SPORT

Maiden title for Viktor Bologan

Dortmund Aug. 10. Viktor Bologan of Moldova opened a brand new chapter in his career by making a final round draw against World classical chess champion Vladimir Kramnik to win the Sparkassen Chess Meeting at the Dortmund Theatre on Sunday.

Once again round ten was a repeat of round nine with all three games ending in draws. Bologan, 31, won his first major super category tournament with 6.5 points, finishing ahead of the three favourites. Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, the six-time winner was pushed to second place and with a lower tie-break score Viswanathan Anand finished third on 5.5 points.

On Sunday, two possibilities existed: Kramnik's seventh title or Bologan's maiden one. After Kramnik opened with the queen pawn as white, Bologan went for the Nimzo-Indian defence. The former made his intentions clear of playing for a win at move 22 by avoiding exchange of rooks.

After black made some unprovoked pawn advances on his king side, Kramnik preferred the rook exchange to unleash the power of his bishop pair at move 27. Bologan had to make the last 13 moves in under eleven minutes and the battle looked uphill for him at that stage.

Bologan held his nerve and played good defensive chess to exchange queens on the 34th move. It was Kramnik now under time pressure. After 38 moves, Kramnik offered a draw when the game entered a dead drawish minor piece ending. Bologan who was hoping for a draw got it in the fourth hour of play.

Bologan had played for Dresden in the German league and has worked as a trainer for many top players including the FIDE World chess champion Ruslan Ponomariov. He was accompanied by his wife. He swept Naiditch 2-0, beat Radjabov and Leko 1.5-0.5 and managed to draw Kramnik and Leko 1-1 in this tournament.

The draw percentage got worse towards the end with 19 of the 30 games ending in draws. All the three favourites, Kramnik, Anand and Leko would be losing Elo points for the below average performances while all the three underdogs, Bologan, Radjabov and Naiditch will gain ratings from the event.

Having missed his chances with the white pieces against Radjabov, Anand was expected to take revenge on Sunday. However, the game was the shortest in the tournament and the quickest with Radjabov losing the advantage of making the opening move swiftly.

Plus two (6/10) was his expected score. He should be losing a little Elo points from the event for scoring 5.5 points. He showed good character in staging a comeback after being at minus two at one stage. He played true to the position in the last two rounds and slightly disappointed fans by not trying more in the penultimate round against Naiditch, the game ending in a draw.

At the event, Anand made 1-1 with Bologan and Kramnik, beat Leko and Naiditch 1.5-0.5 and lost 0.5-1.5 to Radjabov. It was a big improvement from the last place he got in 2001 and he slipped out of that after a similar start this time.

About Sunday's game, Anand said he wanted to surprise Radjabov in the opening and went for the Bogo-Indian defence. "White has to play h3, and when he missed that I got Nh5 and the position became dead equal,'' said Anand.

After white failed to impress in the opening, Anand offered a draw along with his 13th move with the black pieces and Radjabov accepted it. The game was over within the first hour of play this afternoon.

About the overall performance Anand said, "I can't say that I am too happy, but the recovery after losing two games went like a dream. Me and my trainer worked hard after that (bad) start and he too was worried, this being the first time he is working with me.

"You have to see this performance in the light of me having lost the last six games without winning one in Dortmund. It was going like a curse. Then I decided to take a draw (with Kramnik) and things changed for the better after that. His game against Bologan was clearly the best he played this year.

``The second half of the tournament went well for us but it could have gone better had he won yesterday too,'' said his trainer Rustem Dautov the Russian born Grandmaster now based in Germany.

The second game to conclude also was a draw after Leko proposed it in 24 moves and Naiditch accepted it. The Hungarian player went for a Sicilian dragon variation by transposition and equalised easily. White castled kingside and a draw was agreed after two hours of play.

The results:

Round ten: Teimour Radjabov (Aze) 5 drew with Viswanathan Anand (Ind) 5.5, Vladimir Kramnik (Rus) 5.5 drew with Viktor Bologan (Mda) 6.5, Arkady Naiditch (Ger) 3.5 drew with Peter Leko (Hun) 4.

Final placings: 1 Viktor Bologan (Mda) 6.5, 2-3. Vladimir Kramnik (Rus), Viswanathan Anand (Ind) 5.5 each, 4. Teimour Radjabov (Aze) 5, 5. Peter Leko (Hun) 4, 6. Arkady Naiditch (Ger) 3.5.

The moves: GM Teimour Radjabov-GM Viswanathan Anand, round ten, Bogo-Indian, E11: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Nbd2 b6 5.a3 Bxd2+ 6.Bxd2 h6 7.Bf4 Bb7 8.e3 Nh5 9.Bg3 Nxg3 10.hxg3 d6 11.Qc2 Nd7 12.Bd3 c5 13.Be4 Bxe4 Draw.