Anand sparkles in Olympic chess
Indian Grandmaster Vishwananthan Anand displayed his sparkling speed of thoughts to pin Alexei
Shirov into a corner, but the Spaniard wriggled out of the
mess as chess made an exhibition entry into the Olympic Games.
While athletes of different disciplines were busy at
various arenas playing for their country's honour and a moment
of glory, chess made a quiet but positive start in its bid to get a
possible entry into the Olympic family.
World number two Anand and Latvia-born Shirov added their
might to the game's world governing body FIDE's efforts to make the sport a medal event in the Olympics by playing
exhibition matches at the Olympic Athletes' Village in the
Homebush Bay facility in Sydney.
Though no medals were at stake, Anand and Shirov played
two rapid games at mind-boggling speed and fought hard till there
was no life left in the positions.
The first game was a fashionable Najdorf variation that
has evoked such an interest that world's best chess players
have decided to have a close scrutiny for the game's
Anand, known for his speed play, got an advantage on
the board as well as the clock in the first game despite
playing with black.
Shirov defended under pressure to reach a drawn ending
where black's extra bishop had no effect on the result of the
Anand, having an advantage of white pieces in the second
game, however, came unstuck against the French Rubinstein variation
The French Rubinstein seems to have become a pet opening
for the Spaniard, but both players seemed to have liked their
The Indian sacrificed a pawn but Shirov repulsed the
White initiative and gobbled the pawn to good use.
In mutual time trouble Anand managed to win his pawn back
and both players lifted till the eyes met and a second draw
After the mind-quenching games, Anand and Shirov were
friends again and chatted amicably.
Interestingly, the players discussed their games in the
language that was easier for both - Spanish.
While Shirov has adopted Spain as his home, Anand's
second base is also the country that is more mad about
bull-fighting, football and tennis.
As Anand and Shirov played two 'ground-breaking' games,
Australia's youngest ever International Master, Zong-Yuan
Zhao, took on all-comers from the athletes in the Olympic
village in a simultaneous exhibition on 20 boards.
Many wellknown athletes as well as chess players tried
their hand to see how this player of the future would play.
Zhao made all work hard keeping his 20 opponents on the
tenterhooks and impressed the chess fraternity as Australia
found a world class player.
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