Tata Steel GpB 2016.1.18 GM Dreev,A– WGM (2391) Haast,A. Position after Black’s 15th move (15…a6). Tournament psychology is a curious animal. In this tournament the WGM player Anne Haast is the lowest rated player, and as such everyone is out to beat her. Probably not used to such a situation, Haast has had a miserable start, playing much lower than her normal level.
IN THE POSITION above, what did Haast overlook?
Tata Steel GpB 2016.1.17 WGM Haast,A– GM Antipov,M. Position after 16 moves. The opening has been somewhat poorly played by White, who finds herself a pawn down for very little. Probably best for White is to complete her development starting with 17.Be2 and 18.Rhe1, awaiting to see how Black sorts out the problem of where to keep his King (‘To castle, or not to castle’-Shakespeare). A pawn down or a pawn up in these Sicilians–it seems to this writer–the middlegames are always full of mutual chances!
INSTEAD, Haaste continued to play in the same overly optimistic style:
Perhaps Haast is not used to playing round after round against experienced grandmasters, in which case this tournament is going to serve to teach her that she can NOT play in the same way as she does against weaker players…BUT, saying this, there is some logic in her last move: if now either 17…PxP or 17…Nxa4 can be met by 18.c4 with a messy position difficult to evaluate properly.
HOWEVER, in the above position Black dropped a BOMB on Anne’s position. Do you see it?
BLACK TO PLAY AND CRUSH!
Anne Haast (born 1993) is a talented WGM who has won the Dutch Women’s Championship two years running. No doubt the tournament she is currently participating in at the TATA chess festival will make her an even better player.
Tata Steel GpB 2016.1.18 Dreev,A–Haast,A: 16.Bxh6! winning a pawn for nothing. If 16…PxB? 17.Qg6+ cleans up quickly. Or if instead 16…Na5 17.Re1! Qf8 18.Nd5! is also devastating. In the game continuation Black did not recapture, and tried to put up stiff resistance. She resigned on the 54th move.
Tata Steel GpB 2016.1.17 Haast,A–Antipov,M: 17… Nc3! 18. bxc3 d5! and White finds herself completely lost. The Black Queen is about to infiltrate on the Queenside and Black still has Na4 coming in to join in the barbecue. White defended resourcefully to avoid getting mated with :19. Re1 Nxa4 20. Bxb5 axb5 21. Rxe5 Nxc3 22. Qxc3 Rxc3 23. Rhe1 Qxe5 24. Rxe5 Kd7 But found herself with a lost ending. She resigned on move 49.