In a game that had huge implications for first place of last month’s Millionaire Open, Dariusz Swiercz had the steadier nerves

I did not watch this game as I could not bear to walk into the main room to see the final after I had a rather poor event. It was certainly a big triumph for Dariusz Swiercz, a Polish grandmaster, and helped him turn the corner for good on his way to the title.

Jones, G. vs. Swiercz, D.
Millionaire Chess KO 2016 | Atlantic City USA | Round 2.1 | 10 Oct 2016 | ECO: B51 | 0-1
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Bb5+ Jones is well known to avoid the main lines of the Sicilian Defense when playing White. I have my doubts about this philosophy, but it did work this time.
3... Nd7 4. O-O a6 5. Bd3 Ngf6 6. c3 b5 7. Bc2 Bb7 8. Qe2
8. Re1 This is the main move, but I actually prefer the move played by Jones.  )
8... e6 9. d4 Be7 10. Rd1 Qb6
10... Qc7 I always thought the queen belongs on c7 in these positions, as was seen in a classic game between Hou Yifan of China and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France.  )
11. a4 O-O 12. Bg5 Rfe8? The first mistake of the game.
12... h6  )
13. Na3
13. e5! This looks promising for White, since
13... Bxf3 fails to
14. gxf3! and Black must lose material.  )
13... cxd4 14. cxd4 Rab8?!
14... h6 I always want to play this move. The bishop seems well placed on g5 and now it can't hold its position.  )
15. axb5 axb5 16. Bd3! Bc6 17. Rac1 White has a pleasant edge.
17. Nc2 This also looks like a strong move.  )
17... h6 18. Bf4 Nf8
18... Bf8! I prefer this move the idea is to play e5 next.  )
19. Bg3 Nh5 20. Rxc6! Qxc6 21. Bxb5 Rxb5 22. Nxb5 Rb8 23. Nc3 White has won a pawn. It can't go do much because of the pressure on the open b-file, but a pawn is a pawn.
23... Qb6 24. Rd2 Ng6 25. Qd1 Qb4 26. Rc2 Nf6 27. h3 Nh5 28. Bh2 Nhf4 29. Qd2 Qb3 30. Rc1 Bg5 31. Nxg5 hxg5 32. Bxf4 Nxf4 33. Rb1 Qc4 34. Rd1 Qb3 35. h4? White becomes impatient, but he had better ways to proceed.
35. Qe1! The pawn on b2 is still immune. I think Black can probably draw, but White does keep the pawn.
35... Qxb2? 36. Rb1  )
35... Qxb2 36. hxg5 Qxd2 37. Rxd2 Rb3 38. Nd1 Kh7
38... d5! This was an easier route to achieve equality.  )
39. Kh2 e5? why?
39... Kg6 Continuing with the same plan. Black wins the pawn to restore material equality and should be able to hold on for a draw.  )
40. Ne3
40. d5! This move was even stronger. Now either Ne3-f5 or d4 will be painful for Black.  )
40... Ne6 41. Nf5 Nxg5 42. Nxd6 exd4 43. Rxd4 Black is down a pawn down, but he should probably be able to hold the endgame. But when there is not much time on the clocks, no matter how lousy the position is, players should stay alert for winning possibilities if the opponent falters.
43... g6 44. Rd5 Kh6 45. Ra5 Rd3 46. e5 f6 47. Nc4 Rc3 48. Ne3 f5 49. Ra6 Kg7 50. Ra7+ Kh6 51. Nd5 Rc5 52. Nf6 Rc4 53. Ng8+ Kh5 54. Nf6+ Kh6 55. f3 Rb4 56. Kg3 Rc4 57. Ng8+ Kh5 58. Nf6+ Kh6 59. Re7 Ra4 60. Ng8+ Kh5 61. Nf6+ Kh6 62. e6 Rd4 63. Ng8+ Kh5 Black defended poorly in time trouble, and White now has a huge advantage. But now he starts to lose control, presumably with his clock ticking down.
64. Nf6+
64. Rh7+ Nxh7 65. e7 And White should win.  )
64... Kh6 65. Ng8+ Kh5 66. Re8? White is still winning, but this is the first step in the wrong direction.
66. Rh7+! This was a much stronger move.  )
66... f4+ 67. Kf2 Rd2+ 68. Kg1?
68. Kf1 And again White should win.  )
68... Kh4! Just that quickly, Black has mating threats! Look at how far away White's pieces are from his king.
69. e7 Kg3 70. Rd8?
70. Kf1! Rxg2 71. Nf6! And White survives by the skin of his teeth.  )
70... Rxg2+ 71. Kf1 Nxf3 Mate is unavoidable. You don't see that every day!
72. Rd2 Rxd2 73. e8=Q Rf2#


Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He was also a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter and is also on Facebook.