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CHESS

Vladimir Kramnik regains top form

November 22, 2009|By Jack Peters

Position No. 6082: White to play and win. From the game Yun Fan-Rusudan Goletiani, U.S. Women's Championship, St. Louis 2009.

Solution to Position No. 6081: Black wins a piece with 1 . . . d5 2 Ne3 d4 3 Nc4 (or 3 Rxc7 dxe3+) b5.

Former world champion Vladimir Kramnik of Russia won the Tal Memorial in Moscow by scoring an undefeated 6-3. The round robin featured 10 of the world's top 13 stars.

Kramnik, in his prime at age 34, seems fully recovered from losing the 2008 world championship match to Viswanathan Anand of India. He also won his previous elite tournament in Dortmund, Germany, in July.

In Moscow, Kramnik reached "+3" after six rounds, and only Anand, who was "+2," remained close. However, Anand lost in the last round to Levon Aronian of Armenia and fell to a tie for fourth place with Aronian at 5-4.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine shared second place at 5 1/2 -3 1/2 . Both went undefeated.

Carlsen, who was ill, won his last two games after drawing his first seven. Ivanchuk gave Kramnik a scare in the final round, but Kramnik withstood a fierce attack and drew.

Others: Boris Gelfand (Israel), 4 1/2 -4 1/2 ; Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine), 4-5; Peter Svidler (Russia), 3 1/2 -5 1/2 ; and Peter Leko (Hungary) and Alexander Morozevich (Russia), each 3-6.

According to the unofficial ratings posted at chess.liverating.org, Carlsen is now first in the world at 2805.7, just ahead of Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria at 2805.1. Next are Anand (2789.7), Kramnik (2785.7) and Aronian (2781.3).

Local news

The 45th American Open will be held Thursday through next Sunday at the Renaissance Hotel, 9620 Airport Blvd. in Los Angeles. The eight-round, six-section main event will award a minimum of $19,500 in prize money. Those who do not want to play on Thanksgiving may choose the three-day schedule, starting with three fast games on Friday.

The American Open provides the most attractions for spectators, including free lectures and free nonstop chess videos. Three side events will complete the chess weekend. The American Open Scholastic starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, a 10-minute event begins at 8 p.m. Saturday and a five-round tournament of 30-minute games starts at noon Sunday. Details and an online entry form are posted at americanopen.org.

The 16th SPA Fall Classic, held Nov. 14 at St. Paul the Apostle School in Westwood, attracted 23 players. Section winners were Aiden Angles, Brendan Barber-Choi, Daniel Nathanson, Nathan Aloisi and Reid Whitney. David De la Torre directed his first tournament.

Today's games

GM Magnus Carlsen (Norway)-GM Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine), Tal Memorial, Moscow 2009: 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 Alternatives are 6 . . . e5 and 6 . . . Ng4. 7 f3 b5 8 Qd2 The English Attack against the Sicilian Defense. Nbd7 9 g4 h6 Not bad is 9 . . . Nb6 10 0-0-0 Nfd7. 10 O-O-O Ne5 11 Qe1 A harmless innovation. Qc7 12 h4 b4 13 Nce2 Nc4 Also 13 . . . d5 creates a wild position. 14 Nf4!? As 14 Bf2 e5 15 Nf5 Be6 16 Neg3 Rc8 17 Bd3 Qa5 favors Black. Nxe3 Probably best. Too dangerous is 14 . . . e5 15 Nd5 Nxd5 16 exd5 exd4? 17 Bxd4+ Kd7 18 Qxb4 or 17 . . . Be7 18 Bxg7. 15 Qxe3 Qb6? Overestimating his threat of . . . e6-e5. Simply 15 . . . Be7 16 Nd3 Rb8 is fine. 16 Bc4! To meet 16 . . . e5 with 17 Bxf7+! Kxf7 18 Qb3+ Ke8 19 Ng6, although 19 . . . exd4 20 Nxh8 Ra7 isn't as horrible for Black as the game. Qc5?! 17 Qb3 d5?! Even the superior 17 . . . Qe5 18 Nfxe6 fxe6 19 Bxe6 Bxe6 20 Nxe6 Kd7 21 Nd4 gives Black little chance to survive. 18 exd5 Bd6 Useless is 18 . . . e5 19 Rhe1 Bd6 20 Nc6. 19 Nfxe6 fxe6 20 dxe6 Overwhelming. Be7 21 Qd3 O-O 22 Bb3? Sloppy, as 22 . . . Bb7 23 Qg6 Ne8 hangs on. Instead, 22 g5! hxg5 23 hxg5 Qxg5+ 24 Kb1 leaves Black helpless against 25 Rdg1 or 25 Nf5. Rd8? 23 g5! Back on track. If 23 . . . hxg5, quickest is 24 Qg6! g4 25 Nf5. Nh7 24 gxh6 Qh5 25 Qe4 Qxh6+ 26 Kb1 Ra7 27 Nf5 Rxd1+ 28 Rxd1 Qf6 29 Rd7! Bxd7 30 exd7+ Kf8 31 Qd5, Black Resigns.

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