15-year-old GM shines

LET’S PLAY CHESS - Edgar De Castro - The Philippine Star

Dommaraju Gukesh, the youngest Indian Grandmaster at 15, emerged on top in the second Julius Baer online Challengers Tour, one of those major youth tournaments which have become traditional in the international chess circuits.

Gukesh, the No. 6 seed, posted 14 points out of a possible 19, with a very impressive four-of-four final-day tally to clinch first and earn a spot in the sixth leg of the Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, which gets underway on June 26.

Tying him on points but with a lower tiebreak was 15-year-old compatriot Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, winner of the tour’s first edition. Germany’s Vincent Keymer, (16), who led the field entering the last four rounds, wound up third with 13.5.

Tabbed as the Gelfand Chess Challenge, the 20-player (10 male and 10 female) all-play-all event is designed to provide young players the opportunity to earn a place in the $1.5 million Meltwater Champions Champions Tour series, and compete against the world’s best players.

* * *

In Romania, the Superbet Chess Classic, the strongest over-the-board event thus far, took place June 4-14 in the city of Bucharest.

Azeri top gun Shakriyar Mamedyarov copped this one with an unblemished six-of-nine record. Levon Aronian (ARM), Wesley So (USA) and Alexander Grischuk (RUS) tied for second to fourth with five apiece. Other GMs on the table were Anish Giri (NED) and Teimour Radjabov (AZE), 4.5, Bogdan-Daniel Deac (ROM) and Fabiano Caruana (USA), 4.0, Constantin Lupulescu (ROM) and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (FRA), 3.5.

The category-21 round-robin event was the first of five Grand Chess Tour competitions, culminating in August in St. Louis (MO), USA.

The GCT second leg (rapid and blitz) is in full swing in Paris (France), and can be followed live at various websites, starting at 8 a.m. EST

* * *

The following game is considered the gem of the tournament.

Julius Baer Challengers Tour

2021 Gelfand Challenge

W) D. Gukesh GM (India)

A. Liang GM (USA)

Irregular Opening

1. d4       Nf6;       2. c4       b6;          3. Nc3      Bb7;     4. Qc2      ....

For all the moves made so far, the opening is not yet completed. It may just as like become a queen’s Indian Defense, but black’s next move takes the game into a less explored territory

4....       d5

Seems best under the circumstances. Other attempts lead to a tangible advantage for white, e.g., 4....e6 5. e4 Bb4 6. e5! is unsatisfactory for black.

5. cxd5     Nxd5; 6. e4       Nxc3;    7. bxc3     e5

Black strikes at white’s formidable center, seeking to mobilize his undeveloped forces.

8. Nf3      exd4;   9. Bc4!      ....

As the early chess writers urged, an immediate attack on the f-pawn, the weakest point in the opening, in a good many cases, is the keystone, and its removal makes the entire structure collapse.

9....        d3

With the idea of disrupting white’s planned assault on f7, but white continues as sharply as possible.

10. Qb3!     Qe7; 11. Ng5     Nd7?

This error concedes white a decisive advantage. Correct and prolonging the game is 11....f6.

12. Bxf7ch   Kd8;               13. Be3     h6?

Another weak, time-wasting move. 13....Nc5 is much better, e.g., 14. Ne6ch Qxe6 15. Bxe6 Nxb3 16. axb3 Bxe4 17. f3 Ke7 18. Bc4, and the game continues.

14. Bd5!     ....

Very well played. However, 14. Ne6ch is stronger, according to the engine, e.g., 14....Kc8 15. Bg6 Bc6 16. 0-0 Qa3 17. Bf5 Qxb3 18. axb3 Kb7 19. Rfd1 a5 20. Rxd3 and white picks up a pawn in a better position.

14....       Kc8;       15. Nf7      Rh7;   16. Rd1     Nf6?

This move leads to a quick collapse, but white also wins after 16....g5 17. Be6 Rxf7 18. Rxd3 Bxe4 19. Rxd7 Qxd7 20. Bxd7ch Rxd7 21. f3 etc. 17. Be6ch!   Kb8

As the early chess writers wrote, “When an ordinary prophylaxis fails to ward off a deadly check, then the game is past surgery.”

18. e5      Bc8;      19. Bxc8    Kxc8; 20. exf6     gxf6; 21. Qd5     Rb8;   22. Qf5ch    1-0

* * *


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with