Just as in the previous round, two games were decisive. G. Milos in Sicilian defense, in the Paulsen Variation managed to gradually outplay R. Gunavan, by gaining space on the kingside. U. Adianto faced a player who is not as strong as the other participants - Zav Win Lay and got a predicted full point. In the game of the leader of the tournament, J. Polgar against the FIDE World Champion, A. Khalifman, the result was a relatively quick draw. Positional struggle did not give an advantage to any of the players. The other two games, J. Ehlvest Vs. Y. Seiravan and J.Timman Vs. A. Karpov contained a bit more struggle. However, while in the first one the American grandmaster easily managed to hold on against his opponent's pressure, the former World Champion A. Karpov had a lot of difficulties. The game between the two oldest players of the tournament was very interesting and complicated.
Timman, J - Karpov, A [B17]
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Ng5 Ngf6 6. Bd3 e6 7. N1f3 Bd6 8. Qe2 h6 9. Ne4 Nxe4 10. Qxe4 Qc7 11. Qg4 Kf8 12. O-O the opponents chose one of the most popular lines in Caro-Kann Defense, which has been the major weapon of the former World Champion against 1. å2-å4. One needs to remember that two rounds earlier Polgar had played 12.Nd2 in this position against Karpov and did not get any advantage from the opening. 12... c5 13. Qh4 b6 14. Be4 Rb8 15. b3 Timman tries to improve White's play. The moves that had been played earlier 15.Bg5, 15.c3 è 15. Rd1 gave nothing special to white. A year ago the former World Champion demonstrated what Black should play against 15. Rd1: 15... c4 16. Ne5 Nf6 17. Bf3 Bb7 18. Bxb7 Rxb7 Sadvakasov - Karpov, Hoogeveen, 1999. 15... Nf6 16. dxc5 bxc5 17. Bb2 Nxe4 18. Qxe4 Bb7 19. Qg4 f5 20. Qh5 Bxf3 21. Qxf3 Kf7?! Black decided not to grab the pawn offered by the opponent, but he probably should have taken it. After 21... Bxh2+ 22. Kh1 Bd6 ( if 22... Be5 23. Bxe5 Qxe5 24. Rfe1 Qd5 25. Qxd5 exd5 26. Re5 the rook endgame is difficult for Black) 23. Rfe1 Kf7 24. Rad1 White has a lot of compensation for the pawn, but this position is quite playable for Black. 21...Kf7 allows Timman to gain strong initiative for nothing. 22. Qh5+ g6 23. Qh4 Be7 24. Qh3 Bf6 25. Bxf6 Kxf6 26. Rae1 e5 27. Qc3 Rhe8 Black is not able to prevent the push of the 'f' pawn. For example, 27... g5 28. f4 gxf4 29. Rxf4 and the black king does not feel himself comfortable in the middle of the board, being attacked by the White pieces. 28. f4 Rb4 Black is going to block the white queen with the move Rb4-d4.
