Monday, October 29, 2007

The Weekender

And here's Manny Benitez' The Weekender:

The Chess Plaza Weekender
Sunday, Oct. 28, 2007 Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City Vol. II No. 21

RP, China, Kazak’tan tied for 4th to 6th slots

THE Philippines got off to a flying start in the ongoing Asian Indoor Games in Macau by crushing Brunei, 4-0, in the first round and finishing in a tie with China and Kazakhstan for fourth to sixth places by unofficial reckoning in the Team Rapid Chess competition held in the former Portuguese colony’s shooting range.
In the process, WNM Catherine Pereña, playing third board, scored a major upset in the second round when she defeated the world’s No. 2 female player, Grandmaster Humpy Koneru of India. (Koneru and China’s No, 1 GM Wang Yue will lead a stellar cast of foreign players in the Second GMA Cup Open to be held from November 21 to 28 at the Duty Free Mall at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City, Metro Manila.)

No standings or total team scores were posted on the official website but a Weekender tally showed that the mixed national team led by GM Joey Antonio and IM Wesley So had garnered four match points and 17.5 game points in the six-round event. India appeared to have clinched the premier spot with a perfect score of 6.0 match points and a total game score of 18.

Vietnam, which like India had upset top-seeded China, appeared to have ended up in second place with 5.5 match points and Iran in third with 4.5.

The Philippines, which had NM Rolando Nolte and WNMs Pereña and Sherily Cua in supporting roles, stumbled twice—versus India, 1-4, in the second round and versus Kazakshtan in the fourth round, 1.5-2.5, in the fourth.

Antonio played first board in the first three rounds and was replaced by So at the top board in the fourth to sixth rounds. Joey played on second board, vice Nolte, in the closing rounds.

In the individual men’s rapid, however, it looked like Antonio was eliminated early on because in the semi-final round, only four names appeared in the official posting—Bu Xiangzhi of China vs Ahmed Al-Medaihki Mohd of Qatar and Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam vs Krishnan Sasikiran of India.

The Indian superstar took the gold with the Qatari taking the silver. Sasikiran won with White their second final game following a first-round draw.

In the women’s individual rapid, Indian WGM Harika Dronavila took the gold, with Shadi Paridar of Iran taking the silver.
In the overall Asian Indoor Sports tally board, China led in the harvest of medals with 16, followed by Japan with 8.0 and India with three. Most likely the three Indian medals had all come from chess, both team and individual gold in both genders.

Salvador fails to get 3rd GM norm

FOR the third time this year, Milan-based Filipino International Master Roland Salvador has failed to earn his third and final GM norm in the Arco International Open in Italy after a brilliant start in which he won five games in a row before conceding a draw.

This morning (Manila time), he suffered his second straight loss in the penultimate eighth round to Austrian GM Alexander Wohl, and skidded down to No, 9 from No.2 in the previous round wherein he had lost to another GM, Igor Naumkin of Russia.

With this loss, Salvador who already has earned two GM norms in his European campaign, slid back in his quest for the coveted title.
And to think that after drawing with Scottish GM Jacob Aagard in the sixth round, Salvador was still in solo first because of his magnificent results from the first to the fifth rounds!

As stated by a perceptive reader, John Manahan of Valenzuela City, most Filipino masters seem to falter against 2500 players, especially grandmasters. After Salvador’s loss to Aagard, he still had a chance to capture his final GM norm if he could win his last two games. With today’s loss, he forfeited the opportunity once again.

Manahan noted that Filipino masters playing abroad excel against opponents rated from 2100 to 2300 but get lost against higher rated opponents as they go up the ladder in Swiss Open tournaments.

This is why most of them start losing at the start of the second half, usually in the sixth or seventh rounds

Art Borjal Non-Masters Open set at SM Manila

GOOD news for non-masters: The Art A. Borjal Chess Festival will be held on November 1 in memory of the late president of the defunct Philippine Chess Federation at the Event Center, lower ground floor, of SM Manila near the City Hall.

The seven-round rapid (25 minutes per player) chess tournament will be open to all non-titled players and will have three divisions—Kiddies, for players aged 12 and younger, Juniors, for players aged 20 and younger, and Open Age, for non-masters rated at 2050 and below.

Applicants must bring their birth certificates as the age requirement is as of January 1, 2007.

The registration fee of P100 per player must be paid before November 11. Kiddies and Juniors who pay on the day of the tournament will have to shell out P150 while those who do it for the Open Age Division will have to pay P200 each.

The Kiddies and Juniors champions will receive P3,000 each, second prizewinner P2,000 and third P1,000.

Kiddies who finish in fourth and fifth places as well as the top eight-year-old or younger player and top female player will get P500 each, while Juniors entitled to similar special prizes will get P1,000 each.

The Open Age champion is to get P5,000, second prizewinner P3,000 and third P2,000. The fourth and fifth prizewinners as well as the Top Lady will get P1,000 each.

The competition is being organized by the Art A. Borjal Good Samaritan Foundation, Inc.

Shell quest for future GMs to continue

THE annual search all over the country for future Filipino grandmasters will continue next year, Shell country chief Edgar O. Chua has pledged.

Chua, chairman and president of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation, made the pledge in opening remarks at the awarding of prizes to the winners of the 15th Shell National Youth Active Chess Championship (SNYACC) at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City last Sunday.

Shell received kudos from National Chess Federation of the Philippines president Prospero Pichay Jr., former Surigao del Sur congressman, and Shell’s guest of honor, GM Eugenio Torre, Asia’s first grandmaster, for the petroleum company’s role in promoting chess nationwide without interruption.

SNYACC has produced over the past 15 years some of the country’s leading players like Grandmaster Mark Paragua and the country’s foremost child prodigy, 14-year-old International Master Wesley So, the 15th anniversary “Shell champion of champions.”
Pichay singled out Shell for persevering with the SNYACC even during the years when Philippine chess was in the doldrums by holding the yearly national quest for future Filipino GMs whom Chua has described as “diamonds in the rough.”

This year’s winners of the Juniors (aged 20 and younger) and Kiddies’ (aged 14 and younger) crowns were Marvin Ting, 19, a senior criminology student at West Negros College in Bacolod City, and Lennon Hart Salgados, 14, a high school sophomore at Ting who qualified for the Grand Finals in the Iloilo leg garnered 6.5 points from nine games in the Juniors Division while Salgados who qualified in Cebu had 7.5 from nine games in the Kiddies Division.

National Juniors champion Ting won on tiebreak over his runners-up, Lehi Dan Stephen Laceste (Tuguegarao leg) amd Brylle John Arellano (Zamboanga leg)).
National Kiddies champion Salgados finished half a point ahead of his first runner-up, Christy Lamiel Bernales, the National Capital Region champion, and 1.5 points ahead of his second runner-up, Loren Brigham Laceste (Zamboanga leg). Ting received P30,000 plus a trophy and Salgados P20,000 plus a trophy.

Pichay pledges new elite players’ pool

CHESS czar Prospero “Butch” Pichay has pledged to work for the creation of an elite pool of players with high Elo ratings who will be “nurtured” by the NCFP as the country’s “best and brightest” stars.
He said that players rated 2550 and above will be getting allowances and other stipends ranging from P20,000 to P30,000 a month from the government while being groomed for their starring role in foreign competitions like the biennial World Olympiad.

Team tournaments up ahead

BESIDES the two major back-to-back international open tournaments—the Second GMA Cup and the Third Pichay Cup, scheduled by the NCFP as part of the ASEAN Masters Circuit—a series of events toward the end of the year in the grassroots should keep local players busy and happy.

Next month, there will be the First Sta. Rosa Non-Masters and in December the Quezon City Inter-Barangay, both of them rapid team competitions.
In March next year, Muntinlupa will host the National Inter-Cities and Municipal Team Championship.

In Laguna, two early birds, Cabuyao and Eisly Marketing, have signed up for the First Sta. Rosa Non-Masters Team Rapid to be held at Sta. Rosa City Hall on November 11.
Cabuyao looms as a favorite with former Mapua stalwart Rhobel Legaspi, Letran-Calmba assistant coach Vic Vargas, Henry Boroc and Engr. Edwin Lorenzo manning its ramparts.
Eisly Marketing also promises to give its rivals a run for their money with Razel Lagman, Jony Habla, Kirk Anthony Jeremias and Rogelio Esmane at the boards.

Also expected to join the province-wide competition are Sta. Rosa, Kawasaki, Sta. Cruz, Bureau of Customs, San Sebastian College, De la Salle University-Dasmariñas, Letran-Calamba and University of the Philippines-Los Baños.

The Laguna Chess Association and the Laguna Unified Sports Federation is organizing the First Sta. Rosa Non-Masters in cooperation with the city’s Sports Office.
Handsome prizes await the winning teams. For the champion, the reward is a whopping P30,000, while the second prize consists of P20,000, the third P10,000, and fourth P5,000.

Special prizes will also be given away. The Top Lady, Top Junior and Top Kiddies as well as the team with the best uniform will get P5,000 each.
In Quezon City, NCFP executive director Samuel Estimo and QC Councilor Ariel Inion have announced that the city’s Inter-Barangay Team Championship would be held at the Amoranto Sports Complex from December 14 to 16.

Inton, who is majority floor leader of the city council, said 1ll the 144 barangays in Quezon City would be encourged to join the two-day event.
Estimo was confident it would be the biggest chess event yet to be held in Quezon City in terms of participation.

“It will be a good Christmas gift to chess players in the city,” he said. Cash prizes, trophies and medals await the winners of the QC Inter-Barangay Team competition.

Inquiries may be addressed to GM Eugene Torre at 09228822870, Dr. Jenny Mayor at 09194782209, or Attorney Estimo at 09159360354.

To drum up early support for the event, Estimo also announced that the National Inter-Cities and Municipalities Team Championship will be held on March 11-16 next year at the new Muntinlupa City People’s Center.

The NCFP executive director said Muntinlupa City mayor Aldrin San Pedro has agreed to bankroll the annual team event among players representing different cities and towns nationwide.

Estimo expects the country’s leading players—GMs Torre, Joey Antoniio, Mark Paragua, Nelson Mariano, Bong Villamayor and Darwin Laylo, along with GM-candidate Wesley So, currently the country’s No. 3—will head their respective teams. “Muntinlupa will be the host city of this event next year,” the two-time Olympiad player said, adding that he wished to draw nationwide support by announcing the competition at this time.

The country’s leading players are also preparing for the Second GMA Cup Challenge and Open, which will be held at the Duty Free Mall, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and the Third Pichay Cup Challenge and Open, to be held from December 1 to 7.—Marlon Bernardino

New Fide arbiters to share skills at seminar

THE National Chess Federation of the Philippines is inviting sports representatives of cities and towns nationwide to a seminar on November 17 and 18 on the third floor of the Perez Building on Doña Soledad corner Australia streets in Parañaque City.

The seminar is a joint project of the NCFP and the National Association of Philippine Chess Arbiters, Inc. (NAPCA)

NCFP arbiters who trained at the Fide Arbiters Seminar held during the Asian Individual Championship at the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City last month will share their newly acquired knowledge and skills with the attendees at the seminar.

