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India Diary
The 2000 FIDE Championships

by GM Alexander Baburin from New Delhi

First Report Round 2


Round 2 - 30 November -1 December

Here I would like to share my impressions of the two first days of round 2. As I am working with Alexander Morozevich here, I will leave his match out (Morozevich won 2-0 against Milos) and concentrate on other duels.

At right: Milos-Morozevich

Some of the favourites went into the next round with relative ease (for example, Gelfand, who beat Dizdarevich 2-0), while others had to work hard and would face play-offs now. But let's review everything in order.

At Left: Gelfand

Anand drew comfortably with Black and outplayed Bologan with White. Vishy looks very confident and is regarded as the main favourite by many. In round 3 he will meet with Smbat Lputian. Lputian was the underdog in his match against Rublevsky, but won rather quickly with White and then held a draw with Black. In the first game Rublevsky's sense of danger let him down, as he played some 'positional' moves on the queenside, while his king was coming under mating attack on the opposite wing.

(Above: Anand-Bologan)

Leko beat Volkov with White and went through as well. Now he will face the winner of the Lutz-Khalifman match, which will emerge in the playoff tomorrow. Another play-off expects Michael Adams, who drew both games against Thien Dao. Mickey pressed hard in the second game (with White), but probably did not have enough for a win.

Alex Yermolinsky beat Jun Xu from China. They played the same line, where Volkov beat Sakaev in the decisive game, but this time White (Yermo) emerged victorious. So far American players are doing well here, as Grigory Serper went into round 3 after beating Alexander Ivanov 2-0. Serper used a clever tactics as he played the Hedgehog as Black. Ivanov is known for his permanent time-troubles and to give him a position, where he had a great choice and could think of so many plans, was almost inhuman! :-) Another player from US - Boris Gulko will play tomorrow again after both his games against Chernin eneded in a draw. Joel Benjamin leaves the event after losing to Rafael Leitao 1/2-11/2.

Playoffs are awaiting many players, for example: Svidler and Bacrot, Shirov and Onischuk, Ivanchuk and Ehlvest, Short and Nataf, Malakhov and Dreev, Almasi and Vladimirov, Smirin and Grischuk. Bareev and Movsesian won their first games with White against Vaganian and Iordachescu respectively, but could not hold with Black. Now these paid will enter play-offs too. The same story happened in the match Kasimdzhanov-Tregubov. Kasimdzhanov won the first game easily, but failed to hold with Black. Another tough match is M. Gurevich vs. Artashes Minasian and the score is also 1-1.

The main surprise so far in round 2 is departure of Vladimir Akopian, who lost to Alexei Alexandrov 1/2-11/2. Vladimir had some problems recently and did not look in New Delhi. Hopefully this talented player will recover soon! Another favourite - Veselin Topalov had a very rough time in game 1 against Andrei Kharlov (one of Kasparov's seconds during the match in London). Kharlov was a pawn up and a better position, but misplayed his position. The old rule saying that if you don't score, your opponent will, was confirmed yet again in game 2:

Veselin Topalov (2707) - Andrei Kharlov (2627) [D26]

FIDE World Championship, New Delhi (2.2), 01.12.2000

Notes by GM Alexander Baburin

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 dxc4 4.e3 Nf6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 Nc6

This is a rare line - usually Black plays 6...a6 here. GM Andrei Kharlov is a well-known expert on the QGA though and surely he had reasons to play this obscure line.

7.Qe2 cxd4 8.Rd1 Be7 9.Nc3 0-0 10.Nxd4 Nxd4 11.exd4

This is rather unusual - White normally does not exchange knights here, instead taking on d4 with the pawn first. However, Akiba Rubinstein took on d4 with the knight and he knew something about strategy!


I can't believe that this move can be good. OK, Black is preparing himself for d4-d5, but White has other possibilities too.

12.Nb5 Qd8 13.Nc3 Offering Black to change his mind...

13...Qe8 Not a chance!

14.Nb5 Qd8 15.Bf4 Bd7 16.Nc7 Rc8 17.d5!

I guess Black under-estimated this move and the subsequent White's play:

17...Rxc7 18.d6 Rc6 19.dxe7 Qxe7 20.Bb5 Rb6 21.Bxd7 Nxd7

Now White starts a long forced variation, which wins him an exchange:

22.Qd2! e5 23.Be3 Nc5 24.b4! Ne4 25.Qc2 Rxb4 26.a3!

The rest is a matter of technique: 26...Rd4 27.Bxd4 exd4 28.Re1 d3 29.Qc4 Nd6 30.Qxd3 Qf6 31.Rad1 Nf5 32.Qd7 g6 33.Qxb7 a6 34.Rc1 Nd4 35.Rc8 Rxc8 36.Qxc8+ Kg7 37.Qc5 Nc6 38.h3 h5 39.Rd1 Ne5 40.Rd5 Nc6 41.Rd6 1-0

If you like my reports, then stay tuned - more are coming soon!

Yours in chess,

Alexander Baburin


All text Copyright Alexander Baburin unless otherwise noted