Carlsen shows up vintage Anand
LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - April 7, 2019 - 12:00am

The sixth Vugar Gashimov Memorial (Cat. 22), the world’s strongest all-play-all event, is in full swing in Shamkir, Azerbaijan.

Defending champion Magnus Carlsen got off to a fine  start, to move into position for his second consecutive major victory after he took the fifth-round lead.

The Norwegian world champion won the elite Tata Steel Masters (Cat. 21) last January in the Netherlands.

Carlsen, 28, had two wins and three draws for  3.5 total, the best score in the 10-super GM field, which  included three world champions. He had a half point lead over Vishy Anand of India and Sergey Kariakin of Russia.

Other scores read: Liren (CHN), Radjabov (AZE), Navarra (CZE), Grischuk (RUS), 2.5, Mamedyarov (AZE), Topalov (BUL), 2.0 and Giri (NED), 1.5.

* * *

Hikaru Nakamura won convincingly in the final round to pull away from Leinier Dominguez and Fabiano Caruana, to capture the 2019 US Championship in St. Louis, Missouri.

Nakamura, 31, had an impressive 8.0 out 11.0 score on five wins, six draws, no loss record to win his fifth national title and the $50,000 top prize. He gained 14 rating points and rose five slots to No.11 with 2760 in the live chess ratings.

Dominguez and Caruana were tied for second-third, half-a-point behind the winner.

In the women’s event, 17-year-old Jeniffer Yu, dominated the competition with a near perfect 10.0 out of 11.0 (9 wins and 2 draws) performance.

Biting the dust in a tie for second-third were Tatev Abrahamian and Anna Zatonskih at 7.5 each.

* * *

Chess is full of surprises that even a former world champion like Anand, with hundreds of tricks available at his fingertips, can be caught napping. This game is a fine example of Carlsen’s virtuosity in the endgame.

2019 Gashimov Memorial

W) M. Carlsen (Norway)

B) V. Anand (India)

Queen’s Gambit Declined

1. d4          Nf6

2. c4          e6

3. Nf3         d5

4. Nc3        Be7

5. Bf4         ....

An old but reliable variant in which White avoids the classical line 5. Bg5. The text has become more popular lately owing to its attacking ambitions along the c file.

5....            O-O

6. e3          c5

The Tarrasch variation, long considered  drawish, and leads to a more positional type  of struggle. Black accedes to an isolated d Pawn in return for free piece play, resulting in dynamic equilibrium.

7. dxc5     Bxc5

8. Qc2       Nc6

9. a3          Qa5

10. Rd1                        Rd8

11. Be2                        Ne4

12. cxd5                      Nxc3

13. bxc3                      exd5

14. O-O                       h6

15. a4        Bd6

16. Bxd6                      Rxd6

17. c4        Be6

18. c5        Rdd8

19. Rb1                        Qc7

20. Qb2                       Rab8

21. Nd4                        Nxd4

22. Qxd4                     b6

23. cxb6                      Rxb6

24. h3        Rc8

25. Rfd1                       Qc3

26. Qxc3                     Rxc3

27. a5        Rxb1

28. Rxb1                      Rc5?

Not a good idea. Defending the seventh rank with 28...Rc7 is correct, and after 29. Rb8ch Kh7 30. a6 Bc8, Black may hold. The text move put the a7 Pawn in danger.

29. a6?!                       ....

29. Rb8ch Kh7 30. a6, followed by 31. Rb7 is a better alternative, according to the engine. 

29....          g6?

Another bad move. 29...Bc8 seems forced.

30. Rb7                        Rc1ch

31. Kh2                        Rc2

32. Bb5                        Rb2

After 32....Rxf2 33. Rxa7, White  probably is winning.

33. Kg3                        Bc8

34. Rb8                        Kg7

35. Rxc8                      Rxb5

36. Rc7                        Ra5

37. Rxa7                      Kf6??

A fatalistic reply.. Black’s best chance is 37....d4!, when after 38. exd4 Rd5 39. Ra8 Rxd4 40. Kf3 Ra4, he retains drawing chances. Or 37....Ra4! 28. Kf3 Kf6 39. Ra8 d4 40. e4 d3 41. Ke3 Rd4 42.Kd2 Rxe4 43. Kxd3 Ra4, with drawing chances.

38. Ra8!                       ....

Preventing ...d4 and transitioning to a theoreticallly won R+P ending.

38....          Ra3

If 38....d4 39 exd4 Rd5 40. a7! Rxd4? 41. Rb8 and the Pawn promotes.

39. Kh2                        h5

40. a7        Ra2

41. h4        Kf5

42. f3         Ra1

43. g3        1-0

There’s nothing Black can do. White’s King will pick up the d5 Pawn, and advance his K-side Pawns to open up the Black King position. E.g., 43....Kf6 44. Kg2 Ra2ch 45. Kf1 Ra1ch 46. Ke2 Ra2ch 47. Kd1 Ra1ch 48. Kc2 Ra2ch 49. Kb3 Ra6 50. Kb4 Ra1 51. Kc5 Ra5ch 52. Kd6 Ra3 (or 52...Kf5 53. Ke7) 53. Kxd5.etc.

Solution to last week’s puzzle

Black to move and win.

White=Kb6, Bg8, Pc4, Pf2

Black=Kd6, Ne5, Pf4, Ph4

1....            Nd7!

1....h3? 2. c5ch Ke7 (2....Kd7 3. Bd5 f3 4. c6ch Kd6 5.c7 Nd7ch 6. Kb7 Nc5ch 7. Kb6! and White draws) 3. c6 h2 4. Bd5 f3 5. Bxf3 Nxf3 6. c7 h1Q 7. c8Q, etc.

2. Kb5        f3

With the idea 3. Bd5 Ne5.

3. Bf7         h3

4. c5ch      Kc7

0-1 (the threat is ....Ne5, followed by ...h2.

* * *

White to play and win.

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