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Essay on Chess

Story twenty nine: THE YOUNG LIONS

          At the beginning of the 20th century, the famous German grandmaster and the world championship challenger, Siegbert Tarrasch, assured his numerous admirers that “Chess, like love, like music, has the power to make men happy.” There is a grain of truth in that.       

          In 1999, the current world championship challenger, Peter Leko, took part at the traditional International tournament in Dortmund, Germany. Arshak Petrosyan, his second, arrived there from Yerevan, Armenia, with his 18-year-old daughter, Sofia.

         “Do you play chess?” Peter asked the girl, catching her sight of a tender look. “I can’t imagine my life without chess,” she replied ambiguously.

         Every evening, Sofia appeared in the tournament hall, sat down on the front row, opposite Peter’s table, and looked with eyes full of love at him. Almost immediately, Sofia entered in the circle of Peter’s friends. On the other hand, Peter was inspired by her presence among his fans, and played much better. Soon one would celebrate the loving couple’s wedding. It was a love at first sight!


          Thus, Leko made a good match in private life. “My task is basically to create an enjoyable atmosphere around my husband, including providing all vital details,” Sofia has reasoned. “As an amateur in chess, I cannot enter into technical aspects of his games, but I try to motivate him.”

          Since then, her father, a grandmaster and experienced chess theorist, moved with his family to Hungary, and became Leko’s permanent trainer and devoted advisor.

         In the late nineties, Peter was a typical representative of the rising generation that showed wonderful maturity in chess. In the following years, Leko played successfully against other world’s top players.

         Peter started to play chess at the age of seven. His first tournament was held in 1989, and he lost all games. However, this provoked his ambition. The Hungarian master, Gaspar Mathe, his chess coach in those days, tried to develop Peter’s abilities. The next year, Leko stopped attending school, following the example of Polgar sisters. But Peter did well at his exams in different subjects.

         In 1990, during the Spring Festival in Budapest, Leko’s trainer introduced him to a young German player, Yurgen Daniel, who participated in this event. The point was that Peter was descended from a poor family. His mother was divorced, and she had to take care of two sons, including Peter. Her modest earning as a school teacher did not permit her to cover expenses for Peter’s participation in tournaments and his trainer’s work.

        Daniel and his friends from the German town Nettetal (near Düsseldorf) decided to bear the whole of the cost. Leko had been staying there more than six months of the year. Moreover, they gave Peter a constant financial and moral support.

         Peter’s mother, Julia, has had a great influence over him. From childhood, the young Leko used to eat only vegetarian food. He also went in for sports, and was busy himself with yoga..

         In 2004, Arshak Petrosyan placed himself at the head of a group of seconds who assisted Peter Leko during his World Championship match with Vladimir Kramnik.

         Before the contest, Leko was the only player in classical chess to have a positive balance against Kramnik. The odds remained in his favor after that. In the chess world, Peter was considered as the best sportsman among the top grandmasters.

         An excellent theoretical preparation helped the Hungarian grandmaster to win the following game which could be a decisive victory.


                                                    RUY LOPEZ

                                                  Kramnik- Leko

                                                Switzerland, 2004

1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5. Marshall Gambit! 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3

15. Re4 g5 16.Qf1 16.Bxg5? Qf5! 16…Qh5 17.Nd2 Bf5 18.f3 Nf6

         18…Bxe4 19.fxe4 Ne3 20.Qf3 Ng4 21.Nf1 Rae8 22.Bd1! White wants to keep both bishops by 19…Nxe4.

19. Re1 Rae8! 20. Rxe8 Rxe8 21.a4 Qg6! 22. axb5 Bd3! 23.Qf2 Re2 24.Qxe2

         Black wins after 24.bxa6 Rxf2 25.Kxf2 Qh5 25.Kg1 (25.Ke3 Bxa6 26.Rxa6 Qxh2) 25…Qh3 27.a7 Bxg3 28.a8Q+ Kg7 29.hxg3 Qxg3+ 30.Kh1 g4! 31.Qxc6 Qh3+ 32.Kg1 g3.

