22-year-old tops world rapid chess
LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - December 30, 2018 - 12:00am

The 2018 world rapid championship, which ended Friday in St. Petersburg (Russia), paid off for Russian chess.

Local GM Daniil Dubov, 22, who is growing in strength, topped the table with 11.0 of 15.0 and added another porcupine quill to his fearsome reputation in speed chess.

Tied for second-fifth at 10.5 apiece were Azeri Shakriyar Mamedyarov (second), American Hikaru Nakamura (third), Russian Vladislav Artemiev (fourth) and Norwegian Magnus Carlsen (fifth).

Rounding out the top 10 in tie-break order were Firouza Alireza (Iran), Yu Yangi (China), Anish Giri (Netherlands), Sergey Kariakin (Russia) and Tigran Petrosian (Armenia).

The tourney featured the participation of 206 players from various countries.

In the women’s championship, Ju Wenjun of China ran away with the top prize. The reigning world champion scored an impressive 10.0 of 12.0, without a  loss in the 124-field that included several former world champions. Biting the dust in a tie for second-third were Sarasadat Khademalsharieh of Iran and Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia, a full point behind at 9.0.

* * *

The following game is considered the gem of the tournament. Its every facet sparkles with light and fire.  

World Rapid Championship 2018

W) P. Svidler (Russia)

B) D. Andreikin (Russia)

Reti Opening

1. Nf3         Nf6

2. c4          b6

3. g3          Bb7

4. Bg2         g6

5. O-O    c5

6. e3          Bg7

This is the hypermodern setup, applicable also in a number of other lines.

7. d4          O-O

8. Nc3        Ne4

9. Ne2        Nc6

10. Nf4       e6

11. Re1      f5

12. d5        exd5

13. Nxd5     Ne7

14. Nf4    Qc7

15. a4        g5

16. Nh5     4

17. Nh4    Ng6

18. Nxg7?!                   ....

Embarking on some interesting complications. A safer alternative is 18. Nxg6 and after 18...hxg6 19. Nxg7 Kxg7 20. a5, the game hangs in the balance.

18....          Nxh4

19. gxh4                      Kxg7

20. Qc2                       Rf6

21. b3        Rh6

22. Bb2ch                    Kf7

23. Bxe4                      Bxe4

24. Qc3                       Rg8

25. a5?     ....

Even in rapid chess, one cannot ignore precision play. Punishment in the form of mating combination comes quickly. Correct is 25. Qe5 and White can probably hold out.

25....          Qxh2ch!!

The start of a powerful combination (starring a Queen sacrifice), in which the White King walks from one treacherous vis-a-vis to another.

26. Kxh2   Rxh4ch

27. Kg3       

. . . .

27. Kg1 leads to instant mate after 27....Rh1.

27....          Rh3ch

28. Kf4     Rf3ch

29. Ke5      Rg6!


Mate is unavoidable. Apart from the threat 30....Re6, there’s another in 30...d6..

Solution to last week puzzle

White to move and draw.

white=Kd1, Bg6,

black=Kb2, Bf4, Pb3, Pe3

Black is threatening to win with ....Ka1 followed by ...b2-b1, so White played.

1. Bf7!        Ka2

If 1....Ka3/Kc3, then White plays 2. Bg6 b2 3. Bb1 and draw.

2. Be6        Ka3

Again 2...Kb2 3. Bf7 and draws.

3. Bf5! and draw.

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