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Vishy wins first world rapid title

Viswanathan Anand won the world rapid championship in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on  Thursday, for his first speed  chess victory of the year, easily beating Vladimir Fedoseev, 2-0, in the tiebreak play-off.

Fedoseev, 22, one of Russia’s rising young star, took second, while another Russian, Ian Nepomniachtchi came in third.

The former world champion, now 48, delivered a Chess-Oscar  performance in the $750,000, 15-round Swiss event, scoring 10.5 points, with an undefeated six wins and nine draws record, to capture  the gold. 

The Indian superstar strutted past  the likes of No. 1 seed and reigning  world champion, Magnus Carlsen,  candidates qualifiers Sergey Kariakin, Levon Aronian, Ding Liren, Alexander Grischuk and Shakriyar Mamedyarov, and world No.5 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

Fedoseev paced the field up to round  11, before losing to Carlsen in round 12, who in turn suffered a calamitous collapse, scoring only one point in the last three rounds.

2017 World Rapid Ch.

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W) M. Carlsen (NOR)  

B) V. Anand, (IND) 

Nimzo-Indian Defense

1. d4               Nf6

2. c4               e6

3. Nc3            Bb4

The Nimzo-Indian Defense, a hypermodern opening named after pioneer and leader Aron  Nimzowitsch (1886-1932), who employed it with success  in the 1920s.

4. e3              ...

The Rubinstein variation, a modest reply in which White achieves without the slightest risk, a sound position, and could quickly get an advantage  should Black play inaccurately.

4....               O-O 

5. Bd3            ...

A well-known line,  which the sixth world champion,  Mikhail Botvinnik, popularized in the 50s. The other system of development here is Rubinstein idea, 5. Ne2, which avoids a doubled c pawn in case of 5...Bxc3ch.. 

5....                d5

Also possible is 5...c5 with approximately equal chances.

6. a3              Bxc3

7. bxc3           dxc4

8. Bxc4           c5

9. Nf3              ...

9. Ne2 also leads to equality  after 9...e5 10. 0-0 Nc6 11. Bb2 Qc7.

9....                Qc7

10. Be2           b6

11. Bb2           Bb7

12. O-O          Nbd7

13. c4             Rac8

14. Rc1           Rfd8

The opening is just about over, with neither side enjoying an edge,  going into the middle game. 

15. Qb3           ...

Seems risky as it allows Black’s next reply. 15. h3 is safer, according to the engine.

15....               Ng4!

A good move, forcing White to create weaknesses along the diagonal  a8-h1, which Black will exploit later in  the game.   

16. g3             Ngf6

17. Rfd1          ...

17. Nd2 deserves attention.

17....               Ne4

18. Ne1           Nd6

The engine suggests 18...Ndf6. 

19. d5             exd5

20. cxd5          c4

21. Qc2           b5

22. Ng2           Nc5

Black activates his Knight, bound for the Queen side, while White eyes Kingside action.

23. Nf4            Qe7

24. Bg4           Rc7

25. Qc3           ...

White’s attempt to create laborious  arrangement of his Bishop and Queen on  the long diagonal has no immediate effect. 

25....               f5

26. Bf3            Rcd7

27. Qb4           Nb3!?

The text leads to interesting  complications. Credit Black for the will to fight, 

28. Ne6           Nxc1 

29. Rxc1          ...

29. Nxd8 is met by 29...Na2!

29....               Nc8

30. Qxb5          ...

30. Nxd8 is the computer’s  choice.

30....               Rxd5 

31. Bxd5         Rxd5 

32. Qb4           Nd6 

33. Nc5?          ...

This is a fatalistic reply. Correct  is 33. Nf4, when the position is still unclear  after 33...Rb5. 

33....               Rxc5!

This ends the story as  White’s bid for fireworks has backfired.

34. Qxc5         Qe4 

0-1

The rest of the story (though Carlsen is no longer interested) would be 35. Kf1 Qh1ch 36. Ke2 Bf3ch 37. Kd2 Ne4ch 38. Kc2 Qxc1ch 39. Bxc1 Nxc5.

Solution to last week’s puzzle:

White to move and win.

white=Kb1, Qd6, Rd1, Rh1, Bd3, Pa2, Pf2, Pg2, Pg7 black=Kg5, Qc3, Ra8, Rg8, Ba6, Pa7, Pc4, Pe6, Pf7

1. Rd5ch!        Kg6

If 1...exd5 2. Qh6ch Kf5 3. Rh5ch Ke4 4. f3ch Kd4 5. Qf6ch and wins.

2. Bd3ch!        1:0

After 2...Qxd3 3. Rxd3, and 2...cxd3 3. Qg3ch Kf6 4. Qg5 mate.

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