Still no draws in Mainz

8/16/2003 – Are we onto something when we suggest the following theory: in rapid chess, if you come out of the opening with a healthy position, a nice little advantage even, you are doomed. Equally fatal is a clear advantage in the middlegame – boom, you lose. Take a look at what happened on day two of the Mainz Chess Classic.

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Rapid chess: Anand vs Polgar 2:2

This is turning into one exciting event. First of all there were two black wins on the scond day of play (it was two white wins on day one). Four games with four wins, and ne'er as draw in sight. Once again, on day two, Judit Polgar, playing the black side of a Sicilian Najdorf, got into trouble. As usual she flung all her pieces at Anand's king, but the Indian GM blocked everything off with 21.b3, and then moved swiftly on the kingside with his knight. After dislodging her king Anand appeared to have a cool winning position. But at that moment he relaxed and succumbed to a vicious counter-attack by the fierce young lady. With just seconds left on her clock Judit clinched a rook and pawn ending, leaving Anand nothing but resignation at move 57.

The fourth game, saw another Sicilian, with Judit nicely in command with the white pieces. Around move 33 everybody on the Playchess.com server was discussing what a 3:1 lead for the Hungarian player would mean, Judit slowly let the position slip into a drawish opposite colored bishop, rook and queen ending. But the position remained highly tactical, and with her time slipping away Judit allowed some mistakes to creep in. Anand, with a couple of minutes more on his clock, pounced.

Polgar,J (2718) - Anand,V (2774) [B92]
Rapid Match Mainz GER (4), 15.08.2003

At this point our Playchess annotator WGM Kateryna Lahno (13) was screaming for 47...Bxh2!. After the game we found the line 48.Qxf7+ Kh6 49.Qf3 Bg3+ 50.Kg1 Bxf2+ 51.Qxf2 Rg5+ 52.Kh1 Qa3 53.Bb5 Qc1+ 54.Bf1 Rf5 55.Qh2+ Kg7 and it is over for White. This is how Anand brought it home: 47...Qe7 48.Re2 Qg5 49.Qf1 Qg3 50.Qf2 Qd3 51.h4 Qh3+ 52.Kg1 Rxh4 0-1.

After the game Judit said 'I stretched the draw and paid heavily'. Hats off for the Hungarian's fighting chess, and for the sheer excitement of the games of the Mainz Chess Classic.

Replay and download the games here

Chess960: Leko vs Svidler 1:1

In the third game of the Chess960 World Championship Peter Svidler sacrificed two pawns for a dangerous attack. Peter Leko had trouble keeping his position together and he had to defend very precisely. He succeeded and the game ended in a draw. In the fourth game Leko had to think hard about the right stategy, but it paid off: he won the game and took the lead in the match: 2,5 - 1,5.

The games can be found on the official web site. Click "The Finale: Chess960" in the left navigation. On the report page the games are on the right in CBV or PGN format. Note that due to the unusual castling rules in Chess960 the games have to be split into two or three parts, because all current chess programs would consider the castlings illegal.

You can watch the games live on our Playchess.com server


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