Author: Alexey Kuzmin
…So riding that Olympic wave I’ll start with a bold win for Wang Hao.
Wang,Hao (2739) - Nakamura,Hikaru (2778)
45th Biel GM, 25.07.2012
In the Najdorf Variation Nakamura played the sharp and risky system of Lev Polugaevsky, but Wang also turned out to be ready for such a turn of events. For some time the American was balancing on the edge, but ultimately he couldn’t keep his balance…
27.Rxd5! Qxd5 28.Bxe6 fxe6 29.f7+
29...Kd8? 30.Nxe6+ Kc8 31.f8Q+ Rxf8 32.Rxf8+ Bd8 33.Nxd6+
In the variation 33...Qxd6 34.Rxd8+ Rxd8 35.Nxd8+ Kxd8 queens would also be exchanged - 36.Qd3+-
34.Rf1 Rxd6 35.Nxd8 Qc4 36.Rg1 Rxd8 37.Qg3+ Kb7 38.Qxg6
White has an overwhelming edge. The rest is just the technical stage… 1–0
When you quickly glance through dozens of games from current tournaments your main attention is focussed on the opening. You might also manage to note an interesting balance of material or a bold finish, but the endgame, unfortunately, often falls outside your field of vision…
Ynojosa,Felix Jose (2374) - Dgebuadze,Alexandre (2563)
30th Andorra Open, 24.07.2012
On the last move Black won back a pawn on a2, and a “two against two” endgame arose on the board…
The inconvenience of having to defend the g3-pawn causes discomfort, but it’s unlikely that at this moment the young master from Venezuela could even have suspected what it was going to lead to.
35.Rd6+ Kh7 36.Rh5 Raa3 37.Rh3 Re3 38.Rb6 Red3 39.Rc6 Rd7 40.Rh1 g6 41.Rg1 h5+ 42.Kh4 Rd2 43.Rh1 Rg2 44.Rh3 Kh6
Over the last ten moves the white pieces have taken up slightly weird positions, but it’s still difficult to believe the white king’s house could collapse overnight.
In actual fact Felix Jose had strictly one path to survival at his disposal: 45.Rc5! Rf3 46.Rg5! Rf1 47.f5! Rxf5 48.Rxf5 gxf5 49.Rh1 with a draw.
Now Black announces mate in three.
There’s no defence against the rook sacrifice with mate next move: 46.Rb4 Rxf4+!! 47.Rxf4 g5# or 47.gxf4 Rg4#
The Venezuelan also automatically made the move 46.Rc5 and, without waiting for a reply, resigned. 0–1
…For more than ten years now Grandmaster Alexander Baburin, who lives in Dublin, has been publishing the daily internet newsletter “Chess Today”. I really like his “Endgame Kaleidoscope” column. I also “borrowed” the next position from his collection.
While in the first example we encountered a “two against two” rook ending, in the second the warring parties have only two pieces each…
Eljanov,Pavel (2693) - Moiseenko,Alexander (2711)
ch-UKR Kiev, 29.07.2012
Eljanov continues to pose problems by driving away the enemy king.
74... h5 75.b4 h4 76.Bf1 Diagram
…and his persistence was rewarded:
There would be a draw after 76...Ne6! 77.b5 Nd8! 78.Bg2 Nf7+ 79.Kc7 Ke7 80.b6 Nd6=
After taking the bishop the knight isn’t in time to hold the pawn: 77...Nxh3 78.b5 Ng5 79.b6 Nf7+ 80.Kc7.
78.b5 Nb2 79.Be6 Na4 80.Bb3 Nc3 81.b6 Ne4+ 82.Kc6 1–0
It seems the twenty ninth of July was marked out as the evening of the endgame at the Ukrainian Championship. The outcome of the following encounter was also decided after seventy moves, but determining the precise moment when the game left the bounds of the draw zone is much harder.
Ponomariov,R (2726) - Kuzubov,Y (2623)
ch-UKR Kiev, 29.07.2012
If White managed to play Kf5, attacking the knight as well, the exchange of the last pawns would be inevitable.
It’s stronger not to let the king pass - 78.Rd6! and capturing the pawn with tempo 78...Nxc5 doesn’t do any good: 79.Rg6 Ne6 80.g3=
It seems this was the last moment when Ruslan Ponomariov missed a chance to construct a defensive fortress. After 79.c6+! Kc7 80.Ra4 Rg5 (80...Rc5 81.Ra3) 81.Rc4 it’s not clear how Black can improve his position.
79...Rg5! 80.Ra7+ Kc6 81.Re7
After 81.Ra2 Kd5 the king joins the assault.
Losing immediately is 82.Ke4? Re3+ 83.Kf5 Nd4+.
82...Nxc5 83.Rf7 Nd3+ 84.Kg1 Kd5 Diagram
85.Kh2 Ke4 86.Ra7 Nf2 87.Ra4+ Kf5 88.Ra5+ Kf6 89.Ra6+ Kg5 90.Ra5+ Kg6 91.Ra6+ Kh5 92.Kg1 Nd1 93.Kh2 Ne3 94.Ra2 Ng4+ 95.Kg1 Rb3 96.Ra1 Kh4 97.Rf1 Kg3 98.Kh1 Re3 99.Kg1 Ne5 100.Ra1 Nd3 101.Kf1 Re1+ 0–1
For the three previous years Maxime Vachier-Lagrave had played in the main tournament in Biel. In recent months he’s jettisoned some of his rating points and this time he’s appearing in the Open.
