SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
POSITION AFTER 20 MOVES
wgm Gu Xiaobing
From Hastings this year. A sharp duel in the Sicilian with opposite-side castling. Black has preferred to use his pieces to create threats on the Queenside rather than the traditional pawn storm (which Kulaots has executed).
Black has mutiple threats; the White Queen is lined up against a hungry Rook on d8; the Knight on b3 is about to be captured and White must watch out for some sacs on c3.
Fortunately for White, it is his move and he makes good use of it:
Pawn storms differ from direct piece attacks in that they open files, allowing for the Rooks to enter into the fray. Here this factor is decisive.
Black must be careful and not play 21… Kxh7(?) as 22. Rxg7+! Kxg7 23. Bh6+ Kh8 24. Bg7+! ends the game immediately. Also insufficient is 21… Nxh7 22. Bh6! Bg2!? 23. Bd7! when Black is helpless and will lose material.
21…Kh8! (best try) 22.Bh6!
White defends against Black’s threats with counter-threats of his own!
Black must not take the Bishop: 22… gxh6? 23. Qxh6 Ne8 24. Rg8+! mating in a few moves.
22…Nxh5 (forced) 23.Qg5!
Kulaots is relentless!
If now 23… f6 24. Qxh5 gxh6(24… Bxc3 25. Bxg7+!) 25. Rxd5! Rxd5 26. Rg8+! Rxg8 27. hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 28. Be6+ wins the house
Another sharp way to lose is 23… g6!? 24. Qxh5! Be4!? (taking the Queen gets mated in 2 moves and 24…Bxc3 fails to 25.Rxd5! Rxd5 26.Kb1!) and :
Black is threatening to mate starting with 25…Qxc3+!!
25. Qe2!! Bxc3!? (what else?) 26. Qxe4! and the discovered check is nothing.
BACK TO THE GAME:
23…Pxh6 (relatively best) 24.Qh5 (also good is 24.Qxh6)
If Black does nothing then White ends the game with Qxh6 the next move.
Insufficient now is 24… Bxc3 25. Rg8+! Rxg8 26. hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 27. Rg1+ Kf8 28. Qxh6+ Ke7 29. Qh4+ Kf8 30. bxc3!SO BLACK SOMETHING ELSE:
24… f5 25. Bxf5! Qc6 26. Qg4 Qf6
PUTTING AN END TO ALL RESISTANCE
Kaido Kulaots was born in 1976 in Estonia and seems to have inherited the great Paul Keres’ attacking skills! I have already published on this blog some of Kaido’s exploits. Readers might remember that we were both team mates in France’s gruelling team championships for several years.