SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Every morning when I get up, along with my coffee I like to follow what is happening in the chess world, especially playing over some of the games. This morning I took a look at the 31st edition
of the Benasque International Open, which will finish this coming weekend.
Unlike the Canadian Open (which is taking place at the same time), the Benasque organizers have made it easy for fans to follow the event round by round, with pictures, videos, up-to-date statistics (link
) and much more. (This is partly because the Toronto chess organizers do not know how to market chess to the general public and partly because it was a poor choice to give the Canadian Open for the second year in a row to a group of individuals who fucked up the first around and refused to admit it.)
Benasque boasts a participation of close to 500 players from 38 countries (including Canada-IM Leon Piasetski ). A total of 95 titled players: including 31gms, 4 wgms, 26 ims and 6 wims. Here is a sample of the chess that I took a look at this morning:
A DOUBLE EXCHANGE SACRIFICE!
It is rare to see a double exchange sacrifice in grandmaster games, but the game below is one such example.
GM G. TIMOSHENKO
This is the position after White’s 22nd move. Material is equal but Black stands better, having the Bishop Pair
and a more active game. In particular, the absence of any threats on White’s part means that Black can take some small risks and not worry about any immediate counter-attack.
This last factor is important because it is not easy for Black to make progress and improve his position. In the position above Black embarked on an interesting exchange sacrifice on f3 (for a Bishop and Pawn). Notice that Black also creates a passed h-pawn in the process, adding to his positional advantages.
22…Rxf3!? 23.PxR Qxf3 24. QxQ ?! (preferable to retreat the Queen, hoping for some counter-attack later on) 24…RxQ 25.Ne1 ?!
White seems to ignore how active the Black pieces are becoming, and now Black decided to capitalize on this opportunity by sacrificing another exchange (!), this time for a Knight and a Pawn!
25…Rxc3! 26.PxR Nxe4
Black is clearly better!
For a slight material disadvantage (2 Rooks –10 points–for Bishop, Knight and 2 pawns–8 points) and soon to pick up the weak pawn on c4, Black has excellent winning chances. The absence of any files for the White Rooks to get counterplay means that Black has little to fear while making progress. It is worth playing the ending over in the pgn viewer below.
_________________________________________GRANDMASTER TACTIC!GM GRANDAGM JANSAWhat move did Black play that forced White’s immediate resignation? (Solution later today)
_____________________________________________________GRANDMASTER ENDGAME TECHNIQUE!
Every student of the game must work to improve his endgame technique. One of the best ways to do so is to play over endgame examples from master and grandmaster play. The game between Ubilava (one of Anand’s seconds) and the Armenian Petrosian presents itself as an example of exploiting small advantages.
GM Ubilava (left) in play against a very concentrated GM Petrosian.
GM UBILAVAGM T. PETROSYAN
White has 2 slight theoretical advantages: a 3-2 Queenside majority and a Bishop vs Knight. However, for the moment these mean little since Black has a solid position and active pieces. It is instructive to watch how White was able to exploit his positional advantages when Black unnecessarily put his Rook offside (on the King side).
document.getElementById(“cwvpd_1310641641”).value=document.getElementById(“cwvpg_1310641641”).innerHTML;document.getElementById(“cwvfm_1310641641”).submit(); FINE CANADIAN GAME!
Montreal IM Leon Piasetski (2nd to the left in photo) playing Romanian GM Mikhail Marin produced an interesting game that where the IM seemed to be pressing at one point. Marin defended well and eventually the game was agreed drawn in a completely level Rook and Pawn endgame.
SHARP TACTICAL EXCHANGE!
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 17th MOVE (17.Qxb7):
White has the Bishop pair but lags in development. In particular, White’s first rank is vulnerable (one of the reasons I always tell my students to quickly connect their rooks along the first rank, protecting each other) Here a nasty surprise awaits the White player:
Ouch!! That hurts…
The Ukranian GM Misha Oleksienko
(born 1986) is known for his sharp attacking skills
If now 18.RxR-ch RxR! 19.QxQ Re1-ch and mate in 2 moves! Or is 19.QxB then 19…Re1-ch and 20…Qxd5-ch ends the game quickly enough. White tried bravely to defend by taking the Rook on a8:
18.QxR RxQ (forced) 19.BxR Nc2!
So White loses an exchange and Black had no problem proving that the Black Queen was stronger than the Rook and Bishop.
Colombian GM Gildardo Garcia ,
born 1953, is an old friend of mine, having spent a year in Montreal in the mid-1970’s. Gildardo is a strong postional player with a penchant for the attack. In the example below, he allows himself too many liberties , no doubt underestimating his lower rated opponent. The finish was quite surprising and it is worth playing over the whole game.
GM G. GARCIA
This position arose after White’s 33rd move (33.b3). It is clear that Black has stronger attacking chances than White, whose pieces seem not very coordinated (the Queen and Rook don’t work together as a team). How did Black continue his attack and win in just a few moves?