Victor Victorious!

6/19/2004 – Will someone please tell Victor Korchnoi to start acting his age? We have 12-year-old Grandmasters running around and 73-year-old Korchnoi is still winning strong GM tournaments. Did we say winning? We meant to say dominating! He scored six wins and won the 2nd György Marx Memorial in Hungary by a full point. Report and games.

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Korchnoi still teaching young and old

Last year the György Marx Memorial event was a rapid chess match won convincingly by Boris Gelfand over Judit Polgar. This year the organizers switched to classical chess and invited an interesting mix of Hungarian talent and veterans, and one man who is both: living legend Lajos Portisch. The tourney is held in the honor of a Hungarian physicist in the town of Paks.

The youngest veteran was Alexander Beliavsky, supposedly on the downhill side at 50. He was no doubt made to feel young again with 67-year-old Portisch and 73-year-old Victor Korchnoi in the field. Youngsters Berkes and Acs were joined by Romanian international Nevednichy. When it was all over the veterans had outscored the youngsters 16.5-13.5.

But this wasn't a team event and the clear winner was Victor the Terrible. (K was switched for C in his recently published game collections and upcoming autobiography, so we'll do the same. But we insist "Viktor" is cooler.) He started out with six out of seven in the double round-robin to run away from the field. He was slowed down by a loss to Beliavsky, but he bounced right back with another win and drew against his fellow winter lion Portisch in the final round to finish a full point ahead of the 18-year-old Berkes.

II György Marx Chess Memorial – June 5-15 – Category 14 (2587 avg.)

View all games online and download PGN

This fantastic result follows a down year for Korchnoi that led to the sort of conjecture about his age that he's been listening to since he first played for the world championship against Karpov in 1978. Even then he was considered the grizzled veteran by many, likely to tire against the young Karpov. Here we are, 26 years later, and Korchnoi is still playing great chess and winning tournaments. His 2784 performance in Paks wasn't a great performance for a 73-year-old, it was a great performance period.

Most of Korchnoi's wins were the technical grinds you might expect. His energy at the board are unabated. Several times Korchnoi rejected repetitions to go on to outplay his opponents with relentless accuracy. If you are looking for a master class in technique and endgames, give all of Korchnoi's wins a careful look. Of course, to win a strong event you have to have a little luck. When Beliavsky rejected a repetition in the third round he lost a piece in a very curious way.

Beliavsky – Korchnoi after 37...Qd1+

Instead of repeating the position with 38.Qf1 Beliavsky played for the loss with 38.Kh2?? This left his knight in a very embarrassing position after 38...Qd3.

A stunned Beliavsky played 39.Qa8+ Kh7 and resigned. The knight is completely dominated and the queen has no way to protect it. An unusual picture of domination.

Acs – Portisch after 32.Rd2

Acs has sacrificed a rook to get at the black king. The sac was triumphant when Portisch played 32...Rf8 33.Rh2+ Kg6 34.f5+ 1-0. It's mate after 34...Rxf5 35.Rh6+ gxh6 36.Qg8#.

Fritzy finds the only way to survive in the diagram. 32...Bg5!! prepares to cover the h-file. The best White has is a perpetual check after 33.Rh2+ Bh6 34.Rxh6+ gxh6 35.Qf7+.

 


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