The "Special" of CBM #208: The FIDE World Championship 25 years ago

by ChessBase
7/10/2022 – At the end of 1997, the first FIDE World Knockout Championship took place in Groningen. Vishy Anand won the final against Michael Adams. Strictly speaking, however, it was not a World Championship, but only a preliminary stage, because the winner had to play the defending champion Anatoli Karpov in a final in Lausanne directly after the tournament. In the "Special" of ChessBase Magazine #208 our authors (among others Martin Breutigam, Romain Edouard and Jan Markos) comment on their favourite game from Groningen. Imre Hera's analysis of the Beliafsky-Short encounter can be seen here. Have fun!

ChessBase Magazine 208 ChessBase Magazine 208

The new European champion, Matthias Bluebaum, comments. New video series by Jan Markos: "Practical tips for the tournament player". Opening videos by Sokolov, Rogozenco and Marin. 10 opening articles for your oening repertoire and much more!


The "Special" of CBM #208: The FIDE-Wch in 1997

Alexander Beliavsky – Nigel Short (FIDE-Wch k.o. Groningen (4.1), 17.12.1997)

Analysis by Imre Hera

1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.e4 Bb7 4.Bd3 f5?!

An aggressive continuation, but a very risky one. 4...Nc6 5.Ne2 Nb4 6.Nbc3 Nxd3+ 7.Qxd3 is known to be a more secure choice for the second player.

Editor's tip: In the current ChessBase Magazine #208 Sergei Grigoriants dedicates a complete article to the opening 1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.e4 Bb7 4.Bd3 f5?!

5.exf5 Bb4+ 6.Kf1 Nf6 7.Be2!?

Beliavsky's invention was brand new at that time. 7.a3 Bd6 8.Nc3 0–0 9.Nf3 was given in Avrukh's 1.d4 repertoire book.

7...0–0 8.c5 bxc5 9.a3 Ba5 10.dxc5 Nd5?!

Not the proper square for the knight.

10...c6 saves the bishop, but closes the other one. Besides White is still a healthy pawn up. 11.fxe6N dxe6 12.Qc2 Nbd7 13.Nf3 Bc7 14.Nbd2 Qe7 15.b4 a5 16.Rb1; 10...Ne4 is a much more critical alternative. 11.b4 Qf6 (11...Rxf5 12.Nf3 Qf6 13.Ra2 Bd5 14.Rb2) 12.Ra2 Bd5 The reason it was essential to keep this square vacated. Later on Black is able to develop his queenside cavalier without obstructing his bishop too. (12...Nxf2 13.Kxf2 Qxf5+ 14.Nf3 Qxb1 15.Rb2 Stohl) 13.Rb2 Nc6 14.Nf3 (14.bxa5 Rab8 15.Rxb8 Rxb8 Ippolito - Shabalov, Linares 2000 16.Nd2 Qa1! 17.Bd3 Nc3 18.Qe1 Nd4) 14...Rab8 15.h4 Nxc5 Although Black has temporarily saved his a5–bishop, it still cannot escape. Therefore he tries to grab additional pawns. 16.Qc2 Ne4 17.bxa5 Nd4 occurred in Lindinger - Langrock, Hamburg 2005. Here 18.Qd1 should definitely be the only attempt for an advantage. 18...Nxe2 19.Qxe2 Nd6 20.Ne5 Nxf5 21.Rh3 Nd4 22.Qe3 Nf5 23.Qc3 Rxb2 24.Bxb2 d6 25.Nd3 (Less clear is 25.Ng4 Qg6 26.f3 Ne7! 27.Kf2 e5 28.Qxc7 h5! (28...Qxb1? 29.Bxe5!) 29.Nh6+! Qxh6 30.Qxe7 Rb8 31.Bxe5 Rxb1) 25...e5 White's position is still preferable, but there are certain technical issues.

