It takes courage to allow an opponent one strong passed pawn, but two? That takes confidence and guts.
China has produced many talented players recently, so it is easy to overlook Ni Hua, who, at 32 years old, is more mature. But over many years, he has been a pillar of strength for the Chinese national team and played a useful role on their gold-medal winning team in the last Olympiad.
In the following game, he slowly outplayed Dennis Wagner, a young Germn grandmster. But around move 40, he allowed Black back in the game. After that, there was an amazing finish as both the players were pushed to their limits.
( 17... c518. d5c4is the usual variation. Notice how
bleak are the prospects of the bishop on b7. This was the reason behind Wagner's
slightly unusual handling of the opening )
( 18. a5Nc4!19. Bc1d5is the main justification behind Nb6. )
18... bxa4Another unexpected idea.
Black's plan does not seem typical of the Breyer, but in this case Black is able to activate his b7 bishop. The bishop is usually a dead piece in
these Breyer lines, especially after White plays d5 -- as in the 17...c5
variation. 19. bxa4a5
( 19... Nc420. Bc1 )
20. Bd3Ba621. Bxa6Rxa6The
exchange of these bishops is definitely in Black's favor. Now he needs to make
sure that White isn't able to target the exposed queenside weaknesses: 22. Qb3Qa823. d5A typical idea in the Breyer is for White to close the center like this and
then slowly regroup his pieces while suffocating Black. But without the light-
squared bishops, this plan isn't as annoying for Black. 23... Rb824. Qa2c625. c4Nbd726. Be3Rb427. Nd2Nc5?!There is a classic saying in chess: when two
knights are both trying to be on the same square (or one knight is just
required to protect the other, as it happens here after Nc5 and Nfd7) then one
of the knights is useless. Here, too, the Black knights are very pretty, but
one of them will be useless. And Black can make no progress further progress on
the queenside. On the other hand, White has ways to continue improving his
( 27... c5!?would have kept the things
blocked on the queenside. At the same time, White runs no risk, and
can continue slowly improving the position of his position by bringing the knight to c3, etc. )
28. Qc2Nfd729. Ne2Qb730. Reb1Rab631. Rxb4Rxb432. dxc6!White suddenly has the option to bring his knight to d5 it is not so passive anymore! And those pretty Black knights aren't doing anything. 32... Qxc633. Nc3Kh734. Kh2h535. Nd5Rb736. g4!hxg4
( 36... h437. Nf3the h4 pawn is too weak. )
37. hxg4Nf638. f3Ne6The players were no doubt
in some time pressure and that explains the couple of inaccuracies made by both
sides before reaching move 40. 39. Kg3The king looks nicely placed
as White is ready to swing his rook to h1, etc., but White completely underestimates Nd4.
It is essential for White to keep Black's counterplay limited.
( 39. Nb3!would have maintained a nice position for White. )
39... Qc8but Black does
not feel confident about Nd4 either! 40. Rb1Again, Nb3 would have been
stronger. Now Black makes the decision to go for the Nd4 plan just in time. 40... Nxd541. exd5Nd4!42. Bxd4exd4The White knight is
slightly better than the Black bishop, but White's king could prove to be
weaker, and Black is reasonably active. 43. Ne4Rc7?This seems like an
over ambitious move. I have to admit, it is hard to realize that c5 could be
as strong as it is, so practically, this is understandable.
( 43... Rxb144. Qxb1Black was perhaps worried because 44... Qxc4?doesn't work. Instead he
could have simply played Kg8! just waiting, followed by moves like Qc7 etc.,
which would keep equality. White can't play Nxd6 because of Be5, and there
isn't much else White can do. White has to be careful about going after
Black's queenside, as the d4 pawn could become dangerous. 45. Ng5+Kg846. Qb8+Bf847. Qb7! )
44. c5!dxc545. d6Rd746. Rb6Allowing c4 definitely
required a lot of courage. I would have given this move double exclamation
marks, but just stopping c4 would have been a much easier path to
advantage. It would not have been as pretty though.
