"My Daddy's a Grandmaster - and so is my Mummy!"

 

Report compiled by Sean Hewitt & John Saunders with games annotated by Sunil Weeramantry. 

 

How many children in the world can claim that both their father and mother are full grandmasters? Well, we don't know the exact answer - maybe somebody out there can help us? - but we do know that two of them are in the photograph below...

 

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Left to right: Anna Cramling-Bellon, Pia Cramling, Weronica Socko

 

Sitting at the board in the picture is little Anna Cramling-Bellon, daughter of GM Juan Manuel Bellon and GM Pia Cramling (who is also in the photo). Anna made her international competition debut on 29 January here in Gibraltar. On the right, having some fun with Pia Cramling is Weronica Socko, daughter of GM Bartosz Socko and GM Monika Socko. All four parents hold the full GM title. How many other children can boast two GM parents? Other than Weronica's siblings that is. We can think of maybe one more double GM husband and wife with children but haven't thought about it too deeply yet. Maybe there are more - can you think of any?

 

In Round 3 of the Masters event we expected the chess to be hard fought and exciting - and we weren't disappointed! The game between perennial Gibraltar participant, Polish GM Bartosz Socko (2631) and former Women's World Champion, GM Antoaneta Stefanova (2557) of Bulgaria

 

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GM Bartosz Socko (2631) -v- GM Antoaneta Stefanova (2557)

 

produced one of the tournament leaders after the third round. 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 Bc5 Introducing the Neo-Archangelsk variation. 6.c3 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.a4 Bg4 9.h3 Bxf3 10.Qxf3 Na5 11.Bc2 b4 12.d3 Rb8 13.Nd2 0–0 After some minor transpositions, we have now reached the position from Anand-Karpov, FIDE World Chess Championship Finals, Lausanne 1998. 14.Qe2 Re8 15.Nf3 bxc3 16.bxc3 Nb3 17.Bxb3 Anand's novelty. [17.Rb1 Nxc1 18.Rfxc1 was successful for White in Nithander-Hector, Politiken Cup 2007.] 17...Rxb3 18.d4 exd4 19.cxd4 Rxf3!? An interesting exchange sacrifice introduced by Karpov. 20.Qxf3 Bxd4 21.Ra2 Nxe4 22.Qd3 Qf6 [An improvement that was suggested after the Anand-Karpov game which had continued 22...c5 23.Qxa6 d5 24.a5 when Anand recorded a memorable victory in 42 moves.] 23.Re2 [23.Qxa6 would permit 23...Ng3 24.Rd1 Qe6 with a draw by repetition if White were to choose 25.Rxd4 Qe1+ 26.Kh2 Nf1+] 23...d5 24.Be3 Be5 25.Rc1

 

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25...c5? [25...h6 protects the d5 pawn indirectly as the same combination that Socko employs in the game does not work as well here. 26.Qxd5 Nc3 27.Rxc3 Rd8 28.Rc5 Rxd5 29.Rxd5 leaves Black with an edge as White fails to pick up Black's c-pawn along the way.] 26.Qxd5! Nc3 27.Rxc3 Rd8 [Of course not 27...Bxc3?? as Black's back rank weakness spells disaster after 28.Bg5!] 28.Rxc5 Rxd5 29.Rxd5 h6 30.Bxh6 Bc7 31.Bc1 Qc6 32.Rd1 Qxa4 33.Rde1 The position has been simplified greatly to White's advantage. 33...f6 34.Bb2 Qf4 35.g3 Qf5 36.Re8+ Kh7 37.R1e4 Bd6 38.Bc1 Kg6 39.Rg4+ Kf7 40.Re1 Qf3 41.Be3 a5 42.Kh2 Be5 43.Rc4 Kg6 44.Kg1 Qf5 45.Rg4+ Kf7 46.Rd1

 

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46...a4? [Black does better not to abandon the outside pawn and to play 46...g5 as the continuation 47.Rd5 Qb1+ 48.Kh2 Qa2 49.Rd7+ Kg6 50.Ra7 Bc3 for instance, illustrates the difficulties White faces in trying to eliminate it.] 47.Rxa4 Qxh3 48.Ra7+ Kg6 49.Rdd7 Kf5? [Passive defence would give Black good chances to hold as simplifying into a pawn up bishop endgame is insufficient for White to win. 49...Qh8 50.f4 Bb8 51.Rxg7+ Qxg7 52.Rxg7+ Kxg7 53.g4 Kf7 54.Kf2 Ke6 55.Kf3 Kd5 56.Bb6 Bd6 57.Bd8 Ke6 58.Ke4 Bf8 and White cannot make progress.] 50.Rxg7 The loss of this pawn without the simplification seen in the previous variation places Black in serious jeopardy. 50...Ke4 51.Bf4 Qh5 52.Ra4+ Bd4 53.Re7+ Kd3 Black's position is quite unpleasant and difficult to play even with sufficient time on the clock. 54.Ra3+ Kc4 55.Be3 Be5 56.Kg2 Bd6? [56...Qd1 offers more resistance. White's winning technique would then lie in pushing Black's king to the edge to maximize checkmating opportunities. 57.Ra5 Qd3 58.Rc5+ Kb4 59.Rb7+ Ka4 60.Ra7+ Kb4 61.Rc8 Qe4+ 62.f3! Qd5 63.Rc5 and Black has to give up his queen to stay alive.] 57.Re4+ Kb5 58.Rb3+ Kc6 59.Rb6+ 1–0