11.Nf3! 11.b4? Qf6 12.Ra2 Qxf5 13.Bd3 Ba6! 14.Bxa6 Qxb1 15.Rb2 Ne3+!–+ Stohl

11...Rxf5 It was interesting to note that Beliavsky tried this line with reversed colour few years later. 11...Qf6 12.fxe6 (Previously Stohl considered 12.Qc2 as safer for White. 12...Nc6 (12...h6 13.h4 was seen in Galianina Ryjanova - S. Matveeva, Moscow 1999. Now I have checked 13...Nc6 14.Bd3! Rae8 (14...Ne5 can be countered by 15.Bg5! hxg5 16.hxg5 Qd8 17.Nxe5 Nf4 18.f3 Qxg5 19.b4 Nxg2 20.Qxg2 Qc1+ 21.Kf2 Qb2+ 22.Nd2! Qd4+ 23.Kg3 Qxe5+ 24.Kh3+–) 15.Bg5! This motif works again. 15...hxg5 16.hxg5 Qe7 17.f6 gxf6 18.Bh7+ Kh8 19.Bg6+ Kg8 20.b4 with great prospects for White.) 13.Bg5 Qxf5 14.Qxf5 Rxf5 15.b4 Ncxb4 16.axb4 Bxb4 17.Bb5 We follow Kachiani Gersinska - Kengis, Berlin 1999 so far. Actually, Black could improve his play in this complicated position by 17...Nf4! 18.Bxf4 Rxf4 19.Nbd2 Bd5!) 12...Na6 13.e7!N After making extensive analysis, this pure intermediation turned out to be the strongest. (13.Qc2 was Jelen - Beliavsky, Ljubljana 2002. I found spectacular details in 13...Qxe6 14.Ng5

a) In the event of 14.h3?! Rae8 15.b4 the amazing 15...Nxc5!! offers powerful game for Black. 16.bxa5 Ba6 17.Bxa6 Qxa6+ 18.Kg1 Rxf3! 19.gxf3 Re1+ 20.Kh2 Rxh1+ 21.Kxh1 Qf1+ 22.Kh2 Nd3 23.Qc4 Qxf2+ 24.Kh1 Qf1+=;

b) 14.b4? runs into 14...Rxf3!! 15.Bxf3 (15.gxf3 Qh3+ 16.Kg1 Re8) 15...Re8 16.Qe2 Naxb4!! 17.Qxe6+ Rxe6; 14...Qh6 15.b4 Bxb4 16.axb4 Naxb4 17.Qb2 Rae8 The sequence of moves were more or less forced until here. 18.Rxa7 It was instructive that White has time to go for such a pawn. 18...Bc6 19.Ra3! Qg6 20.h4 Rxe2!?

12.b4 Nxb4 13.axb4 Bxb4 14.Bb2 a5 14...Bxc5 15.Nbd2 Nc6 16.Bd3 was barely more promising for Black.

15.h4! The right moment of letting the rook out.

15...Rd5 16.Qb3 Na6 17.Nc3 Nxc5 18.Qc2

Although Black has collected 3 pawns for the piece, they are still harmless as most of them are annoyed by other black units. On the other hand, White's only problem is the h1–rook, which he can bring soon via h3.

18...Rf5 19.Rh3 Eventually it joins the fray.

19...Qe7 20.Kg1 A little prophylaxis.

20...Raf8 Even though the procession on the f-file appears demonstrative, it is hardly dangerous.

21.Rf1 21.Rg3 was more consequent. 21...d6 22.Na2 e5 (22...Be4 23.Qc4 Bd5 24.Qd4) 23.Nxb4 axb4 24.Qc4+ Kh8 25.Qxb4+–

21...d6 21...e5 could be met by 22.Ng5 with the same spirit of game.; 21...h6!? 22.h5!

22.Ng5 22.Rg3 came still into consideration.


A pretty practical decision. Black is ready to give some more material in order to provoke White weakening his kingside.

23.g4! hxg5 24.gxf5 Rxf5 25.Bg4!? A slight inaccuracy. 25.h5 g4 26.Bxg4 Qg5 27.Rg3 Qh4 28.Bh3 might look a bit scary at first glance, but good enough to fix the situation around the white king.

25...Rf4 26.f3 gxh4

27.Qh2? A bigger failure. Both 27.Qg6; and 27.Ne2 were more convincing. 27...Rxg4+ 28.fxg4 Qg5 29.Nf4 Qxg4+ 30.Kh2+–

27...Qg5 28.Rxh4 Nd3! 29.Rh8+? This tempting continuation spoils out everything at once.

