SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
2012 Championship of Serbia underway!
Serbia has a long and proud chess tradition dating back to the 19th century. Many great players have come from there–too many to mention here– and many great tournaments have been organized there. I have had the opportunity to play in Serbia several times in recent years and I can attest to the passion and enthusiasm of the players, the organizers and the general chess public! Serbia is one of my favourite countries in all of Europe and I have made many friends there.
The 2012 Serbian Championship (absolute) is taking place right now in Vrnjacka Banja between April 23 and May 5. The format is a 14-player round robbin with virtually all of Serbia’s strongest active players taking part. As you can see from the cross table above, 12 gms and 2 ims, make this one of the strongest national championships in all of Europe!
You can follow the tournament as it progresses from the links above. Live games, photos and much more. The chess is , as usual, uncompromising and short grandmaster-draws almost non-existant. I am definitely enjoying being a spectator!
The 3rd round game between Abramovic and Markovic saw a brilliant, spectacular finish!
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 41st MOVE (41.Qc1):
It has been a tough fight up to now. White is a pawn up but Black has excellent compensation with his active pieces in the centre. It might be tempting to try to exploit the position of the White King with 41… Nxf3 42. Kxf3 Rd3 but after 43. exd3 Re3 44. Kg4 there is nothing for Black to show for his material deficit!
No, Black must play more rationally (he is a pawn down!) with 41… Qxc1! 42. Rxc1 Rd2! with …g5 in the air, and the game should objectively end in a draw.
HOWEVER, Black wanted more and he tried to force the game with the provocative:
Politely asking the Knight to move (which it can’t, ofcourse, without losing his e-pawn!). White must now find a series of ‘‘only’‘ moves…
Threatening mate in 2 moves! Objectively best now is 42… Rd7!? but he would be lost after 43. Ra2 !: 43… gxf4 44. Rxd2 Rxd2 (43…Qe3? 44. Nh5!) and White’s Queen should eventually prevail.
So Markovich tries his last bluff:
An amazing attempt to confuse White! Black simply threatens to mate White , leaving White with only ONE way to avoid this! BUT will Abramovic find it?
The alternative 42…Rd3!? would lose also, but less spectacularly: 43.Nh5! Kg6! 44.Ra2 Qe3 45.Qc2! followed by advancing the b-pawn. White is not obliged to take the Rook because of the pin on g6.
He finds the only solution to not only saving himself but to winning the game! If now 43… Kxf7 44. Qb3 Kg7 then there is a mate after 45. Rh7 Kxh7 46. Qf7 Kh8 47. Ng6#
The only practical resource! Black tries to postpone the mate, but he can not escape his fate for long…
Magnificent! White can sacrifice both Rooks… if now 44… Kxh8 then 45. Qh1 is mating: Kg8 46. Qh7#
44…KxRf7 45. Qb3! Kg7
It is mate in 2 moves