24...Bxe2 25.bxa6 Qd3! {See diagram # 133}

26. Kf2


 26.a7 Qe3+ 27.Kg2 Bxf3+ 28.Nxf3 Qe2+ 29.Kg1 Ng4 30.a8Q+Kg7 31.Qxc6 Qf2+ 32.Kh1 Qf1+ 33.Ng1 Nf2 Mate.

26…Bxf3 27.Nxf3 Ne4+ 28.Ke1 Nxc3!

        28…Qxf3? 29. a7! If 29.Ng1, then 29…Nb5.

 29. bxc3 Qxc3+ 30.Kf2 Qxa1 31.a7 h6 32.h4 g4 0-1

          After his success, Leko took the lead in the match till the last game which he, unfortunately, lost. Kramnik remained the world champion. “In the end, it was not enough for me to win the title,” considered Leko. “I hope to get a new chance to win the chess crown.”

         It is a real hope. Leko is younger than his potential rivals. He is known as the “Marathon Man,” keeping fit with sports, vegetarian food and a disciplined daily routine. He is also a perfect example of mental stability. His stamina and calculating skills are phenomenal.

         I met Peter Leko in New York, in 1994, when he broke the record of his countrywoman, Judit Polgar, who earned the grandmaster title at 15, a couple of months younger than Bobby Fischer. The teenager from Budapest became a grandmaster at 14.

         Paraphrasing a well- known expression, one could say “All chess roads lead to New York”.  Many amateurs of different continents gathered there to watch games of the unique Intel World Chess Grand Prix. World’s top players were fighting in the speed knockout tournament of 25-minute game.         

        Spectators could hear exciting and colorful expert commentaries as they watched huge video screens showing the board position and expressive features of the participants. Every match was crucial as the winner moved on in the competition, while the loser went home. In the event of a tie in the two-game match, a special “shootout” determined the winner.

        Then, I posed some topics for discussion to my colleagues who visited this event as journalists. The general question was: who managed to beat the record of Stefan Zweig’s personage, Mirko Chentovich, whom the writer “gave” the rank of world champion at twenty?

        Deserving attention to Leko’s promise which he made publicly at the age of 12: “I will be the best player of the world.” At what age it will happen?

         The youngest ever to attain the rank of grandmaster is the Ukrainian, Sergei Karjakin. He achieved at the age of 12 years and 7 months. This success is included in the Guinness book of World Records.

        When Sergei was given this good news, he was childish in his reply: “I expect to be the world champion at 16!”  

         Shortly thereafter, he was invited to England, to take part in the 78th Hastings International Congress. On New Year’s Eve of 2003, Sergei played a complicated game with the young English grandmaster, Glenn Flear. It was of great interest to spectators because they wanted to see how the “lion’s whelp” fought.

         Karjakin (White) was acquainted with the latest achievements of chess theory. His active actions in the Open Variation of Ruy Lopez gave him an extra pawn. The game lasted many moves, but Black did not surrender at discretion. The sky cleared when Karjakin gave his last check {See diagram # 134}


         109. Rf7+!          

         Only here the Black king bent his head. After 109…Rxf7, White wins. 110.gxf7 Kxf7 111.Kh5! Kg7 112. Kg5. The side not having the move has the opposition. 112…Kf7 113.Kh6. If White has the opposition, then the Black king must give way. 113…Kf8 114.Kg6 Ke7 115.Kg7 Ke8 116.Kf6 Kd7 117.Kf7 Kd8 118.Kxe6 Ke8 A passed pawn cannot be stopped from queening. Therefore, Flear resigned.


         In England, Karjakin convinced many fans that his success was not a fluke. “My result in Hastings was +1,” he said during a TV interview. At the journalist’s request, Sergei explained that there were 10 players in the tournament, and he came up 5 points from 9 rounds. Sergei learned well adult colleagues’ expressions which ordinary players cannot understand.

