Alexander Morozevich sensational in Biel

by ChessBase
8/4/2003 – Some of his moves look like typographical errors and so do some of his scores. The 26-year-old Russian scored 8/10 in the strong (avg. Elo 2640) Swiss round-robin. His performance rating was close to 2900 as he racked up six wins and four draws to finish 1.5 points ahead of Bacrot and Smirin. We also link to an forceful new interview with the winner. Report and games

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A win a la Moro

Alexander Morozevich is no stranger to winning GM events with amazing scores. His maximalist approach, backed up by tremendous talent, allows him to win equally easily with white and black when he is in form He was definitely in form in Biel, Switzerland, where he dominated the top event of the festival with an astounding 8/10 score.

Final standings - Game replay and download

It started back in 1994 when the then-teenager scored 9.5/10 in the strong Lloyds Bank Open. He put up more impossible numbers in tough Russian events, numbers like 9/10 and 9.5/10. His colorblindness was more evident in 1998 when he played seven of his ten games in the Elista Olympiad with black and won five of them. Later that year he scored 9/10 in Pamplona, two full points ahead.

These results launched him into the top five in the world and invitations to supertournaments were quick to follow. There things proved much more difficult for "Moro," who was soon a fan favorite thanks to his dynamic, unorthodox play and drive to win every game. Spectacular victories were counterbalanced by too many losses to compete for titles against the likes of Kasparov, Kramnik, and Anand.

Nowadays he claims to be semi-retired and working much less on his chess. In an interview after Biel he stated, "I got tired of the lack of any reasonable prospects in the chess world. What are the goals for a professional player? There is no more clear system, no real cycle of world championships, no clear world champion and thus no possibility for the players to fight for a world title."

Meanwhile we'll just have to enjoy the games he does play. If, Fischer-style, Morozevich won the Biel exhibition, then Etienne Bacrot and Ilya Smirin tied for first place in the tournament. It was an important success for Bacrot in a strong event. The 20-year-old has been the future of French chess for so long he now risks becoming the past without ever having been the present. He won his mini-matches against every competitor except Morozevich.

It was another solid event from Israel's Smirin. It looked like he would keep the pressure on Morozevich until he was upended by Bacrot in a brutal 26-move Grunfeld. Pelletier and Lutz were combative and played several interesting games, but both were dominated by the medal winners.

They were saved from the cellar by Viktor Korchnoi's nightmare performance. Simply nothing worked for the veteran; even his good position turned into losses. Two years ago he won this event ahead of Svidler, Gelfand, et al. Perhaps the 72-year-old will win it two years from now. Would you bet against it?

In the final round Morozevich played for a win with black despite leading Smiring and Bacrot by a full point. His queenside attack arrived before Lutz's counterplay on the kingside even got started.

In the diagrammed position Moro finished things off nicely with 31..Rd3! and Lutz resigned.

A great example of an interference move. After 32.Rxd3 cxd3 33.Nc6 Qb7 pins and wins. (33.Nf5 Qb3 34.Qg4 Rg8)

A round earlier Morozevich proved the old saying, "the threat is stronger than the execution" in his game against Korchnoi.

In this position Morozevich has just played 20.Qd3 and Korchnoi resigned! The only move to avoid the deadly 21.Qh7 infiltration is 20...Kg8 and then 21.Nxf7! rips the black kingside apart.

This game calls to mind Korchnoi's loss to Anand in Wijk aan Zee, 2000. That one lasted just 19 moves and Black also resigned facing dreadful threats against his king instead of waiting to actually see them happen.


Photo of Morozevich by John Henderson, all rights reserved.

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