SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
BLUNDER OF THE DAY!
It looks like the Italian/American Caruana (Rocky?!) is running away with the event. Good for him! Caruana is one of the hardest working players in the world. He is also considered a relative lightweight in the elite company, but his success in this event will certainly do much to change this image.
The world’s number one player is playing relatively ”shitty” chess, but part of this can probably be explained by the amount of promo work his has done in recent times. His chess seems pretty sterile, and to get his 50% score so far he has needed more than his fair share of luck, as his game with Armenia’s star Aronian proves:
POSITION AFTER 26 MOVES
A ‘correct’ if somewhat boring game up to now. Black is a bit more active, but White’s strong Knight on e4 is insurance against any immediate danger. White has a number of reasonable ideas at his disposal, probably 27.Rg1 and 28.Qf1 being the first to be considered. I would consider a draw to be the likely outcome of more ‘correct’ play…
HOWEVER, Carlsen set an incredible trap that has an even more incredible refutation:
Cutting off the Rook’s retreat. Probably this is just a miscalculation on the part of the Norwegian star. He had counted on the forced variation 27…R(8)xf4! 28.PxR Nxf4 (threatening mate) 29.Rg1! …reckoning that the exchange sacrifice is not quite enough compensation.
HOWEVER, Aronian has mate in 2 moves starting with 29…Qxh2!
EVEN MORE INCREDIBLE, neither did Aronian see this elementary tactic!! INSTEAD, he missed this opportunity and in the end only drew the game after more ‘correct moves’!
TODAY’S WINNING ENDGAME TECHNIQUE!
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 37th MOVE
From the first round of the 13th Karpov International . Up to now a very unusual fight (if not to say imperfect), but Short has emerged with a superior endgame. His Bishop is better than Rublevsky’s , but most important of all is the observation that most of Black’s pawns are on the wrong colour!
Worse still, they are likely to remain so! Should Black try an eventual …b6 then White will get a dangerous outside passed pawn on the a-file. And the Black’s Kingside pawns are not likely to see them switch colour, given that White’s Bishop will pick off the Black h-pawn should Rublevsky try anything there.
The endgame reminds me of bits of a 1966 Smyslov masterpiece in his game with Uhlmann from Argentina.
Here too the Black pawns are on the wrong squares. Smyslov won with wonderful technique.
I recommend the readers to carefully study Short’s technique! While I can not say 100% that Black is lost, there is no doubt that he is facing an uphill struggle. His winning idea is something that you might be able to apply in your own games!