        It was no wonder. The 12-year-old Karjakin was a second of Ruslan Ponomariov at the 2001 FIDE World championship. Sergei worked as an equal with Veselin Topalov and his permanent coach, Silvio Danailov.  The Ukrainian grandmaster, Gennady Kusmin, was also a member of this group which paved the way for success of the eighteen-year-old Ponomariov. The latter also was a chess prodigy who has shown grandmaster ability in his early teens. Karjakin, the youngster second in all world championship matches, enthusiastically adopted the progressive methods of his elders.

      Karjakin was born on January 12, of 1990. At the age of five, Sergei received first chess instructions from his father. At the age of nine, the boy became Europe champion till age ten. In 2001, Sergei already was the world champion untill the age of 12.

      Karjakin’s next impressive title was Olympic champion. In 2004, at the age of 14, he participated at the 36th Olympiad in Calvia, Spain. It was his first severe test. Sergei was included in the Ukrainian national team that ended the “Tournament of Nations” in victory. Karjakin achieved the best result among all participants.       

        Then, in 2005, Sergei “marched shoulder to shoulder” with French players. Karjakin’s club NAO moved up into first place at the French team contest. The Ukrainian teen became the champion of France!

        Lately, chess clubs and chess patrons have sprung up in many French cities. The most well-known one is in Paris, on the avenue Foch. Its doors were hospitably opened for newcomers, including chess prodigies from different countries. Karjakin and other Russian speaking grandmasters, Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Svidler, and Alexander Grishuk, loved to play here at the elegant chess tables.       

        The president of the club, Madam Ojjeh, is a big promoter of chess. She parachuted into the chess world for a few years. She is the widow of a Saudi financier who made his fortune as an arms dealer, in oil and in other investments. She is also a daughter of Syria’s defense minister. Madam Ojjeh rescued a once-prominent Paris chess club and renamed it NAO, after her initials. Since then she become a dedicated and enthusiastic chess patron.

        Now Sergei looked ahead with confidence on the way to the highest title. “It does not matter when I would become the world champion,” Karjakin said. “But it will come without fail!”

         In 2004, the chess world learned about a new rising star, Magnus Carlsen of Norway. The boy took part in a knockout quick tournament in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he competed successfully with the world’s top players. In the same place, the eminent experts had cherished hopes of Magnus’ ascending to the chess throne in five years…

       In 2007, Magnus was placed among the strongest grandmasters of the world. The Norvegian prodigy, on a level with Sergey Karjakin, faced his toughest test reaching the four winners of the latest World Chess Cup. This prestigious tournament took place in the oil and gas capital of Russia, Khanty-Mansyisk, over 2000 miles east of Moscow.

      In Siberia, Magnus Carlsen celebrated his 17th birthday. On the evening of 30th November of 2007, his opponent was the Cuban champion, Lenier Domingues Perez, one of the best players on the American continent. He played here with white pieces.

1. e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 d5!?

        Carlsen is always armed with many new and dangerous ideas in openings (See diagram # 135). It is a sensible novelty. The theory digested plenty of positions in Ruy Lopez, but nobody used this brave move in serious tournaments.

         However, Carlsen started playing this way. He has inhaled in it fresh thoughts and gave more strength to his center. He played aggressively, as usual, offering a pawn. Thus, Magnus has solved his opening problems and reached equality in a situation like that. Look!


        After a couple of days, Michael Adams examined this line against Carlsen by 11.exd5 e4 12.Bxe4 Nxe4 13.Rxe4 Bb7! 14.d4 Re8. Now, before taking on d5, the bishop is protected. 15.Bf4 Nc4 16.Re2 Bxd5 17.Ne5 Bg5 18.Bg3 ( 18.Nd3 Be4! with a threat 19…Bxf4 and 20…Qg5) 18…Nxe5! 19.Rxe5 Rxe5 20.Bxe5 Qd7 21.Na3 f6! 22.Bg3 Qc6 23.f4 Bh6 24 Qd2 g6 25.Nc2 Bf8,  and the pair of bishops gives a wonderful compensation for a pawn. There was plenty of maneuvering with Black, but after 83 moves the game ended in a draw.