Instantly 29.Qg3 was accurate. 29...Rf7! 30.f4!! The key move, which was assumably missed by the four times Soviet champion. (30.Ba1 e5 is already not that easy despite the extra rook.) 30...Qc5+ 31.Kh2 Nxb2 32.Ne2 Nc4! (32...Bd5 33.Qh3 Kf8 34.Rh8+ Ke7 35.Qh4+ finishes it off quickly.) 33.Bxe6 Nd2 34.Rc1 Qxc1 35.Rh8+!! Kxh8 36.Qh3+ Kg8 37.Nxc1 Nf3+ 38.Kg3 Nd4! (38...Be1+ 39.Kg4+–) 39.Bxf7+ Kxf7 40.Qd7+ Kf6 41.Qd8+ (41.Qxc7 Nf5+ 42.Kh3 Bd5 43.Nd3 Be6 and we arrived to another rare ending, where Black has two light pieces and two pawns against the queen. Most likely it will be a draw.) 41...Ke6 42.Qxc7 Nf5+ 43.Kg4 Be4 44.Nb3 d5 45.Nxa5 Bxa5 46.Qxa5 g6! 47.Kg5 Nd6 Obviously it was simply impossible for anyone to foresee such details that long ahead! It seems the bishop and the knight together with the passer can stand the mud against the queen.

29...Kf7 30.Qg3 Qc5+ Certainly 30...Nxb2?? is bad due to 31.Bh5+ Kf6 32.Rf8+

31.Kh2 Bxc3 32.Qh4!

Cutting off the enemy king.

32...Bf6 On 32...Bxb2 33.Qd8! was still mentioned in the initial analysis, however, after 33...Bc6!! Black is able to survive in a miraculous way: 34.Bh5+ Qxh5+ 35.Rxh5 Be5 What a view! In spite of being almost a whole queen down, Black should not lose! 36.Qxc7+ Kf6 37.Rxe5 (37.Kg2 Bxf3+! 38.Rxf3 Ne1+) 37...Nxe5 38.Qd8+ Kf7 39.Qxd6 Rxf3=

33.Qh7 Qc2+ 34.Kh3

Rxf3+?? In the critical moment Short loses the thread. 34...Rxg4!= would have forced a draw instantly. 35.Qg8+ Kg6 36.Qh7+ Kf7=; 34...Nf2+ 35.Rxf2 Qxh7+ 36.Rxh7 Bxb2 37.Rxb2 Bxf3

35.Bxf3 Nf4+ 36.Kg3 Qxb2 37.Qg8+ Kg6 38.Qh7+ Repeating once to reach move 40 faster.

38...Kf7 39.Qg8+ Kg6

40.Qe8+ 40.Bxb7 Ne2+ 41.Kh3 wins as well.

40...Kf5 A quite unique position: both kings stand close to the middle of the board, even though there are still many heavy pieces around!

41.Bxb7 g5 42.Rh6 Qc3+ 43.Bf3 Ne2+ 43...g4 44.Rxf6+ (or 44.Rh5+) 44...Qxf6 45.Bxg4+ Kg5 46.Qg8+ Qg6 47.Qd8++–

44.Kg2 Nf4+ 45.Kh1 The melee is over and the rest should not cause difficulties.

45...d5 46.Qf7 Realizing that he is unable to shelter his king much longer, Black finished fighting. A very exciting and changeable encounter, true to the legendary players.


This and 21 other extensively annotated games from the 1997 FIDE World Championship can be found in ChessBase Magazine #208!

ChessBase Magazine #208


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ChessBase Magazine #208

Highlights of this issue

On the first page of ChessBase Magazine #208 you have direct access to the editors' recommendations: the highlights of the issue!


Top games and master analyses


European Championship 2022: Matthias Blübaum celebrated the greatest success of his career so far by winning the European Championship. The new champion comments on two of his games as well as the winners of the silver and bronze medals, Gabriel Sargissian and Ivan Saric. Plus analyses of many other players, including Ruslan Ponomariov, Aryan Tari, Ivan Cheparinov, Rasmus Svane, Yuriy Kuzubov, Maxime Lagarde and others.


