Dubov nears title
LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - May 31, 2020 - 12:00am

Russian Daniil Dubov advanced to the finals of the $1 million Carlsen online grand chess tour second leg with a convincing 2-0 (5.0-2.0) win over China’s No. 1 Ding Liren as his first online major title hunt continued to gather momentum.

Dubov, the 2018 world rapid champion, moved closer to the title, and is set to face the winner of the Carlsen vs HikaruNakamura sudden-death semifinal match, which is being held at press time.The three-game match was level at one game apiece.

Dubov, 24, who barely made it to the knockout stages with a better round-robin tie-break when play began, was ranked 38th in the world and one of the young guns to qualify for this elite internet chess competition. He finished off a dramatic three-game quarterfinal match against compatriot Sergey Kariakin with a 3-0 shutout in the decider.

The Lindores Abbey Challenge is the second leg of the 12-player, five-event online series, culminating in the grand finals in August this year. Matches can be viewed live at chess 24, chess.com and various chess websites.

* * *

Unbelievably, in this instructive game, White had the unique ability to exploit his pieces virtually from nothing.

2020 Lindores Abbey Rapid semifinals 

W) D. Dubov (Russia)

B) D. Liren (China)

Vienna Game

1. e4      e5 

2. Nc3                    ....

The Vienna game, which is aimed at playing a delayed King’s Gambit with f2-f4, is apparently a very old opening with very new points. It is long considered as comfortable for Black, and offers White only moderate chances, if any. But in this period of computer supremacy, times change and so do theoretical opinions.

2....       Nc6 

The alternatives are (a) 2....Nf6 3. f4 d5! 4. fxe5 Nxe4 5. Nf3 Be7 6. d4 0-0 7. Bd3 f5! 8. exf6 Bxf6 9. 0-0 Nc6, and the game is probably equal. (b) 2...Nf6 3. Bc4 Nxe4 4. Qh5 Nd6 5. Bb3 Nc6 6. Nb5 g6 7. Qf3 f5 8. Qd5 Qe7 9. Nxc7ch Kd8 10. Nxa8 b6 11. d3 (11. Nxb6 axb6 12. Qf3 Bb7 13. d3 Nd4 14. Qh3 f4 is unclear) 11....Bb7 12. h4 f4 after which the middle game is replete with dangerous possibilities.

3. Bc4                    ....

After 3. Nf3 Nf6, the opening transposes to the Four Knights Game.

3....       Nf6 

4. d3                      Na5 

After 4....Bb4 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bxf6 Bxc3ch 7. bxc3 Qxf6 8. Ne2 d6 9. 0-0 g5, the opening leads to equality.

5. Bb3                    Bb4 

6. Nf3                    Nxb3 

7. axb3                  O-O 

8. O-O                   d5 

9. Bg5                    Bxc3 

10. bxc3                dxe4 

11. Nxe5              h6 

12. Bh4                 Bf5

Black embarks on an ineffective plan. The engine suggests 12....a5. with chances for both sides.

13. Ra5!?              ....

An interesting move, which leads to enormous complications.

13....                      g5? 

A risky move which seriously weakens Black’s Kingside. A better try is 13....b6 and after 14. Ra1(14. Nc6 Bg4) Qe7 15. d4 Qe6, the game still hangs in the balance. Also possible is 13....exd3 14. cxd3 Qd6 15. Bg3 Qe6 16. Nc4 b6 17. Re1 Qc8 18. Rae5, though White is positionally superior, Black probably can hold out.

14. Bg3                  Bh7 

15. f4                     Nd5 

After 15...c6 15. b4 Nd5 17. Ng4, White retains winning chances.

16. Qh5                 ....

An astute move which keeps the attack rolling.

16....                      c6?!

This dubious reply concedes White a decisive advantage. Black’s best chance, according to the engine, is 16....Ne3 and after 17. Qxh6 Nxf1 18. Nc6 bxc6 19. Rxg5ch Bg6 20. f5 Qxg5 21. Qxg5 Nxg3 22. Qxg3 exd3 23. cxd3 Rab8 24. b4 c5 25. fxg6 cxb4, White has a clear advantage, but the game continues.

17. Raa1               f6 

18. Ng4                 Qe8 

19. Qxh6              Qg6

20. fxg5                1-0

Black will soon run out of reasonable moves. For example 20. Qxh6 21. Nxh6ch Kg7 22. Ng4 f5 23. Be5ch Kg6 24. Nf6 Nxf6 25. Bxf5, White emerged two Pawns ahead and should win handily. Or 20....fxg5 21. Be5 exd3 22. cxd3 , and there’s nothing to be done about the threat of 23. c4 followed by 24. Nf6ch 

Solution to last week puzzle

White to play and win.

White=Kg1, Qe8, Re1, Bd7, Pa4, Pc4, Pd5, Pf3, Pg2, Ph5

Black=Kg8, Qd6, Rf6, Bf8, Pa5, Pc5, Pf4, Pf5, Pg7, Ph7

1. Re6                    Qc7

If 1....Rxe6 2. Bxe6ch Kh8 3. Qf7 and White wins.

2. Rxf6                  gxf6

3. Be6ch               Kg7

4. h6ch                  1-0

4....Kxh6 5. Qxf8ch and White wins a piece.

* * *

White to play and win.

DANIIL DUBOV
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