11…dxe4 12.Nxe5 c5 13.Bg5 Bb7 14.Nd2

        14.dxc5 Qc7 15.Bxf6 Rad8 16.Qe2 Bxf6 17.Ng4 Bg5 is much better for Black

.14…cxd4 15.cxd4 Re8 16.Nb3

       16.Nxe4 Nxe4 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18.Bxe4 Bxe4 19.Rxe4 f6

16….Nxb3 17.Bxb3 Nd5 18.Bxe7 Rxe7 19.Rc1 Nf4

         Magnus is always searching for the most complicated solutions.

20.Qg4 Ng6 21. Qf5

       Threat is stronger than execution: 21.Nxf7 Rxf7 22.Qf5 Nh8! and Black is holding. Later the position was quite consolidated. Realizing that Black’s compensation is sufficient, Dominguez decided to settle into an even ending that was soon a draw. So, the chess world has experienced Carlsen’s important novelty that will have many imitators.        

       Magnus Carlsen was burning to play chess at age eight, when his father, Henrik Carlsen, who was a professional chess player, began to teach him. At present, the teen is training four hours every day, including one hour playing with the computer. He liked running and soccer in summer, and skiing in winter. In Reykjavik chess experts cherished hopes for Magnus’ ascending to the chess throne in five years.

        In summer of 2003, Carlsen’s sponsor, Microsoft Company, offered for Magnus to make a trip around the world in order to develop his chess abilities. During the course of a year, his whole family visited many countries. Henrik Carlsen, an experienced chess instructor, always found serious chess partners for his son. During the long journey, Magnus and his younger sisters, Ingrid and Girny, studied the school program independently, under their mother’s observation.

         Two months after cool Reykjavik, the Carlsens came to the hot Dubai, on coast of the Arabian Sea. Magnus played here in an International tournament with 160 participants, including 43 grandmasters. The talented Norwegian performed the final grandmaster norm and became the second youngest ever to take this title.

         Soon, the Norvegian prodigy faced his toughest test reaching the ten winners of the 2005 World Chess Cup. Carlsen’s following win against Gata Kamsky (Black) made an impression on participants and spectators in Khanty-Mansyisk.

1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6. Bd3 b5 7.0-0 Bb7 8.Qe2 Ne7

9. Re1 Nbc6 10.Nxc6 Nxc6 11.Nd5! exd5 12. exd5+ Ne7 13.c4!

         After sacrificing a piece, Carlsen wants to give up the second one.

13…b4 14.Bg5 f6 15.Qh5+ g6 16.Qf3! {See diagram # 136}16…fxg5 17.Qf6 0-0-0 17…Rg8 18.d6 18.Qxh8 Qd6 19.Be4 Kb8 20.Rac1 Qf4 21.g3 Qf7 22.Qd4 d6 23.Qb6 Rd7 24.Qxb4 Nf5 25.Bxf5 gxf5 26.Re6 f4 27.Rce1 Rd8 28.Qb6 Rc8 29.b4 fxg3 30.hxg3 h5

         Black found himself under a crushing attack. He cannot withstand the pressure of White’s infantry: 30…Rxc4 31.a4, and then a5-b5 and a6.

31. b5 Qc7 32.Qxc7+ Kxc7 33.a4 axb5 34.axb5 Kb6 35.Re8 Bg7 36.R8e6 Rd8 37. c5+! Kxc5 38.Re7, and in ten moves Black resigned.

         Many grandmasters, players or guests of Khanty-Mansyisk, were born and learned chess in the former Soviet Union. They almost always spoke Russian though most of them lived in other countries. Greeting the former chess prodigy, Gata Kamsky, some began a conversation in Tartar.

          Gata is the grandson of the founder of the Tartar Dramatic Theater in Kasan, Gata Sabirov, who appeared on stage under the pseudonym “Kamsky”. Since childhood, the future grandmaster was distinguished not only by natural talent, but also by his astonishing persistence and work ethic. At two Gata could already read, at four he manifested an aptitude for mathematics, and at six he performed complex musical compositions with ease.

         Gata was born in Novokuznetsk, a remote city near Siberia. His father, Rustam, wanted him to be a pianist and had him practice for hours a day. Then they moved to St. Petersburg where the elder Kamsky switched his son to chess and instituted the same training regimen that he had used for piano. The problem facing him was: chess or music? On grandmaster Taimanov’s advice, the capable boy made a choice of chess.

