SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Moscow wins 22nd edition of inter-city chess match !
(11.5 to 8.5)
BOTH TEAMS AFTER THE EVENT
The first such match took place in 1911. That was a long time ago (!). Remember that Botvinnik was born in 1911 and that gives you an idea of how much the chess world has changed since then. In anycase, even though chess is very popular in Russia there have only been 21 such matches inbetween. Hopefully this tradition will be seen on a more regular schedule…
Each team had 10 boards and they would play each other twice. On paper Moscow was a bit higher ranked, but in such rivalries this usually counts for little. Sure enough, after the first round the match was tied! However, on the second day Moscow pulled ahead.
This year’s match took place at the elegant Chigorin Chess Club
(St.Petersburg) between the 17th and 18th of September. The sponsor was none other than Gazprom, which provided the $13,000 to the winning team. The time control was 90 minutes for 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game. (With, ofcourse, the traditional 30′ per move increment)
It was good to see Alexander Morozevich (above,right) return to the board, especially given his rather sheepish
exit from the just completed World Cup. In the first round he defeated Vitiugov in an extremely complex game that attracted a lot of spectators in the postmortem.
POSITION AFTER 24 MOVES:
A messy and chaotic position typical of the Winawer 7.Qg4 variation. Often in these lines it is too difficult to accurately evaluate who is better! The important thing is for both players to try to keep their head above the water and to do their best to survive…An almost entirely GM postmortem!25. g4! Ba6 !?
[ This doesn’t seem to solve any problems–or maybe Black simply overlooked White’s brilliant idea– but what else is there? If 25… Rf8 then 26. h7! gives White every chance to win; and if instead 25… Ne7 then 26. Bf3 keeps the pressure up]
If now 26… Bxe2 White wins with 27. Rf6 Kh7 28. Rf7 Kg8 (28… Kg6 29. Rg7#) 29. Rg7 Kf8 30. Bd6 Ke8 31. Nf6 Kd8 and now simply 32. Kxe2!
Black played 26… Nxf5 but after 27. gf Kxf5 28. Bxa6 Morozevich never looked back and won easily.
A LITTLE BIT OF LUCK…
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 21st MOVE (21…f5!?):
Black’s last move is very provocative and seduces White into making a promising sacrifice
White’s justification for this bold move is the un-coordinated nature of Black’s pieces. In particular, the Bishop on c8 and the awkwardly placed Knights. These factors would manifest themselves in this variation: 22… Rxf5?! 23. Bxf5 ef 24. Rfe1! Nf6 25. Nd4! –White is beautifully centralized–25… Bd7 26. c5! bc 27. Qc4 Kh8 28. bc when White’s Rooks are very strong.
25…ef 23. Bd5
The position is not easy for Black. Probably best now is 23… Nf6! 24. Bxf7 Kxf7 (24… Qxf7?! 25. Rd8! paralyzes Black) 25. Rfe1 Kg8 26. Nd4 Bd7 27. c5 with play curiously similar to the last note. Black may not be lost, but he must play with great accuracy.
23… Bb7?! 24. Bxf7-ch Kxf7
The material is equal, but the lack of harmony in Black’s position is a serious cause for concern!
25. Rxd7-ch! Nxd7 26. Ng5-ch
Ofcourse the King can not retreat to f8 because of the check on e6, winning the Queen. And treating to g8 allows the famous Philidor mate starting with Qe6-ch. Therefore, Black has little choice but to move his King forward….
26… Kg6 27. Qe7! Qxc4 28. Ne6 Rg8
So far everything seems to be forced. Even so, White can keep up the pressure with the simple and strong 29.g3, threatening to play a Knight check on f4:
29. g3! Nf6 ( Not 29… Qe4 30. Nf4 Kh6 31. Qh4#) 30. Nf4-ch Kh6 31. Qxb7 Qxb4 (diagram,right)
Despite the exposed position of the Black King, the outcome is not at all clear!
INSTEAD, probably in time trouble, White simply lost a piece in one move!
29. Qxd7?? Bc8!
Not only is the piece gone, but the White initiative evaporates and Black has no difficulties in mopping up. See the entire game in the pgn-viewer below
MORE PHOTOS !
The entrance to the Chigorin Chess Club
Just good taste!
A portrait of Chigorin himself still haunts the club! Many consider him the father of Russian chess
Do you have the courage to enter?
Khalifman (l) and Malakhov discuss where they buy their sweaters…
Waiting for the round to begin….
Morozevich lost the second round encounter with Vitiugov