The new Fide arbiters attended the CICC seminar from September 21 to 24. It was part of the training program instituted by NCFP president Prospero “Butch” Pichay, former Surigao del Sur congressman.

NCFP director Willy Abalos, an international arbiter, and Atty. Rommel Tacorda, NAPCA chairman, sent out the invitations this week to the Sports departments of city and municipal governments nationwide.

In their invitation, Abalos and Tacorda said the registration fee for each delegate is P1,500, which will cover food, uniform and other paraphernalia as well as a ticket to a concert, “A Brilliant Move to Remember,” by musical composer Willy San Juan, who also is a leading chess player.

The trainees will receive a Certificate of Completion as Arbiters signed by NCFP president Pichay and secretary general Abraham Tolentino..

Interested parties may contact Fide Arbiter Ilann Perez at the NCFP Office, tel. 536-8507, NAPCA’s Rolando Suarez at landline 757-9253 / cell phone 09167716369, Carol Tardecilla at 886-3478 / 09173689860 / 09166169586, or Leo Erazo at 09206460671.
Registration forms are available at the NCFP and NAPCA offices.

Professional and Executive active chess series on sixth leg

THE NCFP Professional and Executive active chess series went on its sixth leg yesterday at the Greenhouse Grille on Matalino Street in Quezon City.

Sponsored by the Fianchetto Realty Development Corp., the Saturday event drew some of the country’s top chess-playing professionals and executives.

Insurance director Ray Marras topped the fifth leg held the other Saturday, October 20, at Boracay’s Clubhouse on 13th Avenue, also in Quezon City. He won a ticket for a free two-night stay with his partner at the country’s premier tourist destination, the Boracay Beach Resoirt off Aklan.
In second place was businessman Leo Ricaña, followed by NM Efren Bagamasbad in third and executive player Ramel Ranilla in fourth. Ranilla entered the winning column by upsetting top favorite Doc Jenny Mayor.

Ricaña went home with a washing machine, Bagamasbad with a stand fan and Ramilla with a rice cooker.

Among the winners in the past legs were NMs Sammy Estimo, Ed Agagon and Bagamasbad.

Fianchetto Realty president Cesar Ilagan was guest of honor at yesterday’s event.

QUEZON CITY Councilor Ariel Inton (left) and GM Eugene Torre make the ceremonial moves opening the fifth NCFP active chess leg at Boracay Clubhouse in Cubao. Looking on are, among others, Katrina Espinosa and May Kimberly Portento of Tawhay Boracay Resort Condos, Inc., NCFP executive director Sammy Estimo, Dr. Juan Rodriguez, Noel Garcia, Police Supt. Neil Alinsangan, composer Willy San Juan, Dr. Jenny Mayor and Manolette Santiago.

Also present were NCFP chairman and Quezon City Rep. Mateo Defensor, vice president Ed Madrid and directors Art Carillo, Benguet Gov. Raul Molintas and businessman Jess Torre.— Marlon Bernardino

Nakamura corners jackpot

FORMER United States champion Hikaru Nakamura won a marathon 71-mover in the ninth and final round to clinch the top prize at the Category 15 Casino Barcelona Invitational Tournament in Spain.

His win with Black against Spanish GM Marc Narciso Dublan (2546) enabled the Japanese-American to finish a point clear of his first runner-up, Cuban champion Lenier Dominguez (2683), whom he had also beaten in the sixth round.

Here is how the Dublan-Nakamura duel ended:

After 63.Kg1:

63…f2+! 64.Kxf2 Nd1+ 65.Ke2 Nxc3+ 66.Kd3 Na4 66...Nb1 keeps an even firmer grip, says Fritz: 67.Nd7 Nxa3! 67.Ke4 Ng2 68.Kd5 Fritz notes that 68.Kd3 won't improve anything: 68...Kxh2 69.Kd2 Nf4! Ne3+ Best was 68...Ne1! 69.Kc6 Nc4 70.Kxb5 Nxe5 71.Kxa4 c4 White resign because after: 72.Kb4 Kxh2! However, 71...Nc4 might be quicker: 72.Kb3 Nxa3 73.Kc3 Kxh2, etc. 0–1

Nakamura (2648), who won the US crown at the age of 17 in 2004, finished with 7.0 points from six wins, two draws and one loss.
Here is how he beat Dominguez.

• H. Nakamura (2648) – L. Dominguez (2683)
Rd. 6, Queen’s Gambit Accepted (D20)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 e5 4.Nf3 exd4 5.Bxc4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Nbxd2 Qf6 8.0–0 Ne7 9.Nb3 Nbc6 10.Nfxd4 0–0 11.Nxc6 Nxc6 12.Qc2 a5 13.a4 Qe7 14.f3 Rd8 15.Rfd1 Bd7 16.Bd5 Qb4 17.Qc5 Be8 18.Qxb4 axb4 19.a5 Kf8 20.Rdc1 Ra6 21.Rc4 Rda8 22.Kf2 R8a7 23.Ke3 Nxa5 24.Rxa5 Rxa5 25.Nxa5 c6 26.Nxc6 bxc6 27.Bxc6 Bxc6 28.Rxc6 Ra2 29.Rc2 b3 30.Re2 Ra1 31.Kd2 Ra6 32.Kc3 Rb6 33.Kc4 Ke7 34.Re3 Rh6 35.h3 Rg6 36.Re2 36.g4 Rc6+ 37.Kxb3 g5 would have boosted White’s lead Rb6 37.f4 h5 38.g3 h4 39.g4 Rd6 If 39...Ke6 40.e5! 40.Re3 Rd2 41.Kxb3 Rf2 42.f5 f6 43.e5 fxe5 44.Rxe5+ Kf6 If 44...Kd6 45.Re3! 45.Re3 Kg5 46.Kc3 Kf4 47.Rd3 Ke4 48.b4 Rf1 48...Ra2 won’t work because of 49.Kc4, and wins 49.Kc4 Rb1 50.Rc3!

Black surrenders in the face of White’s overwhelming pawn mass. 1–0

Nakamura’s only loss was in the seventh round to lower-rated Spanish GM Josep Omis Pallise.

His finest effort was his win with Black highlighted by a queen-sacrifice against higher rated veteran campaigner and former Manila visitor Michal Krasenkow of Poland.

• M. Krasenkow (2668) – H. Nakamura (2648)
Rd. 2, English Opening (A14)

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 d5 4.Bg2 Be7 5.0–0 0–0 6.b3 a5 7.Nc3 c6 Missing the equalizing 7...d4!, e.g., 8.Nb5 Nc6! 8.d4 Nbd7 9.Qc2 b6 10.e4 Ba6 11.Nd2 c5 12.exd5 cxd4 13.Nb5 exd5 14.Nxd4 Rc8 15.Re1 b5 16.Bb2 16.cxb5, exploiting the pin, was more precise Re8 16...dxc4 17.Nc6 Rxc6 18.Bxc6 favors White 17.Qd1 bxc4 Not 17...dxc4 18.Nc6 Rxc6 19.Bxc6, and White has the edge 18.bxc4 Qb6 19.Rb1 dxc4 Not 19...Bxc4 20.Nxc4 dxc4 21.Nc6! 20.Nc6 Rxc6 21.Bxf6 Qxf2+!!

After 21…Qxf2+!!

The best. 21...Nxf6 won’t achieve the same result: 22.Rxb6 Rxb6 23.Qc1! 21...Rxf6? would be a mistake, e.g., 22.Rxb6 Nxb6 23.Nxc4, and White surges ahead.
22.Kxf2 Bc5+ 23.Kf3?? Rxf6+ 24.Kg4 Ne5+ 25.Kg5 [Rg6+ 26.Kh5 f6 Missing 26…Bc8!, which launches a mating attack, says Fritz: 27.Rb6 Rxb6 28.Bc6 Rxc6 29.Kg5 Rg6+ 30.Kf4 Rf6+ 31.Kg5 Be7 32.Rxe5 Rf2+ 33.Rxe7 f6+ 34.Kh4 Rxh2#! 27.Rxe5 27.Bd5+ offered the only chance to get some counterplay: 27...Kh8 28.Kh4 Rh6+ 29.Qh5 g5+ 30.Kh3 Rxh5+ 31.Kg2, but White is still winning 27...Rxe5+ 28.Kh4 Bc8! Mate is just a few steps away. 0–1 6

Israeli GM takes Calvia crown

TAKING no chances, GM Victor Mikhalevski, 35, scored seven wins in a row right from the start and then coasted along to draw his last two games to capture the crown in the nine-round Fourth Calvia Festival International Open in Spain.

In second place a full point behind Mikhalevski, who had an estimated performance rating of 2786, was Canadian GM Kevin Spraggett, a former Commonwealth champion and for many years Canada’s top-rated grandmaster. 7

Nine others—all of them GMs except for one international master, Ketevan Arakhemia-Grant, a Georgian female player who now lives with her Scottish husband in Britain—had 6.5 points apiece to take the third to 11th places.
IM Arakhemia-Grant ended up in the eighth slot.

The other 6.5-pointers were, in their tiebreak order, GMs Mikheil Michedishvili of Georgia, Yuriy Kusubov of Ukraine, Emanuel Berg of Sweden, Michele Godena of Italy, Radoslav Wojtaszek of Poland, Walter Rodriguez Arencibia of Cuba, Bartlomiej Heberla of Poland and Aleksa Strikovic of Serbia.

The Calvia Festival also included an Amateur Open, which was topped by Joachim Iglesias of France, and the Senior Open, which saw Spanish GM Juan Manuel Bellon Lopez take the plum.

Iglesias and Bellon had 7.5 points each, just half a point ahead of their respective runners-up.

In the Amateur Open, four players finished as runners-up to the champion with 7.0 each. They were Dan Cruz Alvarez de Ron of Spain, Sergey Fokin of Russia, and Pedro Barcelo and Jose Ramon Pantin Soto, both of Spain.

GM Bellon’s runners-up were Latvian GM Evgeny Sveshnikov and Jose Maria Celaya Tapiz and Padros Emil Simon, both of Spain.

Calvia, which hosted the 38th Olympiad in 2004, is one of the more popular resorts in Europe. It is situated in Mallorca, in the balmy Belearic islands off the Spanish coast.

Here is his seventh win.

• Malakhatko,V (2603) - Mikhalevski,V (2584) [A29]
Rd. 7, IV Calvia Open, Spain.2007
English Opening, Four Knights (A29)
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 d5 3.cxd5 Nxd5 4.g3 e5 5.Bg2 Nb6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.d3 Be7 8.a4 a5 9.Be3 0–0 10.0–0 Bg4 11.Nd2 Rb8 12.Bxb6 cxb6 13.Nc4 Be6 14.Bxc6 Bxc4 14...bxc6 15.Nxe5 Rc8 16.d4 should equalize 15.Bb5 Be6 16.Bc4 Bg4 17.Qb3 Bb4 18.Rfc1 h5 If 18...Qg5 19.Rc2, with equal chances 19.Rc2 h4 20.Ne4 Rc8 21.Rac1 Rc7 22.Kg2 Bf5 23.f3 If 23.Nc3 Bc5, with equality h3+ 24.Kf2 Rd7 25.e3 Kh8 26.Ke2? 26.Kg1 was the correct move Bxe4 27.fxe4 Qg5 28.Rf1 f5 29.Kd1 fxe4 30.Rxf8+ Bxf8 31.Qxb6 Qf5 31...exd3 would favor White: 32.Qe6 Qh5+ 33.Kc1 32.Rd2?? 32.d4 was best: 32…Rd6 33.Qb5 Qf3+ 34.Re2 exd4 35.exd4 Rxd4+ 36.Kc2! exd3! 33.Ke1 33.Bxd3 otherwise it's curtains at once: 33...Rxd3 34.Rxd3 Qxd3+! Bb4!

