4th FIDE Grand Prix up

LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - December 9, 2019 - 12:00am

The fourth FIDE Grand Prix, which decides  the last remaining spot for next year’s Candidates  tournament, gets underway Dec. 10-24 in Jerusalem, Israel.

World No. 4 and top seeded  Maxime Vachier-Lagrave  of France and world No. 7 Shakriyar Mamedyarov of  Azerbaijan, headline the competition, which  features 16 of the world’s top players, including  Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi, ranked ninth in the world, and the 11th-ranked American Wesley So.

Format calls for a two-game knockout  match play  with classical time control and speed chess tie-breakers.

It marks the first time that a FIDE world championship  qualification event ( that provides automatic Candidates slots),  be held in the Israeli capital, and hopefully,  the  year-ending fortnight will provide exciting action for chess fans around the world.

* * * *

Meanwhile at the London chess classic,  world No.  3 Ding Liren reached the finals of the $350,000 Grand  Chess Tour, defeating Levon Aronian of Armenia, 19.0-09 in the semi-finals. The second-seeded Chinese faced off  with Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (Game one was drawn),  who upset world champion Magnus Carlsen, 15.5-14.5.

* * * *

London Chess Classic 2019

GTC Semifinal Game Three

W) D. Liren (China)

B)  L. Aronian (Armenia)

Queen’s Gambit Declined

1. d4                   Nf6 

2. c4                    e6 

3. Nf3                  ....

Liren-Aronian, Game 2, same tournament, went 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 0-0 5. Nf3 c5 6. Bd3 cxd4 7. exd4 d5, draw agreed. in 28 moves.

3....                     d5 

4. Nc3                 Be7 

5. Bf4                  ....

This system of development, which is supposed to offer White only moderate chances, has become popular in recent  years.

5....                     O-O 

6. e3                    Nbd7 

7. Be2                 dxc4

8. O-O                 a6 

8....Nd5 9. Bxc4 Nxf4 10. exf4 c5, probably leads to equality.

9. a4                    Nd5 

10. Bxc4              Nxf4 

11. exf4               c5 

12. dxc5              Bxc5 

13. Qe2                b6 

14. Rad1              Qe7 

15. Rfe1               g6 

16. Nd5               Qd8

After 16....exd5 17. Qxe7 Bxe7 18. Bxd5 Bb4 19. Re4 Nf6 20. Rxb4 Nxd5 21. Rxd5 Bb7,  White enjoys a  slight edge, though probably not enough  to convert against accurate play.

17. Ng5!?            ....

An astute  move  which creates razor sharp complications.

17....                   exd5 

18. Bxd5              Ra7 

19. b4                  Bxb4 

20. Bxf7ch           Rxf7 

21. Nxf7               Qf8 

22. Nd6               Bxd6 

23. Qe6ch            Kg7

23....Qf7 is considered best by  the engine, with approximately even  chances.

24. Rxd6              Rc7 

25. g3                  Qf7??

As the early chess writers used to say,  “In difficult positions, a slip comes  easily.” And this one is fatal.  The  best attempt, according to the engine,  is 25....b5 26. axb5 axb5 27. Rc6 Rxc6  28. Qxc6 Nf6 29. Qxb5 Bg4, with chances for both sides.

26. Rc6!               ....

The clincher, as White wins material by forced. 

26....                   Rxc6 

After 26....Qxe6 27. Rexe6 Kf7 28. Rxc7 Kxe6 29. Rxc8, White should win without much fuss. 

27. Qxc6              Qf8 

28. Rc1                Nc5 

29. Qxb6              Ne6 

30. Qc6!               ....

We draw the curtains here  as Black cannot avoid losing the  exchange without compensation.

30....                   Nd4 

31. Qc7ch            Kh6

32. Qxc8              Qe7

33. Rd1               Nf3ch

34. Kg2               Qe4 

35. Kh3               Nd4 


The rest of the story could be 36. Qf8ch Kh5 37. g4 mate.

* * * *

Solution to last week’s puzzle:

Black to play and win.

White=Kf3, Rb7, Pg5

Black=Kc1, Rd2, Pb2

1....                     Rd4!


If 2. Rc7ch Kd2 3. Rb7 Kc2 4. Rc7ch Kb3 5. Rb7ch Rb3 and wins. Or 2. g6 b1Q 3. Rxb1 Kxb1 4. g7 Rd8 5. Kf4 Rg8 and wins. And finally 2. Ke3 Rg4 3. Rc7ch Kd1 4. Rd7ch Kc2 5. Rd2ch Kc1 and wins.


Black to move and win.

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