Battle in the queenside

LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - March 19, 2017 - 12:00am

The seventh HD Bank Cup International came off the wraps March 12-17 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Vietnamese top gun Le Quang Liem had to be around to assure a creditable Vietnamese showing. Eventually, Le, 26, the 2013 world blitz champion and seeded No. 2, topped the nine-round Swiss event with 7.0 points on five wins and four draws without loss.

Tied for second-eighth at 6.5 apiece were Chinese super GMs Wei Yi, Bu Zhangzhi and Wang Hao, seeded No. 1, 3 and 5, respectively, local bet Tran Tuan Minh, Ivan Rozum (Russia), Vishna Prasamma (India) and Mareco Sandro of Argentina.

The tourney featured 103 players (26 GMs!) from various countries.

In the following game, the struggle for supremacy is all on the Queenside. When the decision comes through, it is on the Kingside, with two sharp Bishop moves – sudden and unexpected. A fine performance by the tournament winner.

7th HD Bank Cup

W) Le Quang Liem (VIE)

B) A. Goganov (RUS)

Queen’s Gambit Declined

1. d4       Nf6

2. c4       e6

3. Nc3      d5

4. cxd5     exd5

The Exchange Variation, an old line in which White obtains a center pawn majority, and chances for a minority attack with b2-b4-b5 advance or a center break with Nge2, f2-f3 and e2-e4.

5. Bg5      c6

6. e3       Be7

7. Bd3      Nbd7

Nothing new has come out so far.

8. Nge2     ...

After 8. Nf3 0-0 9. Qc2 Re8 10. 0-0 Nf8 11. h3 g6 12. Bh6 Nh5 13. Rab1 Ng7 14. b4 a6, White has a slight edge.

8...        Nf8

8...0-0 and 8...h6 are fair alternatives.

9. 0-0      Ne6

10. Bh4     0-0

11. a3      a5

Preventing the minority attack.

12. f3       b6

13. Kh1     g6

14. Rc1     Bb7

15. Bb1     Ba6

16. Bf2      c5

Here Black embarks on ineffective pawn advance. The engine offered these possibilities. 16...Nh5 17. Bd3 f5 18. Bxa6 Rxa6 19. Qd3 Ra7 20. Na4 Qc7, with chances to hold the balance.

17. Re1     Bc4

18. Bd3     cxd4

18...Bxd3 19. Qxd3 Re8 slightly favors White.

19. Nxd4    Nxd4

20. exd4     Rc8

21. Bxc4    Rxc4?!

The Rook is badly placed here as soon appears. But after 21...dxc4  22. Rc2 Qd7 23. Rce2 Rce8 24. d5 b5 25. Qd4, White also obtains a clear advantage.

22. Qb3!     Rc6

23. Na4!     ...

Simple and elegant. Now White wins the b pawn.

23...        Rxc1

24. Rxc1    Qd7

25. Nxb6    Rb8?!

A fatalistic time-wasting move.

26. Bg3!     ...

A beautiful Zwischenzug after which White enjoys maximum prospects.

26...        Rb7   

27. Nxd7    Rxb3

28. Rc8ch   Kg7

29. Be5!     ...

Intensifying the pressure on Black’s pieces which are now pinned and attacked two times. The text is a crusher.

29...       Rxb2

Or 29...Rb7 30. Nc5 Rxb2

31. h4 and White wins easily.

30. g4      Rb7

31. Nc5     Rb1ch

32. Kg2     g5?

32...Kh6 33. h4 Nxg4 34. fxg4 Bxh4 35. Rc7 is also hopeless for Black.














33. Rc6!     1:0

There’s no adequate defense to White’s threat of 34. Nd7. For instance 33...Rb2ch 34. Kg3 Re2 35. Nd7.

* * *

Solution to last week’s puzzle:

White to move and win.

White=Kf3, Bg5, Pe6, Pf7

Black=Kf8, Bb2, Pb4, Pc5

1. Ke4          b3

2. Kf5          Bg7

3. Kg6          b2

4. e7 mate. 

White to play and win

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