While most of the eyes of the chess community were viewing the titanic struggle for the world championship between successful challenger Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, 16 of the world's elite grandmasters were competing at Montpellier, France, for the opportunity to vie for the title next year. With the first four finishers advancing to the next phase of play, Soviet countrymen Artur Yusupov, Rafael Vaganian, and Andrei Sokolov shared top honors at 9 points each, while Jan Timman of the Netherlands and former world champion Mikhail Tal of the Soviet Union were next, with 81/2 apiece. A six-game match for fourth place between these two ended 3-3, with Timman advancing to the next round on the basis of the better tie-breaks at Montpellier.
The lone American, Yasser Seirawan, finished just under .500, with 7 points.
The four qualifiers will now play knockout matches early next year, with Vaganian meeting Sokolov and Yusupov locking horns with Timman.
Yusupov, an improving and brilliant 25-year-old who was ranked first in the tie-break, has the misfortune to be overshadowed by Kasparov. That he is a great player in his own right is evidenced by today's game, taken from Montpellier. The loser in this game is Jes'us Nogueiras, a Cuban. Queen's Gambit Declined Yusupov Nogueiras Yusupov Nogueiras Yusupov Nogueiras Yusupov Nogueiras
1. P-Q4 P-Q4
2. P-QB4 P-K3
3. N-QB3 P-QB3
4. N-B3 N-B3
5. B-N5 QN-Q2
6. PxP KPxP
7. P-K3 B-Q3 (a)
8. B-Q3 N-B1
9. N-K5! (b) Q-N3 (c) 10. O-O BxN 11. PxB N-N5 (d) 12. Q-R4! (e) QxNP 13. QR-B1! (f) B-Q2 (g) 14. Q-Q4! (h) P-B3 15. PxP PxP 16. BxP R-KN1 (i) 17. N-N5! (j) QxN 18. BxQ N-K3 19. Q-N2 PxB 20. B-R4 Resigns (k)
A. Preferable is the more usual 7. . . . B-K2.
B. Refuting Black's strategy, which was either to develop his QB via the KN5, KR4, KN3 route or to play 9. . . . N-N3 and follow with 10. . . . P-KR3.
C. Since the passive 9. . . . N-N3; 10. P-B4 would have left him in an ugly bind, Black tries this overaggressive move. Aggression might better have been served by 9. . . . P-KR3; 10. B-R4, Q-K2, and if 11. P-B4, then P-KN4, with complicated play.
D. Now Black loses virtually by force. 11. . . . N/3-Q2 offered better survival chances.
E. Intending 13. NxP. If now 12. . . . B-Q2, then 13. Q-R3, which threatens mate at K7, would be very strong.
F. Simple and very strong. 13. NxP would have been a blunder because of 13. . . .QxKP, attacking two pieces and threatening mate on R7.
G. If 13. . . . NxKP, then 14. NxP, NxB; 15. RxP is devastating.
H. Now White intends 15. NxP, QxQ; 16. N-B7 mate. If Black tries 14. . . . Q-N3, then 15. P-K6 wins, since 15. . . . QxQ is met by the Zwischenzug 16. PxB ch, and if 15. . . . BxP, then 16. QxNP spears the rook, while 15. . . . N/BxP, then 16. QxN, and White has an extra piece.
I. Or 16. . . . NxB; 17. QxN, R-KN1; 18. NxP, QxQ; 19. NxQ ch, and 20. NxR, with an exchange and pawn plus.
J. A real sockdolager. Now if 17. . . . QxQ, then 18. N-Q6 mate. Black was probably too shook up to immediately resign, so he gives up his Q for two pieces and plays on for a few moves.
K. A magnificent example of sustained attacking play.
International Grandmaster Arthur Bisguier is a former US champion and has won or shared the US Open title five times.