( 46. Qc4!Kg847. Kg2White dominates
completely. Next will be Rb5, etc., and Black's position will be ready to collapse. )
46... c447. Qb1Rd8
( 47... Qe8!?with the idea to meet Rb8 with Rd8 was a
much better way to keep things going. 48. f4!?and the position would
remain very messy, but it's hard to break through Black's position and the two
central passed pawns are a pain to deal with. )
48. Rb7!If Black had
played Qe8 on the previous move, then playing Rb7 would not be as strong because
f7 would be protected. At the same time, Black seems to be doing fine after this. 48... Kg849. Qb5!It is impressive how
quickly White's pieces begin to take control. But those two central pawns are quickly becoming dangerous for White as well. 49... c3!50. d7
( 50. Qd5Qe6wouldn't
give White anything. )
50... Qa851. Nc5
( 51. Rc7is the computer suggestion,
but 51... d3!52. Nxc3d253. Nd1!is just ridiculously unnatural, and I feel
it would be very hard to convince a human that White can be better after this. )
( 51... Be5+!52. Kg2c253. Nd3Bf4would have been a very
pretty and strong idea! Black tried to do this on the next move, but he had
to move Bf8 - Ba3 / or Bf8 - Bd6 - Bf4. This would have saved one whole move for him! )
( 52... Be5+!was still a possible
way to salvage a draw, but it required some accuracy: 53. Qxe5Qxb754. Qe8+Rxe855. dxe8=Q+Kh756. Qe5Qb357. Qxd4Qxd358. Qxd3c1=Q )
53. Kg2Bd654. Rb6Ba355. Qc4Rxd7?
( 55... Kg7!was the only way to stay alive. Black underestimates how hard it would be to play with the g6 pawn gone. It required some very precise calculation: 56. Qxd4+Kg857. Qc4Rxd7!58. Rxg6+Kf8is actually ok for Black, but I have to admit, that during a game this would look even more dangerous than the position with the Black pawn on d4. The key
difference is that the Black rook is unblocked, and he is threatening Rxd3, so White can't do much other than repeat moves. )
56. Rxg6+Kf857. Rc6keeping control of the position. After Qxc2, the material will be
equal, but Black no longer has any leverage in the position. Black's position is getting harder, and in the game, Wagner collapses very
fast. 57... Qb758. Qxc2Kg859. Qc4Not the fastest way to win, but White plays
in a smooth, positional style. No need to calculate lines if you do not
need to! 59... Bf860. Rg6+Bg761. Rg5Qc762. Rc5Qd663. Rxa5Now it is just a
matter of time: 63... Qh664. Qc8+Bf865. Qxd7Qd2+66. Kh3Qxa567. Qxd4Bg768. Qc4Qa869. Qe4Qa670. Kg2Qd671. Qc4Qa372. g5Qe773. Qc8+Kh774. Qf5+Kg875. Nf2Qa376. a5Qa277. Kg3Bd478. Ng4Qa179. Nh6+Kh880. Qc8+
Parimarjan Negi is an Indian grandmaster who is the second-youngest ever to earn the title (at 13 years 4 months and 22 days). Ranked No. 88 in the world, he is currently a sophomore at Stanford University.
FIDE and World Chess announces today that the 2018 World Chess Championship Match will take place in London in November 2018. The world’s most prestigious chess tournament is to be the climax of a season of high-profile activity to extend the sport’s appeal among global audiences – and make 2018 the Year of Chess in the UK.
After 9 days of intense chess battles at the last leg of the World Chess Grand Prix series 2017 in Palma de Mallorca, the two winners of the series were finally determined: Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, overall 340 points in the series) and Alexander Grischuk (Russia, 336,4 points). They qualified for the Candidates Tournament – the next part of the World Chess Championship cycle, which leads up to the Championship match.
The sole leader of the Palma de Mallorca Grand Prix Levon Aronian made a quick draw with Evgeny Tomashevsky today, inviting the group of rivals to join him at the top. But same as in the previous rounds all games on the top boards finished peacefully and not a single player came close to catching up with him.
After seven rounds Aronian is in the lead with 4,5 points. A group of 8 players is half a point behind, including Vachier-Lagrave. In order to qualify for the Candidates, the Frenchman needs to win at least one more game. Boris Gelfand defeated Alexander Riazantsev, Pavel Eljanov won against Jon Ludvig Hammer, while Teimour Rajabov outplayed Li Chao. After the victory the Azerbaijani Grandmaster still hopes to qualify, but in that case has to win both games.
Javier Ochoa, Honorary FIDE Vice President and President of the Spanish Chess Federation, made the first symbolic move to start the fourth round, which turned out to be the most exciting round of the tournament so far, with six decisive games out of nine.
In the Third Round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Palma de Mallorca games between the four leaders, Vachier-Lagrave-Aronian and Rajabov-Giri, finished in a draw. Peter Svidler joined the group of leaders by beating Jon-Ludvig Hammer in the third round.
The world’s best chess players and chess establishment came together in Bellver Castle to celebrate the opening of the final leg of the FIDE 2017 World Chess Grand Prix Palma de Mallorca – a prestigious qualifier for the World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Katerina Lagno, one of the strongest Russian women-grandmasters won the historic Moscow Blitz Tournament, beating her fellow Russian Olympic team members Alexandra Kosteniuk, Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.
After a draw against Ian Nepomniachtchi, Teimur Rajabov won the tournament. One of the strongest players, Rajabov had not won a major tournament lately, but has shown phenomenal form in Geneva and managed to overpower some of top world’s players