The Last Hero.
By Boris Schipkov
The Results of the World Championships 2000
"Siddhartha... said: " Enough, Ananda!... My friends ... Always remember , that all material things are deteriorate, only truth is indestructible and eternal".
Leo Tolstoy "Buddha" (1905)
Buddha's "favourite disciple", as wrote by Tolstoy, was called Ananda.
Millions and billions Indians (and not only Indians) all over the world will grow fond of Viswanathan Anand after his brilliant victory in the World Championship. He was the only player went through the tournament without losses and remained invincible. Anand had 8 wins and 12 draws. Anand beat Bologan, Lputian, Macieja, Khalifman, Adams and Shirov.
As Rama in "Ramayana" beat Ravana in a cosmic battle or as the brothers Pandavas in "Mahabharata" defeated the Kauravas, and the last hero of 2000 year and XX century Anand confidently outplayed distinguished rivals. The beautiful combinations in the games against Macieja (a bishop sacrifice) and against Bologan, the highest level of defence in the games with Lputian, Shirov and Khalifman, correct self-control, behaviour and concentration during games - all this has allowed Viswanathan to become the last World Chess Champion of the second millennium.
Let's name also other heroes of this fascinating championship.
The straight-out warrior and matador Alexei Shirov won 8 games, drawn 12 games, but lost very many - 6 games, 3 of them - in the final. Shirov beat Onischuk, Gurevich, Gelfand, Bareev and Grischuk. He played the most amount of games in the tournament, therefore his vigour gave out in the final match with Anand.
Shirov was always known by the brilliant sacrifices and an original treatment of openings. There were especially remembered his victory over Gelfand and Alexei's ingenious play in the first game with Grischuk in India.
The main sensation of the championship is the outstanding result of the seventeen-year-old Russian Alexander Grischuk. He participated for the first time in a such serious competition and at once broke through in a semifinal and in the grandmasters' elite. Grischuk won 7 games, drawn 13 games, lost two games. Grischuk beat Lima, Smirin, Serper, Ehlvest, Tkachiev. He battled completely as an equal with Shirov in the semifinal match, but Alexei's wide experience had an effect. All liked bright tactical blows of Alexander Grischuk - a rook sacrifice in the game against Serper, a rook and bishop sacrifice in the 3rd game against Shirov.
The Englishman Michael Adams is one of the most stable players in the world. Three times he played in the World Championships and all three times went to semifinals! Adams won 6 games, drawn 11 games, lost only 1 game. Adams beat Dao, Yermolinsky, Svidler and Topalov. It is necessary to note, that the disaster overtaken him only in the match with the future World Chess Champion Anand.
The defending champion Alexander Khalifman showed good play. He won 3 games, drawn 16 games and lost one game. Khalifman beat Lutz, Leko and Leitao. Khalifman passed a chess crown to Anand, but the Anand - Khalifman match was one of the most persistent in the tournament. The analysis of games shows Alexander was the only player really could have won the match against Anand Viswanathan. Alexander Khalifman in two rapid games (25 minutes) obtained an advantage and had chances for a victory.
It is possible to note that other chess players demonstrated nice play. They were Rafael Leitao (Brasil), Bartlomiej Macieja (Poland), Igor Nataf and Vladislav Tkachiev (France), Jaan Ehlvest (Estonia), etc.
The separate duels, for example, a bloody fight between Veselin Topalov and Alexei Dreev without a single draw, were interesting too.
So, for the first time for hundreds years the chess crown has returned to the country, where the chess has arisen once.
In the Women World Chess Championship Xie Jun (China) confirmed the high class. She was undefeated, scored 5 victories and made 11 draws. Xie Jun again became the Women's World Champion.
Qin Kanying (China), Ekaterina Kovalevskaya (Russia) and Alisa Maric (Yugoslavia) acted beautifully. The Women's Chess Champion of Russia Ekaterina Kovalevskaya scored 4 victories, ended 6 games in a draw and lost one game to the champion Xie Jun.
© 2000 Boris Schipkov