         Gata started school at the third grade level and at this time devoted several hours a day to study the game. Rustam, a boxing coach, gave his son a Spartan upbringing. At twelve Kamsky became the youth champion of the USSR, equaling Kasparov’s record.

      When Gata defected from Soviet Union in 1989 at age 14, he was already an accomplished player. In New York, Rustam made his son study chess 12 to 14 hours a day, and cut him off from the outside world except for chess competitions. The older Kamsky often berated his son and anyone he believed was standing in the way of his becoming the greatest player in the world.

          In 1996, at 22, Gata reached the pinnacle of the game, playing Anatoly Karpov for the FIDE world championship. However, he lost and sidelined himself for several years in pursuit of the law education. In 2004, he reappeared as a full-time player. Only three years after returning to competitive chess, Kamsky, at the age of 33, won the 2007 World Cup. Just as a surprise was Gata’s return to the top without the visible presence of his father.    

        The following game was Gata’s best one played in this important tournament.  


                                             SICILIAN DEFENSE

                                                 Kamsky – Shirov

                                              Khanty-Mansyisk, 2007


1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 e5 4.Bc4 Be7 5.d3 d6 6.Nd2 Bg5 7.Qh5!

         This yearly sortie of the queen ignored all theoretical canons. As a rule, a player should not bring out his queen too early. It is too valuable a piece to expose to the attack of lesser forces. However, Kamsky’s second, Emil Sutovsky, was suggesting just this move before the game.

7…Nh6 Knight’s stand on the edge is unenviable one. 8. h3 It deprives Black of hope to play Bg4 or Ng4.

 8…Nd4 9.0-0 0-0

         After 9…Nxc2 10.Bb5+ Kf8 11.Nb3 Bxc1 12.Raxc1 Nd4 13.Nxd4, Black has a hard time.

         Sutovsky made a careful study of this line. He also was a participant at the Chess World Cup, but lost the first round and had to go home, to Israel. However, at Gata’s request, Emil remained in Khanty-Mansyisk. His laborious task as a second has received a good rating not only in opening preparation, but also to be in the mood to play good. Sutovsky did it well as a bass singer, musician, and a cheerful teller of tales.

10. Nb3 Bxc1 11.Raxc1 Ne6 12.Ne2 Qf6 13.Nd2 Kh8 14.c3 g5

         Remember the principle: an attack on a flank is best met with a counterattack in the center.

15. d4 Rg8

          15…exd4 16.cxd4 Nxd4 17.Nxd4 exd4 18.Qf3 Qe5 19.g4, and then Qd3 and Nf3

16. dxe5 dxe5 17.Nf3 Rg6! The threat is 18.Ng7

18. h4! The struggle begins! 18…Qg7! 19.Bxe6 Bxe6 20.hxg5 f6! 21. gxf6 21.gxh6? Rxh6, and White’s queen is trapped.

21…Rxg2+ (See diagram # 137) 22.Kh1 Qxf6

         22…Qg4 23.Qxg4 Rxg4 24.Ng3 Nf7 leads to equality

23. Qxe5 Qxe5

       23…Rh2+ 24.Qxh2 (24.Kxh2 Ng4+) 24…Qxf3+ 25.Qg2 Qxe2 The only acceptable way would be 24.Kg1 Rg8+ 25.Ng3 Qxe5 26.Nxe5 Rh5

24. Nxe5 Rg5 25.f4 Rh5+ 26.Kg1 Rg8+ 27.Kf2 Rh2+ 28.Ke3 Rgg2 29.Ng1 Rxb2 30.f5 Bxa2 31.Rcd1 Rbc2?

         It was necessary 31…Rhg2 32.Rd8+ Rg8

32. Rd8+ Ng8 33.Ngf3 Rxc3+ 34.Kf4 Rh6 35.Rg1 Rf6 36.Ng5 h6 37.Ngf7+ 1-0

         After 37…Bxf7 38.Nxf7+Rxf7 39.Rgxg8+ Kh7 40.Ke5, there is no way to prevent checkmate.

