RONDAS DE MAESTROS 6: 28 de enero 2013. Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2013

Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2013
Monday 21 January – Thursday 31 January 2013

John Saunders reports: The story as we left it… Le Quang Liem of Vietnam and Nikita Vitiugov were the last remaining players on a 100% score, so were fated to meet in the sixth round. It was a keenly contested encounter, with Le Quang Liem pressing for a win, first with an extra pawn and later, more improbably, with rook and knight against rook. Of course it was a draw, opening up the possibility of them being joined in the lead by others.
The next two boards promised much, indeed delivered much (in terms of entertaining chess) but failed to produce a decisive result. Vassily Ivanchuk and Vladislav Tkachiev, both on 4½/5, drew a tough game where the naturalised Frenchman held a pawn advantage for much of the game but was unable to capitalise on it in the face of some stout play from the mercurial Ukrainian, who managed to reach an opposite-coloured bishop endgame which meandered on unproductively for some time before Tkachiev decided enough was enough.
David Navara let a pawn go for some active piece play against Gawain Jones. This was good enough to get him upgraded from a pawn deficit to a pawn advantage but Jones obtained two good bishops in exchange. A very interesting knight versus bishop but, again, a draw resulted.
We’ve seen a lot of wins from the Carlsen generation in this tournament but the older players can still play a bit and hit back with a vengeance in this round, as amply demonstrated by two-times Gibraltar winner Kiril Georgiev, from Bulgaria, who caught Yu Yangyi in a deadly snare. This win took Georgiev into a three-way tie for the lead on 5½/6. Once again, the run-up to the time control was crucial and this is when the Chinese teenager cracked under pressure and lost. (This reporter is desperately hoping Yu makes a speedy return to the leader board as he has stockpiled several more ‘Yu’ puns to deploy in future reports.)

Gibraltar Masters 2013, Round 6
K.Georgiev (2643) – Yu Yangyi (2688)


Your computer will blithely tell you that this position is level but what it omits to say is that is extremely difficult for a human to figure out the complications… 40…Rd8? The one and only defensive move is 40…Re8! and it still needs to be followed up with rigid accuracy: 41 d7 Rxe1+! 42 Qxe1 Qa8! and now Black is through to calmer waters. But the business of finding three ‘only moves’ in a row would tax even a strong GM. 41 Qh6! Re8 Black probably thought he was getting out from under here but the Bulgarian veteran has a killer move on the way… 42 Qh7+ Kf6 43 Qe7+!! The only move to win. 43…Rxe7 44 dxe7 1 0 There is nothing to be done about the pawn queening.

I hesitate slightly to include Mickey Adams amongst the ‘oldies but goldies’ who beat up younger players in this round as he still looks absurdly young to my eyes, but the fact remains he also has passed the age of 40. Mickey is renowned for his calm positional style of play but he is as aggressive and attacking as the next man when the situation demands it. Nana Dzagnidze was unlucky enough to find him in a more overtly violent frame of mind this round. That said, he followed up his piece sacrifice by tying up Nana Dzagnidze’s pieces in knots in typical Mickey fashion, rather than doing anything so vulgar as delivering checkmate. A very stylish game by the English number one.

Gibraltar Masters 2013, Round 6
N.Dzagnidze (2555) – M.Adams
1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 3 c4 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 c5 6 d5 exd5 7 Nh4 g6 8 Nc3 Bg7 9 0 0 d6 10 Bg5 Qd7 11 cxd5 h6 12 Bd2 b5 13 a3 0 0 14 e4 Na6 15 Qb3 Nc7 16 Rfe1 a5 17 Qa2 Rfe8 18 a4 b4 19 Nd1 Re7 20 f4 Rae8 21 Nf2


21…Nfxd5! 22 exd5 The computer suggests 22 Rad1 but after 22…Nf6 Black is just a pawn up. Nana decides to test Mickey’s combination but so much the worse for her. 22…Re2! The problem is that the d2 bishop is embarrassed… 23 Rxe2 Rxe2 24 Rd1 Bd4 … and so is the f2 knight. 25 Be1 Qe8 26 Nf3 Qe3 27 Qb1 Rxb2 28 Qc1 Qxc1! The absence of queens in no way lessens the potency of the black pieces. 29 Rxc1 Be3 30 Rd1 c4 A position for Benoni players to relish, as the black pawns bear down on the queenside. It’s getting desperate now and White tries a risky trick. 31 Ne5!? dxe5 32 d6 Bxg2! Nerves of steel. 33 f5 33 d7 Ne6 34 d8Q+ Nxd8 35 Rxd8+ Kh7 36 Kxg2 c3 and the c-pawn is just too fast. 33…Bb7 34 d7 Bg5 35 d8Q+ Bxd8 36 Rxd8+ Kg7 37 Rd7 Rb1 38 Kf1 c3 39 f6+ 39 Rxc7 Ba6+ 40 Kg2 Rxe1 and the black pawns win the game. 39…Kxf6 40 Ng4+ Kg5 41 Nxe5 c2 0 1

Nigel Short’s reaction to his second round defeat has been impressive. Four straight wins! His sixth round game bore testament to the former world championship runner-up’s grit and determination. Facing a tough Polish GM who had matched him blow for blow, he dreamt up a tremendous bishop for two pawns sacrifice that your analysis engine of choice will disdain – wrongly. This is practical, risk-taking tournament chess at its finest, with a player stamping his will on the game in order to gain the desired result.

Gibraltar Masters 2013, Round 6
A.Jakubiec (2518) – N.Short (2690)


50…Bxb5!! Black gambles on his kingside pawns being able to advance quickly and White’s awkwardly placed minor pieces not being able to mobilise as effectively. 51 Qxb5 Qxg3 52 Qe8+ Nf7 53 Qd7 Qf3 54 Kc2 h5 55 Be1 Ng5 56 Qa7 Qg4 57 Qf2 Nf3 58 Nb3 58 Qg3 Qxg3 59 Bxg3 h4 60 Bf2 Kg5 61 Ne2 h3 62 Ng3 h2 and the black king will advance and shepherd home the h-pawn. 58…h4 59 Nd2 Nd4+ The knight is beautifully placed here. 60 Kb2 h3 Around here, your analysis engine may be waking up to the fact that White has a very tough defensive task ahead of him. Doubtless so was White himself, but it may already be too late. 61 Nf1 Qd1! A brilliant switch to queenside action, which is surprisingly hard to defend against. 62 Nh2 62 Qd2 Qb3+ 63 Kc1 Qa3+ 64 Kb1 Qa4 keeps White tied up, e.g. 65 Bg3? Qb5+ 66 Ka2 Qb3+ and Nc2+ is a killer. 62…Qb3+ 63 Kc1 Qxd3 0 1 Black’s smaller force totally dominates White’s pieces and Black will soon have four connected passed pawns. A truly remarkable finish.

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