Kill the King!

Round 4 Press report by Sean Hewitt with annotations by FM Sunil Weeramantry

 

On 30 January 1649, King Charles I of England was beheaded for treason. 360 years later to the day in Gibraltar there was no treason that we know of, but several players attempted to execute the opposing monarch!

 


Charles I of England

 

Our first game must have been a huge disappointment for Dutch GM Ivan Sokolov (2657) who held the initiative for the most part, until an unfortunate oversight cost him the game.  Still, credit must go to his opponent, Israeli GM Vitali Golod (2575) for spotting the winning combination.  Golod moved into a tie for second place with this victory. 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 dxc4 A delayed Queen's Gambit Accepted. 5.e3 a6 6.a4 Bb4 7.Bxc4 b6 8.0–0 Bb7 9.Qb3 [9.Qe2 is the most popular continuation by far.] 9...Qe7 10.e4!? This enterprising pawn sacrifice by Sokolov creates an unbalanced position which Black must handle with care. 10...Nxe4 [The alternative 10...Bxc3 11.bxc3 Nxe4 gives White excellent play for the pawn after 12.Re1 0–0 13.Ba3 Nd6 14.d5²] 11.Re1 Nc6 12.Rxe4 Na5 13.Qc2 Nxc4 14.d5

 

 

14...Qc5? [Black can offer more resistance with 14...Na5 15.Bg5 Qc5 16.Be3 Qe7²] 15.dxe6 [White misses 15.Qb3 with excellent winning chances.  For instance, 15...Na5 (or 15...b5 16.axb5 axb5 17.Rxa8+ Bxa8 18.Be3 Nxe3 19.Rxb4 c6 20.dxe6 Nd5 21.exf7+ Kxf7 22.Ne5+ Kg8 23.Rf4+-) 16.Qxb4 Qxb4 17.Rxb4 exd5 18.Bf4±] 15...0–0 And Black returns the favour.  The best plan would have been to castle queenside so that the king could head over to where he would have more pieces to help him out. 16.Rh4 White is back in control.  If Black advances either the g or h-pawns to stop the mate on h7, White strengthens his attack with Ne4. 16...f5 17.Na2? After all that hard work, White lets Black right back into the game. [Instead, 17.e7 Rfe8 18.Qb3 b5 19.axb5 axb5 20.Rxa8 Bxa8 21.Be3 Qxe7 22.Nxb5 Bd5 23.Rxc4 Bxc4 24.Qxc4+ Kh8 25.h3 would have brought home the point.] 17...Be4 18.Rxe4 fxe4 19.Qxe4 Rad8

 

 

 [19...Rae8 keeps the balance.] 20.Bg5 [20.Bh6 This attractive move clears the back rank and protects the d1 square. 20...gxh6 21.e7 Qxe7 22.Qxc4+ Qf7 23.Qxb4±] 20...Nd2 21.Bxd2 Rxd2 Although White has surrendered his early initiative, the position is still quite even. 22.Rf1?? But one careless move is all it takes to ruin a good game. 22...Rxb2 23.Nc1 [23.Nxb4 also loses to 23...Rxb4 24.Qe2 Re8 though in less spectacular fashion.] 23...Rxf2! 24.Nd3 R2xf3+! A clever tactic.  White resigns as mate cannot be avoided.  The King is dead!! 0–1

 

Gashimov v Akobian
Gashimov v Akobian

 

After conceding a draw in the first round, the rising young Azeri star, GM Vugar Gashimov (2723) was back on the top boards in round 4.  He was paired against American GM Varuzhan Akobian (2619), a member of the US team that won the bronze at the Dresden Olympiad. 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Bg5 h6 7.Nxf6+ Nxf6 The night before, Akobian had conducted a master class entitled "My Trials and Tribulations in the French Defence".  He could hardly have foreseen that on the very next day he would obtain more material for this topic. 8.Be3 Nd5 9.Bd3 Nxe3 10.fxe3 Bd6 11.e4 e5 This sacrifices a pawn to disrupt White's centre.  Black is hoping that White's doubled e-pawns will prove too weak to hold. 12.dxe5 Bc5

