play in the centre.
Here 23. Nf5! was very strong, and Black has big problems.
Ne5 24. Nf4 Nxf3+ 25. Qxf3 Qe5 26. Rbd2
White’s pressure on the pawn d6 makes Black look for
tactical defensive means.
After 27. Rxd6 Rxb3
(in case of 27... cxb3? 28. Rxc6 b2 29. Rb1 White coped with the
passed pawn, having an extra piece) 28. Qe2 Bxa4 (in case of
28... Bb7 29. Qxc4 Rb4 30. Qc2 Bxe4 31. Bxe4 Qxe4 32. Qxe4 Rxe4
33. a5 White had an extra pawn in a quiet position and real
winning chances) 29. Qxc4 the game was reduced to one flank which
made it more difficult to achieve the extra pawn. At the same
time, in this line White had an easier play than in the
continuation, chosen by A. Karpov, which allowed him to keep
going until the time control and then to concern himself with
achieving his advantage.
27... Bxa4 28. Re1 Nc5 29. Rd5 Qe7
White missed a good chance to increase his advantage. After
30. e5! there was no 30... Bc6 because of 31. Qd1! Bxd5 32. Nxd5
Qf8 33. exd6, making Black’s position far from enviable.
30... Bc6 31. Rd2 Ra4 32. Nd5
White allows an exchange of his knight which decreases his
winning chances to some extent. Probably 32. Red1!? complied
better with the position, because after 32... Nxe4 (no 32...
Bxe4? because of 33. Nd5 Qe5 34. Bxe4 Nxe4 35. Qxe4!) 33. Rxd6
Qb7 34. R6d4 White’s extra passed pawn supported his winning
chances, whereas after 34. Rxc6 Qxc6 35. Bxe4 Qxc4 36. Qxc4 Rxc4
the play with two minor pieces and all pawns on a single flank
was much more difficult.
32... Bxd5 33. Rxd5 Nd7 34. Red1 Ne5 35. Rxd6 Nxc4 36. R6d4
Rb2 37. Qd3 Qf6
After 37... Ne5 38. Qc3 Raa2 39. Rd8+ Kg7 40. R8d2 Black’s
active pieces got exchanged.
After 38. Rd8+ Kg7 39. Qd4 Qxd4 40. R8xd4 Rc2 41. Bf1 Nb2 42.
R1d2 (weaker was 42. Rxa4 Nxd1 43. f4 Ne3 44. Bh3 h5, forcing
White to exchange his bishop for the black knight) 42... Rxd4 43.
Rxc2 Nd3 44. f4 White still had some winning prospects.
38... Qb6 39. Kh1 0-1 White ran out of time.
Despite White’s extra pawn a correct play of the weaker side
should have brought to a draw owing to the forced line 39... Ne3!
(no 39... Raa2? because of 40. Rd8+ Kg7 41. Qc3+ Kh6 42. g4!,
Black’s king suffering a very strong attack) 40. Qxe3 Rxd4 41.
Qxd4 Qxd4 42. Rxd4 Rb1+ 43. Bf1 Rxf1+, leading to a defensible
rook endgame with four pawns by White against three by Black.