SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The England–Norway matchup saw British Champion Mickey Adams take apart the world number one rated player Carlsen in 38 entertaining moves. I am not sure if it was home preparation, and I feel pretty confident that Kasparov had nothing to do with it (!), but it is unlikely that the Norwegian’s opening experiment will see much fanfare in coming months. Kudos to Adams for not losing his head and sticking to what has always worked for him in the past: good, solid moves! (England won the match 2.5-1.5)
”Next we face England, with GM Michael Adams (2728) on the first board, and former World Championship candidate GM Nigel Short (2690) on 2nd board. Should be an exiting match, which the whole team looks forward to.” Carlsen, yesterday on his blog.
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Nf6!? 3. e5 Nh5!?
A not very popular move order that is similar to the Alekhine’s Defence, except that the Knight goes east instead of west! Often the Knight goes to g7, which is actually quite a flexible square for a Knight, as Nimzovitch often proved in his games.
I think the opening is no worse than the Alekhine’s, but it has yet to catch on. I remember trying to convince my old friend (and student) Tony Miles in 1996 to give the opening a shot. Over dinner one evening in Andorra during the traditional Andorra International Open I explained to Tony the basic ideas of the opening. Tony instantly liked it–though it must be noted that Tony never had anything against experimenting with off-beat and unusual openings.
Tony got the chance to play this opening several weeks later against GM Lautier at the Biel International Tournament. He lost that game–and it must be confessed–several others during the tournament with some other original ideas stemming from that Andorra dinner. But Tony was simply in poor form (he never blamed the openings!). This did not, however, prevent Nigel Short–Miles’ sworn life long enemy– from writing that Tony’s opening experiments in Biel was the final proof that Tony had indeed lost his mind!
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 13th MOVE:
Adams did not try to refute Carlsen’s opening surprise, limiting himself to develop his pieces. In the position above White’s advantage is very minimal–just some more space than his adversary. The position is very classical. White has 2 Bishops, but Black’s pieces are active: his Bishop has a long open diagonal to chew on and his Knights have some manoeuvrability. All in all, the opening surprise did not turn out so badly…
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 18th MOVE:
In this position Carlsen over estimated his chances , and weakened his Kingside with the supersharp 18…g5?!. This weakening was quickly exploited by the British Champion as Carlsen’s pieces were pushed back and put on the defensive. Adams then opened the g-file, which quickly ended the game once White had tripled on it.
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 38th MOVE:
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
FOR THE SAKE OF COMPLETION, HERE IS MILE’S GAME AGAINST LAUTIER