29. g4! White is trying to expose the black king as much as possible. After 29.fxe5+ Rxe5 move Rb4 would be very helpful for black. 29... Rd4 30. Qh3 Qg7?! Another possibility - 30... e4. After 31. gxf5 ( after 31. Qxh6 Qg7 white would also have difficulties with realizing the material advantage.) 31... Qd7 32. Qh4+ Kg7 33. fxg6 Qf5 34. Kh1 e3 Black would have some counter play. The move 30...Qg7 allows White to use all his pieces for attacking the Black king which is too much centralized. 31. fxe5+ Rxe5 32. Rxe5 Kxe5 33. Qg3+ f4 33... Kf6 is bad because of 34. gxf5 and 34... gxf5 is not possible because of 35. Rxf5+. 34. Qe1+ Kd6 35. c3 Rd3 36. Qe4 Qxc3 37. Qxg6+ Kc7 38. Qf7+ Kb6 39. Qxf4 Ka5
40. Qc7+?! Perhaps this check was not necessary. White forces the black king to go where he himself is trying to get. White should have taken a brief pause before striking decisive blows on the Black king. After 40. Kh1 it is hard to find a good move for Black. For example, 40... Qd4 ( if 40... Rd4, then 41. Qc7+ wins) 41. Qc7+ Ka6 (41... Kb4 does not work because of 42. Rf4) 42. Qc6+ Ka5 43. Qb7 Qd5+ 44. Qxd5 Rxd5 45. Rf5 and black is not able to hold on in the rook ending. 40... Kb4 41. Qb7+ Ka3 42. Qxa7+?! Maybe it was better to grab another pawn. After 42. Qa6+ Kb2 43. Qxh6 Qd4+ (43... Kxa2 is not possible in view of 44. Qa6+ Kb2 45. Qa1+ Kxb3 46. Rb1+ Kc4 47. Rc1) 44. Rf2+ Kb1 45. Qg6 Black would most likely not able to avoid defeat. 42... Kb2 the black king had just enough time to get behind the white pawns and, even though White has two extra pawns, it is not so easy to find the winning continuation for White. 43. Rf2+ White decides to simplify the position. After 43. Qf7 one should worry about 43... Rg3+! 44. Kh1 (44. hxg3 Qxg3+ lead to a perpetual check) 44...Rxg4, and 43. Kh1 would be met by the unpleasant 43... Rd1! 43... Rd2 44. Rxd2+ Qxd2 45. Qxc5 Qd1+ 46. Kf2 Qxg4 47. Qd5 White has two extra pawns, but he would have to give up at least one of them. After 47. Qa7 Qf4+ 48. Kg2 Qg4+ 49. Kf1 Qd1+ 50. Kf2 Qd2+ 51. Kg3 Qd3+ 52. Kf4 Qd2+ the black queen would not calm down until it grabs the pawn on h2. Playing for a win was possible after 47. Qe3 Kxa2 48. Qxh6 Kxb3 49. h3. The queen endgame is most likely drawn, but Timman has a successful experience of realizing an extra pawn. Twenty years ago at the tournament in Bugojno he managed to beat S. Gligoric in a similar endgame 47... Qh4+ 48. Ke3 Kxa2 49. b4+ Ka3 50. b5 White decides to rely on his passed 'b' pawn. 50... Qxh2 51. Qc6 Kb4 52. b6 Ka5 53. b7 h5
54. Qc8 The white queen is on the edge of the board and therefore is not surprising that Black finds a perpetual check.
54... Qe5+ 55. Kd3 Qd5+ 56. Ke3 Qe5+ 57. Kf3 Qd5+ 58. Kf4 Qd2+ 59. Kf5 Qf2+ 60. Kg6 Qg3+ 61. Kf6 after 61. Kxh5 Qe5+ the white king would not escape from a perpetual check. 61...
Qh4+ 62. Kf7 Qf4+ Draw.
Round 7 - very stubborn struggle. Only one game (Y.Seiravan - G.Milos) resulted in a draw on move 25 after a short maneuver struggle. In all other games, the opponents fought for a victory. The leader of the tournament, J. Polgar (Black) in her game with R.Gunavan, in a sharp variation of Sicilian Defense, has made a bishop exchange on move 11 which is considered in opening theory to be wrong. As a result, Black had to work hard to achieve a draw. Probably, R.Gunavan did not utilize his chance forcing the events too early. J.Timman, in his game with the tournament outsider Zav Win Lay, struggled for a victory. But White managed to keep the balance in spite of the positional advantage of Black. FIDE World champion Alexander Khalifman managed to win an important game - he defeated U.Adianto. In Caro-Kann, White went into a sharp variation. Black did not take a risk to grab g4 pawn on move 10, but by his next move 11.f5! White made his opponent to accept a sac with opening up the position in the center. By move 25, everything was actually over for the player from Indonesia. A. Karpov has defeated J.Ehlvest in a very hard (incorrect sometimes) but very important game in his favorite line of Kings Indian and managed to reach leading J. Polgar.
