It was a very tense tie-break session, with thousands of visitors watching on Playchess.com. That was surprising, since the games were in the middle of a working day in Europe – and in the early hours of the morning in the US. But soon our broadcast room was crowded, with more than a dozen GMs (and plenty of other titled players) dropping in to help with the commentary.
A grimly determined Michael Adams at the start of the first tiebreak game
Rustam What-have-I-got-to-lose-anov. Later FIDE president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov told friends that everybody was extremely tense during this final tiebreak day – except one person: Kasimdzhanov.
The start of the game. Kasim knows that Mickey Adams is going to be utterly ferocious in his white game.
Adams,M (2731) - Kasimdzhanov,R (2652) [B51]
FIDE WCh KO Tripoli LBA (7.7), 13.07.2004
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.0-0 Bd7 5.Re1 Nf6 6.c3 a6 7.Ba4 b5 8.Bc2 Rc8 9.a4 g6 10.axb5 axb5 11.d4 cxd4 12.cxd4 Bg4 13.Nc3 b4 14.Ne2 Bg7 15.d5 Bxf3 16.gxf3 Ne5 17.Ba4+ Nfd7 18.Nd4 0-0 19.f4 Nc4 20.Nc6 Rxc6 21.dxc6 Nc5 22.Qe2 Nb6 23.Bb5 Nb3
White is winning almost mechanically, the game looks really like a walkover for Michael Adams. All the GMs were assuring us that this was over and that Kasimdzhanov now had to put all his efforts into fighting back and equalising in game two. On the FIDE webcast we could all see the Uzbek GM suffering.
Adams is winning, what can I do, oh what can I do?
24.Ra6? For the first time many of the GMs and Fritz frowned on a white move. Fritz was dying to play 24.Ra7, while Garry Kasparov, watching the game very informally (while working on his latest book) muttered something about 24.Be3 Nxa1 25.Rxa1 being better. 24...Nd4 25.Qd3 Na8 26.Ra4 Nc7 27.Rxb4 Qb8.
White is still winning, though his task has become quite a bit harder. 28.Rxd4? "Come on Mickey," said one GM, "that's not the way to do it!" Kasparov, who was analysing some historical game for his book, quickly rattled out 28.Be3 Ndxb5 29.Ra1 d5 30.exd5 Rd8 31.Ra5 Qc8 32.Raxb5 Nxb5 33.Rxb5 as a better strategy for White.
28...Bxd4 29.Qxd4. At this stage Kasparov thought that White could no longer win. He himself would have gone for 29.Bc4 Qb6 30.Re2 Ra8 31.Rc2 (or 31.Kg2 e6 32.Rc2 d5 33.exd5 exd5 34.Bb3 Rb8 35.Ba2 Ra8) 31...Ra1 32.Kg2 Bxf2 33.f5 Bd4 34.b4 with much better chances to win. [Note that these are informal real-time comments, which we may not have recorded completely accurately].
Rustam Kasimdzhanov defended like a tiger to pull back into the game
29...Qxb5 30.f5 Rc8 31.Bh6 Ne8 32.e5. This was the moment where even Fritz thought taht White had given up any chances of winning the game. 32...Rxc6 33.exd6 Rxd6 34.Qe5 Qxe5 35.Rxe5 Rd7 36.Rc5 f6 37.fxg6 hxg6 38.Be3 Rb7 39.Bd4.
Now White is actually losing, and Kasimdzhanov methodically puts pressure on the weak b-pawn, while advancing his kingside forces. 39...Kf7 40.Kg2 Nd6 41.Bc3 e5 42.Ra5 Nc4 43.Ra1 Rb6 44.b4 Nd6 45.Rb1 Ke6 46.Bd2 f5 47.Be3 Rb7 48.Bc5 Ne4 49.Rd1 Rc7 50.Bb6 Rc6 51.Ba7 Ra6 52.Be3 f4 53.Bc1 Ra4 54.Re1 Kf5.
The b-pawn is doomed, and Adams tries one desperate trick: 55.Bb2 Rxb4 56.Bxe5. Perhaps, White thought, there is some hope after 56...Kxe5 57.f3 Kf5 58.fxe4+. But the coolest man in hall had a quick refutation: 56...f3+ 57.Kxf3 Kxe5 and Black is a piece up with a totally won endgame. 58.Kg4 Kf6 59.f4 Nf2+ 60.Kg3 Nd3 0-1.
In the second game, a Ruy Lopez Exchange, Kasimdzhanov never allowed his opponent to gain an advantage. Adams could only hope for a blunder, which simply never came.
Kasimdzhanov,R (2652) - Adams,M (2731) [C68]
FIDE WCh KO Tripoli LBA (7.8), 13.07.2004
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.0-0 Qd6 6.d3 Ne7 7.Be3 Ng6 8.Nbd2 c5 9.a4 b6 10.Nc4 Qe6 11.Ng5 Qf6 12.Qh5 h6 13.Nh3 Bxh3 14.Qxh3 Bd6 15.Qg4 Rd8 16.g3 h5 17.Qe2 Qe6 18.f4 exf4 19.gxf4 Qg4+ 20.Qxg4 hxg4 21.Rae1 Kd7 22.e5 Be7 23.f5 Nh4 24.e6+ fxe6 25.Ne5+ Kc8 26.fxe6 Rdf8 27.Rf7 Bd6 28.Bg5 Nf3+ 29.Nxf3 gxf3 30.h4 Rxf7 31.exf7 Kd7 32.Re8 Rxe8 33.fxe8Q+ Kxe8 34.Kf2 Kf7 35.Kxf3 g6 36.Kg4 Ke6 37.Bd2 Be7 38.Bf4 c6 39.c4 b5 40.b3 Bf6 41.Be3 Be7 42.Bf4 Bf8 43.Kg5 Kf7 44.Kg4 Kf6 45.Bg3 Bh6 46.Bd6 Be3 47.Bg3 Ke6 48.Bc7 ½-½.
|FIDE World Championship finals||
Suddenly it is all over, Kasim is the new FIDE world champion
Heartfelt congratulations for Mickey from Kirsan Ilyumzhinov
The FIDE president poses with his new champion
A television interview or two before leaving the hall
Pictures by courtesy of FIDE (© FIDE.com)
On the Playchess.com server over 1000 people watching the playoff games
A dozen GMs, lots of IMs, with Vishy Anand doing VIP commentary
A lot of excitement on the server, with GMs and amateurs discussing the moves
Fritz is there as well, on every visitor's machine, having the time of its life