Ulibin,M (2531) - Vachier Lagrave,M (2686)
45th Biel Masters Open, 30.07.2012
After 26.Nxa5 Bf3! 27.e6 the battle would have continued...
26.Bxa5?? Qg3! – mate is inevitable 0–1
“The strong get lucky!”
It seems to me that Maxime’s opponents in the Swiss are simply afraid of him.
Case in point
What’s amazing is not even that after a crude blunder the experienced German master lost in fifteen moves, but that the game can perfectly well be considered, as they write in reviews, “a continuation of the opening discussion”.
Vachier Lagrave,M (2686) - Meins,G (2475) [A29]
45th Biel Masters Open, 24.07.2012
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.g3 Bb4 5.Nd5 e4 6.Nh4 0–0 7.Bg2 Re8 8.0–0 Bc5 9.e3 g5?! 10.Nf5 d6?
This position had already been encountered, and not just anywhere, but in the GM encounter Marin,M-Fressinet,L /Plovdiv 2008. Strangely enough, both Mihail Marin and Laurent Fressinet overlooked a simple check: 11.f3? Nxd5 12.cxd5 Bxf5 and so on.
Immediately decisive!11... Rxe7 12.Nxf6+ Kg7 13.Nxe4 Bf5 14.d3 Re6 15.Nc3 Diagram
Black resigned. The curtain falls!
New in the opening
Nowadays an opening novelty often turns out not to be a concrete move, but the simple fact of a grandmaster playing one system or another. It’s usually backed up by serious analytical work and, as a result, a renewed evaluation of options.
The move 7…Be6, played by Giri isn't new. Back in the nineties the Turkish grandmaster Odeev played it a few times, but it was the appearance of the variation on the stage of an elite tournament that forced us to recall and seriously consider this rare system.
Morozevich,A (2770) - Giri,A (2696) [D97]
45th Biel GM, 23.07.2012
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 0–0 7.e4 Be6!?
This option on our website is dedicated to one of the debut issue of "express-training", so we will not deal with further developments.
Another interesting page was opened in a game at the Women’s Grand Prix:
Koneru,Humpy (2598) - Mkrtchian,Lilit (2450) [D31]
FIDE WGP Jermuk ARM, 27.07.2012
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.Qc2!?
An interesting move that over the course of the whole long history of the Queen’s Gambit has only been seen in a few dozen games.
By playing 3…Be7, Black declared that she didn’t want to play the classical Carlsbad Variation 3…Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5. But with the move 4.Qc2 White insisted: if 4...Nf6 there would follow 5.cxd5 exd5 6.Bg5.
Now a position arises which is characteristic of the Queen’s Gambit Accepted. White has chances of trying to use the inclusion of Qc2 and Be7 to her advantage…
Humpy rejected the more natural 5.Nf3 because of 5...Nc6 6.e3 Nb4 7.Qd1 Nd3+ which also, however, requires analysis.
Formally the novelty is only Black’s last move. White was slightly better after 5...c5 6.dxc5 Na6 7.Bxc4 Nxc5 8.Nf3 a6 9.0–0 b5 10.Be2; Rindlisbacher,J-Baramidze,D/Zuerich 2010
6.Bxc4 a6 7.Nf3 Nbd7 8.e4 b5 9.Bd3 Bb7 10.0–0 c5 11.e5 White has the initiative…1–0
While the most interesting novelty, in my view, was played last week in the game
Rodshtein,M (2642) - Movsesian,S (2698) [D15]
45th Biel Masters Open, 28.07.2012
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 a6 5.e3 b5 6.c5 Nbd7 7.a3 a5 8.Qe2!?N
An unusual move!
When I saw this move I thought: a mistake – they’ve mixed up the c and e-files.
Then I realised that moving the queen to e2 was an interesting nuance. The natural 8.Qc2 had been seen on numerous occasions. For example: 8...g6 9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 Bg7 with normal play, Eljanov,P-Movsesian,S/Sochi RUS 2012.
But if the queen stands on е2, then after 8...g6 9.e4 dxe4 10.Nxe4 because of the threat of mate –Nd6 – Black has to exchange knights: 10...Nxe4 11.Qxe4 and how can you now defend the c6-pawn?! 11...Bb7 12.Bxb5!; 11...Ra6 12.a4!
The bishop is worse on b7 than c8!
Not very successful. 9...g6 10.Nxb5! cxb5 11.c6 Qb6 12.cxb7 Qxb7 13.Bd2 with more pleasant play.
Dubious is 10...b4?! 11.axb4 axb4 12.Rxa8+ Bxa8 13.Qa4 Bb7 14.Qxb4 Nxe4 15.Bd3±
11.Nxe4 a4 12.g3 Nxe4 13.Qxe4 Nf6 14.Qe2 [14.Qe5!?; 14.Qh4!?] 14...Nd5 15.Bg2 g6 16.Ne5
Although the game ended in a draw only six moves later that shouldn’t confuse anyone. At this point White’s prospects are rosier…
16... Rd8 17.h4 Bg7 18.h5 Bc8 19.Bd2 Be6 20.0–0–0 Bxe5 21.dxe5 Rd7 22.Bxd5
Well and that, it seems, is that…
Chinese expansion (23 - 29 July, №30)