Stockholm, «Hasselbacken chess open». Fiery battles in an old hotel

The attention of the online audience (and anyone who was lucky enough to see it firsthand) in round five was once again riveted on the "burning board" of Alexey Shirov. The hero of an army of lovers of sharp chess is playing with great appetite here, not hesitating to sacrifice and take the risk even of losing, just to spill blood. 


By moving the king to f1, White could count on a definite advantage, but Shirov plunges into the unknown: 20.c5! Nxc5 21.Rxg7 – This is what White had in mind when sacrificing the initial pawn. The black king may not survive the storm clouds gathering over him. 21…Kxg7 22.Bh6 Kg8 23.0-0-0 Bg6 24.Bc4 Ne6 25.Qh3 – 25.Qg4 looks preferable, so as to meet the incautious 25…f5 with the instantly winning 26.Qd4  25…Kf7 26.Nd5

26…Rxb2! – THis time the opponent is up to the mark! The big hope of US chess, the 16-year old Sam Sevian, is prepared to trade punches and returns the extra rook. 27.Kxb2 Rb8 28.Bb3 Be5 29.Nc3 c5 30.f4 c4 31.fxe5 cxb3 32.a4 Nc5 33.exf6 Qc7 34.Rd4 Rd8 35.Rxd8 Qxd8 36.Qe3 Qd6 – The mutual exchange of blows has led to a position where White should exchange queens (37.Qe7). But how can one bear to end such a game?…

37.Nb5?? Nd3 38.Kb1 Ne5 39.Kb2 Nd3 40.Kb1 Nf2 41.Kc1 Qd1 42.Kb2 Nd3 43.Na3 Qa1 44.Kxb3 Qb2 45.Kc4 Qb4 46.Kd5 Be4! – and mate next move.

White resigns (0:1). Wonderful, if not pragmatic!

But such calmness and coolness under fire is only given to a few. Not everyone's nerves are able to stand it, and sometimes... 

Smirin - Mareko

Ilya had been pressing the whole game. His opponent had beaten off the first wave of the attack and the second. But now, when success is within reach, he slips. See for yourself: 30.Qe3?! – defending is hard, but attacking also requires great effort. Preferable was 30.Qe5, because now Black has the chance to consolidate.  30…Qd5 31.Qf4 Qf3 32.Qd4 Kg6 33.Re1 g3?! 34.Ng4?! Kxg5 35.Ne5 – Now he only needed to play 35…Qf4 with good prospects in the ending. But at this moment, the Argentinian's flag dropped. (1:0).


White just needs to add the last brick to his defensive wall and he will be free to concentrate on his queenside attack. Black has no time to lose: 20…h3! 21.Bxh3 Qh4 22.Bg2 Qxg4 – The second pawn sacrifice 22…f3 also looks good, but Sebastian Maze decided that would be too much. 23.f3 Qh5 24.Rd2 Rh7 25.Bf1 Nf6 26.Raa2 g5 27.c5 g4 28.Rg2 Kh8 29.Be2 Nxc5 30.Nxc5 dxc5 – and maybe he was right! Black is first to break through, and one does not need to be a Geller or a Bronstein, to understand how bad things are likely to become for the white king over the next few moves. 

31.Bxc5 gxf3 32.Bxf3 Bxc5 33.Qxc5 Bg4 34.Rxg4 Nxg4 35.Rg2 Rg7 36.Qc3 Rxa4 37.d6 Ra2 38.dxc7 Rxg2 39.Bxg2 Qxh2 40.Kf1 Ne3 – White resigns (0:1).

Zoltan Almasi did not manage to hold onto first place, but he has time to rehabilitate himself

It is easy to convince oneself that the drama and action has been more than sufficient. Yesterday, Dmitry Andreikin gave what was less than the best example in his career: 


44…Qe3? – He wins at once with 44…Rc1. 45.Kh1 Qe2 46.Kg1 f4 – Again a lapse. Why not 46…Rc1? 47.Qd8 h6 48.Qh4 Nxc6 49.Re1 Qd2 50.Qg4 Kf8 51.Qh4 f3 – White resigns (0:1). In round six, the Saratov GM played coldly and ruthlessly, winning without any adventures a technical game against Seturamana (India).


These are the pairings for round seven:

The ladies' prize is led by Marcel Efroimsky (Israel). In round six, she beat Alexander Donchenko (Germany, Elo 2573). But her next opponent is more serious.....

It is a shame that we see Ulf Andersson, top board for the Rest of the World team in 1984, unmatched master of the endgame and winner of numerous international tournaments, only in the role of commentator...

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