Mon 28 January 2013
John Saunders reports:
At long last we have a sole leader. Nikita Vitiugov
outplayed Kiril Georgiev in a long technical
struggle in which the Russian was a pawn up and
eventually snared his opponent in some endgame
tactics. He leads with 6½/7, ahead of Le Quang Liem,
Gata Kamsky and the resurgent Nigel Short, who
scored his fifth successive win.
Vitiugov’s win turned on a suspect
rook move right at the end.
2013, Round 7
- K.Georgiev (2643)
A small but fatal
slip by the older player. After 68...¦a4, if White
plays 69 ¢g3, Black has 69...¥e6 when White still
has to prove he is winning. 69 ¢g3!
This is pretty good but analysis engines find
69 ¤b5!? which threatens to invade the black king’s
inner sanctum via d6 and e8 and give mate. Then
69...f6 70 ¤c7 fxe5+ 71 ¢g3 wins material for White.
The lines look rather inhuman, however. 69...¥e6
69...¥f1 70 ¤f5+ ¢h7 71 ¤d6 sets up the mating
net indicated above. 70 ¦d6! ¥c8 Black
has the choice of the devil and the deep blue sea.
70...¦xd6 71 exd6 ¥d7 72 ¤b3 ¢f6 73 ¤c5 ¥f5 74 ¢f4
¥c2 75 ¢e3 looks hopeless in the long run. 71 ¤f5+!
¢h7 72 ¤e7 ¥b7 72...¦xd6 73 exd6 ¥e6 74 ¢f4 f6
75 ¢e4 ¢g7 76 ¢d4 is an easy win. 73 ¦d7!
¦b6 74 e6! Either capture of the e6 pawn allows
the win of major material, so it is effectively all
over. 74...¦b3 75 exf7 ¦xf3+ 75...¢g7 76 ¤f5+
¢f8 77 ¤d4 wins, e.g. 77...¦b6 78 ¦xb7! ¦xb7 79 ¤e6+
¢xf7 80 ¤d8+ and takes the rook with a won endgame.
76 ¢g4 ¢g7 76...¦xf7 77 ¦xb7 ¦g7+
78 ¢f5 wins. 77 ¦xb7
The game between Ivanchuk and Le
Quang Liem caused some controversy but was quickly
resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. The
players agreed a draw after 14 moves and left the
playing area. However, there is a tournament bye-law
(i.e. not a FIDE law) which prohibits draws in fewer
than 30 moves, so the initial decision was that the
players should return to play a new game which
complied with the rule. However, after discussions
with the players, it was felt that the players had
been given incomplete notice of the local rule and
that the result should stand.
Though Chucky had no interesting
moves to show us in the tournament room, he was
sufficiently mollified to agree to give a master
class later the same evening. His stories and
expressive gestures kept the audience spellbound.
The video of this master class, like all the others,
is still available for viewing at the website.
Two rivals from way back were hacking their way
through the pack. Gata Kamsky beat the Venezuelan GM
Iturrizaga, generally outplaying him towards the end
of the game. Nigel Short gained a measure of revenge
for his earlier humbling at the hands of one Spanish
IM by beating another, 23-year-old David Lariño
Nieto, who won the 2008 Spanish Championship.
Instead of the patriotic English opening, Nigel
opted for “singeing the King of Spain’s beard” with
the Spanish national opening. Sir Francis Drake
couldn’t have done it better.
2013, Round 7
N.Short (2690) -
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6
3 Bb5 Nd4 4 Nxd4 exd4 5 0‑0 c6 6 Ba4 Nf6 7 Re1 d6
Black is a
known Bird’s Defence aficionado, it seems. He played
7...h5 8 e5 Ng4 9 g3 d3 here in a Spanish
Championship game in 2012. 8 d3 Bg4
Unusual. Black has played 8...Be7 here. 9 f3
Be6 10 c4 g6 11 f4 Bg4 12 Qd2 Bc8 13 b4
For some bizarre
reason, White’s odd configuration of pawns and
pieces around the axis of d2-d4 reminds me of a
hanukkah candle, though the bishop on a4 slightly
spoils the effect. 13...Bg7 14 h3 Nd7 15 Bd1
Even more hanukkah-ish. 15...Qb6 16 Na3
0‑0 17 Rb1
looks suspicious as White is able to open up the
a2-g8 diagonal to his advantage and the kingside
looks vulnerable. 18 exf5 gxf5 19 c5!
A pawn sacrifice, which Black doesn’t accept, but
the open lines gained would have been worth it.
19...dxc5 20 bxc5 Qd8 Probably better than
20...Qxc5 21 Bb3+ Kh8 22 Nc4 Nb6 23 Ne5 when White
dominates the position and gets ready for a final
attack. 21 Qb4 21 Nc4 is also
very good, as in the previous note. 21...b6
22 cxb6 axb6 23 Bf3 Bb7 24 Nc4 24 Bxc6
Bxc6 25 Qc4+ Kh8 26 Qxc6 is also possible but Short
prefers to keep more pieces on the board.
24...Kh8 25 Nd6 25 Qe7 is also very
strong, setting up the threat of Nd6 and Nf7+. If,
for example, 25...Qxe7 26 Rxe7 Rad8 27 Nxb6
regaining the pawn and maintaining the attacking
momentum. 25...Ba6 26 Bxc6 Rb8 27 Re8 Qc7
27...Rxe8 allows 28 Nf7+, winning the queen. 28 Rxb8
28 Nf7+ Kg8 29 Rxf8+ and, for example,
29...Bxf8 30 Qb3! and White is having all the fun.
28...Nxb8 29 Bb5 Bxb5 30 Nxb5 Qf7 31 Qb3 Qg6
32 Ba3 Rg8 33 Qd5 Bf6 34 Bd6 Qg3 Black has more
or less given up and is trying a last throw.
34...Qg7 35 Be5 Bxe5 36 fxe5 and White will soon be
a safe two pawns up, if not more. 35 Bxb8
Qxd3 35...Rxb8 allows the fork 36 Qd6. 36 Rb3
Play through the games
from this round.
Photos by John Saunders