Caruana in good position
LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - January 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — American Fabiano Caruana registered two straight victories to take a one-point lead at the 82nd Tata Steel Masters, putting himself in position to win his first Wijk aan Zee title in the Netherlands.

Caruana, 27, ranked second in the world, had an 11-round total of 8.0 points, entering the final two rounds of the elite 14-player all-play-all competition.

Norwegian world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen, the defending champion, was in second spot with 7.0 points, followed by Wesley So (USA), at 6.5.

Other scores read Duda (Pol) and Van Foreest (Ned), 6.0, Anand (Ind), Giri (Ned), Dubov (Rus), Artemiev (Rus) and Firouzja (Ira), 5.5, Xiong (USA), 5.0, Vitiugov (Rus) and Yangi (Chn), 4.0 and Kovalev (Blr), 3.0.

The penultimate round is being played at press time.

* * *

Chinese women’s world champion Ju Wenjun held off a resurgent Aleksandra Goryachkina, beating the Russian challenger, 2.5-1.5, in rapid tie-break play off, to retain her title in the Russian city of Vladivostok.

Wenjun, 28, who defended her world title for the third time, brought home 300,000 euro, while Goryachkina, 21, got 200,000.

* * *

Tata Steel Masters 2020 round 10

W) F. Caruana (USA)

B) A. Firouzja (Iran)

King’s Indian Defense

1. d4                      Nf6

2. c4                       g6

3. Nc3                    Bg7

4. e4                      d6

5. h3                      ....

The Makogonov Variation, a rarely played sharp line pioneered by Azeri GM Vladimir Makogonov (1904-1993).

5....       O-O

6. Be3                    ....

More usual here is 6. Nf3 and after 6....e5 7. d5 Nh5!? 8. Nh2 Qe8 9. Be2 Nf4 10. Bf3 f5 11. g3! Nxh3 12. Bg2 f4! 13. Nf3 g5 14. Rxh3 g4 and the game is unclear.

6....       Nc6

Rather unexpected. Black refrains from the standard 6....Nbd7, which leads to equality. An example of Black’s strategy in this variant is the game Riazantsev-Svidler, Russian Ch. 2008, which went .7. Nf3 e5 8. d5 Nc5 9. Nd2 a5 10. g4 c6 11. Be2 Ne8 with equal chances. The text costs Black several tempi.  

7. d5                      Ne5

8. f4       Ned7

9. g4                       c6

10. Nf3                  cxd5

11. cxd5                b6

12. Nd4                 Nc5

13. Qf3                  Bb7

14. g5                    Nfxe4

Seems premature, but Black doesn’t want to get caught in a stranglehold defending a passive position... After 14....Nh5 15. 0-0-0 a6 16. Kb1 b5 17. Nc6 Qc5 18. e5, White obtains tremendous pressure. The next several moves are forced..

15. Nxe4              Bxd5

16. Nf6ch             exf6

17. Qxd5              Re8

18. Nc2                 fxg5

19. O-O-O            gxf4

20. Bd4                 ....

Obviously 20. Bxf4? loses to 20....Qf6!

20....                      Bxd4

21. Qxd4              Ne6

22. Qd2                 Qf6

23. Kb1                 Rac8

24. Bb5                 Red8

25. Nb4                 d5

With four Pawns for the piece, Black gets a breathing space, but the presence of Queens and Rooks on the board, makes it difficult for him to hold.

26. Rhf1                ....

26. Nxd5? is refuted by 26....Qf5ch 27. Ka1 Rxd5! 28. Qxd5 Rc1ch! 29. Rxc1 Qxd5.

26....                      Rc5

27. a4                    d4

28. Nd3                 Rf5

29. Rf3                  g5

30. Rg1                  Kf8?

Not a good idea. Instead, Black could try 30....h5 31. Bc4 Rf8 32. Re1 Qg6, with chances to hold. Now White opens up the K-side, paving the way for his heavy pieces.

31. h4                    h6

32. hxg5                 hxg5

33. Rh3                 f3

34. Bc4                  Ke7

35. Bxe6               Kxe6

Black is lost as his King will be driven forward to a more vulnerable position.

36. Qh2                 f2

37. Rf1                  Kd7

38. Rh6                 Qe7

39. Rxf2                Rxf2

40. Qxf2               Kc8

40....Qe4 probably offers a longer resistance, though White obviously is winning.

41. a5                    bxa5

42. Qc2ch             Kb8

43. Nc5                 Rd6

44. Rh8ch             Rd8

45. Qb3ch            Kc7

46. Qb7ch            Kd6

47. Rh6ch             f6

48. Ne4ch            1-0    

Solution to last week puzzle

Black to play and win.

White=Kg1, Qe1, Ra1, Rf1, Nb5, Pa2, Pb2, Pf2, Pg3,Ph2

Black=Kb8, Qf6, Rh8, Bf3, Bg5, Pc5, Pc4, Pd4, Pf7

1....        Bd2!

0-1         

If 2. Qxd2 Rxh2! 3. Kxh2 (3. Qf4ch Qxf4 4. gxf4 Rh1 mate)

Qh8ch 5. Kg1 Rh1 mate.

* * *

White to move and win.

FABIANO CARUANA
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