Karpov, A - Ehlvest, J [E15]
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Ba6 5. b3 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 Be7 7. Bg2 c6 8. Bc3 d5 9. Ne5 Nfd7 10. Nxd7 Nxd7 11. Nd2 O-O 12. O-O Nf6 Two rounds before, U.Adianto played with ex-champion 12... Rc8 (see Round 5 review), but did not manage to stand. J.Ehlvest decides to choose another way with the hope to equalize soon, but A. Karpov has prepared something new here as well. 13. e4 b5 14. Re1 dxe4 15. Qc2 Rc8 16. Rad1 Nd5 This piece sac is well-known in theory and it was introduced into tournament practice by L. Portish 17. Bxe4 It is dangerous to capture the piece. After 17. cxd5 cxd5 18. a3 Bxa3 19. Qa2 b4 20. Bxb4 Bxb4 21. Qxa6 Rc2 22. Re2 Qb6 Black is at least not worse. 17... Nxc3 18. Qxc3 Bf6
19. c5!? White decides to sac a pawn in the struggle for an advantage. After 19. Qc2 g6 20. Nf3 bxc4 21. bxc4 Qa5 22. c5 Black by 22... Bb5! ( the following is worse: 22... Rfd8 23. Qc1 Rd7 24. h4 and White has initiative Karpov-Adams, Dos Hermanas, 1999) 23. Qc1 Qxa2 24. Qf4 Bg7 Black equalized and White had to agree to a draw by perpetual threatening to the opponent's queen. 25. Ra1 Qb2 26. Reb1 Qc3 27. Rc1 Qb2 28. Rab1 Qa2 29. Ra1 1/2-1/2, Karpov-Timman, Hoogeveen, 1999. 19... Bxd4 The following does not work: 19... Qxd4? because of 20. Qa5 Bb7 21. Qxa7 and White has a large advantage. 20. Qc2 f5 If 20... Qa5 then the following would be annoying for Black: 21. Bxh7+ Kh8 22. Re4 and White has initiative. 21. Bg2 Qf6
22. b4! A surprise is coming! It was played here before 22. Nf3 Bc3 23. Re3 b4 24. Rd6 Rfe8 25. a3 and here, in the game Van der Sterren - Hoeksema, Netherlands (ch), 1993 Black could achieve a certain balance by 25... Bb5. 22... Rcd8! Black has to be very precise. For instance, after natural 22... Bc3 there was a risk for him to lose very soon. Sample line: 23.Qb3 Rfe8 ( it is bad to play 23... Rfd8 24. Rxe6 Qf7 25. Bxc6 Bxd2 and now the decisive is 26. Re8+! Rxe8 27. Bd5 winning the queen) 24. Re3 Bd4 25. Rd3 Bb7 ( if 25... Be5 then 26. Qa3 looks strong, and if 25... Bb2 - 26. Rd7 makes problems for Black) 26. Ne4! and the Blacks position is poor. 23. Nf3 White did not play 23. Qb3 most likely because of 23... Bc8 24. Bxc6 Bc3. 23... Bc3 24. Re3 Rxd1+ If 24... Bb2 Black should consider 25. Rde1 Bc8 26. Rb1 Bd4 27. Nxd4 Rxd4 28. Bxc6 and white has an advantage 25. Qxd1
25... Bc8 Black chooses a solid move. The greediness in this position would be punished In case of 25... Bxb4? 26. Qb3 f4 (it is bad to play 26... Bxc5 because of 27. Rxe6 Qa1+ 28. Re1+ or 26... Qa1+ 27. Bf1 Bxc5 because of 28. Re1! Qf6 29. Rxe6 Qf7 30. Ne5 and white wins in both cases.) and white has a very strong move here - 27. Re5! and Black would scarcely keep his bishop. For instance, after 27... fxg3 28. hxg3 Ba5 29. Rxe6 Qf7 30. Ng5 Qxf2+ 31. Kh1 Kh8 White has a decisive attack: 32. Qd3 g6 33. Qd7. This line makes to think of an immediate 25... f4!?. 26. Qb3 Ba1 27. Ne1 Kh8 Now, if 27... f4, Black should consider 28. Rf3 g5 (if 28... Be5, then 29. Nd3) 29. gxf4 gxf4 30. Rd3 with a compensation for a pawn. 28. Nc2 White did not play 28.Bxc6 probably because of 28... f4 29. Rf3 e5 and now if 30. Bxb5 it looks very strong to play 30... Bg4!. 28... f4 29. gxf4 If 29. Rf3 then 29... Be5 looks not bad.
