CHESS: LET’S PLAY CHESS – Vladislav Artemiev. Russian GM Super Blitz king

By Edgar De Castro


Vladislav Artemiev, the fourth youngest Russian GM at 22, emerged on top at the Abu Dhabi (UAE) Super Blitz Challenge, one of those major online tournaments that have gained popularity world-wide during the CODVID-19 lockdown.

Artemiev, the reigning European champion, defeated Oleksandr Bortnyk of Ukraine in the knockout finals and took home the $5,000 champion’s purse. Bortnyk, pocketed $3,000, while Russian Daniil Dubov won $2,000 for finishing third.

Rounding out the top eight were 16-year-old Artur Avalyan of Russia, compatriots Ian Nepomniachtchi and Peter Svidler, Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran and 15-year-old Nihal Sarin of India.


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Other notable players in the star-studded, two-stage (swiss and knockout) event were Americans Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), Anish Giri (Netherlands) and Russians Alexander Grischuk and Sergey Kariakin. The tourney drew 1,215 players, including 300 GMs and 276 IMs, setting an attendance record in online chess.

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At the Banter Blitz Cup, which was the strongest in recent years, youth once again came to fore. Alireza Firouzja, the talented 16-year-old Iranian exile, who plays under the FIDE flag, defeated Norwegian world champion Magnus Carlsen, 8.5-7.5, in Wednesday’s finals to win the $14,000 top prize. Banter Blitz Cup was an online 128-player knockout match play, where participants were given three minutes each to finish.

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Meanwhile, the $250,000 Magnus Carlsen internet invitatonal is underway as we go to press. Round one pairings were Firouzja vs Ding Liren, Carlsen vs Nakamura, Caruana vs Nepomniachtchi and Vachier-Lagrave vs Giri. All games can be viewed move-by-move live at

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In this game, a fatal blunder on the 32nd move put a dramatic finish to a dull opening and tranquil middlegame.

Candidates Tournament 2020

W) I. Nepomniachtchi (Russia)

B) Wang Hao (China)

Petroff Defense

1. e4                      e5

2. Nf3                    Nf6

The Petroff Defense was popularized by Russian master Alexander Petrov (1794-1867). For some time, the Petroff has an unfair reputation of being dull and drawish, but it was found that several sidelines are sharp, double-edged and offers attacking opportunities for both sides.

3. Nxe5                 d6

4. Nf3                    Nxe4

5. d4                      ….

In the game Caruana-Wang, Rd. 07, play continued sharply after 5. Nc3 Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Be3 0-0 8. Qd2 Nd7 9. 0-0-0 Nf6 10. Bd3 c5 11. Rhe1 Be6 12. Kb1 Qa5, with equal chances. (1/2:1/2=41). In Grischuk-Wang, Rd. 03, the game had gone 5. d3 Nf6 6. d4 d5 7. Bd3 Bd6 8. Qe2ch Be6, and Black has equalized early. (1/2:1/2=49).

5….        d5

6. Bd3   Bf5

7. O-O                   Be7

8. Re1                    O-O

9. Nbd2                Nd6

10. Nf1                  Bxd3

11. Qxd3              c6

12. Bf4                  Na6

13. h4                    Nc7

14. Ng5                 Bxg5

15. Bxg5               f6

16. Bf4                  Qd7

Neither player has obtained the upperhand in the opening maneuvers.

17. Ng3                 Rae8

18. Bxd6               Qxd6

19. Nf5                  Qd7

20. Qh3                 Kh8

The alternative 20….Ne6 leads to interesting bypaths after 21. Qg3 g6 22. Qd6.

21. h5                    Rxe1ch

22. Rxe1               Re8

23. Rxe8ch          Nxe8

24. g4                    a6

25. b3                    Qe6

26. Ne3                 Nd6

27. h6                    ….

White tries to force the issue; he breaks up Black’s Pawns on the Kingside and aims to make headway there, though Black has defensive resources.

27….                      g6

28. c4                     dxc4

29. bxc4                Kg8?!

A dubious move in which White obtains winning chances. Correct is the engine’s 29….Nf7, e.g., 30. c5 Qxa2 31. Qh2 Qa1ch 32. Kg2 Qxd4 33. Qb8ch Qd8 34. Qxb7 Qe8 35. g5 fxg5 36. Ng4 Qe4ch 37. f3 Qe2ch 38. Kg3 Qe1ch 39. Kg2 and the game still hangs in the balance.

30. Qh2                 Kf7

31. c5    Nb5

32. Qb8                 Qd7?

Definitely the losing move. Instead, Black should have tried 32….Nxd4 with probably drawing chances after 33. Qxb7ch Qe7 34. Qxa6 Qe4, etc. Now watch Black’s position disintegrated like a house of cards.

33. Qh8                 Ke6

34. f4                     Nxd4

35. Qg8ch            Qf7

36. Qc8ch             Qd7

37. Qg8+ch          Qf7

38. Qd8                 Qd7

39. f5ch                gxf5

40. gxf5ch            Nxf5

41. Qxd7ch          Kxd7

42. Nxf5               Ke6

43. Ne3                 1-0

After 43….Ke5 44. Kf2 Kf4 45. Nc4 Kg5 46. Nd6 Kxh6 47. Nxb7 Kg5 48. Nd8, White simplifies into a won endgame.

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Solution to last week puzzle

Black to play and win.

White=Kh4, Qe4, Re8, Pb4, Pc5, Pf2, Ph2

Black=Kh7, Qf5, Rg8, Pb7, Pf7, Pg7, Ph6

1….                        g5ch

2. Kh5                    Qg6ch!

3. Qxg6ch            fxg6 mate.

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White to play and win.

The Philippine Star


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