2004 FIDE World Chess Championships
June 18th-July 13th
Tripoli, Libya

Rustam Kasimdzhanov (Uzbekistan) vs. Michael Adams (England)

Finals - Game #1

Let the gladiator battle begin!

The first game of the 2004 FIDE World Chess Championship between Michael Adams and Rustam Kasimdzhanov began today. With Adams manning the white pieces, he played his usual 1.e4 which was met by an aggressive version of the Paulsen Sicilian with 1c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 6.Bd3 Bc5!? (common is 6Qc7) 7.Nb3 Ba7. This line possesses venom because ideas such as Nf6, Qc7, Nc6 and h5!? Of course after castling, white's normal f4 thrust is negated by the pin on the f-pawn and if the king goes to h1, then ideas like h5,  Nf6-g4 or h5, Nc6-e5-g4 come into play (and sometimes Bb8).

Adams decided to play the Maroczy Bind approach which cements the center with pawns at e4 and c4. Kasimdzhanov played his king's knight to e7 as opposed to f6 in order to establish a blockade common in these positions. He also started queenside expansion with 16a5, but after 17.a4 Bxd5 18.cxd5 a draw was agreed. In the final position, there are some weaknesses in white's position, but the two bishops and open lines should be compensation.

See video #1, video #2, video #3  (Real Player).

Game #1

GM Michael Adams (ENG 2731) - GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB 2652), -

Final - All Games  (PGN format)

Finals - Game #2

Surprises are over. To arrive at this point Kasimdzhanov, has beaten super-GMs Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Grischuk and Veselin Topalov.  How many players can claim to have done this in one tournament? The Uzbek player (and former 2700-player) has now broken out to a 1-point lead in the 2nd game of this match. Adams has never trailed and has never entered a tiebreak session. No longer can Adams play his methodical style. He may have to unleash a more aggressive system against Kasimdzhanov's Paulsen Sicilian.

Kasimdzhanov-Adams started off as a mainline Petroff and nothing remarkable happened until the game moved toward the endgame. Kasimdzhanov held an edge throughout and was beginning to squeeze Adams into submission. Adams was able to ease his position a bit with 34b5 35.cxb5  Bxd5 and apparently set up some trickery with 39Be6. (diagram)

It is obvious that 40.Rxc5 doesn't work because of the discovered check on the rook after 4oNf3+ and 41Rxd1. So Kasimdzhanov played 40.Kf2? to remove that threat, but missed another. It turns out that Adams did not set a trap and failed to play
40Nxb5! winning a pawn. He opted for the inferior 40Rc8?

Key Position: after 39...Be6

Key Position: after 39...Be6

After that exchange of blunders, Kasimdzhanov avoided complications and played cautiously. Adams would not be able to contend with the pair of passed white pawns on the b-and e-files.  Having been rendered to total passivity, black faced massive material loss and resigned. (Final Position)

See video #1, video #2, video #3  (Real Player).

Game #2

GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB 2652) - GM Michael Adams (ENG 2731) ,  1-0

Final - All Games  (PGN format)
OVERALL SCORE: 1- (Kasimdzhanov)

Finals - Game #3

After losing  game #2, Adams came roaring back with an impressive win. Needing to level the score after a disappointing loss,  Adams used a different approach to facing his opponent's Paulsen Sicilian by playing the common 5.Nc3.This can transpose into many different systems including the Scheveningen Sicilian. Adams opening strategy was a success and he was able to establish a fluid, risk-free, yet aggressive setup after 19.Nxc3.

This position had "attack" written all over it.  Kasimdzhanov moved to stifle the bishops with 20e5,  but Adams burrowed in with 21. Rc7. After winning the weak d-pawn, Adams tactically simplified with 31.Rxb4 axb4 32.Ne7+ Qxe7
33.Qxd6 and soon corralled the other weak pawn since the black rook was tied down to the defense of the back rank. After that, white's passed a-pawn would be escorted up the board by the queen and rook and there was nothing black could do to obstruct its path, so Kasimdzhanov resigned. (Final Position)

See video #1, video #2, video #3  (Real Player).