 

 

Akobian had seen this all before, notably in 2002 at the Imre Koenig Memorial in San Francisco when a young Hikaru Nakamura had played 13. Bc4 against him. Instead, Gashimov follows a suggested improvement. 13.Bb5+ c6 14.Qxd8+ Kxd8 15.Bc4 Ke7 16.c3 The identical position was reached in Leko-Ivanchuk, Morelia/Linares 2007 which continued 16...Be6 17. Bxe6 Kxe6 18. Ke2 Bb6 19. Rhf1 Rhf8 20. Rad1 Rad8  21. Rxd8 Bxd8 22. Rd1 Bc7 with equality. 16...Rd8 17.a4 a6 18.Ke2 Be6 19.Bxe6 Kxe6 20.Rhf1 Rd7 21.Rad1 Rxd1 22.Rxd1

 

 

 

22...a5? [A subtle but serious inaccuracy.  In a similar position in the Leko-Ivanchuk game, Black pulled his bishop back immediately without giving White time to reposition his knight on d3.  As a result, he was able to exert sufficient pressure on the e5 pawn to maintain equality.  Black should play 22...Bb6 23.g4 Rd8 24.Rxd8 Bxd8 25.Kd3 Bc7 26.Kd4 Bb6+ 27.Kc4 Ba7=] 23.Ne1! The knight is heading for d3.  Taking the e5 pawn now becomes a losing proposition for Black.  23...Kxe5? 24. Nd3+ Kd6 25. e5+ Kd5 26. c4+ Kd4 27. Rf1 with a clear advantage for White. 23...Bg1 24.g3 The addition of the last move pair does not significantly alter the position. 24...Bb6 25.Nd3 White's doubled e-pawns, far from being weak, are fast becoming an annoyance to Black. 25...Ke7 Black decides to step back to avoid knight checks. 26.g4 Rd8 27.Rf1 Bc7 28.h4 Re8 Black is still trying to eliminate the e5 pawn. 29.h5 Kf8 30.Rf5 Kg8 31.Nc5 b6 32.Nd3 Having provoked ...b6, White has denied Black the opportunity to drive White's rook back with ...g6. 32...Re7 33.b4 It is time to initiate action on the other flank. 33...axb4 34.cxb4 Kf8 35.Ke3 Ke8 36.g5 hxg5 37.Rxg5 Kf8 38.Rg2 c5 [The pawn is taboo. 38...Bxe5? 39.Rc2 and Black's overloaded rook cannot defend the c6 pawn.] 39.bxc5 bxc5 40.Rc2 Ke8 41.Kf4 Bb6

 

 

 

42.Nb2! Re6 43.Nc4 Bc7 44.a5 White patiently improves his position.  He now has the advantage in all sectors of the board. 44...Rf6+ 45.Ke3 Ra6 46.Kd3 Ra7 47.Ra2 Ra6 48.Rg2 Kf8 49.Rb2 Ke7 50.Rb5 Rc6 51.Nb6 Kd8 [The e5 pawn stays alive! 51...Bxe5? 52.a6 Bb8 53.Nd5+ Kd6 54.Rxb8+-] 52.Kc4 Re6 53.Na4 Bxa5 54.Nxc5 A final finesse. 54...Rh6 55.Rxa5 Rxh5 56.Kd5 Black resigns. 1–0

 

Harikrishna v Kotronias
Harikrishna v Kotronias

 

Elsewhere Greek GM Vasilios Kotronias (2603) had another excellent win, defeating Indian Pentala Harikrishna (2673) in 53 moves with black.  Kotronias secured an early edge, and gently applied the pressure until it became unbearable.  An impressive victory which gives him the sole lead of the tournament on 4/4 after the other two players on maximum points GM Dzagnidze and GM Socko drew with each other.  

