Clear win­ner

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LEISURE - QUAH SENG SUN star2@thes­tar.com.my

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.

Up Next

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).

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