Nigel Short is past his prime, but he continues to play at a high level, thanks in part to his continued ability to innovate, as in the following game.
Nigel Short, 51, is past his primes but he is still among the top players in the world (No. 60 in the latest rating list), partly because he continues to come up with fresh ideas in his games. The following game against Peter Wells, a compatriot, is a good example.
1. Nf3d52. d4Nf63. c4e64. g3Bb4+5. Nbd2O-O6. Bg2In a relatively common position in the Catalan opening, Short tries a new idea. 6... a5!?This looks a little retro to me, but it has a point. When Black plays a4, he will be discouraging b3.
( 6... dxc4This is the main move. As far as I know, Black is fine. )
7. O-Oa4Now black's idea is clear: It is not easy for White to develop his dark-squared bishop. 8. a3
( 8. b3axb39. Qxb3Nc6And White's queenside structure would have been somewhat compromised. )
8... Be79. Qc2Naturally White wants to play e4, which is a typical idea in any closed Catalan. But Short finds another interesting move to discourage this idea. 9... Nc6!This prevents e4, and the knight does not stand nearly as badly on c6 as it normally does in the Queen's Gambit because it has a potentially nice outpost on a5. 10. Rd1
( 10. e4dxe411. Nxe4Nxe412. Qxe4Na5!The point. The threats of Nxc4 and/or Nb3 are pretty annoying. )
10... Bd711. e4Qc8!?Normally, I would condemn allowing e5, but Short made a pretty convincing case for this move. It keeps the position unbalanced.
( 11... Nxe412. Nxe4dxe413. Qxe4Na5This position should be fine for Black, but it is not as interesting as what was played in the game. )
12. e5Ne813. Nf1?!I don't like this move.
( 13. cxd5exd514. Nf1This looks like a very pleasant structure for White. )
( 13. b4!?The engine's choice is very strong. Black is unable to use the a5 square. 13... axb314. Nxb3dxc415. Qxc4Na516. Nxa5Rxa517. Bg5 )
13... dxc4!14. Bg5White goes all-in.
( 14. Qxc4Na5With obvious counterplay for Black. )
14... b5!Black calls White's bluff! Black now has a pawn majority on the queenside. 15. Bxe7Nxe716. Ng5Going after the Black rook in the corner is the only way to justify White's previous play.
( 16. Ne3h6 )
16... f5!17. exf6?
( 17. Bxa8Qxa8The computer evaluates the chances in this position as equal, but it looks very unpleasant for White. His rooks are permanently passive and the weakness of his light squares will be a major problem. Still, this was his best chance. )
17... Nxf618. Re1?Now White is just down a pawn.
( 18. Bxa8For better or for worse, White had to take the rook. 18... Qxa819. Qe2Qd5Black looks more comfortable, but at least White is up an exchange. 20. f4h621. Ne3Qd622. Nf3 )
18... Ra6!This saves the rook, defends e6, and prepares to transfer the rook to d6, its ideal square. 19. Ne3h620. Ne4Nxe421. Bxe4Rd6It did not take many mistakes for the game to change course. Black is up a pawn and his pieces are perfectly placed. 22. Rad1Nf5
( 22... Bc6This move looks more natural to me, but the move played in the game is also effective. )
23. Qc3Nxe324. Qxe3Qd825. h4Qf626. f4Rd8!The last accurate move. The f-file was no longer useful for Black. Now the d-pawn is the target. 27. Rd2Be828. d5Bf7!With the d-pawn also about to fall, White had seen enough.
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, has his own site, and is also on Facebook.
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