Duda rules World Cup

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

In Sochi (Russia), the imperturbable Polish world contender Jan-Krzysztof Duda ran away with top prize at the $1.9 million FIDE World Cup, beating Russian Sergey Karjakin, 1.5-.5, in the finals.

The 23-year-old Duda, scored seven wins and 11 draws without a loss in the knockout event, including an impressive two-set semifinal victory over world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway. He has a modest, unobtrusive approach to the game that befuddles his opponents.

Duda and Karjakin qualified for next year’s eight-player Candidates tournament, which chooses the challenger for the next world championship.

In the women’s side, former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia defeated top seed and compatriot Aleksandra Goryachkina in the finals to clinch the title.

Kosteniuk, Goryachkina and Chinese Tan Zhongyi (who finished third), earned spots in the women’s Candidates tournament.

The FIDE World Cup provides players the opportunity to earn automatic qualifications in next year’s Candidates tournament.

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Meanwhile, Le Quang Liem (Vietnam) and American Wesley So posted contrasting victories and moved forward to set a final round clash at the Chessable Masters, the eighth leg of the online $1.6 million Meltwater Champions Chess Tour.

Le, 30, the reigning Asian champion and former world blitz king, overcame a late challenge from Levon Aronian of Armenia to win in the “Armageddon” tiebreak and advanced to the finals.

The 27-year-old So, on the other hand, extended his best run in online chess, cruising past Russian Vladislav Artemiev, 2-0, to reach the finals and assured himself of a spot in the tour’s grand finals slated in September in San Francisco, USA.

Final-round games can be followed live with commentaries starting today at 11 a.m. EST.

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Now, let us take a closer look at the style of the young Duda, and the reasons why at 23, he became the World Cup champion, and got involved in the next world championship cycle.

FIDE World Cup 2021

Final (Game 2)

W) J. K. Duda (Poland)

B) S. Karjakin (Russia)

Queen’s Gambit Declined

1. d4     Nf6; 2. c4     e6; 3. Nf3     d5; 4. Nc3    c5

The Tarrasch Defense against the Queen’s Gambit, in which black accedes to an isolated d pawn in return for active piece play, resulting in equal chances for both sides. In the course of events, white has often demonstrated the positional drawbacks of black’s opening ideas, while black has displayed the compensations provided by free piece play.

5. cxd5    cxd4

Black’s last is the latest wrinkle in grandmaster play. The standard 5....exd5 leads to interesting gpaths after 6. Bg5 Be7 7. dxc5 0-0 8. e3 Be6 9. Be2 Nbd7 10. Nd4 Nxc5 11. 0-0 Nce4, etc.

6. Qxd4   exd5; 7. Bg5    Be7; 8. e3     O-O; 9. Rd1    Nc6; 10. Qa4   Be6; 11. Bb5    Qb6; 12. Bxf6   Bxf6; 13. Nxd5   Bxd5; 14. Rxd5   Bxb2

Here the position is more or less equal as both players prepare for the ensuing middle game action.

15. Ke2    Bf6; 16. Rhd1   Rac8; 17. Bc4    Qb4; 18. Qb3    Qxb3; 19. Bxb3   Nb8; 20. g4     h6; 21. h4     g6; 22. g5     hxg5; 23. hxg5   Be7; 24. Re5    Nc6; 25. Rd7!    ....

An astute move which keeps white’s attack rolling. Now after 25....Nxe5 26. Nxe5 Bxg5 27. Rxf7 Rxf7 28. Nxf7 Bxe3 29. Nd6ch, white emerged a piece up.

25....      Bd8; 26. Rb5    Na5

After 26....b6 27. Ne5 Nxe5 28. Rxe5, white has strong pressure on the seventh rank, e.g., 28....Rc7 29. Bxf7ch!

27. Bd5    ....

27. Rxd8!, winning two pieces for a rook, is much stronger than the text.

27....      Rc7; 28. Bxf7ch  Kg7

If 28....Rxf7, 28. Rxd8ch wins material.

29. Rxc7   Bxc7

30. Bd5    1-0

Black has no good reply, e.g., 30....Bb6 31. Ne5 Re8 32. Nd7 Bd8 33. Nf6 Rf8 34. e4 and white wins without much fuss.

Solution to last week’s puzzle:

White to play and win.

White=Kg1, Qc4, Rc7, Bb2, Nb5, Pa2, Pe2, Pf4, Pg3, Ph2

Black=Kg7, Qd8, Re7, Nc8, Bf7, Pb7, Pf6, -g6, Ph7

1. Bxf6ch!          Kxf6; 2. Qc3ch           Kf5; 2....Ke6 3. Qe5 mate.; 3. Nd4ch            1-0

If 3....Ke4 4. Qf3ch Kxd4 5. Qd3 mate, or 3....Kg4  4. Qf3ch Kh3 6. g4ch Kh4 7. Qg3 mate, and finally 3....Kf6 4. Ne6ch Kf5 5. Qe5ch Kg4 6. Qg5ch Kh3 7. Qh4 mate.

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