Carlsen stays hot online
The Norwegian top seed, who won the tour’s first and third editions, had a four-round total of 12.0 points.

Carlsen stays hot online

LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - July 26, 2020 - 12:00am

Magnus Carlsen posted his fourth consecutive victory to take a one-point lead at the Legends of Chess online Grand Tour, putting himself in position to secure one of the four semifinal spots.

The Norwegian top seed, who won the tour’s first and third editions, had a four-round total of 12.0 points. Russian top gun Ian Nepomniachtchi was in second place with 11.0 points, followed by compatriot Peter Svidler at 9.0.

Other scores read Vladimir Kramnik (Russia), 7.0, Boris Gelfand (Israel), 6.0, Anish Giri (Netherlands), 5.0, Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine), 4.0, Ding Liren (China), 3.0, Peter Leko (Hungary), 2.0, and Vishy Anand (India), 1.0.

The top four finishers after the preliminaries will advance to the knockout phase.

* * *

Meanwhile, the FIDE online Olympiad is underway with over 1,500 players representing various countries world-wide competing. A total of 163 teams have registered for the online team competition, which replaced the over-the-board 2020 Chess Olympiad, postponed due to the pandemic.

Team matches will be played over six boards, with time control of 15 minutes plus five seconds increment. Teams are required to include three women and two under-20 junior players in their lineups.

Qualification phase among lowest-ranked teams is in progress at press time and can be followed live at chess.com. The top 12 teams will advance to the next phase, and will be joined by 38 seeded teams in a five-group, 10 teams single-round robin, in which the top three teams in each pool qualify for the next stage.

Team Russia is the top seed, followed by China and the USA.

* * *

The Maroczy Bind has lost some of its horrors in recent years, but mostly in Dragon type positions, as in the game below.  A well deserved point for the 8th-time Russian champion.

Legends of Chess Prelims 2020

W) P. Svidler (Russia)

B) P. Leko (Hungary)

Sicilian Defense Colors Reversed

1. Nf3    Nf6

2. g3       c5

3. Bg2    Nc6

4. O-O   e5

For all the moves made so far, the opening is not yet completed.

5. c4                       d5

6. cxd5                  Nxd5

7. Nc3                    Be6

Transposition of moves had led to a Sicilian Maroczy Bind,  with colors reversed.

8. Ng5                   Qxg5

9. Nxd5                 Qd8

10. Ne3                 Rc8

11. b3                    Bd6

12. Bb2                 O-O

Nothing new has come out yet, as the players prepare for middlegame maneuvers.

13. Rc1                  b5

14. Nd5                 a6

15. e3                    Bxd5

16. Bxd5               Nb4

17. Be4                 Nxa2

18. Ra1                  Nb4

19. Bc3                  a5

20. Qe2                 Qb6

21. f4                     Rfe8?

This move loses by force. 21....Rce8 is a better try to fight for initiative.

22. Bxh7ch!         ....

Now White launches an irresistible attack, beginning with a beautiful Bishop sacrifice.

22....                      Kxh7

If 22....Kf8, White has 23. Qh5 exf4 24. Bf5! with a winning attack.

23. Qh5ch            Kg8

24. fxe5                g6?

This move make matters worse. 24....Rc7 may put up a longer resistance, though White should win after 25. exd6 Qxd6 26. Rf5 Qg6 27. Rxa5 Nd3

28. Rxb5,              etc..

25. Qf3                  ....

The engine suggests 25. Qh3! e.g., 25....Bxe5 26. Rxf7! Kxf7 27. Qh7ch Kf8 28. Rf1ch and White wins.

25....                      f5

26. exd6               Re4

26....Qxd6 also fails after 27. Qb7 Rc7 28. Qxb5 Qd7 29. Rxd7 Rxd7 30. Rxa5.

27. Qg2!               ....

Now the threat of 28. Qh3 followed by 29. Qh8ch leads to a painful invasion.. The rest as they say at the club, is a pianola.

27....                      Nd5

28. d3                    Nxc3

29. dxe4               Nxe4

30. g4                    c4

31. gxf5                Qxe3ch

32. Kh1                 1-0

Solution to last week’s puzzle.

White to move and win.

White=Kg1, Qd3, Rf1, Bd2, Ne7, Pa3, Pd4, Pf6, Pg2, Ph2

Black=Kh8, Qb2, Rc2, Re8, Na6, Pa7, Pb6, Pf7, Pg6, Ph7

1. Qe3!                 ....

Threatening 2. Nxg6ch.

1....                        Nc7

2. Nxg6ch!           Kg8

If 2....hxg6 3. Qh6ch Kg8 4. Qg7 mate.

Or 2....fxg6 3. f7 and wins.

3. Ne5                   ...

Threateniung 4. Qg3ch.

3....                        Rxe5

4. Qg3ch               Kf8

5. Qxe5                 1-0

* * *

White to move and win.

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