After 33…Bb4!

The deadly pin decides the issue. 0–1

Bilbao’s top blindfold stars

THREE young global superstars—Bu Xiangzhi, 22, of China, Sergey Karjakin, 17, of Ukraine and Magnus Carlsen, 16, of Norway, in that order—won the top prizes at the Bilbao Blindfold Grand Prix in Spain, finishing ahead of experienced megastars Judit Polgar, 31, of Hungary and Veselin Topalov, 32, of Bulgaria.

Only the 21-year-old Penteala Harikrishna of India among the former child prodigies failed to keep pace with the rest, ending up at the bottom of the six-GM heap.
Polgar, the strongest female player in chess history, and former world champion Topalov finished in fourth and fifth places, respectively.

Bu demonstrated a prodigious memory unmatched by his rivals as he defeated all five of them in the double round-robin event to win the first prize.

At three points per win and one point per draw, the Chinese superstar garnered a total of 21 points from six wins, three draws and one loss.

He very nearly finished the event undefeated, losing only in the 10th and final round to Polgar, a mother of two who made history in late 1990 when she broke Bobby Fischer’s 33-year-old record as the youngest person to become a grandmaster.

Bu had apparently become complacent, having defeated Judit in the penultimate ninth.

• Bu Xiangzhi (2692) – Ju. Polgar (2708)
Rd.9, King’s Indian Defense (E62)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.g3 Bg7 4.Bg2 0–0 5.Nc3 d6 6.Nf3 Nc6 7.0–0 Bf5 8.b3 e5 9.dxe5 Nd7 9...dxe5 10.Bg5 should equalize 10.Bg5² Qc8 11.Qd2 dxe5 12.Rad1 Nc5 13.Bh6 Ne4 14.Nxe4 Bxe4 15.Bxg7 Kxg7 16.Qe3 f5 17.Bh3 Bxf3 18.exf3 Qe6 19.f4 Rae8 20.Bg2 e4 21.f3 Qf6 Fritz suggests 21...exf3!, e.g., 22.Qxe6 Rxe6 23.Bxf3 Rd8 22.fxe4± fxe4 23.Rd7+ Rf7 24.Rxf7+ Kxf7 25.Rd1 Re7 26.h4 26.Bxe4 Kg7 gives White the edge Nb4 27.Rd2 b6 28.a3 28.Bxe4 a5 was playable Nd3 29.Kh2 Kg7 30.b4 Qc3 31.h5 Best was 31.Bxe4 Rxe4 e4 32.Qxd3 Qxd3 33.Rxd3 Rxc4 34.Rd7+ Kh6 35.b5 Qxc4 Equalizing 32.f5 Re5 32...gxh5 33.Qg5+ Kf8 34.f6 33.h6+ Kf6 34.fxg6 Kxg6 Fritz recommends 34...Rh5+!: 35.Kg1 Qc1+ 36.Bf1 Rf5 37.Qd4+ Kg5 38.Qd8+ Kxh6 39.Rh2+ Kxg6 40.Qg8+ Kf6 41.Qf8+ Ke5 42.Qg7+ Kd5 43.Qd7+ Ke5 44.Qg7+ Kd5 45.Qd7+ Ke5 46.Qg7+, with equality 35.Re2 Rh5+ 35...Kf5 should keep the balance 36.Kg1 Qc1+ 37.Qxc1 Nxc1 38.Rc2 Nb3 39.Bxe4+!

After 39.Bxe4!

The start of a new offensive that will gain material.

39…Kxh6 40.Rxc7 Re5 41.Rxh7+ Kg5 42.Bf3 Nd4 43.Kf2 Nxf3 44.Kxf3 White is now way ahead a5 45.Rd7 axb4 46.axb4 Rb5 47.Rd4 Re5 48.Re4 Rf5+ 49.Ke3 Rd5 50.Rd4 Re5+ 51.Kd3 b5 52.Re4 Rd5+ 53.Ke3 Kf5 54.Rd4 Re5+ 55.Kf3 Kg5 56.Rd8 Kf5 57.Rc8 Kf6 58.Rc5 Re1 59.Rxb5 Rb1 60.Kf4 Rf1+ 61.Kg4 Rb1 62.Rb6+ Kf7 63.Kg5 Rb3 64.g4 Rb1 65.Rb7+ Ke6 66.Kg6 Kd6 67.b5 Kd5 Black resigns without waiting for White’s next move1–0

• Ju. Polgar (2708) - Bu Xiangzhi (2692)
Rd 10, Sicilian Rossolimo (B51)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.0–0 Bd7 5.Re1 Nf6 6.c3 a6 7.Ba4 c4 8.Bc2 Rc8 9.b3 b5 10.a4 e6 11.b4 Be7 12.Na3 0–0 13.d4 Qb6 14.Bg5 Rfd8 15.Qd2 Be8 16.d5 Ne5 17.Nd4 Bd7 18.f4 Nd3 19.Bxd3 cxd3 20.Bxf6 Not 20.dxe6 fxe6 21.Bxf6 Bxf6!, says Fritz Bxf6 Black has equalized 21.e5 White cannot take the pawn on d3, e.g., 21.Qxd3?? Rxc3! 22.Qd1 Qxd4+ 23.Qxd4 Bxd4+ 24.Kh1 bxa4 Bh4 22.g3 Be7 23.Qxd3 Be8 23...dxe5 24.fxe5 exd5 25.axb5 should keep the equilibrium 24.axb5± axb5 25.exd6 25.dxe6 could favor Black, e.g., 25…fxe6 26.Qe3 dxe5 27.Ndxb5 Qb7 28.Qxe5 Bf6! Bf6 26.Nac2 26.dxe6 would boost Black’s lead: 26…Rxc3 27.Qd1 Rxd6 28.exf7+ Bxf7 29.Naxb5 Bxd4+ 30.Nxd4 Rxd4 Rxd6 27.dxe6 fxe6 28.Ra5. Fritz suggests 28.Ra3 as a viable option Rxd4³ 29.cxd4 Bg6 30.Qxb5 Bxd4+ 31.Nxd4 Qxd4+ 32.Kg2 Bd3? Better was 32...Be4+ to reduce White’s lead: 33.Rxe4 Qxe4+ 34.Kh3 h6 33.Qb7 Rc2+ 34.Kh3 h6 35.Qf3 Not 35.Rxe6 Bf1+ 36.Kg4 Qd1+ 37.Qf3 Bh3+ 38.Kxh3 Qxf3, and Black surges ahead .Bf5+ 36.Rxf5 Qd2?? Black crumbles under pressure. Better but inadequate was 36...exf5 37.Qb3+ Qc4 38.Qxc4+ Rxc4 37.Rxe6 Qxh2+ 38.Kg4 Rg2 38...Qxg3+ hardly improves anything, says Fritz, trotting out a mating line: 39.Kxg3 Rg2+ 40.Qxg2 Kh7 41.Rf8 h5 42.Qc2+ g6 43.Qxg6#! 39.Rf8+!!

After 39.Rf8+!!

A beauty: 39…Kxf8 40.Qa8+ Kf7 41.Qe8#! 1–0

Karjakin who still holds the world record as the youngest person ever to capture the GM title—at the age of 12 years and seven months in 2002—won the second prize with 17 points from five wins, two draws and three losses.

He had been lagging behind Carlsen until the last round where he defeated Harikrishna for the second time, having beaten the Indian GM also in their first encounter in the ninth, while Carlsen was held to a draw by Topalov. The Norwegian wunderkind had won in his first game against the former world champion.

Carlsen had 16 points from four wins, four draws and two losses, just a point behind Karjakin.

Against each other, Karjakin and Carlsen had one win and one loss. Carlsen won with Black in the first round but Karjakin had his revenge in the sixth with a win, also with Black.

• S. Karjakin (2694) – M. Carlsen (2714)
Rd. 5, Sicilian Defense (B30)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.d3 Ne7 6.Qe2 Qc7 7.Ng5 e5 8.f4 exf4 9.0–0 Ng6 10.Qh5 d6 11.Bxf4 Nxf4 12.Rxf4 g6 13.Qf3 Not 13.Rxf7? Qxf7 14.Nxf7 gxh5 15.Nxh8 Bg7, and Black is way ahead Bg7 Fritz suggests 13...Bh6 14.Rxf7 Qa5, with equal chances 14.Rxf7 14.Nxf7? 0–0 gives Black a big lead Bd4+ 15.Kh1 Qd8 16.c3 16.Nxh7 allows Black to equalize: 16…Bf5 17.Rxf5 gxf5 18.Qh5+ Ke7 19.Qg5+ Ke8 20.Qg6+ Ke7 Be5 Best was 16...Qxg5 17.cxd4 Bf5, keeping the balance 17.Rg7?? Ruining his position, says Fritz, suggesting 17.h4 as a viable option, e.g., 17...h6 18.Rg7! Qf6 18.Qxf6 Bxf6 19.Rxh7 0–0 20.Na3 Bxg5 21.Rc7 Rf7 Missing 21...Ba6 22.Nc4, which have given Black a tremendous advantage 22.Rxc6 Bf4 23.Nc4 Bd7 24.Ra6 Bb5 25.Ra5 Bxc4 26.dxc4 Be5 27.Rd1 Raf8 28.g3 Rf2 29.b4 Bxc3 30.Rxa7 30.Ra6 also favors Black, e.g., 30…Re2 31.Raxd6 Rff2 32.bxc5 Rxh2+ 33.Kg1 Reg2+ 34.Kf1 Rxa2 Bd4 31.Rd7 31.b5 Rc2 32.g4 was better Rxa2 32.bxc5 32.Rxd6 Rff2 33.Rd8+ Kf7 34.Rd7+ Ke6 35.R7xd4 cxd4 36.b5 also favors Black Rff2 33.Rd8+ Kg7 34.Rd7+ Kh6!
After 34…Kh6!

White resigns in the face of mate. 0–1

• M. Carlsen (2714) – S. Karjakin (2694)
Rd. 6, Semi-Slav, Meran System (D47)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.e4 b4 10.Na4 c5 11.e5 Nd5 12.0–0 cxd4 13.Re1 g6 14.Bg5 Qa5 15.Nd2 15.Nxd4!? should be considered, says Fritz: 15...a6 16.a3 with equality Rc8 16.Nc4 Rxc4!

After 16…Rxc4!

