Bareev leads Enghien-les-bains

6/17/2003 – A lot has been said about the French lately, but one thing is for sure: They put on an exciting chess tournament. Every two years the organizers of Enghien-les-bains put together a field full of locals, juniors, and fighters of all ages. They are consistently rewarded with many fascinating battles. Top seeds Bareev, Adams, and Polgar lead undefeated after five rounds. All the games, many with notes and analysis here.

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Favorites still in front in Enghien-les-bains


Enghien-les-bains 2003 after round 5
Official site Game replay/download page

You never know what to expect in the French tournament of Enghien-les-bains. The last edition, in 2001, was won by Vladimir Akopian. This time around he's stuck in the cellar with just a draw after five games. On the other hand, the rating favorites are living up to expectations this time around. Mickey Adams, Judit Polgar, and Evgeny Bareev were tied for first going into the fifth round when the Russian pulled away with a win over French #1 Lautier.

Gelfand and Fressinet are right behind the leaders with +1 scores. The Israeli must be considered one of the usual suspects and permanent favorite. The 22-year-old Frenchman is coming off of a brilliant campaign in the German league and is making a move on Lautier's long-time stranglehold on the French top spot.

16-year-old Teimour Radjabov is still moving up the Elo ladder. His celebrity and exciting chess gain him a steady diet of good invitations and he is taking good advantage. It's a little hard to believe that the teen has already played over 50 games against the world's few 2700 players.

Viktor Korchnoi and Akopian will be hard-pressed in the final four rounds to avoid anything less than a miserable event. The battle for the cellar was won by Akopian in round five when he was ground down by the legend.

As always there have been many exciting games in this event. The hundred years war reenactment between English #1 Adams and French #1 Lautier went to the world number eight.

In the diagram Adams finished off a great attacking game with the brutal 1.Rxf7!. The c-pawn is a winner if Black captures: 1...Qxf7 2.Bxe6 Rxe6 3.c8Q+ Re8 4.Qxf7+ Kxf7 5.Qxc3.

So Lautier tried to queen his own pawn and things ended abruptly after 1...e2 2.Qh7#.

 

The Frenchman (not German!) Bauer had a chance to ruin Polgar's chances in this endgame in the fifth round. He had played a fine game up to this point and deserved better than the draw he ended up with after 1.Re3 Kg8!.

1.e6 is a straightforward win. It doesn't transpose because now the black king doesn't have f7 so 1...Kg8 loses quickly to 2.Ra8+.

Black has nothing better than 1...Re1 and White wins with 2.Ra5 Re3 3.Re5 Rxf3+ 4.Ke4 Rf8 5.e7 Re8 6.Kf5 Kg8 7.Kg6 Kh8 8.Kf7.

 

Bauer fell into a nice trap laid by Fressinet in the second round. White's lead in development and his bishop pair give him a plus but Black probably didn't imagine that his queen was in danger of being trapped!

1.Bb5! takes away the queen's escape squares and threatens to win the lady with b4. Black had to take ugly measures to escape. 1...Rae8 2.b4 Qa8 3.f5 Ned8 4.Nd5 Re5 5.f6! and White had little trouble converting his massive advantage of space and development into a winning attack.

This 28-move debacle was the shortest decisive game in the event so far.

 

Polgar went back down the line of the Sveshnikov that cost her a full point against Leko a few months ago in Budapest. She varied from that game on move 16 against the always well prepared Lautier.

A tactical melee erupted and it was soon clear that Lautier had failed to follow the first commandment of playing against Judit Polgar: "Thou shalt not allow a tactical melee to erupt."

Case in point. Black's position is holding together by a thread and the a-pawn is another trump in Polgar's hand. But what to do about the rook on g2? The answer is the sweet interference sacrifice 1.Bg4!

The bishop is immune and Lautier had to resign after 1...Qd3+ 2.Ke1 e3 3.Bd7+ Ke7 4.Bf5+

 

Bareev has displayed his usual stability and excellent technique. He got off to a good start in the first round when Akopian got greedy in an already bad position and captured the pawn on e5.

Of course Black can't capture the bishop without getting mated. Everything would be fine for White if it weren't for 1...Qe6 and he's completely lost. Black threatens the bishop and the lethal 2...Qf5+

Akopian got another pawn for his bishop with 2.Bxf6+ but Bareev's position was still dominating and White resigned a few moves later.

 

Korchnoi won a piece against Akopian but was very close to losing the war. Black's pawns are racing down the board and White's pieces are awkwardly placed.

Akopian could have turned the tables completely with the subtle 1...Kh7! and White has no answer for 2...d3 on the next move. E.g. 2.Kf3 d3! 3.Qxe5 d2 4.Qd6 Qf1+ 5.Kxe3 d1Q.

But when you're in bad form nothing works and Black managed to lose after 1...f6? 2.g5! e2? (..fxg5 or ..f5 offered fighting chances) 3.gxf6+ Bxf6 4.Bxf6+ Kxf6 5.Kf2 and White stops the pawns.

Photos from the official website.


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