29... g5 This is a game "for three possible results" Black makes a very demanding move in the struggle for a success.29...Bb2! looked and now if 30. Bxc6, then 30... Bc1. 30. Bxc6 gxf4 31. Rd3 Qg6+ If 31... Rg8+, white had to play like it was in the game - 32. Kf1, as it is bad to play 32. Kh1 because of a spectacular tactic strike 32... Bb7! 33. Bxb7 Qg7. 32. Kf1 Bg7 33. Rd6 White did not like 33. Bxb5 because of 33... e5. 33... Qh5 34. Qf3 Qxh2 Of course, Black would not exchange queens. 35. Ne1 White did not take a risk to get a pawn back by 35. Bxb5. Probably, after 35... e5 36. Bd7 36... e4 looked strong and now it is not possible to play 37.Qxe4? because of 37... Bxd7 38. Rxd7 Qh3+. 35... a6 The alternative is 35... e5 and if 36. Bxb5, then 36... Bh3+ . 36. Ke2 Qh6 37. Qe4 Qf6 38. Nf3 Qe7 39. Qd3 e5 40. Be4 There was a threat of е5-е4. 40... Bf6 41. Qd5 Qg7 42. Qc6 Qf7 43. Ke1 Bg4 44. a3 Bxf3 Black intends to win and is planning the counter pawn sacrifice in order to open the way for the black bishop. Another way is 44... Bc8. 45. Bxf3 e4 46. Bxe4 Qc4 47. Qd5
47... Bc3+ ?! This is a critical moment in the game. Black sacrificed one pawn but did not take a risk to sac another. After 47... Qc1+ 48. Ke2 (it is bad to play 48. Qd1 because of 48... Qxa3) 48... f3+ ! 49. Kxf3 ( 49. Bxf3? loses because of 49... Bc3! 50. Qd1 Re8+ 51. Kf1 Re1+) 49... Bh4+ 50. Bf5 Qh1+ 51. Kf4 Qh2+ and Black has a perpetual in any case. After the move in the game, only White keeps chances. 48. Kd1 Qf1+ 49. Kc2 Bg7 50. f3 If 50. Rxa6, there is the only way to a draw: 50... f3 51. Ra8 Qe2+ 52. Kc1 Qb2+ 53. Kd1 Qe2+. 50... Qe2+ 51. Qd2 Qc4+ 52. Kd1 Qb3+ 53. Ke2 Qc4+ If 53... Qxa3 then 54. Rd8 and in case of 54... Qa1 the decisive is 55. c6. 54. Qd3 Qa2+ 55. Kf1 Qa1+ 56. Qb1 Qc3 It is bad here 56... Qxa3 because of 57. Rd3! Qa4 ( 57... Qa1 - 58. Qxa1 Bxa1 59. Bb7 winning) 58. Bxh7! and white wins. 57. Rd3 Qf6 58. Ke2 Qh6 59. Rd7 Re8 If 59... Qh2+, then 60. Kd3. 60. Qd3 Qf6 61. Qd5 Qb2+ 62. Kf1 Qc1+ In case of 62... Qxa3 the decisive is 63. Qf5 and White wins. 63. Qd1
63... Qc4+ 63... Qxa3, and White wins by 64. Rxg7! Rxe4 ( in case 64... Kxg7 - 65. Qd7+) 65. Rg4 and Black cannot escape the checkmate. 64. Kf2 Qa2+ 65. Qd2 Qe6 After 65... Qxa3 white c pawn plays a decisive role, as it happened in the game 66. c6. 66. c6 Qh6 67. Qd3 Qh2+ 68. Kf1 Qh1+ 69. Ke2 Qh2+ 70. Kd1 Qg1+ 71. Kc2 Qa1 72. Rd8 Qb2+ 73. Kd1 Qa1+ 74. Ke2 Qb2+ 75. Kf1 Qa1+ 76. Kg2 Qa2+ 77. Kh1 Qa1+ 78. Kh2 Qa2+ 79. Qd2 Qxd2+ 80. Rxd2 Be5 81. Rd7 Rc8 If 81... h5, then 82. c7. 82. Rxh7+ Kg8 83. Ra7 Black resigned