17.Bxc4 Bg7 18.Rc1 Nxe5 19.Rxe5 19.Bf1 Nd7 20.Qb3 leads to equality Bxe5 20.Qe2 Nc7 21.Bh6 Bd6 21...Qxa4?? 22.Qxe5 Qc6 23.Bf1 22.Bb3 Qf5 23.Rd1 Ke7 23...Qf6!? 24.Qd2 Qh4 24.Rxd4 Rd8 25.Rd1 Not 25.Bc2 Qh5 26.Qxh5 gxh5, and Black surges ahead Nd5 26.g4 Fritz suggests 26.h3 instead Nf4 27.gxf5 Nxe2+ 28.Kf1 Ba6 29.Ke1 29.Nc5 Bb5 30.Nb7 Nc3+ 31.Ke1 Nxd1 32.fxe6 favors Black gxf5 30.Be3 30.Bg5+ f6 31.Be3 Rc8 , and Black dominates the game 30...Ng1 31.f4 Nf3+ 32.Kf2 Nxh2 33.Bxa7 Ng4+ 34.Ke1 h5 35.Nc5 Bc8 35...Ra8 keeps an even firmer grip, says Fritz: 36.Bb6 h4 37.Nxa6 Rxa6 38.Bf2 Nxf2 39.Kxf2 Bxf4 40.Rd4 Bg3+ 36.Bb6 Rh8 37.a4 37.Rd3 Bxf4 38.Ba5 Ne5 favors Black bxa3 38.bxa3 h4 39.Ke2 h3 40.a4 h2 41.Rh1 f6 41...Rh3 and Black can already relax, according to Fritz: 42.Bd1 Bxf4 42.a5 Kf7 Safety first, and White resigns. 0–1

Harikrishna’s third-round victory over Topalov was the Indian GM’s only win in the entire event.

• Harikrishna,P (2668) - Topalov,V (2769) [B50]
Rd. 4, Sicilian Defense (B50)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 Nc6 4.d3 Nf6 5.0–0 g6 6.h3 Bg7 7.c3 0–0 8.Bb3 b5 9.Re1 a5 10.a3 e5 10...a4 11.Ba2 should equalize 11.Bg5 a4 12.Ba2 h6 13.Bh4 Qe8 14.Nbd2 Be6 15.Nf1 Bxa2 16.Rxa2 Qe6 17.Ra1 Nd7 18.Ne3 Nb6 19.Rc1 Na5 20.g4 Nb3μ 21.Rb1 d5 22.Qe2 d4 23.cxd4 cxd4 24.Nc2 Rfc8 25.Nb4 f6 26.Bg3 g5 27.Nd2 Bf8 28.Nf1 Bxb4 Black is now way ahead 29.axb4 Rc6 30.Qf3 Nc8 31.Bh2 Ne7 32.Rbd1 Ng6 33.Ng3 Nh4 34.Qh1 Rac8 Missing 34...Rc2! e.g., 35.Nf5 Nxf5 36.exf5, and Black surges ahead 35.Nf5 Nxf5 36.exf5 Qd6 37.h4 Rc2 38.Bg3 38.hxg5 hxg5 39.Bg3 Qd7 gives Black a huge advantage Qd7 39.hxg5 hxg5 40.Qh6 Qg7 41.Qh1 Nd2 42.Re2! Nb3 43.Rxc2² Rxc2 44.Qd5+ Qf7 45.Qxb5 Nc5?? 45...Rc1 was possible, says Fritz: 46.Rf1 Rc8! 46.bxc5! If 46…Kg7 47.Ra1! 1–0

Clearly, GMs Polgar and Topalov felt they were under the gun facing the young stars almost all throughout the 10-round, six-player blindfold tournament in Bilbao.

Polgar managed only three wins—with White vs Topalov in the second round (featured last week), with Black vs Harikrishna in the fifth and with White vs champion Bu in the 10th and final round.

• P. Harikrishna (2668) – Ju. Polgar (2708)
Rd. 5, Nimzo-Indian Defense (E30)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bg5 c5 5.d5 0–0 6.e3 h6 7.Bh4 b5 8.dxe6 fxe6 Not 8...dxe6? 9.Qf3 Qa5 10.Bxf6 gxf6 11.Nge2, and White is way ahead 9.cxb5 a6 10.Bd3 Nge2 axb5 11.a3 Qa5 leads to equality 10...axb5 11.Nge2 Bb7 12.0–0 c4 13.Bc2 Qb6 14.a3 Bc5 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 16.Ng3 d5 17.Kh1 Nd7 18.b4 Fritz suggests 18.Qg4 cxb3 Black is now way ahead 19.Bxb3 Rxa3 20.Rb1 20.Rxa3 Bxa3 21.Nxb5 Bb4 would favor Black Qc6 20...b4 was best: 21.Nce4 Rf7 22.Nxc5 Nxc5, and Black surges on 21.e4! d4 21...dxe4 is an interesting idea, says Fritz: 22.Nxb5 e3, with equal chances 22.Nxb5 Ba6 Not 22...Qxb5 because of 23.Bbxe6! 23.Nxa3 Bxf1 24.Qxf1 Bxa3 25.f4 Nc5 26.Bc2 Rf8 27.e5 Qd5 28.Rd1 If 28.Bd3 Qc6, and the balance is restored Bb2 28...d3 was best 29.Bb1 Bb2 29.Qb5 Bc3 30.Ne2 Ne4 31.Qxd5 exd5 32.Kg1 Bd2 33.g3 Be3+ 34.Kg2 Rb8 35.Bb3?? 35.Rb1 would have saved the game, says Fritz: 35...Rxb1 36.Bxb1, with equality Rxb3! 36.Nxd4??

After 36.Nxd4??

Playing it blind!

36…Rb2+! The clincher: 37.Kf3 Nf2! 0–1

It was worse for Topalov, who could only eke out two wins—with White vs Polgar in the first round (published last week) and with Black vs Karjakin in the eighth.

• S. Karjakin (2694) – V. Topalov (2769)
Rd. 8, Sicilian Defense (B30)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.Nc3 g6 5.Bxc6 dxc6 6.h3 Bg7 7.d3 0–0 8.Be3 b6 9.Qd2 e5 10.Bh6 Qd6 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.0–0–0 a5 13.g4 a4 14.Ne2 Ra7 15.Ng3 Re7 16.g5 Ne8 17.Qc3 17.Rdg1 f6 18.gxf6+ Nxf6 leads to equality Nc7 17...f6 would favor White:18.Nd2 Qd4 19.gxf6+ Nxf6 20.Rh2! 18.Rdf1 If 18.Rdg1 Rd8, with equal chances Nb5 19.Qd2 a3 20.b3 f6 21.c4 Fritz suggests 21.c3 instead Nd4 22.gxf6+ Rxf6 23.Ne1 Nf3 24.Qe3 Nxe1 25.Rxe1 Ref7 26.Rhg1? Rf3 Not 26...Rxf2?! because of 27.Nf5+! Bxf5 28.Qxf2 Bxe4 29.Qe3 Bxd3 30.Qxe5+ Qxe5 31.Rxe5, and Black is way ahead 27.Nh5+ 27.Qd2 Qd4 28.Qc2 Rxf2 29.Re2 Bxh3 gives Black tremendous advantage Kh8 28.Qh6 28.Ng3 Rxe3 29.Rxe3 Qd4 also favors Black Qxd3 Missing this mating line: 28...Qd4! 29.Re2 Qa1+ 30.Kc2 Qxa2+ 31.Kc1 Qa1+ 32.Kc2 Qb2+ 33.Kd1 Rxd3+ 34.Rd2 Rxd2+ 35.Qxd2 Rd7 36.Qd6 a2 37.Ke1 a1Q+ 38.Qd1 Qxd1#! 29.Re3 Rxe3 30.fxe3 Qc3+ 31.Kd1 Qa1+!

After 31.Qa1+!

Forcing White to resign or be mated: 32.Kc2 Qxa2+ 33.Kd1 Qb1+ 34.Ke2 Qc2+ 35.Ke1 Qf2+ 36.Kd1 Rd7+ 37.Kc1 Qb2#! 0–1

As can be readily seen, Carlsen was the only young grandmaster among the four who was able to avoid being beaten by their two elder rivals. In fact he beat Polgar in the eighth with White.

• M. Carlsen (2714) – Ju. Polgar (2708)
Rd. 8, Symmetrical English (A32)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 c5 4.Nc3 cxd4 5.Nxd4 Qb6 6.g3 Bc5 7.e3 Nc6 8.Bg2 Nxd4 9.exd4 Bxd4 10.0–0 0–0 10...a6 11.Bg5 should equalize 11.Bg5 e5 12.c5 Qxc5 Missing another equalizer, 12...Qxb2 13.Bxf6 Qxc3 14.Qg4 13.Bxf6² gxf6 Not 13...Bxc3?? because of 14.Qg4 g6 15.bxc3! 14.Nd5 d6? Better was 14...f5 15.Rc1 Qd6, with equality 15.Qh5 15.Rc1 Qa5 16.Ne7+ would have boosted White’s lead Kg7 Black cannot play 15...Bxb2?? because it leads to mate: 16.Be4 Qxf2+ 17.Rxf2 Bf5 18.Qxf5 Rfc8 19.Qxh7+ Kf8 20.Qh8#! 16.Be4 h6 17.Rac1 Bxf2+ 18.Kg2 Qd4 19.Qh4 f5 Fritz says 19...Qxe4+ offered the last chance for counterplay 20.Qxe4 f5, but White would still be way ahead 20.Qf6+ Kg8 20...Kh7 doesn't change anything anymore 21.Bxf5+ Bxf5 22.Qxf5+ Kg7 23.Nf6, and White is winning 21.Ne7+ Kh7 22.Bxf5+ Bxf5 23.Qxf5+ Fritz offers this mating line: 23.Nxf5 Qe4+ 24.Kh3 Qxf5+ 25.Qxf5+ Kh8 26.Qh5 Rfd8 27.Qxh6+ Kg8 28.Rc4 e4 29.Rxe4 f5 30.Re7 Bd4 31.Qg6+ Kh8 32.Qh7#! Kg7 24.Rxf2 e4 25.Rc4!!

After 25.Rc4!!

A startling rook-offer just to deflect the enemy queen from the long diagonal.

25...Qxc4 26.Qf6+ Kh7 27.Nf5! Mate can’t be stopped. 1–0 10

Mamedyarov wins Essent plum

TWO-TIME world junior champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan went through the double-round-robin, four-GM Essent Crown event undefeated to capture the plum with 4.5 points from three wins and three draws.

Last year’s world junior king, 19-year-old Zaven Andriasian of Armenia, however, became the whipping boy of the group as he ended up scoreless after losing all his six games to his three older rivals. He had the lowest Elo rating, 2546, and was the least experienced among the four combatants.

Former Dutch champion Loek van Wely (2680) finished in second place, capping his performance with an upset win over former world champion Ruslan Ponomariov (2705) of Ukraine in the sixth and final round.

Mamedyarov (2752), who was world junior champion in 2004 and 2005, won twice against Andriasian and once against Van Wely. He then drew twice with Ponomariov and once with the former Dutch champion.

Van Wely won twice against Andriasian, won once and drew once against Ponomariov.
He then lost once and drew once against Memedyarov.