Nearby, young English IM Stephen Gordon (2524) gave his chances of securing his third and final GM norm a boost by holding his more experienced opponent, American GM Varuzhan Akobian (2619), to a hard fought draw. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 0–0 7.e3 b6 The Tartakower System in the Queen's Gambit Declined. 8.Be2 Bb7 9.Bxf6 Bxf6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.b4 White attempts to control Black's thematic advance ...c5. 11...c6 12.0–0 a5 First employed by former World Champion, GM Anatoly Karpov, in the Leningrad interzonal 1973. 13.bxa5 Two popular alternatives are 13. b5 and 13. a3 13...Rxa5 14.a4 Bc8 15.Qc2 Be6 16.Rfd1 Nd7 [16...c5 proved successful in Tukmakov-Shabalov, Koszalin 1999.] 17.Rab1 Akobian's treatment of this position, though similar, does not duplicate earlier examples. [17.h3 Be7 18.Bd3 Re8 19.Ne2 Qa8 Greenfeld-M.Gurevich, EU-ch 2001] 17...Qa8 18.Bd3 Rc8 19.h3 Be7 20.Bf5 b5 [20...c5 appears to be a more natural break in light of the placement of Black's rook in relation to White's queen. However, White can keep the c-file closed by playing 21.Ne5 Nxe5 22.dxe5] 21.Bxe6 fxe6 22.Ne5 Nxe5 23.dxe5 b4 24.Ne2 c5 25.Qg6 It is clear that White must begin operations against the enemy king as he is unable to contain the advancing pawns. 25...Ra6 26.Nf4 Rcc6 27.e4 The key. White opens a path for his rooks along the third rank. 27...d4 28.Rd3 Qf8 29.Rg3 Bg5

 

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30.Rxg5 Akobian displays excellent judgement as he correctly projects that White's kingside attack will neutralize Black's overwhelming material superiority on the other flank. 30...hxg5 31.Qxg5 Rxa4 32.Ng6 Qe8 [32...Qa8 is not any better as White's king will be unassailable on h2 even if Black's queen succeeds in penetrating to the first rank. For instance, 33.f4 Ra1 34.Rxa1 Qxa1+ 35.Kh2 and Black will have to hurry back in defence.] 33.f4 [33.Ne7+? Kf7 34.Nxc6 Qxc6 would recover the exchange but lose the game.] 33...Rca6 34.Kh2 d3 It is amazing that despite his three connected passed pawns, Black does not have a winning continuation. 35.Qh5 Ra1 36.Rxa1 Rxa1 37.f5 exf5 38.exf5 d2

 

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In many ways, such positions are relatively easy to handle as the strategy on both sides is forced.39.Qh8+ Kf7 40.e6+ Kf6 41.Qxe8 d1Q The queen is dead! Long live the queen! 42.Qe7+ Kxf5 43.Nh4+ Ke4 44.Qxc5 Qh1+ 45.Kg3 Qe1+ 46.Kh2 Qh1+ 47.Kg3 Qe1+ and the two players settle for the inevitable. ½–½

 

Elsewhere, Surya Ganguly (2614) defended well on top board to hold a draw with the black pieces against Peter Svidler (2723) whilst there was something of a shock on board 2.  The Greek GM Vasilios Kotronias (2603) has just played 24 Rdh1 to reach the following position

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Hikaru Nakamura (2699) replied 24...c5?? and lost quickly after 25 Rf4! as the Queen is trapped.

However, the real shock of the round was on board 8 where Georgian GM Nana Dzagnidze (2518) defeated French prodigy Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (2696) whilst playing black.  Nana obtained a good position from her Sicillain Dragon opening and then sacrificed the exchange on move 17, following which she used her active pieces to outplay her opponent. 

 

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English amateur Gary Quillan (2357), having played brilliantly against GM Gashimov in Round 1 followed up by beating Serbian GM Milos Pavlovic (2520) with black.  Having reached the following position

 

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Now Gary finished the game with 30...Bb7 31 f3 Rd2+ 32 Re2 Rd3 0-1 Due to the dual threats of Rxc3 and Bxf3+

 

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Gary Quillan on his way to victory.  He was smiling later!

 

Lets hope that Round 4 tomorrow proves to be just as exciting as today!  The top pairings are

Table

White

Score

Fed.

Rating

Black

Score

Fed.

Rating

1

GM Dzagnidze, Nana

3

GEO

2518

GM Socko, Bartosz

3

POL

2631

2

GM Harikrishna, Pentala

2.5

IND

2673

GM Kotronias, Vasilios

3

GRE

2603

3

GM Gashimov, Vugar

2.5

AZE

2723

GM Akobian, Varuzhan

2.5

USA

2619

4

GM Lopez Martinez, Josep Manu

2.5

ESP

2540

GM Svidler, Peter

2.5

RUS

2723

5

GM Ganguly, Surya Shekhar

2.5

IND

2614

GM Milov, Vadim

2.5

SUI

2669

6

GM Sokolov, Ivan

2.5

NED

2657

GM Golod, Vitali

2.5

ISR

2575

7

IM Gordon, Stephen J

2.5

ENG

2524

GM Berkes, Ferenc

2.5

HUN

2651

8

GM Roiz, Michael

2.5

ISR

2647

GM Sandipan, Chanda

2.5

IND

2568

9

IM Szabo, Krisztian

2.5

HUN

2508

GM Beliavsky, Alexander G

2.5

SLO

2646

10

GM Avrukh, Boris

2.5

ISR

2645

IM Papp, Gabor

2.5

HUN

2517

11

GM Gurevich, Mikhail

2.5

TUR

2624

IM Cmilyte, Viktorija

2.5

LTU

2497

12

Quillan, Gary

2.5

ENG

2357

GM Berg, Emanuel

2

SWE

2606

 

 

 

 

 

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