Column: Chess – Chinese GM takes luster off Ivanchuk – LET’S PLAY CHESS By Edgar De Castro

LET’S PLAY CHESS By Edgar De Castro

  There is a proliferation of chess events in Europe (and elsewhere) nowadays, the purpose of which is to  enable local players and aspiring young talents to gain international  norms. One of the most active countries in this regard is the Netherlands which averages three internationals a year.

The 21st Hoogeveen (huge-oven) chess festival was held Oct. 21-28 in the Dutch northeastern town of Hoogeveen. The young Dutch hope, Jorden Van  Foreest, 18, had to be around to assure a creditable  Dutch showing, by beating Baskaran Adhiban, one of India’s top GMs, 5:3, in a six-game match play. Actually,  the match was tied, 3-3, but the  Dutch prevailed in the blitz tiebreak.  In the other match, the moody Ukrainian veteran Vassily Ivanchuk slipped past Chinese teenager Wei Yi, 5:3, winning two tiebreak blitz games, after the regular match ended in a 3-3 draw.

* * * *

In a jungle of bewildering  tactical possibilities, even  master tactician Ivanchuk loses his way. At the end,  a Queen and Bishop invasion becomes the decisive factor.  The Chinese teenager advertises great talent with this game.


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2017 Hoogeveen Festival

W) Wei Yi  (China)

B) V. Ivanchuk (Ukraine)

Sicilian Defense

1. e4     c5

2. Nf3    e6

3. d4     cxd4

4. Nxd4 Nc6

5. Nc3   a6

The well-known Sicilian Paulsen Variation, created by German master Louis Paulsen (1833-1891), a famous chess theoretician and philosopher.

6. Nxc6 …

The main line is 6. g3, and after 6… Nge7 7. Nb3 d6 8. Bg2 Bd7 9. 0-0 Nc8 10. a4 Be7 11. Qe2 0-0 12. a5 Qc7,  White has only a microscopic edge. Also possible is 6. f4 and after 6…Nxd4 7. Qxd4 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. 0-0 Rc8 10. Qf2 Nf6 11.Qe2 d5 and chances are about even.

6…       bxc6

7. Bd3   …

After 7. e5 Ne7 8. Bd3 Qa5 9. Qe2 Nd5 10. Bd2 Bb4 11. Nxd5 Bxd2ch 12. Qxd2 Qxd2ch 13. Kxd2 cxd5 14. b4!, White has the advantage.

7…       Qc7

7…d5 8. 0-0 Bb7 9. Qf3 Nf6 10. Bf4, White has the edge. Or 7…d6 8. 0-0 Nf6 9. f4 Qc7 10. Qe1 d5 11.  Qg3 g6!? 12. Be3 Be7 13. Bd4 0-0 14. Kh1 Nd7, with unclear consequences.

8. O-O   Nf6

9. Qe2   d5

10. Bg5 Bb7

11. f4    h6

12. Bh4 …

If 12. Bxf6 gxf6 13. f5 e5 14. Na4 h5, the game is probably equal.

12…      Be7

After 12…dxe4 13. Nxe4 Nxe4 14. Bxe4 Bc5ch 15. Kh1 0-0 16. Bf6! gxf6 17. Qg4ch Kh8 18. Qh5 Kg7 19. Qxc5, White has the upper hand= Engine.

13. Bg3 …

13. e5 Ne4 14. Bxe7 Nxc3 is unclear.

13…      0-0

14. e5    Ne8

15. f5    exf5

16. Bxf5            Qb6ch

17. Kh1 …

As the early chess writers said, “The opening of the position almost always favors the player with the better development.” Here it is White who will benefit by the  opening of the f-file.

17…      g6

18. Bd7 Rd8

19. e6    f5

20. Qd2 Kh7

21. Bf2            Qa5

White obtains the upper hand  after 21…Qb4 22. a3 Qg4 23. h3 Qh5 24. Bb6 Ra8, but probably much better than the text.

22. Be3!            h5

22…g5 is met by 23. b4!, which clearly favors White.

23. Qf2  c5

24. Qf4  g5

A sad necessity.

25. Qf3! …

Also good, according to the engine, is 25. Qe5, e.g., 25…Qc7 26. Rxf5 Qxe5 27. Rxe5 Nf6 28. Na4 Nxd7 29. exd7 Rxd7 30. Nxc5 and White is superior, plus one pawn.

25…      g4?

This loses quickly, but after 25…Ng7, 26. Nxd5, White has a winning game.

26. Qf4  Rf6

There’s nothing better. For instance 26…Ng7 27. Qh6ch Kg8 28. Bg5 and wins material.

27. Bxe8        Rxe8

28. Qg5!         …

After the text, Black has to surmount the double-threat on f5 and h5.

28…      Ref8

29. Qxh5ch…     Kg7

Resignation is honorable at this point, as Black loses material without compensation.  29…Kg8 leads to the same result.

30. Qg5ch          Kh8

31. Qh5ch          Kg7

32. Bg5 d4

33..Bxf6ch         Rxf6

34. Rxf5            1-0

If 34…Rxf5 35. Qxf5 Qd8 (35…dxc3 36. Qf7ch) 36. Qxg4ch Kh8 37. Ne2 Qd5 38. Rf1 and White wins handily.

Solution to last week’s puzzle: White to move and win.

White=Kh2, Qg3, Rf1, Rf5, Bd5, Pa2, Pd3, Pe4, Pg2, Ph5

Black=Kh8, Qd4, Re5, Rf8, Bg5, Pa6, Pb5, Pd6, Pf6, Ph7

1. Qxg5!        fxg5

2. Rxf8ch      Kg7

3. R1f6!         1:0

If 3…h6 (to prevent 3. h6 mate), then 4. R6f7 mate.

Courtesy:  The Philippine Star 

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