Chess: World Team wins Petrosian Memorial by a point

World Team wins Petrosian Memorial by a point

Chessbase News, Germany
June 16 2004

16.06.2004 A heroic comeback by the Petrosian team in the final two
rounds fell a point short. Anand-Kasparov was one of several short
draws in the final round. Vaganian had the only win of the round, an
impressive bind against Adams. Gelfand, once Petrosian’s star pupil,
battled hard for the full point against Bacrot to no avail. Report
and games.

Team Petrosian comeback falls just short

Round 6 (June 15, 2004)

Petrosian Team 3-3 World Team
Kasparov (3.5/6) ½-½ Anand (3.5/6)
Leko (4) ½-½ Vallejo (3)
Gelfand (2) ½-½ Bacrot (3.5)
Akopian (2.5) ½-½ Svidler (4)
Vaganian (3.5) 1-0 Adams (3)
Lputian (2) ½-½ van Wely (1.5)
Final overall score:
World Team: 18.5 – 17.5 Petrosian Team

It was a valiant effort, but the Petrosian team fell short by the
thinnest possible margin at the end. After looking overmatched in the
first half, the ‘friends of Armenia’ squad didn’t lose a game in the
final two rounds and almost climbed back from a four-point deficit.
It was a great match, and it was fitting that the Petrosian Memorial
was a team event. Tigran Petrosian consistently put up phenomenal
scores in team events throughout his career. An incredible six times
he got the best score in the Olympiads playing for the USSR over a
20-year span.

After five draws Rafael Vaganian bared his teeth and squashed Mickey
Adams in what must have been one of the ugliest losses in the
Englishman’s career. It will also provide a lift for club players
everywhere who adore the Stonewall variation of the Colle, a rare
bird at the GM level. Vaganian got a knight on d6 that will keep
Adams up nights and then squeezed before finally administering the
coup de grace with a pawn breakthrough.

It was a good reminder that Vaganian was considered one of the
toughest players in the world for several decades and he admirably
carried the mantle of Armenian chess after Petrosian. He was playing
in the Soviet championship before Adams was born!

With Anand coming off of a loss and with his team leading by two
points we didn’t really expect a battle royal against Kasparov. The
world number one strayed from his usual Najdorf to play Kramnik’s
(and everyone else’s) favorite, the Sveshnikov. It isn’t the first
time Kasparov has ventured it, and there was no question about
preparation since the players followed the most popular line all the
way to move 20. Anand had reached this position before, last year
against Kramnik, and here tried to change the move order up, but
didn’t get anywhere. The draw was agreed on move 26.

Akopian-Svidler and Vallejo-Leko were short draws. Lputian and van
Wely sparred more seriously. The Armenian played a nice petite
combination (that’s English for petit combinaison) and got a pleasant
position with black, but allowed a repetition check. Then it was up
to Petrosian’s star pupil, Boris Gelfand. He tried his best to grind
out a win against Bacrot but the Frenchman defended well to split the
point and preserve his team’s one-point victory.

There’s no “I” in “team”, so you can’t place blame on anyone or give
particular credit, but we will anyway because we get paid by the word
around here. Standout performances by Bacrot and Vaganian cancelled
out on the scoreboard. Both team leaders were outscored by the second
boards. If you have to look for a difference-maker you find Gelfand’s
-2 performance. He played 132 points below his 2714 rating and didn’t
score a win.

Vaganian – Adams after 36…g5

This knightmare of a game came to a merciful end when Vaganian
finally played 37.d5! If Black captures with the e-pawn Nf5+ wins the
house with a triple attack. Instead Adams played 37…Bxd5 38.Nxb5
and resigned.

van Wely – Lputian after 23.Qc3

Lputian finds a clever way to keep a knight off of b5 and to activate
his rooks. 23…Bxa4 24.Nxa4 Rea8 25.Nxc4 desperado 25…Rxa4 26.Nb2
Ra2 and they played a repetition a few moves later.