Chess: Top two in world chess tournament in Libya advance to round 4

Associated Press Worldstream
June 25, 2004 Friday

Top two in world chess tournament in Libya advance to round four

by MAHMOUD KASSEM; Associated Press Writer


The top two seeds at the World Chess Championship advanced to round
four Friday after drawing their games, but the tournament’s
third-strongest player was knocked out.

No. 1 seed Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria and No. 2 seed Michael Adams
of England went through, but Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine was defeated
by the lower-ranked Rustam Kasimdzhanov of Uzbekistan.

Topalov ended his streak of five consecutive wins on Thursday night
when he drew with Sergei Movsesian of Slovakia.

Adams drew with Hichem Hamdouchi of Morocco. Playing white, Hamdouchi
began solidly with a Ruy Lopez opening, but black quickly took
control of the ‘a’ file as Adams doubled his rooks and threatened
white’s king with his queen. Hamdouchi ultimately fell foul of the
time limits.

Topalov and Adams, numbers 5 and 8 in the world respectively, beat
their opponents by 1.5 points to half a point.

Topalov and Adams are the only two players from FIDE’s top 10 to play
in the US$1.5 million tournament, which Libya is staging as part of a
campaign to shake off its image as a rogue state accused of
sponsoring terrorism.

In the Ivanchuk-Kasimdzhanov encounter, the players agreed to draw
their first two games Thursday, but Kasimdzhanov defeated his
Ukranian opponent in the first rapid game.

In the most beautiful game Thursday, Croatia’s Zdenko Kozul earned a
place in round four when he showed that advancing pawns and
sacrifices can be as deadly as a full-frontal attack with major

Kozul cooly turned the tables on an over-confident queen attack by
Russia’s Sergei Rublevsky, playing a Slav defence game. Sacrificing a
rook and pushing his pawns on the ‘b’ and ‘c’ files relentlessly
forward, Kozul won an extra queen and forced Rublevsky to resign
after 47 moves.

“Kozul sacrificed a rook to create an extremely complicated and
exciting position which had everyone following this game with great
attention,” said FIDE master Geoffrey D. Borg.

The youngest player left in the tournament, 16-year-old Hikaru
Nakamura of the United States, drew his Slav defence game with
Alexander Lastin of Russia, but the result was enough to advance him
to round four following his win Wednesday.

Cuba’s Lenier Dominguez also goes through after a dazzling display.
In a Caro-Kann exchange variation with a Panov-Botvinnic attack,
Dominguez forced France’s Vladislav Tkachiev to resign after only 33

In arguably the most exciting chess of round three, Armenia’s Levon
Aronian fought against Russia’s Pavol Smirnov into the early hours of
Friday. Both players are roughly of equal strength.

His face showing the stress, Smirnov beat Aronian in the first blitz
game, lost the second, and came back in the third in play so fast
that some of the pieces were accidentally knocked over.

Going by nation, Russia has made the best show in the tournament so
far, having four of the 16 players remaining in the contest.

Round four resumes on Saturday after a rest on Friday.

The FIDE championship began June 19 amid controversy. Libya refused
to allow players from Israel to attend. Many top players decided not
to compete, apparently because they were angry that the world’s
strongest-rated player, Garry Kasparov of Russia, is to be allowed to
play the winner without taking part in the qualifying rounds.