Mamedyarov paces Wijk aan Zee
LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - January 21, 2018 - 12:00am

Azeri Shakriyar Mamedyarov rallied from an inferior game to  grab the lead after six rounds of  the 80th Wijk aan Zee masters in the Netherlands.

In posting his second straight win and third overall, the world No. 2 scored a spectacular 4.5 points, his  best start in nearly two years at a major.

Now if he can only set himself up for a good run in the next seven rounds.

American Wesley So, the defending  champion, Vishy Anand of India and  local bet Anish Giri were tied for second at 4.0 apiece. 

Top-seeded Magnus Carlsen of Norway and No. 5 seed Vladimir Kramnik of Russia, closed the round with 3.5 each.

Other scores read British Gawain Jones  and Russians Peter Svidler, Sergey Kariakin and Maxim Matlakov, 3.0, Chinese  Wei Yi, 2.5, Fabiano Caruana (USA), 2.0, Baskaran Adhiban (India) and Hou Yifan (China), 1.0.

The prestigious event ushers in  chess activities for the calendar year.

* * *

Below is a fine positional win by the 23-year-old young Dutch hope. 

Wijk aan Zee 2018 

W) A. Giri (NED)

B) V. Kramnik (RUS)

English Opening 

1. c4     e6

2. Nc3                           Bb4

2...d5 3. d4 Nf6 transposes into a regular Queen’s Gambit.   

3. Qb3                           ...

3. d4 Nf6 leads to the Nimzo Indian.

3....                              Ba5

After 3...c5 4. Nb5 Nc6 5. Nd6ch Kf8 6. Nf3 Qe7 7. Nxc8 Rxc8 8. e3 e5, the game is probably equal. Svidler-Carlsen, Rd. 6, same tournament. Black’s last signals that an irregular line may be on the agenda.

4. Nf3                            c5

5. d4                             Nf6

6. dxc5                          Na6

7. Be3                           Ne4

8. g3                             Naxc5

9. Qc2                           Bxc3ch

9...Nxc3 10. bxc3 Qc7  11. Bg2 d6 12. 0-0 Bd7 leads to a balance middle game.

10. bxc3                        b6

11. Bg2                         Bb7

12. O-O                         O-O 

A difficult position. The isolated and doubled pawns are liabilities on the one hand, for they might become weak, but assets on the other, as  they strike into enemy territory for a superiority in controlled space. Chances are about even for the time being.

13. Rfd1                        Qe7

14. a4                            d6

15. a5                            f5

16. axb6                        axb6

17. Nd4                         Nf6

18. Bxb7                       Nxb7

19. Rxa8            Rxa8

20. Nb5                         Rc8?!

Unnecessarily abandoning the a file. 20...Nd7 is considered best by the engine, with these possibilities, 21. Qd2 Ne5  22. Nxd6 Qxd6 23. Qxd6 Nxd6 24. Rxd6 Nxc4 25. Rxe6 Rc8 26. Re7 Kf8 27. Rb7 Nxe3 28. fxe3 Rxc3 and Black probably holds.

21. Qa2                         d5

22. Bg5                         Rxc4

23. Qa8ch          Kf7

Or 23...Nd8 24. Bxf6 gxf6 25. Rxd5 exd5 26. Qxd5ch  Qe6 27. Qxd8ch Kg7 28. Nc7 Rxc7 29. Qxc7ch Kg6 30. Kf1 and White emerged a pawn up.

24. Ra1            Na5

25. Qb8            Rc6

26. Nd4            Rxc3?!

26...Rd6 should have been tried.

27. Qxb6          Nc4

28. Qb8            Nd7?

This loses right off, but  Black’s game is already  difficult, according to the engine. For instance 28...Ra3 (or 28...Kg6 29. Ra7) 29. Rb1 Kg6 30. Rb7 Qe8 31. Qc7 Nh5 32. Be7 Ra8 33. Nxe6 and White picks up a pawn. 

29. Bxe7            Nxb8

30. Bb4!                        ...

Trapping the Rook, and the rest is an easy win for White.

30....                e5

31. Ra7ch          Kg8

32. Bxc3            exd4

33. Bxd4          Nc6

34. Rxg7ch        Kf8 

35. Bf6              1-0

Solution to last week’s puzzle:

White to move and win.

white=Kh2, Qb8, Rh8, Pd7, Pf2, Pg4, Ph3

black=Kg6, Qf1, Rf4, Pf7, Pg5, Pg7

1. Rh6ch!           Kxh6

Or 1...gxh6 2. Qg8ch Kf6 3. d8Qch Ke6 4. Qge8 mate.

2. Qh8ch            Kg6

3. Qh5ch            Kf6

4. d8Qch            Ke6

5. Qb6ch            Kd7

6. Qb7ch            Kd6

7. Qxg5             1:0

If 7...Rxf2ch (7...Qxf2ch 3. Qg2) 7...Kg3 Qg1ch 8. Kh4 and wins.


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