Anand back on board
LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - July 12, 2020 - 12:00am

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand of India returns to competitive action as he headlines the $150,000 Legends of Chess online tournament, which begins on July 21.

The prestigious online event will be the fourth leg of the $1 million Grand Tour, and the last key battleground, before the grand finals on Aug. 9.

The 15th world champion (2000-2013) will be joined by 10 super GMs, who are looking to accumulate enough points to lock down the last two qualifying grand final berths.

Norwegian world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen, winner of the tour’s first and third editions, and second leg champion Daniil Dubov of Russia earlier advanced to the grand finals.

* * *

At the World Open online tournament, which was the strongest  thus far, youth once again came to the fore.

Americans Jeffrey Xiong and Samuel Sevian, still in their teens, lorded it over 40 GMs and as many IMs, scoring an impressive 7.0 out of 9.0 to become co-champions. Seven GMs led by top-seeded Nikita Vitiugov of Russia were tied for second at 6.5 apiece.

The Swiss system online tourney was held  July 4 to 6 and featured the participation of 120 players.

* * *

A sharp Pawn sacrifice in the early middle game, which the world champion must have studied and re-appraised, helps him to another fine victory.

Chessable Masters Finals 2020

W) M. Carlsen (Nor)

B) A. Giri (Ned)

Queen’s Gambit Declined

1. d4      Nf6

2. c4        e6

3. Nf3    d5

4..Nc3                   c5

5. cxd5                  Nxd5

6. e4                      Nxc3

7. bxc3                  cxd4

8. cxd4                  Bb4ch

9. Bd2                    Bxd2ch

10. Qxd2              O-O

11. Bc4                  Nd7

12. O-O                 b6

The same moves were played in the game Giri vs. Nepomniachtchi, Chessable Masters online semifinals.

13. Rad1               ....

Here Carlsen produces a different system of development from the above-mentioned game that had gone 13. d5 Nc5 14. Rfe1 exd5 15. exd5 Qd6 16. Qd4, and White obtains a slight advantage.

13.....                     Bb7

14. Rfe1                Rc8

After 14....Nf6 15. Bd3 h6 16. a4 Rc8 Black is ok.

15. Bb3                 Re8

16. Re3                 ....

16. d5 deserves attention, according to the engine.

16....                      Nf6

17. d5                    exd5

18. e5!?                ....

An interesting idea in which White sacs a Pawn in preference for obtaining the initiative.

18....                      Ne4

19. Qe1                 Qc7

This move is hardly commendable as the Black Queen seems badly placed here. Correct is the engine’s 19....Nc5, with chances for equality.

20. Nd4                 a6

Obviously, 20....Qxe5/Rxe5 loses a piece after  21. f3.

21. h4                    Rcd8

22. f3                     Nc5

23. h5                    Ne6?!

23....Bc8, preventing White’s next move, is a better alternative.

24. Nf5!                d4

Black desperately seeks to activate his pieces.

25. Red3               Nc5

26. Rxd4               Rxd4

27. Rxd4               Nxb3

28. Qg3!               ....

This tempo-gaining zwischenzug nets White a clear positional advantage.

28....                      g6

29. axb3               Rd8?

Definitely the losing move, though Black’s game is in dire straits anyhow.

30. e6!!                 ....

As the early chess writers wrote, combinations where even a meek little Pawn plays an important role in the attack, are particularly attractive.

30....                      Qc1ch

31. Kh2                 Rxd4

32. e7!                  ....

As the saying goes, A silent move is sometimes more impressive than a display of fireworks.

32....                      Qc8

33. Qe5                 Rh4ch

34. Kg3                  1-0

Solution to last week’s puzzle.

Black to move and win.

White=Kh1, Qe4, Ra1, Rf1, Bc1, Bg2, Pa2, Pb2, Pc3, Pf2, Ph3

Black=Kb8, Qd3, Rd8, Rh8 Bb6, Nh5, Pa7, Pb7, Pc7, Pg6

1....        Ng3ch!

2. fxg3                   Rxh3ch

3. Bxh3                 Qxe4ch


* * *

White to play and draw.

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