 

 

Peter Svidler (2723) was black against GM Lopez Martinez (2540)

 

 

Svidler decided to unbalance the position here and give up his queen for a rook, knight and pawn by playing 15...Qxb2 16 Rb1 Qxc2 17 Rd2 Qxc3 18 Qxc3 Nxe4 19 Qe3 Nxd2 20 Qxd2 .  However, despite this attempt the game ended in a level position after 31 moves and a draw was agreed.

 

Gordon v Berkes
Gordon v Berkes

 

English IM Stephen Gordon (2524) took another step closer to his final GM norm with a creditable draw with Hungarian GM Ferenc Berkes (2651).  Michael Roiz (2647) won nicely against Chanda Sandipan (2568)...

 

 

Although material is level and the bishops are of opposite colours, whites pressure on the f7 pawn, coupled with the fact that blacks queenside pawn majority is going nowhere means that white is totally winning.  The game ended quickly 48.f5 h5+ 49.Kf4 gxf5 50.exf5 Bf2 51.f6+ 1–0.  The king must leave the f7 pawn, and then the king will soon fall himself!

 

Sometimes you have to keep cool in chess.  How about this for a demonstration of cool from Alexander Beliavsky (2646) after his opponent Kristian Szabo (2508) has just played 42 Qd5, threatening to take on f7 with check.  How would you defend the threat?

 

 

 

Beliavsky simply ignores it with 42...Bc5! when, after 43.Qxf7+ Kh6 white has no checks and the end comes quickly with 44.Nd4 Nf4 45.Ke1 Rg1+ 0–1

 

GM Boris Avrukh and GM Mikhail Gurevich both won also to complete the group of eight players on 3½/4.      

 

Finally, GM Nakamura (2699) was made to work hard for his point by Mexican IM Uriel Capo Vidal (2336).  Nakamura had clearly worked on the two knights v pawn ending following the Sokolov v Trent ending!  After 72 moves of stoic play the following position was reached:

 

 

Here black can perhaps hold the position after 72...Rh7 when 73 Nd7 is met by Rh1.  However, incredibly accurate defence is required.  Unfortunately, black played 72...Rf6 and the ruthless American countered with 73 Kc7 Ka8 74 Nd7 1-0

 


Antoaneta Stefanova and Jovanka Houska

 

Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant

Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant

 

Pia Cramling
Pia Cramling

 

Nana Dzagnidze
Nana Dzagnidze

 

 

Table

White

Score

Fed.

Rating

Black

Score

Fed.

Rating

1

GM Kotronias, Vasilios

4

GRE

2603

GM Roiz, Michael

3.5

ISR

2647

2

GM Socko, Bartosz

3.5

POL

2631

GM Gashimov, Vugar

3.5

AZE

2723

3

GM Beliavsky, Alexander G

3.5

SLO

2646

GM Dzagnidze, Nana

3.5

GEO

2518

4

GM Golod, Vitali

3.5

ISR

2575

GM Avrukh, Boris

3.5

ISR

2645

5

GM Svidler, Peter

3

RUS

2723

GM Gurevich, Mikhail

3.5

TUR

2624

6

GM Hauchard, Arnaud

3

FRA

2497

GM Nakamura, Hikaru

3

USA

2699

7

GM Milov, Vadim

3

SUI

2669

IM Al Sayed, Mohamad N.

3

QAT

2488

8

GM Berkes, Ferenc

3

HUN

2651

IM Zatonskih, Anna

3

USA

2462

9

IM Kiik, Kalle

3

EST

2466

GM Ganguly, Surya Shekhar

3

IND

2614

10

GM Berg, Emanuel

3

SWE

2606

FM Hommeles, Theo

3

NED

2410

11

GM Bellon Lopez, Juan Manuel

3

ESP

2440

GM Stefanova, Antoaneta

3

BUL

2557

12

GM Cramling, Pia

3

SWE

2548

IM Houska, Jovanka

3

ENG

2392

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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