Ponomariov won twice against Adriasian, drew twice with Mamedyarovv and won once and drew once against Van Wely.

In the Essent Open, which drew 78 players, 15-year-old Azaerbaijani IM Eltaj Safarli topped the field with 7.0 points, with four grandmasters trailing behind him as his runners-up.
With 6.5 points each were GMs Evgeny Postny of Israel, Jan Werle, Friso Nijboer and Jan Smeets, all of the Netherlands.

Another Dutchman, Erwin L’Ami led a field of nine players, comprising six GMs and three IMs with 6.0 points each.

Here is the game that clinched the top slot for GM Mamedyarov..
• Z. Andriasian (2546) – S. Mamedyarov (2752)
Rd. 6, Pirc Defense (B07)

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f3 c6 5.Be3 b5 6.Qd2 Nbd7 7.g4 Nb6 8.g5 Nfd7 9.h4 b4 10.Nd1 c5 11.h5 cxd4 12.Qxd4 e5 13.Qd2 Bb7 14.Bxb6 14.Bb5 d5 15.Bxb6 Qxb6 16.Bxd7+ Kxd7 favors Black, says Fritz Qxb6 15.Bc4 Be7 16.Nh3 Qc5 17.Ne3 Nb6 18.Bb3 Bc8 19.Ng4 a5 20.a3 bxa3 21.Rxa3 gxh5 22.Ngf2 a4 23.Bd5 23.Ba2 Qb5 24.c4 Nxc4 25.Bxc4 Qxc4 gives Black a big advantage Nxd5 24.Qxd5 Qxd5 25.exd5 Rb8 26.Rxa4 Rxb2 27.Kd2 Rb5 28.c4 Rb3 28...Rb2+ will help White: 29.Kc3 Rb8 30.f4! 29.Ke2 0–0 30.Ne4 Rb2+ 31.Ke3 Bf5 32.Nhf2 Rfb8 33.Ra3 Rc2 34.Nf6+ 34.f4 Rbb2 35.Kf3 Rxc4 36.Rxh5 was playable Kg7 35.N2e4 Kg6 36.Ng3 h6 37.Rxh5 37.Nxf5 Kxf5 38.Kd3 Rf2 will help the enemy hxg5 Black surges ahead 38.Ng4? 38.Rh6+ was better but Black would win just the same Bxg4 39.fxg4 Rxc4 40.Ne4 f5!
After 40.f5!

Realizing that further resistance was pointless, White resigns: 41.Nf2 e4! 0–1

Here is how Dutch GM Van Wely outwitted former world champion Ponomariov in the endgame, and he did it with Black!

• R. Ponomariov (2705) – L. Van Wely (2680)
Rd. 6, Sicilian Najdorf (B90)

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e5 7.Nb3 Be6 8.Qd2 Be7 9.0–0–0 Nbd7 10.f4 Ng4 11.g3 Nxe3 12.Qxe3 b5 13.Kb1 Nf6 14.Be2 Qb8 15.Nd5 Bxd5 16.exd5 Qc7 17.g4 0–0 18.fxe5 dxe5 19.g5 Ne8 20.Bg4 a5 21.Rhe1 Bd6 22.Qd3 If 22.Nd2 a4 a4 Black has equalized 23.Nc1 a3 24.b3 Bb4 25.Re4 Be7 26.Qe3 Not 26.Qxb5 Nd6 27.Qd3 Nxe4 28.Qxe4 Qc3, and Black surges on Bc5 27.Qc3 Nd6 28.Rxe5 28.Qxe5? Rae8 29.Be6 fxe6 would boost Black’s lead b4 29.Qd3 Rae8 30.Re2 Rxe2 31.Nxe2 Not 31.Qxe2? Re8 32.Qg2 Ne4, and Black is way ahead Qe7 32.c3 Qxg5 33.Bd7 Qe5 34.Rc1 Qxh2 35.cxb4 Bxb4 36.Rc2 Qh1+ 37.Nc1 Rd8 38.Bc6 f5 39.Re2 Qg1 40.Re6 40.Rc2 Ne4 41.d6 Nxd6 42.Qd5+ Kh8 favors Black Rf8 41.Qe2? Ne4 42.Kc2 42.Rxe4 offered the only chance for counterplay: 42...fxe4 43.d6 Bxd6 44.Qc4+ Kh8 45.Bxe4, but Black is still winning Qd4!

After 42…Qd4!

Black resigns facing a likely mate: 43.Kb1 Nc3+ 44.Kc2 Nxe2 45.Rxe2 Rc8 46.Rg2 Qb2+ 47.Kd3 Qxg2 48.Kc4 Rb8 49.Bb7 Rxb7 50.Ne2 Qxe2+ 51.Kd4 Qe4#! 0–1
Alaan sparklers in Novi Sad ’90

LOST in the euphoria following the People’s Power Revolution of 1986, now known euphemistically as “Edsa I,” was the birth of a brilliant star from Surigao del Norte in the Under-16 event of the Asian Junior Championship of that year.

Since I was at the time working as a journalist in Hong Kong, I was not exactly privy to Philippine chess affairs in 1986 and 1990. Allow me, therefore, to turn over the “mike” to longtime journalist Ignacio “Iggy” Dee, himself a player during his student days.

“Vince Alaan won the under-16 event of the 1986 Asian Juniors in Manila and qualified for the 1990 Novi Sad Olympiad team through a qualifier organized by the Philippine Chess Federation and funded by the Philippine Sports Commission in early November.

“No qualifier was held by the PCF since it wanted to base the team membership on the 1990 Far East Bank tournament. Eugene Torre did not want to join the qualifier, but he was forced to join. Torre got sick and nearly failed to qualify, finishing sixth on tiebreak.
“Alaan, who was among four players suspended for allegedly throwing games during the 1987 National Championship to boost the chances of Mirabeau Maga—who shared the 1986 title with Ruben Rodriguez—and Petronio Roca. The other suspended players were Maga, Roca and Peter Tidoy.

“The one-year ban ended in 1988 and Alaan worked himself to form under Roca, who was his coach at Adamson University. He was a surprise qualifier in the hurriedly formed 1990 nationals, which was won by (Joey) Antonio, his first national title.

“Alaan has a positional style, but was hampered by a lack of opening knowledge as shown in his game against Aleksander Sznapik, one time first board of Poland. Vince played well in Novi Sad, his first Olympiad, together with Barlo Nadera.

“Alaan gave up a piece (or lost it) for compensation against Sznapik, who was under time pressure.

“But expectations that the 1990 team would equal the 1988 performance (tie for seventh) were dashed as Torre and Rico Mascariñas piled up early losses. The team had three rookies: Alaan, Barlo Nadera and Chito Garma.

“After 1992, Alaan's results slowly declined. There was no official explanation. Alaan emerged around 1999 playing in team events in Surigao but he has laid low since then.

“His father, Quintin, was fiscal of Surigao del Norte. The Alaan family came from bohol and took roots in Surigao.”

• Vince Alaan PHI (2330) – Aleksander Sznapik POL (2455)
Rd. 9, 29th Olympiad, Novi Sad 1990
Symmetrical English (A37)

1.c4 g6 2.Nc3 Bg7 3.g3 c5 4.Bg2 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.0–0 Nge7 7.d3 0–0 8.Bd2 b6 9.Rb1 Bb7 10.a3 d5 11.Qc1 Nd4 12.Nxd4 cxd4 13.Na4 Qd7 14.b3 Rfc8 15.Qd1 e5 16.Bb4 Nf5 17.Nb2 e4 18.cxd5 18.dxe4 was more precise, says Fritz, e.g., 18…dxe4 19.Bd2! e3 19.Nc4 b5 20.f4 20.Na5 exf2+ 21.Rxf2 Ne3 gives Black a huge advantage bxc4 21.bxc4 a5 22.Be1 Bf8 23.g4 Nh6 24.h3 Bc5 24...Bxa3 was better: 25.Qb3 Qd6 26.Qb6 Qxb6, and Black is way ahead 25.f5 Rcb8 Missing 25...Bxa3! 26.Qb3 Qd6 26.Bg3μ Bd6 26...Bxa3 27.Bf4 Bf8 28.Qe1 lads to equality 27.Bf4 Fritz suggests 27.Qe1! Bxf4! 28.Rxf4 Qd6 29.Rxd4 Ba6 30.Rc1 Re8 31.a4 Rab8 32.Qf1 f6 32...Qa3 33.d6 equalizes 33.Qf3 Best was 33.c5 Qd8 34.d6, and White has the edge Qc5 Equalizing 34.Re4 gxf5 35.Re6 Rb6?? 36.gxf5 Missing his best shot, 36.Rxe8+!: 36...Kf7 37.Re6 Rxe6 38.dxe6+ Kxe6 39.g5!, and wins Reb8 37.Qg3+ Kh8 38.Qh4 Ng8 39.Qf4 Bc8 40.Re8 Rb1?? 41.Kh2 Bxf5 42.Rxb1 Rxe8 43.Qxf5 Qd6+ 44.Kh1 Re7 45.Rf1 45.d4 seems even better: 45...Qa3 46.c5! Rg7 46.Qf4 Qb4 47.Qxe3 Qxa4 48.c5 Qb4 49.d6 a4 50.Bd5 50.Rg1 Qb8 51.Bd5 Rxg1+ 52.Kxg1 gives White the point Rg5 51.Rg1 Rxd5 52.Qe8 Rg5 53.Rxg5 fxg5 54.Qe5+ Nf6 55.Qxf6+ Kg8 56.Qe6+ Kg7 57.d7 Qf4 58.Kg2!
After 58.Kg2!

Getting out of reach from checks by the black queen while at the same time threatening mate. 1–0 12

Sparkling classical gems

WHENEVER I need to refresh my mind after a day’s work, I usually play over brilliancies I know by heart. And whenever possible, I dig into my archives of classical gems for entertainment.

What I enjoy most is playing over the eternally sparkling classical gems of Adolf Anderssen and Paul Morphy.

Among the brilliancies during the first half of the 20th century, my choices are those of Alexander Alekhine and Frank Marshall.

As for the post-World War II greats, my favorites are those of Mikhail Tal, Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov. But for a quickie, I’d rather play over the gems of Anderssen of old.

Strangely enough, though, one of my eternal favorites is a gem lost, not won, by the great German headmaster from Breslau—to Dr. Max Lange (1832-99), a leading German player-analyst after whom a ferocious attacking variation has been named.

• A. Anderssen – M. Lange
Friendly, Breslau 1859
Ruy Lopez, Bird’s Defense (C61)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nd4 4.Nxd4 exd4 5.Bc4 Nf6 6.e5 Fritz suggests 6.d3!, with equality d5 7.Bb3 Bg4?? 7...Ng4 would keep Black in the game, says Fritz: 8.Qe2 Qg5! 8.f3 Ne4! 9.0–0 Not 9.fxg4 Qh4+ 10.g3 Nxg3!, and Black is way ahead d3 10.fxg4?? Fritz says 10.Qe1 would have given White a clear advantage: 10...Bc5+ 11.Kh1 Nf2+ 12.Rxf2 Bxf2 13.Qxf2 Bc5+! Now it’s Black surging ahead 11.Kh1 Ng3+! 12.hxg3 Qg5 13.Rf5 h5!!

