Tight race at Grand Swiss

LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2019 - 12:00am

At the FIDE Grand Swiss in the Isle of Man, Fabiano Caruana (USA), Levon Aronian (Armenia) and David  Guijarro Anton  (Spain) shared the lead  heading to the final three rounds of the  biggest Swiss tournament in men’s chess.

Caruana, Aronian and  Anton  were tied for the lead at 6.0 points apiece,  while world champion Magnus Carlsen (Norway)  stayed in the mix, along with nine others,  with 5.5 points.

Carlsen and Caruana, the top two seeds, square off in the ninth round, while Aronian,  seeded sixth, meet the unseeded  Anton, who upset. eight-seeded  Alexander Grischuk of Russia in round eight.

The 11-round $430,000 event, is one of the last  key battlegrounds, where leading players look to lock  down one of the three remaining  qualifying spots in the 2020 Candidates tournament. The other two  places will be chosen from the ongoing FIDE Grand Prix.

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FIDE Grand Swiss 2019

W) D. Guijarro Anton  (Spain)

B)  A. Grischuk (Russia)

English Opening

1. c4       e5

2. g3       Nf6

3. Bg2    Bc5

4. Nc3    c6

A well-known alternative  is 4....Nc6, with fair chances for both sides.

5. Nf3    e4

6. Nh4   ....

More usual is 6. Ng5 d5 7.. cxd5 cxd5  8. d3 h6 9. Nh3 0-0 and the game is about even. The text leads to interesting by paths.

6....        d5

7. cxd5  cxd5

8. d3      Ng4

9. O-O   g5

10. d4    Be7

11. h3    Nxf2

Seems risky as the Black King is still stuck in the center. 11....gxh4 is a safer. alternative.

12. Rxf2                gxh4

13. Qb3 hxg3

14. Rf4  Nc6

15. Qxd5              f5

16. Bxe4!             ....

White is happy to give away his Bishop to throttle the Black King. It sounds cruel but as the French used  to say, you cannot play at chess if you are kindhearted.

16....      fxe4??

A fatalistic reply.  In accepting the  sacrifice, Black faces too much danger for his poorly protected King. Correct is  16....Qxd5 and Black probably can hold out.

17. Qh5ch            Kd7

18. Be3!                ....

As the early chess writers wrote,  “A quiet move is sometimes more impressive than a display of fireworks”.Now  White’s pieces will swarm all over the board, making it  miserable for the poor Black King.

18....      Qg8?

Under extreme time pressure, Black falters. But there’s no adequate defense to White’s threat anymore.  We draw the curtains here as the Black  King will be driven forward to a more  vulnerable position. The rest needs  no comments.

19. d5    Nd8

20. Nxe4              Qg6

21. Qe5 Nf7

22. Rxf7                Qxf7

23. Rc1  Rf8

24. Bg5  1-0

Solution to last week puzzle. White to move and win.

Whte=Kg6, Bd4, Pc3, Pf2, Pg3,Ph4

Black=Kd7, Be2, Pe4, Ph5

1. f4!      1-0

After 1....exf3 2. Bf2! followed by 3. Kxh5, and White’s two connected passed Pawns  will prevail.

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