        Kamsky’s victory in Khanty-Mansyisk left him as one of four men vying to become the new world champion in 2009.

        Thanks to chess, Teimour Radjabov of Baku, Azerba ijan, began to travel all over the world. At the age of 13, he had already been in 16 different countries. Teimour was accompanied everywhere by his parents.

        When the boy was 4, he received his first chess lessons from his father, Boris Sheinin, who was a Jew. In order to avoid the ethnic discrimination which Garry Kasparov encountered in his childhood, Teimour’s parents decided to give him his mother’s maiden name.          

         Teimour Radjabov entered the highest chess elite in 2001, at the age of 14. Since then, he has been a desired participant at very prestigious tournaments. He played with the leading world grandmasters as an almost equal opponent. In 2003, he was a hero of the traditional tournament in Linares, Spain, and there beat Garry Kasparov. This game was like a peal of thunder. In a couple of months, in Dortmund, Germany, Teimour was not afraid to defy the great Vishy Anand (See diagram # 138).

         Radjapov’s threats with Black make the following queen sacrifice very effective.

22…Qxf2+!! 23. Kxf2 Nb5!

         It is the main link of Black’s attacking plan. If 24.Nxb5 or 24.Bxb5, Radjabov wins by 24…Bd4++!

24. Kg1 Nxc3 25.Nxc3 Bxc3 26.Bb5

         If 26.Bd2, Black could play Bd4+ 27.Be3 Bxe3+ 28.Rxe3 Nf5 29.Rh3 (29.Re1 Rxa3!) 29…d4! 30.a4 d3 31.a5 Rab8`32.Qe1 Bd5, clarifying Black’s positional advantage.

 26…Bxe1 27.Qxe1 Nf5 

        Black has a fair compensation for the queen.

28. Bb2 Rac8 29.Ba4! Preventing 29…Rc2

29…Rf7 30.h3 h5 31.b5 h4 32.Be5 d4     

         Much better is 32…Rb7! 33.Qf2 (33.Qa5 e3 34.Qa6 Rc1+ 35.Kh2 Re7) 33…e3 34.Qf3 d4 35.Qxb7 Rc1+ 36.Kh2 e2

33. b6

         It was necessary 33.Qxe4! Rc1+ 34.Kh2 Ne3 35.Qxh4 Rff1 36.Qd8+ Rf8 37.Qxd4 Nf1+ 38.Kg1 Nd2+ 39.Kh2 Nf1+ A perpetual check would finish this sharp game.

33…e3! 34. Kh2 d3 35.Qb4 e2 36.Bc3 Rxc3! 37.Qxc3 Ng3 38.b7 Rxb7 39.Qa5

         There is no shelter for White’s king after both 39.Qd4 Rb8! or 39.Qe5 Rb1!

39…Rb8! 0-1 Black has two real candidates for new-born queens!

         Teimour studied chess about 7 hours a day, analyzing own games with his computer. Books of Alekhine, Capablanca, Botvinnik and other well-know authors were his permanent advisers. David Bronstein’s work on the 1953 candidate tournament in Zurich became his manual.

           One would think warlike relations between some countries are very remotely connected with chess. For example, the “apple of discord” between Azerbaijan and Armenia is a picturesque southern region, named Nagorno-Karabakh. Therefore, the International tournament which was organized in its capitol, Stepanakert, in 2005, had a political shade. The young Armenian grandmaster, Levon Aronian, was its winner. From here, his successful way to the summit of chess glory began. In the end of 2005, he won the FIDE World Cup. In a couple of months, Levon took first place in the traditional tournament in Linares, Spain, ahead of Radjabov.


                                           NIMZOVICH DEFENSE

                                                Radjabov- Aronian

                                                       Linares, 2006


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.e3 c5 8.Bd3 Qa5

9.0-0 c4 10.Bf5 Bxc3 11.bxc3 Ne4 12.Qc2 Ndf6 13.Bxc8 Rxc8 14.Bxf6 Nxf6 15.Rfb1 b6 16.Rb4 It is threatening 17.Ra4 16…Qa6 17. Nd2 0-0 18.f3 Nh5 19.g3?! Rce8! 20.e4 b5!

