SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The World Team Championship is taking place right now
and with the obvious exception of Egypt, only powerhouse
countries participating. Many of the elite players are there and the chess has been great!
There will definitely be no criticism of too many draws and lack of risk taking….
The tournament continues until the 27th. As we can see above, Armenia has a slight lead over Russia and Hungary.
The following game attracted my attention because of the slow manoeuvres that took place in the first part of the game followed by a quick and brutal kingside demolition. Radjabov deserves full credit for a really nicely played game!
POSITION AFTER 25 MOVES
Harikrishna is a very difficult player to beat and in the position above he has dug in deeply and created a solid line of defence. Or atleast, it looks that way! Most of the play up to now has taken place on the Queenside. Here 26.Ba7 looks tempting (26…Ra8? 27.Rxb7 with a clear advantage), but Black has 26…Qd8! (hitting the a-pawn), which seems to oblige 27.Ra3.
More interesting than 26.Ba7 is 26.Nxe5!? PxN 27.d6 , when White seems to get some positional plus. However, Radjabov wanted more than a slight edge, and he turned his eyes over to the Kingside…
A typical manoeuvre in this kind of position. White intends to invade on f5 at some point. Also, this last move helps clear the 3rd-rank , in anticipation of swinging over the Rook when things are ready. Finally, let us not forget of the option of playing f4(!) to open up more lines.
26… Qd8 27. Ra3 Nh7 28. Nhf5!
Black should not let this Knight stay on this square for very long….
28… Nxf5 29. ef!
Very strong! White now gets the e4-square for his pieces; his Bishop on b1 is closer to seeing action; and finally, the f-pawn can be used as a battering ram in some instances. White has real threats now, and Black must watch out for ideas such as Bxh6;Nh5; and Rg3. Curiously, Black has no good defence!
The most obvious defence now seems to be to throw in …Nf6, but it appears to be inadequate in the long run:
For example, 29… cd 30. cd Nf6 31. Bxh6! gh 32. Nh5!
The threats of bringing in the Rook (on a3) into the attack and simply Qh6 are too much to defend against. Black is lost
And playing …Nf6 without exchanging on d5 also has its problems:
29… Nf6!? 30. Bxh6 gh 31. Nh5 Kh7 32. Rg3 Qh8
with a decisive attack, as the reader can verify for himself.
INSTEAD, Black brought the Queen back to his Majesty’s side, hoping to cut out the Bxh6 options:
29… Qf8!? 30. Nh5 !
Piling up the pressure and getting closer to the moment when the Rook (sitting on a3) will swing over to g3. If now the natural 30… f6
, then White breaks thru with the stunning 31. Nxg7! : 31 Qxg7 32. Bxh6 Qf7 33. Rg3 Kh8 34. Bg7 Qxg7 35. Rxg7 Kxg7 36. Re3
30…Bd8!? 31. f6 !
This is a line clearing sac that opens the diagonal for the White Bishop hidden on b1. Now every single White piece is involved in the Kingside skirmish…
31… Bxf6 32. Bxh6!
Ouch! As natural as a baby’s smile…. if now 32… gh? then 33. Bxh7-ch wins the house!
32… Qe7 33. Bxg7! Bg5!? (Of course 33… Bxg7 goes off without a fight to 34. Rg3)
To add insult to injury, White is also up a clear pawn! The game is soon over
34. f4! Bh4 [34… Bxf4 35. Qxf4 ef 36. Rxe7] 35. g3 [Also effective is 35. Bxh7-ch Kxh7 36. Rg3 Bxg3 37. fe] 35… Nf6 36. fe Nxh5 37. Qh6
37… f5 38. Qh8-ch
Black is not interested in seeing 38…Kf7 39.Qxh5-ch Kg7 40.gxh4! followed by Rg3-ch. There must be a mate there in short order…A very nice attacking finish.