Khalifman wins first game of World Chess Championship match

by Sam Sloan

From the press room at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas:

Alexander Khalifman has just defeated Vladimir Akopian in the first game of their match for the World Chess Championship.

The winner of this six-game match will receive $660,000. The loser will receive $396,000.
Alexander Khalifman

However, FIDE, the World Chess Federation, will receive a 20% cut from these prizes. Therefore, the actual amount the winner will receive will be $528,000 and the actual amount the loser will receive will be $316,800. However, the loser will receive 20% more and the winner 20% less if the match ends with a score of 3-3, which will require a tie-break match. If the tie-break match also results in a draw, there will be a sudden death play-off and the loser will receive an additional 20% more or a total of $84,480 more, while the winner will receive the same amount less.

The purpose of this is to almost equal the amounts the winner and loser will receive if a sudden death playoff is required.

Time Control is 40 moves in 100 minutes, followed by 20 moves in 50 minutes, followed by all moves in 10 minutes. Each player shall receive an extra 30 seconds thinking time after each move played, commencing from the first move.

More information is available at .

In the first game of this six-game match, Akopian voluntarily sacrificed a knight for two pawns with 17. Nxe4. Commentators were mystified by this, because Akopian seemed to be gaining an advantage had the game gone 16. Ng5 h6 17. dxe4 hxg5 18. exd5. After the game, Khalifman said, "The position gives no reason to make this sacrifice."

The Final Position - White resigns

Akopian simply got a bad game after his knight sacrifice. However, he possibly could have held had he not played 39. g4?. After the game, Khalifman said that 39. g4 was a very bad move and that after that, he was sure that he was winning.

Florencio Campomanes, former President of FIDE, who is here in the press room in Las Vegas, contends that Akopian still could have survived had he played 42. Rb1 instead of 42. Re1.

Akopian was born on December 7, 1971 and is 27 years old. Khalifman was born on January 18, 1966 and is 33 years old.

The game today was the first game of any kind Akopian has lost in the Las Vegas event. Khalifman lost four games before reaching the finals.

Here is the game today:

[Event "FIDE World Chess Championship"]
[Site "Las Vegas USA"]
[Date "1999.08.22"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Akopian,Vladimir"]
[Black "Khalifman,Alexander"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Opening "English opening"]
[ECO "A05"]
[NIC "QP.11"]
[Time "17:30:31"]
[TimeControl "6000+30"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. b4 Bg7 4. Bb2 O-O 5. g3 d6 6. Bg2 e5 7. d3 Nh5 8. Nc3
f5 9. O-O Nc6 10. b5 Ne7 11. e4 c5 12. bxc6 bxc6 13. c5 d5 14. exd5 cxd5 15.
Qb3 e4 16. dxe4 fxe4 17. Nxe4 Bxb2 18. Qxb2 dxe4 19. Ng5 Bf5 20. Nxe4 Rb8
21. Qc3 Nd5 22. Qa3 Bxe4 23. Bxe4 Nhf6 24. Bf3 Qc7 25. Rac1 Ne7 26. c6 Nf5
27. Qc3 Rbc8 28. Rfe1 Qg7 29. Rcd1 Rc7 30. Re6 h5 31. Qe5 Kh7 32. h3 Ng8 33.
Qe4 Nf6 34. Qe5 Ng8 35. Qe4 Rf6 36. Rxf6 Nxf6 37. Qb4 Qe7 38. Qb8 Nd6 39. g4
hxg4 40. hxg4 Nf7 41. Kg2 Kg7 42. Re1 Qd8 43. Qb2 Ng5 44. Re3 Qd6 45. Qa3
Qxa3 46. Rxa3 Kf7 47. Be2 Ne6 48. Ra4 Nd5 49. Bf3 Ne7 50. Kg3 Kf6 51. Rc4
Ke5 52. Rc1 Nd4 53. Re1+ Kf6 54. Bg2 Nexc6 55. f4 Ne7 56. Bf1 Rc3+ 57. Kg2
Nc2 {White resigns} 0-1

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