Carlsen up; So a full point behind
LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - January 28, 2018 - 12:00am

Magnus Carlsen maintained an unblemished record and finished with 7.5 points, that gave him a share of the lead with two others, entering the penultimate  round of the 80th Wijk aan Zee Masters in the Netherlands.

The top-ranked Norwegian, had four wins and seven draws in the 13-round single round robin event.

Azeri Shakriyar Mamedyarov and local hero Anish Giri drew their respective games to match Carlsen’s total output.

The leaders were half-a-point ahead of Indian Vishy Anand and a full point over American Wesley So, and Russians Vladimir Kramnik and Sergey Kariakin.

Other scores were Peter Svidler (Russia), 5.0, Fabiano Caruana (USA), Wei Yi (China), and Maxim Matlakov (Russia), 4.5, Gawain Jones (UK), 4.5,  Baskaran Adhiban (India), 3.5 and Hou Yifan (China), 2.0.

* * *

The following game is both interesting and instructive. But the focal point is Black’s refutation of White’s risky opening line. A well-executed and sparkling performance by the winner.

Wijk aan Zee 201`8

W) P. Svidler (RUS)

B) S. Mamedyarov (AZE)

Queen’s Gambit Declined

1. c4  Nf6  2. Nf3 e6  3. Nc3 d5  4. d4 Bb4  5. cxd5  exd5 6. Bf4?!         ...

An unusual, risky reply. Correct is the normal 6. Qb3. 

6....              Ne4!

The refutation is simple and precise. 

7. Qa4ch Nc6 

8. Rc1 O-O 9. g3?!          ...

Another dubious move. Better is the engine’s 9. h4 and after 9...Bf5 10. e3 a5 11. Be2 Ne7 12. 0-0 c6, White is only slightly inferior. 

9....              g5!

A good move which has cramping effect on White’s game.

10. Be3         f5 

11. Bg2         f4 

12. gxf4         ...

Or 12. Bd2 g4 13. Ne5 Bxc3 14. Bxc3 f3 15. exf3 Nxe5 16. dxe5 gxf3 and Black clearly has the advantage, as White cannot complete his development.

12....            Bxc3ch 13. bxc3       gxf4 

14. Bd2   Kh8  15. Qb3?      ...

A fatalistic reply which concedes Black a huge advantage. 15. h4 is the best chance, according to the engine, although Black retains a strong initiative after 15...Bg4.

15...  Na5!  16. Qc2 Nc4  17. Rd1 Rg8  18. Ne5?       ...

This loses material, but there’s nothing to be done.  If 18. Bf1 Bf5 19. Qc1 Nexd2 20. Nxd2 Ne3! and Black wins the exchange, as capturing the Knight is met by ...Qh4 mate.

18.... Nxe5  19. Bxe4 Qg5!

This is the end. Q+R on the open file are irresistible. The immediate threat is 20...Qg1ch and mate next move.

20. Bxf4       ...

After 20. Rf1, there follows 20... dxe4 21. dxe5 e3 22. Bc1 Bh3 and Black wins.

20...  Qxf4  21. Bxd5  Bf5  0-1

Solution to last week’s puzzle:

White to move and win.

white=Ke6, Re5, Rf8

black=Kg4, Pa2,Pb2

1. Re1!          a1Q/b1Q

If 1...Kg3 2. Rg1ch Kh2 3. Rg6 followed by 4. Rh8 mate.

2. Rg1ch        Qxg1

2...K-any is met by 3. Rh8 ch.

3. Rg8ch        Kf3

4. Rxg1  and wins.

White to move and win.

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