SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
There is always a lot of chess at this time of the year. Gibraltar is not the biggest festival this week! On Saturday, January 29th the Seventh International Chess Festival Moscow Open started. This festival is comprised of numerous tournaments, including a children’s competition that has more than 600 participants! Another 700 participants are competing in the adult and student events.
Karpov was the main attraction at the opening ceremony
Most interesting are the Young Grandmasters Tournaments ( male and female) as well as the Open swiss events. Some of the top names include Belyavsky, Kosteniuk, Cheparinov, Tiviakov, Alexeev, Inarkiev. I recommend the readers to visit the tournament website (above), that is both in Russian and English. Lots of photos, games , interviews and other information. Very well done!
Former World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk
Is it just me or are chess players getting prettier?
Chess legend Sasha Belyavsky is one of the favourites
TEST YOUR SKILLS!
Position after Black’s 21st move (21…Rd6). Black thinks that everything is undercontrol, but White’s next move is a cold shower!
22. Nxg6! Black can not recapture because 23.Rxd5 introduces the threat of a discovered check by the Queen and wins the house! There followed 22…Qg5!? (hoping for counterplay against the King) and now 23. Rxd5!! followed, Black being completely busted. The game did not go on much longer as White won lots of material.
A tough fight! The position after Black’s 30th move. Material is equal but White appears to be more active, especially his Bishop is always applying pressure. Belyavsky finds a hidden trick to win a pawn. Do you see it?
31.Rxf7! Rxf7 32.Qd8ch! The point. The Knight can not retreat because the Queen would be lost. There followed 32…Qf8 and after 33.Bxf7ch and 34.QxNch Belyavsky emerged with an extra pawn which he converted some 50 moves later!
The position after Black’s 27th move. White has a lot of fire-power over on the Kingside and he strikes immediately into the heart of Black’s position:
28.Rxg7! Not a particularly difficult move to find, especially since White always has atleast a perpetual check. There followed 28…KxR 29.Qh6ch Kh8
Now here White can win most simply with 30.Be4ch! Instead, White had difficulties controlling his nerves and almost let his opponent escape!
17-year old Alina Kashlinskaya produced a minor sensation by defeating former world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk in her second round game.
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 28TH MOVE (28.Bc1)
A difficult position to properly evaluate, and even more difficult to play over the board! Black’s pieces give a better impression–they are centralized and harmoniously placed–but White’s Bishops are dangerously poised to strike on the Kingside. The game has many of the double-edged features of an isolated Queen pawn game.
Kosteniuk can play it safe with 28…Bb3 (trying to chase the White Rook) followed by 29…Qd6!? and perhaps 30…Qb4. Instead, the former world champion played very sharply:
28…Nxd4!? 29.Bf4 best move!
Now here Kosteniuk should play 29…Be6!
leaving White with some problems to solve 30.Bxh6!? Nf5 31.Bxf5 Rxd1 32.Rxd1 Bxf5
Instead, Kosteniuk’s nerves started to crack:
This move was fine the move before, but here the idea does not have the same effect. There followed
30.Rc1 Qb7 31.Bxh6 !
A nasty surprise for the Black player! All of a sudden White’s attack comes to life. Worse still , after Kosteniuk’s weak reply the house collapsed:
31…Rd5? 32.Bxg7 !
Mate threats appear! Black is dead lost. I recommend the reader to play over the whole game with the pgn-viewer below. The game went on much longer than it should have , mostly because of time trouble. White missed a mate in 3 at one point(!) but still managed to win.