         The sleepy queen wakes up! Probably both opponents racked their brains over the next plan: 21.e5 f6 22.f4 fxe5 23.fxe5 Rxe5! {See diagram # 139).

          If 24.dxe5, then 24…Qb6+ 25.Kh1 (25.Kg2 Rf2+ 26.Kh3 Qe6+ 27.g4 Qxe5) 25…Nxg3+ 26.hxg3 Rf2 with the following 27…Qh6+

21.Re1! Qg6 22.Rxb5 dxe4 23.fxe4 Nxg3 24.hxg3 Qxg3+ 25.Kf1 Qf4+ 26.Ke2 Qg4+ 27.Kf2 Qh4+ 28.Ke2 Qg4+ 29.Kf2 Perpetual check. Draw. Peace!

         In the second half of the 20th century, the world’s top players have come mostly from the former Soviet Union and other countries in Eastern Europe where they were nurtured and trained from an early age. But lately new names have appeared in the West.

          France cherished hopes for the chess future of Etienne Bacrot. At first, in 1994, he surprised the chess world by qualifying for the Intel Grand Prix in Paris and could compete against Vladimir Kramnik. Soon the 12-yer-old boy became an International master and defeated Anatoly Karpov. Vassily Smyslov said after his loss to Etienne: “I thought I was playing a child, but I am certain played a grandmaster!”       

      Etienne was the World and Europe champion “till 10, 12” (1993-1995). At the age of 22, Bacrot reached the third place in the World Chess Cup 2005, and became the world championship Candidate.

         At the same time, as we talk and write about chess prodigies, new “young lions” grow up. At the age of 10, Nikaru Nacamura from White Plains , New York, earned a master’s rating which he promptly lost. However, it didn’t take long to get that rating back. And soon he pushed that master’s rating even higher, by beating a grandmaster.

      According to his mother, Caroline, there were four things that influenced Hikaru during his climb to master-status: his brother Asuka, his stepfather Sunil Weeramantry, the computer Fritz 4, and the 1995 U.S. Open skittles room where he spent most of his time.

         In the 2003 National Open Chess Festival in Las Vegas, Nikaru Nakamura tied the first place with the Kazakhstan grandmaster Darmen Sadrakasov, the former junior world champion. Nikaru beat him. Then, at the tournament in Bermuda, he became the youngest American to earn the coveted title of International grandmaster, breaking a record that Bobby Fischer established many years before. Nakamura attained this success four months younger.     

         Winning the 2005 U.S. Championship was Nakamura’s proud achievement. Nikaru’s energetic style illustrated his final attack against Nick de Firmian who played with white pieces (See diagram # 140).

         30…Rxe5 31.fxe5 f4 32.Qe1 e3 33.c4 Qc7 34.Qh1 Nc3 35.Re1 Qd7 36.Qh2 Qd4 37.e6 Ne4 38.e7 Qd2+ 39.Kb1 Nc3+40.Ka1 Qxh2 0-1

          Nikaru is ranked in the top 100 players. After achieving that, Nakamura meditated about fighting for the world championship. Studying chess, the Japanese-born American teenager is not even certain that he will pursue a professional career. But it seems likely that his convincing successes and talent inevitably will propel him in that direction.

          Lately, a youth revolution took place in the chess world, as in gymnastic or in figure skating, where sportsmen achieve world-class results at a very young age. We know that some chess players have become grandmasters at age 14 or 15. A new generation grows up.  

          Pay attention to the important event in today’s chess life. In the 2007 World youth competitions in Turkey took part more than 2.000 young players of various ages. As is generally known from philosophy, quantity is transformed into quality. Children are an inexhaustible source of rising stars.

         New countries advance gifted young players to the forefront. Egypt, for example, is today in the foreground of having young grandmasters. One of them, Ahmed Adly, became the 2007 World Junior champion. He won the youth event (under 20) that was held in Armenia. Such a success is the first jump to the chess crown!