After round 8, the number of leaders increased dramatically. J. Polgar did not manage to get an advantage in her game with Y.Seiravan in Caro-Kann and White made a draw by perpetual check. There was a small sensation in the game of A.Karpov with Zav Win Lay (who is in the bottom of the tournament table). The ex-champion (Black) did not manage to overplay his opponent in Tarrasch Defense. As for A.Khalifman, he managed to play the game successfully. Actually, his opponent J.Timman did not manage the opening problems. Another leader is G.Milos who defeated J.Ehlvest (White), who incautiously captured a poisoned a7 pawn on move 14. there was a stubborn struggle in the game U.Adianto - R.Gunavan and we have an impression that Black could achieve a victory somewhere. Now the last Round will decide everything. The leaders will play with each other: A.Khalifman - A.Karpov, and J.Polgar - G.Milos.
Timman, J. - Khalifman, A.[C17]
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Ba5 6. b4 cxd4 7. Qg4 Ne7 8. Nb5 French Defense nowadays is one of the sharpest possible way to struggle against e2-e4 move. For this game it was an ideal choice (in the situation when there is 0,5 points lag from the leader). In the game at recent Linares Tournament V.Anand-A.Khalifman White struggled for an advantage by 8. bxa5 dxc3 9. Qxg7 Rg8 10. Qxh7 Nbc6 11. f4 Qxa5 12. Nf3 Bd7 13. Rb1. 8... Bc7 9. Qxg7 Rg8 10. Qxh7 a611. Nxc7+ Qxc7 12. Bb2 Qxe5+ 13. Ne2 Qc7 14. Ng3?! A dubious novelty. Probably he did not like 14. Nxd4 or 14. Bxd4 because of 14... e5, but it was worth attention here 14. f4 Nbc6 15. Qd3 Nf5 16. O-O-O as it was played in the game Nunn - Kinsman, London,1993 14... e5 Now Black has a powerful center and a very attractive position. 15. Be2 If 15. Nh5 threatening Nf6+ it is possible to play 15... Qd6. 15... Be6 16. f4 White is trying to break the center of Black. After 16. Nh5 it is possible to play 16... Nd7, and if 17. Ng7+, then 17... Rxg7 18. Qxg7 Qxc2 and Black has an excellent position. 16... exf4 17. Nh5 Qe5 18. O-O? Actually, it loses immediately. After 18. Rf1 Rxg2 19. Nxf4 Bg4 20. O-O-O there were still chances left.
18... Bf5! This refutes the idea of White. A rash 18... Qxe2? made it possible for White to make a draw by perpetual 19.Nf6+ Kf8 20. Qh6+ Rg7 21. Nh7+ Kg8 22. Nf6+. 19. Qh6 Rg6 20. Qxf4 Rxg2+ Black does not give a sign of counter play for the opponent. After 20... Qxe2 21. Ng3 Qg4 22. Qc7 Nbc6. Black having an extra piece could count on a victory. 21. Kxg2 Qxe2+ 22. Kg3 If 22. Rf2 or 22. Qf2 then 22... Qxh5 is enough for a victory. 22... Qxh5 23. Bxd4 Nbc6 24. Rae1 In case of 24. c3, the decisive is 24... Nxd4 25. cxd4 Be4 with further 26... Nf5+. 24... Nxd4 25. Qxd4 Qh3+ 26. Kf2 Qxh2+ White resigned. Surely, he did not intend to play the position after 27. Ke3 Rc8.