Game #3

GM Michael Adams (ENG 2731) - GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB 2652),  1-0

Final - All Games  (PGN format)

Finals - Game #4

What is happening in this match would be unprecedented if the current situation holds up.  All of the odds-makers in betting houses are certainly going to be broke and Jeff Sonas will have to tweak his probability engine. Rustam Kasimdzhanov broke back on top with The Exchange Ruy Lopez. It is a weapon that he has used once in this tournament to beat Alexander Grischuk in a critical game. It is also a line that the legendary Bobby Fischer used with great success. Unlike the Grischuk game, Michael Adams played 5Bg4!? instead of the common 5f6 line. After 6.h3 Adams played 6h5 which of course is old theory 7.hxg4 hxg4 and black will attack along the h-file.

Adams preparing to play 4dxc6.

Adams preparing to play 4dxc6.

Kasimdzhanov started queenside expansion right away with 12.Rfb1!? because black's king usually castles long. Adams decided to deviate from Shirov-Topalov, Magistral 1997 (which saw 12Nb6) and played 12f5!? After 22.c5 white appeared to be a bit better due to pressure on the c6-pawn and the fact that the black bishop was stifled by the e5-pawn. However, Kasimdzhanov played 26.d4!? freeing the bishop, but also cementing his control on the center. Of course, the weakness on c6 was a major problem so Adams sacrificed the exchange for a pawn to break the bind. However, Kasimdzhanov forced the issue with 32.f4! Bxf5 33.Rg6 Kf7 (33Nf8 34.Rxc6) 34.Rxe6 Kxe6 35.Bxf4  and simplified into a won ending. Solid performance. Adams will play white and he most certainly will come with cannons blazing. This may be his last chance. (Final Position)

See video #1, video #2, video #3  (Real Player).

Game #4

GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB 2652) - GM Michael Adams (ENG 2731),  1-0

Final - All Games  (PGN format)
OVERALL SCORE: 2-1 (Kasimdzhanov)

Finals - Game #5

"Not so fast!" Mr. Adams may have been thinking. With his back up against the wall and fighting in a "must-win" situation, Michael Adams clawed his way back into the match with a convincing crush of Rustam Kasimdzhanov. The player with the white pieces has won the last four games, but Kasimdzhanov will get the last chance to win the match on tomorrow.

In today's game, Kasimdzhanov deviated from his normal 1c5 and it may have been a mistake.  Despite wading through familiar waters, Kasimdzhanov yielded a huge space advantage. Adams struck with 29.e5!  and after black's 29dxe5, black's queenside was completely destroyed as the c5-pawn would become a target. Of course, black cannot play 29fxe5?? because of 30.Qxf8+ Kxf8 31.Nxe5+ winning.

The pawn thrust was also important because  it created a strong passed d-pawn further tying black's position into knots. Black sacrificed a pawn in an attempt to close the f-file while barreling down the g-file, but his position was already in disrepair. Facing mate or massive material loss, Kasimdzhanov  resigned. He will try to win the match tomorrow with (of course) the white pieces. (Final Position)

Adams-Kasimdzhanov: after 29.e5!

Adams-Kasimdzhanov: after 29.e5!

Game #5

GM Michael Adams (ENG 2731) - GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB 2652),  1-0

Final - All Games  (PGN format)

Finals - Game #6

Amazing! After playing a stellar game, Rustam Kasimdzhanov allows Michael Adams a winning position only then to survive by a reciprocated blunder. Many of the observed cited fatigue as a possible reason. Perhaps. In what had been a very well-played game, the two will defer the decisive encounters to the tiebreaks both are extremely strong a fast time controls.

Today's match repeated two
Dominguez-Inarkiev games (white winning both). Adams wisely decided not to venture down Inarkiev's 18Re8 path and played 18Nb4.  The game plodded forward and appeared to be level until the position started to get murky after 24 Qb6!? Black's isolated pawn became a liability, so he was forced to sacrifice it. He ended up only slightly worse.

However, time pressure started to creep up and Adams' 33Rd8?! was met by 34.Rxd8+ Qxd6 35.Ba2 Qe7
36.e6! (diagram #1). If 36.Qa8+!? Kg7  37.e6 fxe6 38.Qxa6 then Kf6! and it's unclear. A few moves later, white tightened the screws with 39.g5 and 40.Qa8. What could black do? Adams went for the draw with 40Bd4 and 41Bxf2 in mind, but amazingly Kasimdzhanov played 41.Qg8?? (diagram #2). Just a few moves ago, players at the ICC were saying "goodbye" to Adams (and calculating Kasimdzhanov's new rating), but now they were gawking at the prospect of 41Qc6+! 42.Kg3 42Qe4! threatening 43Be5+ (diagram #3).