After 13.h5!!

Spectacular, bold and true!

14.gxh5 Qxf5 15.g4 Rxh5+! 16.gxh5 Qe4 17.Qf3 17.Ba4+ leads to mate by Black: 17...c6 18.Bxc6+ bxc6 19.Qf3 Qh4+ 20.Qh3 Qe1+ 21.Kh2 Bg1+ 22.Kh1 Bf2+ 23.Kh2 Qg1#! Qh4+! 18.Qh3 Qe1+! Mate can’t be stopped, e.g., 19.Kh2 Bg1+ 20.Kh1 Bf2+ 21.Kh2 Qg1#! 0–1

Anderssen, who is best known for his Immortal Game and Evergreen, regarded as two of the most brilliant every played in the history of the game, has scores of other gems. Here is one example of his brilliance:

• A. Anderssen – J. Zukertort
Friendly, Berlin 1869
Evans Gambit Declined and Accepted (C51)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.b4 Bxb4³ 5.c3 Bc5 6.0–0 d6 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 Bb6 9.d5 Na5 10.Bb2 Ne7 11.Bd3 Not 11.Bxg7 Rg8 12.Bf6 Nxc4 13.Qa4+ Qd7 14.Qxc4 Rxg2+ 15.Kh1 Qh3! 0–0 12.Nc3 Ng6 13.Ne2 If 13.Na4 Bg4, with equal chances c5 14.Rc1 Rb8 15.Qd2 f6 16.Kh1 Bc7 17.Ng3 b5 18.Nf5 b4 19.Rg1 Bb6 20.g4 Ne5 21.Bxe5 dxe5 22.Rg3 Rf7 23.g5 Bxf5 24.exf5 Qxd5 25.gxf6 Rd8?? Best was 25...Qc6!, says Fritz 26.Rcg1 Kh8?? 27.fxg7+ Kg8 28.Qh6 Qd6

After 28…Qd6

At this point, White announced a mate in three.

29.Qxh7+!! Kxh7 30.f6+! Kg8 31.Bh7+!! Kxh7 32.Rh3+ Kg8 33.Rh8#! 1–0

Here is another Lange minigem.

• M. Lange – C. Mayet
Friendly, Berlin 1853
Evans Gambit Declined and Accepted (C51)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.0–0 d6 5.b4 Nxb4 6.c3 Nc6 7.d4 exd4 8.cxd4 Bb6 9.h3 Na5 10.Bd3 d5 11.exd5 Qxd5 12.Nc3 Qh5 13.Re1+ Kd8 If 13...Ne7 14.Ba3!, and White surges ahead 14.Ng5 Qxd1 15.Nxf7+ Kd7 16.Bf5+ Kc6 17.Nd8+ Kd6 18.Bf4#!

After 18.Bf4#!

Surprise, surprise! 1–0 13

Sasi, heir apparent to Vishy’s throne

EVER since we played skittles at the Hong Kong Chess Club in the former British colony’s Queen Elizabeth II Stadium in Wanchai, Indian superstar Krishnan Sasikiran has stayed near the top of my list of favorite grandmasters.

He was not yet a grandmaster but had already earned his first GM norm (in the 1998 British Championship at Torquay) when we played in 1999.

Sasikiran, then 18, was on his way back to his home city of Madras, now named Chennai, capital of southeastern India’s Tamil Nadu state, after winning the Asian junior crown in Vietnam.

The club selected me to be the one to play skittles against the Indian visitor, and it was there that I noticed his universal style that combines position play with sharp tactics.

From then on, whenever I stumbled on games won or lost by Sasi, as he is called by friends), I would play them over without hesitation.

Because of his brilliant tournament record, the Indian press has dubbed Sasikiran the heir apparent to Viswanathan Anand, the reigning world champion and currently world No. 1, at least as India’s No. 1 superstar.

Here is how he defeated his idol.

• K. Sasikiran - Vishy Anand Rd. 2, FIDE World Cup-C, Hyderabad 2002
Reti Opening, New York/Capablanca Systems (A07)

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 c6 4.0–0 Bg4 5.d3 Nbd7 6.Nbd2 e6 7.b3 Bc5 8.Bb2 0–0 9.a3 a5 10.e4 b5 11.Qe1 Ne8 12.h3 Bh5 13.Kh1 Nc7 14.c4 dxc4 15.d4 Be7 16.bxc4 b4 16...Bg6 17.Qe3 would have equalized 17.Qe3 Na6 18.Rfc1 e5 19.g4 Bg6 Equalizing 20.dxe5 Re8 21.Nb3 Nac5 22.axb4 Nxb3 23.Qxb3 Bxb4 24.Qe3 h5 24...Bc5 was better: 25.Bd4 Qe7 26.Ra4, with equality 25.g5 Bc5 26.Bd4 Qe7 27.Rd1 a4 27...Bxd4 28.Nxd4 Nxe5 was playable 28.e6 Bxd4 29.Nxd4 Not 29.Qxd4 Nc5 30.Ne5 Nb3 31.Nxg6 fxg6! Nf8 30.f4 30.e5 was stronger: 30…Nxe6 31.Bxc6 Nxd4 32.Rxd4 Ra5 33.Bxe8, and White is way ahead Nxe6 31.f5 Nxd4 32.Bh7 33.h4 Red8 Fritz suggests 33...c5!, e.g., 34.Qd7 Qxd7 35.Rxd7 Reb8! 34.Rxa4!

After 34.Rxa4!

This enables White to stay ahead down the wire/

34...Rab8 Of course not 34...Rxa4 because of 35.Qxd8+!, or 34…Rxd4 because of 35.Rxa8+! 35.Qa1 Rxd1+ 36.Qxd1 Qe5 37.Rb4 Ra8 38.Ra4 Rb8 39.Ra3 Qf4 40.Qe1 g6 41.f6 Kh8 42.Qg3 Qc1+ 43.Kh2 Rb1? Better but not enough to alter the course of the game was 43...Re8 44.Qd6 Bg8 45.Kh3 Rb8 46.Rg3 Qb2 47.c5 Rb3 Missing 47...Rc8!, and wins 48.Rxb3 White must be extra cautious now as mate is just around the corner: 48.Qf8 Qxg2+ 49.Kxg2 Rb2+ 50.Kh3 Rh2+ 51.Kxh2 Kh7 52.Qg7#! Qxb3+ 49.Kh2 Qe3 50.Qf8 Qf4+ 51.Kg1 Qe3+ 52.Kf1 Qd3+ 53.Kf2! Black resigns in the face of a likely mate: 53…Qd2+ 54.Kf3 Qxg2+ 55.Kxg2 Kh7 56.Qg7#! 1–0

• K. Sasikiran – K. Sakaev
Politiken Cup, Denmark 2003
Slav Defense (D11)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 a6 5.Nc3 b5 6.b3 Bg4 7.Be2 e6 8.0–0 Nbd7 9.Bb2 Bd6 10.h3 Bh5 11.Ne5 Bxe2 Not 11...Nxe5 12.dxe5 Bxe5 13.Bxh5 bxc4 14.Be2, and White as overwhelming advantage 12.Nxe2 Qc7 13.cxd5 cxd5 14.Rc1 Qb8 15.Nxd7 Nxd7 16.e4 dxe4 17.d5 0–0 18.dxe6 Nc5 19.Nf4 fxe6 19...Bxf4! 20.Rxc5 fxe6 restores the balance 20.Qg4 e5 21.Ne6 Nxe6 22.Qxe6+ Kh8 23.Rc6 Bc7 24.Rfc1 Qa7 25.R1c2 25.Rxc7 Qxf2+ 26.Kh2 Qxb2 27.R1c2 gives White the edge Ba5? 25...Rxf2! was the saving resource, says Fritz: 26.Rxc7 Rf1+ 27.Kh2 Qg1+ 28.Kg3 Qe3+ 29.Kh2 Qf4+ 30.g3 Rf2+ 31.Rxf2 Qxf2+ 32.Kh1 Qe1+ 33.Kh2 Qd2+ 34.Kh1 Qd1+ 35.Kh2 Qe2+ 36.Kh1 Qf3+ 37.Kh2 Qf2+ 38.Kh1 Qf3+ 39.Kh2 Qf2+!, with the balance intact 26.Qxe5! Rae8 27.Rxa6!

After 27.Rxa5!

The death sentence, and Black resigns: 27…Qd7 28.Qxg7+ Qxg7 29.Bxg7+ Kxg7 30.Rxa5! 1–0 14

Latecomer Krishnan an early bloomer

INDIA’S No. 2 star, Krishnan Sasikiran, learned chess rather late compared with most prodigies of today—at the age of nine, according to his biography. This is the reason for his late entry into the global stage.

But his progress was so rapid that eight years later, at the age of 17, he earned his first GM norm. Two years after that, he became a full-fledged grandmaster at the age of 19.
Along the way, he picked up numerous trophies as a teenager, so steadily and consistently that some Indian observers have considered him as potentially stronger than his idol, Vishy Anand, the reigning world champion.

The earliest games that Krishnan won as a child and are found in anthologies were played in 1997, when he was already 16 years of age. It took him seven years only to develop into a first-class player.

• K. Sasikiran (2430) - Dale Kirton (2240)
Canadian Open, Winnipeg 1997
Torre, London and Colle Systems (A46) 15

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bg5 c5 4.e3 b6 4...d5 5.dxc5 Bxc5 6.c4, with equality 5.d5 d6 5...h6 6.Bh4 g5 7.Bg3 Nxd5 8.e4 favors White 6.Nc3 e5 7.Bb5+ Bd7 8.Nd2 a6 9.Bxf6 Qxf6 10.Bxd7+ Nxd7 11.g4 Qd8 12.Qf3 Be7 13.Nce4 b5 14.h4 Nb6 15.Ng3 Qd7 If 15...0–0 16.Nf5! 16.Nf5 Bf8 If 16...0–0 17.Ne4 17.Ne4 0–0–0 17...Nxd5?? would be a big blunder as the pawn is poisoned: 18.0–0–0 0–0–0 19.Rxd5! 18.Rd1 Rg8? Fritz suggests 18...Qb7! instead 19.Nh6!

After 19.Nh6!