Superbet Bucharest 2022: Maxime Vachier-Lagrave beat Levon Aronian and Wesley So in the tiebreak. Anish Giri comments on three highlights from Bucharest, Dorian Rogozenco presents two games of the winner in the video.

New video series: "Practical tips for the tournament player"


Our new author, Jan Markos, is a Slovakian chess book author, trainer and grandmaster. His first contribution is about time management. First, Markos elaborates on three general and easy-to-implement recommendations in the more than 20-minute video. At the beginning there is a fundamental question: in which types of positions should we invest time at all - and in which not?

Special: FIDE World Championship 1997


CBM authors analyse their favourite games from the first knockout world championship 25 years ago. An exclusive collection of 22 annotated games awaits you!

All in one


Following his examination of the London System against the King's Indian in CBM 207, Tanmay Srinath defends his favourite opening with White in this issue against an exceedingly combative approach by Black: 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bf4 c5, which immediately leads to sharp and double-edged play. After 3.d5 b5!? the Indian recommends the enterprising pawn sacrifice 4.e4!

Opening videos


Dorian Rogozenco presents a pawn sacrifice against the Gruenfeld Defence, which the new European Champion also used successfully. Ivan Sokolov came across the innovation 8...h5 in the Ragozin Variation, which he examines in detail in this and the upcoming CBM. And Mihail Marin explains why in the Slav Defence after 5...Bf5 he no longer fears the move 6.Ne5.

Dorian Rogozenco: Gruenfeld Defence
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Bb5+
Ivan Sokolov: DG Ragozin Variation (Part I)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 Bb4 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 g5 8.Bg3 h5
Mihail Marin: Slav Defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.Nxc4 Nb6 8.Ne5 a5

New ideas for your repertoire


CBM #208 covers a broad spectrum with 10 opening articles:

Grigoriants: English 1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.e4 Bb7 4.Bd3 f5 5.exf5
Papp: Trompovsky 1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5 c5 Part I
Ris: Sicilian Sveshnikov 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c4 Nd4
Moskalenko: French Advance 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.Nf3 Nge7
Vogel: Italian 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Be7 5.0-0 0-0 6.Re1 d6 7.a4 Be6
Kapnisis: Ruy Lopez 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4  Nf6 5.d3 d6 6.c4
Kuzmin: Queen’s Gambit Accepted 1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 a6 6.0-0 c5 7.Re1
Miron: Schara-Hennig Gambit 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 cxd4
Braun: Catalan 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0–0 6.0–0 dxc4 7.Na3
Szabo: Nimzoindian 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.Qxc3 d5 7.Bg5 c5

Topical opening traps


"The second look", "Unspoken invitations" and much more. - Rainer Knaak examines eight traps from current tournament practice, three of which he also presents in video format.

Move by Move


Test your chess move by move with Robert Ris! Radoslaw Wojraszek's brilliant game against Kacper Piorun is made for the interactive training format: from seizing the initiative to preventing counterplay to a successful attack on your opponent’s king!

"Knockout Strategies at the 1997 World Championship"


Mihail Marin discusses five strategic topics on the basis of the game material –incl. video introduction (playing time: 22 minutes)

The Classic


Alexander Alekhine himself described his game against Richard Réti in Baden-Baden in 1925 as one of his most brilliant games ever. Enjoy the video presentation by Dorian Rogozenco!

Tactics: "Use your back rank!"


Oliver Reeh's tactics contribution consists of 34 games with many training questions. Solve his favourite combinations together with the International Master in the interactive video format!

"Endgame highlights from the FIDE World Championship 1997" and much more


Karsten Mueller provides comprehensive training material for the highest demands. Not only on the World Championship tournament 25 years ago, but also on the Oslo Esports Cup 2022, the Hamburg endgame expert provides plenty of illustrative material and analyses (incl. video).. 

ChessBase Magazine #208

 Order now in the ChessBase Shop !

Subscribe to ChessBase Magazin and win twice over

Single issue: 19,95€ or annual subscription (6 issues) 99,70€. You can find the ChessBase Magazine subscription (incl. ChessBase USB stick for new subscribers) on the CBM homepage! Or subscribe to ChessBase Magazine in the ChessBase Shop right away!




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