On the prowl, Kasimdzhanov plays 36.e6! and will eventually promote a passed b-pawn. Kasimdzhanov plays the howler 41.Qg8?? and gives Adams new life after 41Qc6+! Adams missed 42Qe4! threatening 43Be5+. The match would have been over.

Kasimdzhanov plays 36.e6! with ideas of Qa8+ and Qxa6 and getting a passed queenside pawn.

Kasimdzhanov plays the howler 41.Qg8?? and gives Adams new life after 41Qc6+!

Adams missed 42Qe4! threatening 43Be5+. The match would have been over.

Emil Sutovsky at the ICC, quickly found 43.Qxh7+ Kf8! 44.Qh6+ Bg7 45.Qh4 Be5+ 46.f4 Qe1+ 47.Kg4 Qe2+ 48.Kg3 Bc3-+. ICC players were astounded at the turn of events, but nothing could prepare them for Adams'  42Bxf2+?? 43.Kxf2 Qc2+ 44.Ke3 -. A familiar chorus of complaints sited exhaustion  and the "flawed format" as the culprits. Nevertheless, both players fought hard and with so much at stake, made inexplicable blunders in a tense moment. Tiebreaks should be very interesting tomorrow as both are very strong in blitz. However, with such a long stay in Libya, stamina may be a fact and both players may be feeling the effects of a long tournament with only a few days of rest.

Game #6

GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB 2652) - GM Michael Adams (ENG 2731),  -

Final - All Games  (PGN format)


Rapid Game #1 Kasimdzhanov went back to his Sicilian but played 2Nc6 instead of 2e6. Adams responded with his patented Rossolimo Attack an anti-Sicilian weapon that takes no risks, but maintains a slight edge in the opening. Of course, Adams  could have opted for the interesting 4.d4 cxd4 5.Qxd4!? but opted for the solid 5.Re1.

After 13b4, Adams allowed his kingside to be wrecked after 14.Ne2 Bg7 15.d5 Bxf3 16.gxf3. His compensation would be the two bishops, an increase in space and a powerful center. Feeling a gradual crush taking place, Kasimdzhanov sacrificed an exchange with 20Rxc6!? However, Adams kept pressing and had a winning advantage, but erred with 26.Ra4? The move 26.Ra7 would kept the pressure.

Adams later returned the exchange with 28.Rxd4, but no long held the advantage after 28Bxd4 29.Qxd4 Qxb5. In fact, black's superior pawn structure would be the bedrock of salvation as the black infantry rolled up the kingside. In a moment of illusion, Adams blundered with
56.Bxe5?? Allowing Kasimdzhanov to play the winning zwishenzug 56f3+! Black nets a piece since the f-pawn is blocked after 57.Kxf3 Kxe5. Adams played on a few more moves before resigning.

Rapid Game #2 In a do-or-die situation, Adams would play the black pieces not the best scenario for a win given white's score in this match. However, Adams saddled up and prepared to do battle. In a line that has had success in this tournament, Kasimdzhanov success, the Exchange Ruy Lopez would be a wise choice. Adams opted for neither 5f6, nor 5Bg4 (game #4), but for 5Qd6!? which has some tricks. Perhaps still cognizant of Lenier Dominguez' success against Ernesto Inarkiev, Adams stayed away from 5f6, but white got the better of the opening anyway.

After 21.Rae1, Kasimdzhanov was poised to attack and unleashed a pawn avalanche with 22.e5 Be7 23.f5 Nh4
24.e6+! The Uzbek player was in control after 27.Rf7 and all Adams could do is simplify into a completely equal endgame. After a few more moves, a draw has agreed and Kasimdzhanov would be named the new FIDE World Chess Champion! Immediately after the match Ali Nihat Yazici asked the champion how he felt. He replied, "I feel like a million dollars!"

Congratulations to Rustam Kasimdzhanov!!
Congratulatory greetings for Kasimdzhanov! Post-match interview with Kasimdzhanov.


GM Michael Adams (ENG 2731) - GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB 2652),  0-1
GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov (UZB 2652) - GM Michael Adams (ENG 2731),  -

Final - All Games  (PGN format)
OVERALL SCORE: 4-3 (Kasimdzhanov)

Posted by The Chess Drum: 13 July 2004