$2M world tiff in Riyadh
Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - December 23, 2017 - 4:00pm

The World Rapid and Blitz Championships for men and women gets underway on Tuesday, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with a record-breaking US $2M total cash prize at stake in the five-day competition.

Dubbed the King Salman Chess Cup, both events (rapid, 30 minutes and blitz, five minutes) will be played Dec. 26-30 and offers a whopping US $1.5M for men and US $500,000 for women, evenly split in the two speed chess events.

Most of the world’s elite players, led by the reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen, will compete in the Swiss system championships. Former world champion Vishy Anand, world cup winner Levon Aronian and world No. 3 Shakriyar Mamedyarov will also play.There will be free travel expenses and accommodations for qualified players.

It marks the first time that the kingdom will play host to a world chess championship, and allow women participants not to wear head coverings while playing.

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In the following game, Black selects a slightly inferior variation against the QGD. His risky opening line was not enough for White’s excellent strategy.

Russian Championship 2017

W) N. Vitiugov

B)  V. Fedoseev

Queen’s Gambit Declined

1. d4             d5

2. c4             c6

3. Nc3           Nf6

4. e3             a6

5. Nf3            Bf5

6. Qb3!?         ...

6. Be2 h6 7. Bd3 Bxd3 8. Qxd3 e6 9. 0-0 Bb4 10. Bd2 0-0 is about equal. Tomashevsky- Fedoseev, Rd. 2, same tournament. From what we have seen above, it seems Vitiugov has found some improvement for White.

6....               Ra7

The rook seems poorly posted here,  but  after 6...b5 7. c5 Nbd7 8. Nh4  Be6,  White enjoys a space advantage. Computer.

7. Nh4           Bc8

8. Qc2           e6

9. Nf3            ...

After 9. c5 Nbd7 10. Nf3 Be7 11. b4, White has a slight edge.Engine.

9....               dxc4

10. Bxc4        c5

11. dxc5        Bxc5

12. e4!           ...

This thematic pawn advance offers White some initiative and has a cramping effect on Black’s game. 

12....             Nc6

13. O-O         Nb4

14. Qe2         b5

15. a3           ...

After 15. Bb3 0-0  16. e5 Nfd5 17. Rd1 Nxc3 18. bxc3 Nd5 chances are about even.

15....             Nc6

16. Ba2         O-O

16...e5 seems worth trying, although White retains the initiative after 17. Be3.

17. e5!           Nd5

17...Nd7 18. Rd1 Bb6 19. Bf4 is also satisfactory for White.

18. Nxd5       exd5

19. Bb1         ...

Sharper, according to the engine is 19. Qc2! and after 19...Qb6 20. Bb1 g6 21. Bh6, White wins material. E.g. 21... Bf5 (21...Re8 is met by 22. Rc1!) 22. Qd2 Be4 23. b4 Be7 24. Bxf8.

19...              Qb6

20. Qc2          f5?

Better chance of prolonging the game follows from 20...g6 21. Bh6 Be7 22. Bxf8 Bxf8.

21. exf6         g6

21...gxf6 is answered by 22. Bh6. and White wins the exchange.

22. Ba2         Bf5

23. Bxd5ch    Kh8

24. Qe2         Rd7

White also wins after 24...Nd4

25. Nxd4 Bxd4 26. Bh6, etc.

25. Bxc6       Qxc6

26. Bh6         Bd3

27. Qe5         Bd6

Or 27...Rd5 28. Bxf8! Rxe5 29. Nxe5 and the Black Queen is hopeless against White’s three pieces.

28. Bg7ch      1-0

If  28...Kg8 29. Qe6ch Rdf7 30. Ne5 and White wins.

Solution to last week puzzle

White to play and win.

white=Kh6, Qb1, Rh5,  Nc6, Nd1, Pf3, Pg3

black=Kf6, Qg8, Rd7, Rd5, Ne6, Pe5, Pf7, Pg6

1. Rf5ch!          gxf5

2. Qxf5ch!        Kxf5

3. Ne7ch         1:0

If 3...Rxe7 (3...Kf6 4. Nxg8ch Kf5 5. Nd3 mate) 4. Ne3ch Kf6 5. Nxd5ch Kf5 6. Nxe7ch Kf6 7. Nxg8ch Kf5 8. Ne7ch Kf6 9. Nd5ch Kf5 10. g4 mate.

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