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Kasparov Wins Elite Tournament


March 9, 2001

Position #5628: White to play and win. From the game Staniszewski - Wyss, Cappelle la Grande 2001.

Solution to Position #5627: White wins with 1 Nf6+ Kg7 2 Qxf8+! Kxf8 3 Nxh7+ or 2 . . . Kxf6 3 Qd8+.


Deposed world champion Garry Kasparov demonstrated his old form by convincingly winning an elite tournament in Linares, Spain. Kasparov scored an undefeated 7 1/2-2 1/2 in the double round robin, which ended Tuesday.

Alexey Shirov, the Latvian grandmaster who lives in Spain, failed to challenge Kasparov for first place. Shirov has enjoyed great success in the past two years, and his personal animosity to Kasparov makes him a fan favorite. But he needed a final-round win over Judit Polgar to escape last place. Shirov, Polgar, Alexander Grischuk, Peter Leko and former world champion Anatoly Karpov all tied for second place at 4 1/2-5 1/2.

Leko (not a single win!) and Karpov turned in mediocre performances. However, Polgar (the only player to draw both games against Kasparov) exceeded expectations and 17-year-old Grischuk gave glimpses of his unlimited potential.

Since losing his world championship title to Vladimir Kramnik in November, Kasparov has outclassed super-GMs in two tournaments. It would be premature to call his loss to Kramnik a fluke, but one must wonder why other stars have not managed to capitalize on the alleged weakness (Queenless middlegames) that Kramnik revealed.

No showdown between Kasparov and his chief rivals, Kramnik and World Chess Federation champ Viswanathan Anand, is imminent. The Linares combatants next travel to a pair of 25-minute tournaments on the Mediterranean. Kasparov, Polgar and Grischuk plan to compete March 21-25 in Cannes, while Shirov, Karpov and Leko will join Kramnik and Anand for the 10th Amber tournament in Monte Carlo, March 17-29.

Yuri Shulman of Belarus leads the Charles Linklater Memorial in San Francisco with a score of 6 1/2-2 1/2. Greg Shahade of Pennsylvania is second at 6-3; GMs Alek Wojtkiewicz (Poland) and Alexander Baburin (Ireland) have 5-3 and an extra game to play. Southern Californians Levon Altounian (4 1/2-3 1/2) and Cyrus Lakdawala (3 1/2-4 1/2) still have a chance for the IM norm of 5 1/2-4 1/2.

The Seattle Chess Foundation, which ran the 2000 U.S. Championship, hosts its second major event, a U.S. versus China team match, March 14-18 in Seattle. The match consists of four rounds of play on 10 boards. China has become a power in chess, and they are favored to win this match thanks to their great superiority on the two women's boards.

The SCF hopes to make the match an annual tradition. For more details, visit its Web site at


CalChess, the official organization for the chess state of Northern California, conducted its 26th annual state scholastic championship last weekend in Santa Clara. The astonishingly successful event has grown so rapidly that the turnout of 1,250 players (up from 985 in 2000) could not have been imagined only a few years ago.

Top-rated IM Vinay Bhat swept the grades K-12 Open, the most prestigious of the 12 sections, with a perfect 6-0 score. Bhat will compete for the U.S. in the match against China.

Ramon Tolentino, Simon Howard and Shafiq Al-Baqir won their sections in the Exposition Park Chess Club tournament last Sunday in Los Angeles. The club meets Sunday afternoons in the public library at 3665 S. Vermont Ave. For more information, call the library at (323) 732-0169.

Chess Academy, 1335 N. La Brea Ave., Hollywood, will host a tournament of 30-minute games at 11 a.m. Sunday, followed by a simultaneous exhibition with GM Eduard Gufeld at 3 p.m. Call Gufeld at (323) 883-0164 for details.


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