SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
With one round left, Armenia is in front and is the only team not to have lost a match so far. Their last opponent will be the Ukraine, so things will be really exciting! Anything can still happen. I am really impressed with the chess from several points of view: fighting spirit, theoretical novelites and creative output. To my mind, this tournament is producing chess that is a class above what we are seeing from Biel and Dortmund. (No slight intended to either tournament, but instead an appreciative observation from a chess fan.)
The Aronian vs Harikrishna encounter on the first board of Armenia vs India produced an important new concept in the fight against the super-solid (read: super boring) Lasker’s Defence in the Queen’s Gambit Decline. This line has been causing White headaches for years as more and more GMs are gravitating towards this apparently risk-free and straight-forward defence.
Aronian’s new idea is to try to exploit the early —h6 by Black and commence a Kingside attack. Several previous games toyed with this idea, but Aronian’s move order is the most precise way to proceed:
10.h4 !? Nd7 11.g4!
White intends to follow up with g5 , breaking open the Kingside or forcing a concession from Black. In the game continuation Harikrishna counter-attacked in the centre (a natural reaction) , but seemed to be always a bit worse. The Queens quickly came off and Aronian had his favourite type of position: an ending with a slight pull and no worries of his opponent getting much counterplay.
Aronian (and his Kingside pawns) on a roll…
No doubt we will see a lot more of this idea in coming months. But my impression is that this idea of advancing on the Kingside will discourage a lot of ordinary players from playing the Lasker’s Defence. Now if only someone can find a similar idea against the Petroff (!?)…..
Wow! Is that really Judit? Charming! She might still make my ‘winning smile’ series!
Alexander Grischuk , looking very well rested!
Brain food! There is nothing better for a chess player than a banana during the game.
An official photographer busy at work
Smile, you are on Candid Camera !
World University Champion Wang Yu with his lucky t-shirt.
Polgar and Seirawan sharing a laugh (Ben Finegold holding a camera). Yasser is having a great championship. In this game (on Judit’s birthday) he really thumped the Hungarian superstar.
Competent people are an asset to any important tournament organization