Carlsen, Perez show way
LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2020 - 12:00am

Magnus Carlsen and Leinier Dominguez Perez shared the lead  by one-half point after the third round  of the 960 Online Champions Showdown.

The top-ranked Carlsen of Norway, the reigning classical world champion, had 2.5 points on two wins and one draw,  and Perez of the United States  posted similar results to take a half-point lead at the $150,000 Fischer Random chess,  where the engine randomly picks the  chess pieces starting positions before the game.

American Wesley So was in solo third spot with 2.0 points.

The rest of the standings read,  Fabiano Caruana (USA), Levon Aronian (Armenia), Hikaru Nakamura (USA),  Peter Svidler (Russia) and Garry Kasparov (Croatia) at 1.5 points, Alireza Firouza (FIDE) 0.5 and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France) 0.0.

The single round robin online 960 can be followed live with commentaries at various chess websites.

*    *     *

Wesley So’s first win at the chess 960 Champions Showdown  is a subtle position play over the eight-time  Russian champion Peter Svidler. With a centralized Knight and an open file for a Rook, So carves out an  impressive victory.

Champions Showdown:

Chess 950 2020 round 01

W) P. Svidler (Russia)

B)  W. So (USA)

White=Kc1, Qh3, Rd1, Nb3, Bf4, Bh1, Pa2, Pb2, Pc3, Pg5, Ph2

Black=Kb8, Qf8, Re2, Nc4, Bf7, Bh8, Pa7, Pb7, Pc7, Pd5, Ph7

In the diagrammed  position, play continued,

20. Qf3         Qe7

20....Rxb2? is met by 21. Rxd5!  and White has the initiative as 21....Bxd5 loses to 22. Bxc7ch.

21. Rf1         Re1ch

22. Rxe1      Qxe1ch

23. Qd1        ....

Forced as 23. Kc2? loses  to 23....Bg6ch.

23....            Qf2

24. Bd2        Qxh2

25. Qf1         a5!

Creating a flight square  for his King.

26. Qxf7       Qxh1ch

27. Kc2        Qe4ch

28. Kc1         Be5!

An excellent move in which  Black obtains a decisive advantage.

29. a4            ....

If instead 29. Qf2, Black is  winning  after 29.... b6  30. Nd4  Kb7 31. Qe2 Nxd2  32. Kxd2  Bf4ch etc.

29....             Qh1ch

30. Kc2         Qe4ch

31. Kc1          b6

32. Qe6          Kb7

33. Qd7          ....

No good is 33. Qf7, e.g., 33....Bg3! 34. Qf1 Nxd2 35. Nxd2 Bf4 36. Qg1 c5 and Black should win.

33....             Qh1ch

34. Kc2         Qe4ch

35. Kc1         Bf4!

The clincher, ending all White’s resistance.

36. Bxf4        Qxf4ch

37. Kb1         Qe4ch

38. Ka2         Qg2

0-1

*     *     *

Solution to last week’s puzzle:

White to move and win.

White=Kh1, Qg2, Rf1, Ne5, Pa2, Pe7, Ph4

Black=Kg8, Qe3, Re8, Nh3, Pb5, Pc5, Pg7, Ph6

1. Rf8ch            Rxf8

2. Qd5ch           Kh7

3. exf8(N)ch!      ....

Not 3. exf8(Q)? Qg1mate.

3....                   Kh8

4. Neg6 mate.

MAGNUS CARLSEN
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