Matches and tournaments and analysis, oh my!

by ChessBase
7/22/2003 – Can you name the last chess event held to honor a physicist? Boris Gelfand and Judit Polgar just played in one in Hungary, as far as we can tell. Gelfand demolished Polgar 6-2 in a rapid match. Meanwhile, a trio of players dominated the 18th North Sea Cup in Denmark. Dreev, McShane, and Sasikiran shut out the locals. Results and games here.

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Gelfand in Pecs, a trio in Denmark


You wouldn't guess it from his gangly physique and quiet demeanor, but Israeli GM Boris Gelfand is one of the best rapid players in the world. He also has the record to prove it. Over the past decade only Adams, Ivanchuk, Karpov, and the KKA Triangle members can claim rapid chess results on par with those of Gelfand.

In an eight-game rapid match in Pacs, Hungary against Judit Polgar Gelfand again showed his quick wits and quick hands. Polgar is no slouch in rapid chess herself and has a match win against Karpov to her credit. But even her home turf couldn't help her against Gelfand, who dominated the match. He lost the first game and then ran off four wins in a row. A draw in game six won him the match and he finished strong with another win for a crushing 6-2 final score.

Most of the games were very sharp and entertaining and several contained interesting contributions to topical opening theory. You'll find more about them in the game section below and on the replay page.

Our Hungarian is limited to goulash and paprika, but it appears from the official site that the match was named for Hungarian physicist György Marx and was in part sponsored by a Hungarian atomic energy group. Can anyone name another chess event named for a scientist?

Official site / Game replay and download


Three players dominated this category 15 (avg. 2602) round-robin. Alexei Dreev, Luke McShane (right), and Krishnan Sasikiran all finished with 6.5/9, two points ahead of the next player. They were the only players to surpass an even score. Dreev and McShane were both undefeated. Sasikiran showed his will by winning in the final round after a loss to Dreev knocked him out of first in the eighth.

McShane has become quite a story over the past year. The former prodigy never dedicated himself to chess and his rating leveled off as he spent more time on school. Now he has a year off before heading to university and has been playing non-stop with tremendous results.

The young Cuban stars Dominguez and Bruzon failed to impress, winning only two games between them. Many eyes were on 16-year-old Humpy Koneru of India, the youngest participant and the only woman in the field. She is already one of the few women in the world with the GM title. Her dismal result here, 2/9 with an 0/5 start, shows she still has a long way to go before her name is mentioned alongside that of Judit Polgar, who had won events of this level at the same age.

Official site / Game replay and download

Gelfand - Polgar, game one after 20.Qe4

This position arose from one of the many razor-sharp openings played in this match. The snappy tactical sequence continued here with 20...Bb7! trying to deflect the white queen from protection of e3. The point is 21.Qxb7?? Be3+ with mate on the a-file next.

Gelfand was up to the challenge and found the amazing 21.Rd8+! clearing room for his king before grabbing the bishop and offering the classic double rook sacrifice. 21...Kd8 22.Qxb7 Qa1+ 23.Kd2 Qxh1.

Gelfand could have forced a draw by repetition here after 24.Qb8+ Kd7 25.Qb7+ but he passed up several opportunities for this and played for a win. Polgar gave back some material and ended up scoring her only win in an exchange-up endgame.

Polgar - Gelfand, game four after 18.Qd3

Polgar braved the Sveshnikov with her second white. After this debacle she went to the 3.Bb5 lines that everyone has been using to avoid the Sveshnikov.

She livened things up with 15.g4 instead of the usual g3. Here Gelfand alertly prevents White from consolidating with 18...e4! 19.Bxe4 Ne5. White can't take on with 20.Bxh7+? Kh8 21.Qe4 Bxd5 22.Nxd5 Rc4 and 23...Qh4 will leave White's position in a shambles.

Polgar retreated with 20.Qe2 and Gelfand snapped off the intrepid g-pawn and was better after 20...Nxg4 21.Rg1 Nxe3 22.Qxe3 Kh8.

18th North Sea Cup
Sasikiran - Hansen, after 31...Rxe3

This is the concluding scene from Sasikiran's comeback. You wouldn't think that Black's king or queen would be in any trouble here but the Indian quickly showed otherwise with 32.Qd2!

32...Qxd2 33.Rf8# is an instant mate so there was nothing better for Hansen than 32...Rd3 33.Bxd3 Qd4+ 34.Qf2 Nxd3 35.Qxd4 cxd4 and he resigned after White reached the time control on move forty.

18th North Sea Cup
McShane - Schandorff, after 25...Rg4

For those of you who enjoy one-sided tactical massacres as much as we do, you will enjoy playing through this entire game.

Black is already in deep trouble and McShane finishes things off stylishly. 26.Ne4! is just the first pin on the f-pawn. 26...Rf8 27.Bd6 Qf7 28.Bxf8 Nxf8.

(next diagram)

McShane - Schandorff, after 28...Nxg8

Now McShane employs an attraction sacrifice to set up another pin on the poor f-pawn. Together with 21.Rd8+ in Gelfand-Polgar game one, it's a little unusual to see piece sacrifices on empty squares, and both with check.

29.Nf6+! Qxf6 30.Rxg4+ and for some reason Black limped on until move 37.

Bruzon - Nielsen, after 27...Qxb4

Bruzon's only win was a nice one against the top Danish player. The power of the rook on the seventh was revealed with 28.Rxf7! Rxf7 29.Qxe6 Nd6 30.Qxg6+ and Black resigned.

The open black king is quickly sliced apart in every variation. 30...Kf8 (30...Kh8 31.Bd5 Rcf8 32.Bxf7 Nxf7 33.Qxh5+) 31.Ra6 Rd8 32.Qh6+ Kg8 33.Qg5+ Kh7 34.Qxd8

Photo of McShane by John Henderson, all rights reserved



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