The knockout punch and Black resigns: 19.Nh6 gxh6 20.Nf6! 1–0

• K. Sasikiran (2430) - Carl Grant (2125)
Canadian Open, Winnipeg 1997
Queen’s Pawn Opening, Torre Attack (D03)

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bg5 d5 4.e3 c6 5.Nbd2 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Be7 7.0–0 0–0 8.Qe2 Re8 9.c4 dxc4 10.Nxc4 Nd5 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.Rac1 c5 13.Bb1 cxd4 14.Nxd4 a6 15.Rfd1 N7b6 16.Nxb6 Nxb6 17.Qh5 g6 18.Qa5 Nd5 19.e4 b6 If 19...Nf4 20.Qe5 20.Qd2 Nf6 21.Nc6 Qf8 22.Qf4 22.Qd4 Qg7 could boost White’s lead Kg7 23.Qc7 b5 24.b4 Kh8 25.a3 Ng8 26.e5 f5 27.f4 Qg7 28.Qxg7+ Also playable was 28.Nd8 Qxc7 29.Rxc7 Kxg7 29.Ba2 Bb7?? 29...Ne7 was better but it wouldn’t alter the outcome 30.Rd7+ Black resigns in the face of certain defeat 30… Kh8 31.Rxb7! 1–0

• Krishnan Sasikiran - Das Neelotpal [D47]
Rd. 9, Indian A Ch., Nagpur 1999
Semi-Slav Defense, Meran System (D47)

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Nf3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 dxc4 7.Bxc4 b5 8.Bd3 Bb7 9.e4 b4 10.Na4 c5 11.e5 Nd5 12.Nxc5 Nxc5 13.dxc5 Bxc5 14.0–0 h6 15.Nd2 If 15.Bb5+ Kf8 Be7 15...Nc3 16.Qc2 Qd5 should equalize 16.Nc4 Kf8 17.Qe2 g6 18.Be3 Kg7 19.Rad1 Rc8 20.Nd6 If 20.Qg4 Ba6! Bxd6 21.exd6 Nxe3 1–0

In 2000, he earned his second GM norm at the Asian Championship hosted by India in the city of Udaipur and the title at the Goodricke International Open in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta).

Finally in January this year, Sasikiran broke through the 2700 Elo rating barrier to join the world’s elite club of super grandmasters. He did it at the MTel Masters in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital.

Besides the Asian junior crown, he has been Indian national champion, Commonwealth champion and Asian Zonal champion, among other titles.
Among the famous tournaments he has topped are Hastings in England, Asian International Open, Nord Cup and Politiken Cup in the Scandinavian countries.

Wesley So, Promil Kid

THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD Wesley So earned a 9-round GM norm from the World Junior Championship in Yerevan, Armenia. This is his second norm, and just one more will earn for him the full International Grandmaster title.

In 1958, several years before I was born, Bobby Fischer took part in the Portoroz Interzonal and by virtue of his qualifying for the Candidates' Tournament got himself proclaimed an International Grandmaster, the youngest one of all time at the age of just 15 and a half years old. This record stood for more than 30 years before Judit Polgar broke it in 1991. She was GM'ed one month younger than Fischer. Over the next ten years the record was broken several times and here is the current state of that record:

The Ten Youngest GM in Chess History

1 Sergey Karjakin UKR, 12 yrs 7 mos 0 day
2 Magnus Carlsen NOR, 13 yrs 3 mos 27 days
3 Bu Xiangzhi CHN, 13 yrs 10 mos 13 days
4 Teimour Radjabov AZE, 14 yrs 0 mos 14 days
5 Ruslan Ponomariov UKR, 14 yrs 0 mos 17 days
6 Etienne Bacrot FRA 14 yrs 2 mos 0 days
7 Maxime Vachier Lagrave FRA 14 yrs 4 mos 0 days
8 Peter Leko HUN 14 yrs 4 mos 22 days
9 Yurij Kuzubov UKR 14 yrs 7 mos 12 days
10 Nguyen Ngoc Truongson VIE 14 yrs 10 mos 0 days 16

Wesley was born in December (corrected in the next column-Ed) 1993, which makes him currently 13 yrs and 10 mos. old. He still has a chance to enter the top 5 list.
Wesley So, a first year high school student at St. Francis of Assisi in Bacoor, Cavite, is the second of two children of William and Leny, both certified public accountants. Leny is the controller of the De La Salle University Health Sciences campus in Dasmariñas. William taught him to play chess when he was 6 years old. Wesley turned out to be an outstanding talent, and a few years later was included in Promil's Pro-Gifted Formula 2 TV Commercial.

It appears that the Formula really works, for immediately this "Promil Kid" zoomed up the chess standings and, in 2006, at the age of 12, performed a quantum leap to become the youngest Filipino ever to make the national Olympiad squad.

The successes have not stopped and now he is within striking distance of grandmastership, and the history books.

Let us look at two of his games from Yerevan.

Wesley's opponent in the following game, David Wei Ling Howell (born November 14, 1990 is the youngest Grandmaster from England, a title he earned when he came second during the 35th Rilton Cup in Stockholm on 5 January 2007 when he was 16; the previous record holder, Luke McShane was six months older when he became grandmaster.

So,Wesley (2531) - Howell,David (2527) [C47]
WJun Yerevan (5), 07.10.2007

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 6.Nxc6 bxc6 7.Bd3 d5 8.exd5 cxd5 9.0–0 0–0 10.Bg5 c6 11.Qf3 Be7 12.Rfe1

White's prospects are tied in with his ability to swing his rook to support an attack on the kingside. That is why Black immediately opposes the rook. A sample of what can happen if Black is careless: 12.Rae1 Be6 13.Qg3 Rb8 14.b3 Bb4 15.Re3! Bxc3? (15...d4 loses to 16.Qh4) 16.Bxh7+!! Kxh7 17.Qh4+ Kg8 18.Rxc3! Simutowe,A (2421)-Ippolito,D (2395)/ Parsippany 2007 1–0 (55).

12...Re8 13.h3 h6 14.Bf4

The usual move is now 14...Bd6, but Howell gets an idea to bring his knight to g5.


After 14...Nh7 Immediately the combination 15.Bxh6 gxh6 16.Bxh7+ Kxh7 17.Qxf7+
Kh8 18.Qg6 Bd7 19.Qxh6+ Kg8 20.Qg6+ Kf8 21.Re3 flashes before the Promil Kid's eyes. White has three passed pawns on the kingside for the sacrificed piece, and Black's king is still exposed to mating threats. This is a no-brainer and he doesn't need a second invitation.

15.Bxh6! Ng5 16.Bxg5 Bxg5 17.Rxe8+ Qxe8 18.Nxd5!

To his chagrin Howell notices that 18...cxd5 19.Qxd5 introduces a double attack on a8 and g5.
18...Bd8 19.Ne3 Rb8 20.b3 Qe5 21.Rd1 Bc7 22.Bc4 Be6 23.Bxe6 Qxe6 24.Qf5 Qe8 25.Rd4 g6 26.Qe4 Qf8 27.Qxc6 Bb6 28.Rd3 Rc8 29.Qf3 Bxe3 30.Qxe3 Rxc2 31.Qxa7 Qe8 32.Qe3 Qc8 33.Qe7 Qf5 34.Rd8+ Kg7 35.Qf8+ Kf6 36.Qd6+ Kg5 37.h4+! 1-0

The following sequence is forced 37...Kh6 38.Qf8+ Kh5 39.Qh8+ Kg4 40.Rd4+.

So,Wesley (2531) - Mamikonian,Tigran (2257) [C28]
WJun Yerevan (3), 05.10.2007

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3

Wesley So's pet opening line-up. The Australian GM and famous chess journalist Ian Rogers also counts this up as among his favored weapons.

3...Nc6 4.Nc3 Na5 5.Qf3

The usual treatment here is 5.Nge2 followed by castling kingside and try get something going in agains the enemy king. Please compare this note against the one on move 8.

5...Nxc4 6.dxc4 d6 7.h3 Be7 8.Nge2

Wesley has gained a move since the queen is now on f3. Usually after the main line

5.Nge2 given above the White queen goes to f3 through d3.

8...0–0 9.0–0 c6 10.Rd1 Be6 11.b3 Qc7 12.a4 Rad8 13.Ng3 Kh8 14.Nf5 Bxf5 15.Qxf5 g6 16.Qf3 Ng8

Obviously intending to advance ...f7-f5.


Attacking the a7-pawn.

17...a6 18.Bb2

Very tricky. To 18...f5 Wesley will reply 19.c5! dxc5 20.exf5 gxf5 21.Nd5!, which is why Black retreats his queen out of range of the knight jump.

18...Qc8 19.Ne2 Qe6

The move 19...f5 still cannot be played. There will follow 20.exf5 gxf5 21.f4 White is going to win a pawn.

20.Nf4! Qc8 21.Nd3 f6 22.f4 Rfe8 23.Rf1 Bf8 24.Qg3 Bg7 25.fxe5 dxe5 26.Rf3 c5 27.a5 Qc6 28.Re1 Qc7 29.Bc3 Ne7 30.Qf2
Two threats, and only one can be defended. Threat one: 31.Rxf6 Bxf6 32.Qxf6+ Kg8

33.Qe6+ followed by Bxe5+. Threat two: Qxc5.
30...Nc6 31.Qxc5 Qd7 32.Qf2 Qe7 33.h4 h5 34.Rf1 Kh7 35.Kh1 Nd4 36.Bxd4 Rxd4 37.Nf4! Rxe4
[37...exf4 38.Qxd4 Qxe4 39.Qxe4 Rxe4 40.Rxf4 leads to a winning endgame]
38.Nd5 Qd7 39.Nxf6+ Bxf6 40.Rxf6 Re7 41.Rf7+ Kh6 42.Rf8 Kh7

Time to bring down the curtain.

43.Qf7+! Rxf7 44.R1xf7+ Qxf7 45.Rxf7+ Kh6 46.Rxb7 Rxh4+ 47.Kg1 Rd4 48.c5 Rd5 49.b4 Kg5 50.c6 Rd4 51.c7 Rc4 52.b5 1–0

Hmmm .... I wonder if Promil will work for past-his-prime people like me?

Reader comments and/or suggestions are urgently solicited. Email address is
This column was first published in BusinessWorld on Monday, October 22, 2007.

Kamsky wins 10th Roca di Papa Rapid, GM Caruana, 15, 3rd

FORMER United States champion Gata Kamsky has won the 10th Roca di Papa Rapid in Italy with 21-year-old Ialian IM Luca Shytaj and 15-year-old new Italian-American GM Fabiano Caruana in second and third places.

Roca di Papa is a picturesque mountain village located in the highest point of a row of Roman castles overlooking the Eternal City. Nearby is Castelgandolfo, the summer residence of the Pope.

Kamsky (2714), an ethnic Tartar who grew up in the Soviet Union, won on tiebreak over IM Shytai (2471), one of the more promising young Italian players. The two winners had 8.0 points each from nine games.

Miami-born Caruana, at 15 the youngest grandmaster in Italy and in the USA (he has dual nationality), had 7.5 points in solo third.

The one-day rapid chess event was held last Sunday in Papa di Roca on the outskirts of Rome.

Kamsky also symbolically handed over to Caruana the 2007 Herbert Garrett Scholarship, which was set up by Caissa Italia editors in 2005, according to The Week In Chess newsmagazine on the Internet.

The first two awardees were IM Daniele Vocaturo and Marina Brunetto.

The scholarship seeks to enable young Italian players to fully develop their talent.
A Tough Loss

THE 2007 World Juniors (Under-20 yrs) Championship was held at Yerevan, Armenia, from October 2-17, 2007. In a major upset, Egyptian GM Ahmed Adly won the event with 10/13, half a point clear of Ivan Popov from Russia. The top seed, Chinese GM Wang Hao, finished in third.

