Chess

The Guardian Weekly - - Sport - Leonard Bar­den

Eng­land’s woe­ful per­for­mance at the Euro­pean team cham­pi­onship in Crete be­gan with a 2-2 draw against Moldova, and ended with a bru­tal de­feat, 0.5-3.5, by Hun­gary. They were the No 4 seeds, but fin­ished 16th in a field of 40 coun­tries. Mean­while, the favourites, Rus­sia and Azer­bai­jan, fought out the gold medals, which the Az­eris took by a sur­pris­ingly com­fort­able 3-1 mar­gin.

English chess could do with a ju­nior like Nodirbek Ab­dusat­torov. The 13-year-old from Tashkent, Uzbek­istan, has just be­come the sec­ondy­oungest GM in chess his­tory. He reached GM three months younger than world cham­pion Mag­nus Carlsen, and his record is only sur­passed by Sergey Kar­jakin, the 2016 ti­tle challenger, who achieved it at 12 years, seven months.

Ab­dusat­torov showed be­low the im­por­tance of be­ing alert for cen­tral op­por­tu­ni­ties when your ri­val de­lays castling. In­dia’s Babu Lalith should prob­a­bly have pre­ferred 11 Nf3, even though c5-c4 gives Black an ac­tive pawn ma­jor­ity. But the real step to dis­as­ter was 15 Ne4? (15 Bg3!), which al­lowed the killer 16...Bb3! so that if 17 Qxb3 Qxf2+

18 Kd1 Qd2 mate. If 19 Bxf8 in­stead of 19 Qh4, then Re8+ 20 Kf2 Re2+ mates. At the end if 20 Kf2 Qd2+ 21 Kg1 Qe3+ and Qxe7, when Black is a piece up with a win­ning at­tack.

B Lalith v N Ab­dusat­torov Moscow Aeroflot 2017

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 d5 5 cxd5 exd5 6 Bg5 h6 7 Bh4 0-0 8 e3 Be6 9 a3 Be7 10 Bd3 c5 11 dxc5? d4 12 exd4 Nc6 13 Nge2 Nxd4

14 Nxd4 Qxd4 15 Ne4? Nxe4 16 Bxe7 Bb3! 17 Qe2 Nxf2! 18 Qxf2 Qxd3

19 Qh4 Bc4 0-1

queen. the wins or mates Rxc3+! Qxh2 2 Rh2!1... 3520

3520 Ve­limir Ivic v Vladimir Do­brov, Ser­bia 2017. Black (to move) and win.

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