LArmenian grandmaster Levon Aronian is winner of the 74th Tata Steel Chess Tournament in the Netherlands. EVON Aronian ended up the comfortable winner of the latest edition of the Tata Steel tournament at Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands earlier this week.
He achieved this despite a late scare when he lost unexpectedly to David Navara. But then, none of Aronian’s closest rivals could take advantage of this lapse and he preserved his lead.
At the end of the tournament, Aronian finished with a clear onepoint lead over three players – Magnus Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov and Fabiano Caruana – who tied for the second to fourth places.
Here is one of the more interesting games from the tournament. White: Anish Giri Black: Levon Aronian
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bf4 (It strikes me that 5.Bf4 is getting more popular as players move away from the more traditional 5.Bg5. Let’s see how this game develops here) 5….0-0 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Be2 dxc4 8. O-O Nb6 9. Qc2 Nh5 10. Be5 f6 11. Ng5 fxg5 12. Bxh5 Bd7 (Black is one pawn to the good but the position is very unbalanced.)
13. Bf3 (A logical move but it is a clear invitation for Black to sacrifice the exchange) 13...Rxf3 Rxf3 14. gxf3 Bd6 15. Qe4 Bc6 16. Qg4 Qe7 (Black’s position is solid and there is compensation for the sacrificed material. The white pawn on f3 is weak and can be attacked by the black bishop on c6 and a lack rook on f8 later. If White were to play e3-e4, then the f4 square becomes a weakness for him.) 17. Bxd6 cxd6 18. Ne4 h6 19. Qg3 d5 20. Nc3 Rf8 21. Ne2 Rf5 (In the last few moves, Black has straightened out his centre pawns, fortified his kingside position and took control of the ffile. The bishop seems hemmed in by the black pawns but it can be redeployed quickly to the e8 square and then the h5 square to keep the pressure on the f3 pawn.)
22. Kg2 Nd7 23. Rh1 Nf8 (The knight looks headed for the h4 square. Same idea to attack the f3 pawn but a much harder idea to meet.) 24. h4 Ng6 25. f4 (This move doesn’t mean that the weakness on f3 has been eliminated. It’s still there) 25….Nxh4+ (Winning a second pawn. I think by now, White is probably lost. His queen and rook are in very poor positions. In fact, White’s queen has become very passive. And once the king is forced onto the f1 square, the rooks become disconnected.)
26. Kf1 Qb4 (A good move which keeps White’s king in the centre, while at the same time attacking White’s weak queenside pawns) 27.Rb1 Be8 (Black’s last piece springs into life.) 28. Nc3 Qe7 29. b4 Rf8 (Why the rook retreat? So that the bishop can move to g6 and then d3 next.) 30. Rb2 Bg6 31. Ke1 Bd3 32. fxg5 Nf3+ 33. Kd1 hxg5 (The black bishop and knight completely dominate the game.) 34. Qh3 Qf6 35. Kc1 Bg6 36. a4 Rd8 (After this move to guard the d5 pawn, Black prepares to force open the centre with a e6-e5 pawn push. Hardly preventable.)
37. Ne2 e5 38. Qg4 exd4 39. exd4 Re8 40. Qd7 c3 (This move weaves a mating net around the white king. If now 41. Nxc3, then 41….Qf4+ wins. And if 41. Rc2, then 41….Rd8 followed by 42…. Bxc2 wins.) 41. Ra2 Ne1 ( See diagram. This move is the icing on top of the cake. It’s a beautiful move which forces the white rook to capture. If White doesn’t capture, then 42….Nd3+ follows next.) 42. Rxe1 Qf4+ (The queen cannot be captured because 42. Nxf4 Rxe1 is checkmate.) 43. Kd1 Qe4 0-1 (It is checkmate next with the queen on the b1 or c2 square.)
The Grandmaster Group B was won by Pentala Harikrishna with Alexander Motylev and Lazaro Bruzon sharing the second and third prizes. In the Group C tournament, Maxim Turov was the clear winner ahead of Hans Tikkanen.
Perak grand prix THE Perak International Chess Association (PICA) will kick off this year’s Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng grand prix chess circuit with the first leg at SMK Clifford in Kuala Kangsar on Feb 12.
This is the third series of the local grand prix which will see six legs being held in Kuala Kangsar, Taiping, Slim River, Bagan Serai, Kampar and Ipoh until July. Last year’s second series attracted widespread interest from players around the country and were held at five different districts in the state. Pica is confident that this year’s series would attract even greater response.
Each leg of the grand prix will be played over seven rounds with a 25-minute time control. Players can register for the open, under-16 or under-12 sections. Grand prix USM chess festival THE 18th Universiti Sains Malaysia chess festival has been rescheduled to the middle of March because of the Chinese New Year festivities. This year’s festival will comprise an eight-round individual event from March 10-11 and a seven-round team event from March 17-18. Time control for both events will be 45 minutes per game.
Entry fees for the individual tournament are RM17 (under-12 players), RM19 (under-18 players), RM21 (university and college players) and RM27 (others). For the team event, entry fees are RM80 (under-12 teams), RM90 (under-18 teams), RM100 (university, college and school teams) and RM110 (all other teams).
Details from Ng Sok Ling (0149443919, sokling_9100@hotmail. com), Chung Yao Liang (0174343182, yaoliang_1228@yahoo. com) or Lee Youn Hock (0149445491, chessmanlee@hotmail. com).