World Junior Championship
Final Top Standings

1 GM Ahmed Adly EGY 2494, 10.0/13
2 GM Ivan Popov RUS 2539, 9.5/13
3-4 GM Wang Hao CHN 2643, GM Dmitry Andreikin RUS 2555, 9.0/13
5-9 GM Georg Meier GER 2558, GM Arman Pashikian ARM 2534, GM Maxim Rodshtein ISR 2615, GM Parimarjan Negi IND 2514, GM Gawain Jones ENG 2567, 8.5/13
10-16 IM David Jojua GEO 2434, GM Daniel Stellwagen NED 2639, IM Evgeny Romanov RUS 2515, IM Abhijeet Gupta IND 2470, IM Fidel Corrales CUB 2513, GM Bassem Amin EGY 2561, GM Ildar Khairullin RUS 2567, 8.0/13
17-25 IM Avetik Grigoryan ARM 2489, IM GN Gopal IND 2520, GM Viktor Laznicka CZE 2610, IM Wesley So PHI 2531, Javaram Ashwin IND 2478, GM Chakkravarthy Deepan IND 2492, IM Yuri Vovk UKR 2561, IM Daan Brandenburg NED 2483, IM Hrair Simonian ARM 2405, 7.5/13

Total of 80 players

GM Ahmed Adly was a child prodigy. Born on 19 February 1987, he is the first International Grandmaster in Egypt ever. Historically, Adly is the 6th Arab GM and the 4th African GM, although there is no doubt that he is the youngest ever in both categories.
In 2001, at the tender age of 14 he won the African Under-20 championship and in the process obtained his first IM and GM norms. And then came the great Egyptian tragedy which almost cost him his life.

In October 2003, the African Games were held in Abuja, Nigeria. During the games many members of the Egyptian delegation were stricken with cerebral malaria, which is a disease of the brain that is accompanied by fever. The mortality rate is between 25 and 50 per cent, and if not treated, the disease is fatal in 24 to 72 hours.

Anyway, the players were misdiagnosed and given the wrong treatment. Egypt’s top player, 38-year-old Essam Ahmed Ali, and their head of delegation, Mohammed Labib, both died.

The only reason why Ahmed Adly and his coach, Hassan Khaled, did not die was because they proceeded to Halkidiki, Greece, to play in the World Youth Championship.

A doctor there saw that they were very sick, immediately diagnosed them properly and sent them to the Special Diseases Hospital in Thessaloniki, where they both recovered.

Next year Adly went back to Greece to participate in the 2004 World Under-18 Championship and this time he won the bronze. Also that same year he qualified for the FIDE world championship but lost in the first round to GM Sergei Rublevsky.

In 2005 he qualified again for the FIDE KO tournament, but was eliminated again in the first round, this time by former World Champion Ruslan Ponomariov. By the way, Ponomariov made it all the way to the finals, where he lost to the Armenian GM Levon Aronian.

Here in Yerevan, Adly put up a phenomenal performance. He lost in the first round to an outsider but immediately stormed back with five straight wins to tie for first with the
Philippines’ Wesley So at the halfway mark of the tournament.

The following game, played on Wesley So’s 14th birthday last October 9 was crucial to both players. For the Egyptian it propelled him into the solo lead, while his opponent Wesley So lost his momentum and came crashing down in the second half of the tournament.

So,Wesley (2531) - Adly,Ahmed (2494) [B82]
WJun Yerevan ARM (7), 09.10.2007

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f4 e6 7.Qf3 Nbd7 8.g4

Probably a prepared line. More common here is 8.Be3 and 8.Nb3.

8...h6 9.Bd3 Qb6 10.Nb3 Qc7 11.h4 h5 12.g5 Ng4

In this position, GM Romuald Mainka of Germany against Jaenig (Bd Woerishoften 2001) thought it necessary to expel the Black knight with Nc3-d1–e3, but Wesley prefers to push ahead with the attack.

13.g6 fxg6 14.Bd2?!

After playing so aggressively Wesley suddenly cuts back. Why not 14.e5!? d5 15.Bxg6+
Kd8 16.Qe2 with a strong attack?

14...Be7 15.e5

This is no longer so effective, since Black can castle.
15...0–0 16.Qe2 dxe5 17.Bxg6 Ndf6 18.Bxh5 Nxh5 19.Qxg4 Nf6 20.Qg5 exf4 21.Bxf4 Qc6 22.Rg1 Rf7

Black has survived the opening and now plans to put his two bishops into good use. His immediate threat is ...Nd5, attacking the queen, bishop and c3-knight.

23.Qg2 Qxg2 24.Rxg2 Ne4 25.Bg5
[25.Nxe4 Rxf4]
25...Bxg5 26.hxg5 Nxc3 27.bxc3 e5 28.0–0–0 Bf5 29.Re1 Re8 30.Nd2 Rc7 31.Re3 Rc5 32.Nb3 Rd5 33.g6 Rd6 34.Rg5 Rf6 35.Nd4 Bxg6 36.Rexe5 Kh7 37.Rxe8 Bxe8 38.Re5 Bf7 39.a4 g6 40.Kd2 Kh6 41.Re7 b6 42.a5 bxa5 43.Re5 a4 44.Ra5 g5 45.Rxa4 g4

Adly's passed pawn will cost White a piece, but the game is still drawn, for after giving up his knight for the pawn Wesley will then seek refuge in the drawn KRB vs KR endgame.


A waste of time. Since he is prepared to give up the knight for the pawn the king need not assist.

46...g3 47.Nf3 g2 48.Ra1 Bc4 49.Rg1 Bd5 50.Rxg2 Bxf3 51.Rh2+?
He should have cut off the king with 51.Rg1.

51...Kg7 52.Rh4 a5 53.Rc4 Bc6 54.Rc5 a4 55.Ra5 Kf7 56.Kd2 Ke6 57.Kc1 Kd6 58.Kb2 Rf2 59.Ra7 Kc5 60.Ra5+ Kd6 61.Ra7 Re2 62.Ra5 Kc7 63.Rc5 Kb6 64.Rc4 Kb5 65.Rb4+ Ka5 66.Rh4 Be4 67.Rh5+ Kb6 68.Rh6+ Kc5 69.Rh5+ Kc4 70.Rh4 Rxc2+ 71.Ka3 Re2?
[71...Rxc3+ 72.Ka2 Re3 was an easy win, but I am sure both players were very tired at this point and short of time]
72.Rg4 Kc5?
[72...Kxc3 wins because of the Philidor position. We will explain this later]
73.Kxa4 Bd5

Threatening mate.

After 73...Bd5

The mistake, which allows Black to force a win. He should have played 74.c4 Bxc4 75.Rg5+ Bd5 76.Rg3! Re8 77.Rc3+ Bc4 78.Ka3 Re2 79.Ka4 Rf2 80.Rh3 Rf8 81.Ka3 the king escapes.


The white rook cannot move out of the 4th rank because of ...Ra2 mate. Now Black manages to weave a mating mate against Wesley's king.
75.Rh4 Rxc3

KRB vs KR is usually a draw. The reason why Wesley is losing here is because his king is stuck in the a-file. The way to draw such an endgame is to maintain his rook and king on the 2nd rank (this is why it is called the 2nd rank defence), but this is not available to Wesley.

76.Rg4 Rh3 77.Rf4 Rh8

Now threatening ...Ra8.

78.Rf6 Be4 79.Re6

According to some quarters Wesley missed the draw with 79.Rb6. While it is true that bringing the rook to b6 would have lengthened the resistance, the position is still won for Black. That is the problem when you use computer analytical engines without the tablebases - results can be deceptive. In truth this ending is a classic. As one of our most loyal readers John Manahan pointed out, we have reached the famous Philidor position, which is a forced win. We shall explain it in more detail on Monday.


Wesley resigns, as mate is threatened via ...Ra8, and the only way to stop it is by giving up his rook for the bishop. 80.Re5+ Bd5 results in the same dilemma. 0–1

Reader comments and/or suggestions are urgently solicited. Email address is

This column was first published in BusinessWorld on Friday, October 26, 2007.

Let’s pay more attention to the girls

IT’S about time we paid more attention to the distaff side of chess. As repeated in this column time and again, why is it that Hong Kong, a tiny enclave on South China’s coast, has a woman teenage grandmaster while the Philippines, the pioneering Asian country in chess, has none?

Reader John Manahan has raised this question because of what he feels is an area long neglected by the national chess leadership.

“If Mr Pichay predicts the emergence of four new GMs, why not a WM?” Manahan asks, pointing out that the country has lost its leading WIM, Arianne Caoili, to Australia.. Indeed, why not?

He points out that there are quite a number of young talents like Christy Bernales, Aices Salvador, Sherily and Shercila Cua, and Kimberly Jane Cunanan who deserve full support from the NCFP.

Manahan has a point there. Have we done enough for the ladies.

Besides the gentler gender, Manahan also points up the fact that senior masters have been neglected. Why not tournaments specially for senior players? Why not a tournament pitting the young female players against leading veterans?

I’ve been toying with the idea for a while now but have hesitated because of other pressing problems currently facing the Quezon Memorial Circle Chess Plaza. I hope we can whip up public support for such a project in the new year.

What has been popular in the grassroots lately are tournaments for non-masters with relatively low ratings. Why not shift our attention to the girls, older male players and the children?

ON page 5 of this issue, there are two stories of note—one about the arbiters seminar being organized by the NCFP and the other is about the fifth leg of the NCFP Professional and Executive Active Chess Saturday series.

Lest the reader may think the organizers of the two events are the same NCFP, I must say that one is being organized by the Pichay/Tolentino/Abalos “faction” while the other is under the auspices of the Defensor/Madrid/Estimo faction.

Both factions claim to have the majority of the NCFP board members, but neither one has moved to hold its supposedly annual election of officers. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

While one faction is busy preparing for the seminar and the two major international events in the next two months, the other is focusing on the Saturday series and on two team tournaments—the upcoming Quezon City Inter-Barangay and next year’s National Inter-Cities and Municipalities.

How long this arrangement will last nobody knows. But have the two factions not given any thought to the possibility that the NCFP could accomplish much, much more if they joined hands and worked together in harmony for the good of Philippine chess? 20
I shudder at the thought of what could happen if things came to a head and there will be a self-destructive collision of forces. Perish the thought!

Problem corner
Composed by the Maestro, Engr. Joselito P. Marcos of Cabanatuan City and Lae, Papua New Guinea.
Submit your answer to Alfredo V. Chay c/o Jose Aguilar at the QMC Chess Plaza or email it to

Solution to last week’s problem, “Let’s waltz!”: Hint: If Black moves first, White mates in one move! 1.Kd1! Ke4 If 1...Kc4 2.Kc2 Kd5 3.Kd2 Ke4 ( if 3...Kc4 4.Be6#!) 4.Bc6#! 2.Ke2 Kd5 3.Kd2! The initial position with Black to move! Kc4 If 3...Ke4 4.Bc6#! 4.Be6#!

Congratulations to Jose Romero Jr. of California, USA!

The Weekender

Quezon Memorial Circle
Quezon City
Manuel O. Benitez
Editor & Publisher
Alfredo V. Chay
Circulation Manager
Published every weekend

1 comment:

  1. news naman about Ateneo 2nd Dr. Jose P. Leviste Sr.Under 2050 active open chess tournament..


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