Today’s potpourri and other nonsense
A nice play on the usual ‘lost cat’ sob-story
FINDERS KEEPERS the LABEL
While checking the proper english usage of ‘finders keepers’ I was pleased to learn that there is a VERY successful Australian-inspired fashion line called ‘Finders Keepers the Label‘. And that they even have a line called ‘CHECKMATE‘!
TODAY’S GIRL NEXT DOOR!
Just nice to look at!
TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF TWIC!!
Congrats, Mark! Definitely count me in for buying the collection of games!
A GAME IN THE LIFE OF PACO…
Spanish superstar Paco Vallejo is currently playing in the Bilbao Masters and I have been following his games. All of Paco’s games are very interesting because he is a fearless fighter and is not afraid to take risks inorder to increase his chances of winning. With either White or Black, it does not matter. Unfortunately, yesterday Paco lost. But that being said, it must be admitted that his opponent, Ponomariov, played a GREAT game! You can replay it either here or here. And I think that Chessgames.com also has it, though it doesn’t seem to work for me…
The players arriving on stage. Ponomariov and Vallejo shaking hands while Anand (far left) is still waiting for his opponent to arrive (Lev Aronian). Paco and Pono have played MANY times before…something like 15 times. They rarely draw when Pono is White (according to my database–NEVER!) and the score is 6 to 2 in the Ukranian’s favour, though Paco has won 2 of the last three times they sat down. On paper Pono looks like a difficult opponent for Paco, but Pono knows that he is playing a fearless grandmaster!
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.h3!? e6!?
Ponomariov is playing Fischer’s favourite 6.h3 against Paco’s Najdorf Sicilian (In the above photo, Paco has replied 6…e6, one of the most popular choices amongst the top grandmasters today)
GM Larry Evans wrote in Modern Chess Openings 10th edition : ”This is a recommendation of Weaver Adams which Fischer adopted with considerable success after he abandoned 6.Bc4.” Two fantastic Fischer wins in this line were against Najdorf (Varna ’62) and Bolbochan (Stockholm ’62), the latter for which Fischer won the brilliancy prize. Both games are fully annotated in Fischer’s My 60 Memorable Games.
Despite Fischer’s successes, the whole line never really caught on until the early 1990’s when White players were running out of ideas on how to play against the heavily analyzed Najdorf variation. Curiously, today 6.h3 is all the rage amongst the top players and almost every top-level tournament has a game or two in this line…just one more example of how much ahead of his time Bobby really was!
7.g4 Be7 8.Bg2 Nfd7 9.Nce2!? Nc6 10.c3
Ponomariov has tried a little analyzed idea (Nce2 and c3) in this particular move order, but one which is frequently seen in some 6.g3 lines. Here Paco should probably play 10…Qc7 first, if he intends to play …h5 at some point, or just the safe 10…castles. INSTEAD, Paco possibly played a bit too ambitiously with…
Not a bad move by any means, but connected with the wrong idea!
At first sight an ugly positional move! But Ponomariov had evaluated the tactics very accurately. Now Paco must play 11…Qc7! and after 12.Ng3 b5!? with a reasonable game and chances for both sides. INSTEAD, Paco played the ‘normal’ looking move…
Now Black is going to be either much worse or even lost!
12.NxN! PxN 13.Nd4!
Probably Paco had overlooked this idea when he went into this line. The Queen attacks the Rook and the Knight attacks the pawn on c6. Apparently Paco thought for about 30 to 40 minutes here, trying to find a way out…there is really no choice but to put the Rook on a very exposed square (c5).
As Pono explained after the game (the video-interview is below), he had originally intended to simply castle here and to follow up with f4, with good attacking chances. But then he found a much more energetic line, one with a clever scorpion-sting on the 16th move…
14.b4!! Rxc3 15.Bb2 Rc4
Black’s move have been forced
Ouch!! This is what Ponomariov had forseen when he played 14.b4. Taking the Knight gets mated by force after 17.Qh5+ Kf8 1 8.Qh8+Kf7 19.Qxg7+Ke8 20.Qg6+ Kf8 21.Bg7+ etc
In the game continuation, Paco played the best defence (16…Qb6) and tried to valently hold things together, but combined with time pressure the task was too difficult. Ponomariov scored the full point. Paco resigned on the 33rd move. Elite players like Ponomariov never let their opponents off the hook…