Chess by Jonathan Speel­man

The Observer - The New Review - - Puzzles - 15 Bxf7+!? 15... Kxf7! 27... Rd8!

Apolo­gies first for the miss­ing start of Naid­itsch v Wo­j­taszek last week. The moves were: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7.

The world cham­pi­onship match be­tween Mag­nus Carlsen and Fabi­ano Caru­ana is now un­der way at The Col­lege in London’s Southamp­ton Row. It’s too late to say any­thing sub­stan­tive here but there will be plenty to talk about next week and for the mo­ment here are some gen­eral ob­ser­va­tions.

Di­a­gram 1

This was the fi­nal game of Carlsen’s pre­vi­ous world cham­pi­onship de­fence in New York, 2016. Can you see how Carlsen ended the match with a bang?

The Carlsen v Kar­jakin match was per­ceived as some­thing of a mis­match, though through his im­mense de­fen­sive abil­i­ties, Kar­jakin frus­trated Carlsen and even took the lead be­fore the world cham­pion man­aged to equalise and then win the rapid­play. The match against Caru­ana will surely be noth­ing like that, with the two play­ers sep­a­rated by just three rat­ing points – Carlsen 2835, Caru­ana 2832.

The two have played many times, with Carlsen hav­ing a bet­ter record, but quite a lot of it was gar­nered at rapid­play and es­pe­cially blitz. In any case, past re­sults aren’t much of an indi­ca­tor; their form at the time will be much more im­por­tant.

Carlsen played rather in­dif­fer­ently by his own stel­lar stan­dards in his fi­nal out­ing be­fore the big event at the Eu­ro­pean Club Cup, while Caru­ana was su­perb at the Ba­tumi Olympiad, but this is only a weak in­di­ca­tion of what will hap­pen un­der the ex­treme ten­sion in London when both are de­ploy­ing the full venom of their open­ing prepa­ra­tion. One ques­tion that should have been an­swered by the time you read this is the play­ers’ main av­enue of at­tack – pre­sum­ably ei­ther 1 e4 or 1 d4 – and their pri­mary de­fences. Against Kar­jakin, Carlsen adopted the un­usual Trompowsky (1 d4 Nf6 2 Bg5) in game 1 and so failed to glean any in­for­ma­tion as to Kar­jakin’s in­ten­tions against main line 1 d4 open­ings; against Caru­ana, I imag­ine he will have been less prof­li­gate. Both play­ers have sav­aged the other at times. I guess Carlsen is the favourite but only 60-40 at the very most, per­haps 55-45.

Caru­ana’s best re­sult was in the 2nd Sin­que­field Cup when he be­gan the world class six-player dou­ble-rounder with 7/7(!) be­fore coast­ing to vic­tory with three draws. This was what he did to Carlsen dur­ing the run of wins:

Mag­nus Carlsen v Fabi­ano Caru­ana

St Louis 2014 Bishop’s Open­ing

Avoid­ing Caru­ana’s favourite, Petrov 2 Nf3 Nf6.

1 e4 e5 2 Bc4 2... Nf6 3 d3 c6 4 Nf3 d5 5 Bb3 Bb4+ 6 c3

This takes the square away from the b1 knight. In­stead, Carlsen played 6 Bd2 Bxd2+ 7 Bxd2 against Caru­ana in the Nor­way Chess Tour­na­ment this May and even­tu­ally won.

6... Bd6 7 Bg5 dxe4 8 dxe4 h6 9 Bh4 Qe7 10 Nbd2 Nbd7

With his pieces nicely de­vel­oped, Black is al­ready very com­fort­able.

Al­low­ing his pawn struc­ture to be dam­aged in pur­suit of tac­tics. If 13 Nh4 Ndf6 14 Nf5 Bxf5 15 exf5 Nxg3 16 hxg3 0-0-0 17 Qe2 h5 with an at­tack.

11 Bg3 Bc7 12 0-0 Nh5 13 h3 13... Nxg3 14 fxg3 Nc5

Di­a­gram 2

Morally forced since oth­er­wise White is sim­ply worse, but it doesn’t quite work and Caru­ana called Carlsen’s bluff.

15...Qxf7? loses to 16 Nxe5 Qxf1+ 17 Nxf1 and if Bxe5 18 Qh5+

16 Nxe5+ Kg8 17 Ng6 Qg5! 18 Rf8+ Kh7 19 Nxh8 Bg4

Per­fectly rea­son­able but the best was 19... Qe3+ 20 Kh1 Bg4 21 Qxg4 Rxf8 22 Ng6 Rf7! 23 Nf1 Qg5 24 Nh4 Qxg4 25 hxg4 Nxe4 with a clear ad­van­tage.

20 Qf1 Nd3 21 Qxd3 Rxf8 22 hxg4 Qxg4 23 Nf3 Qxg3 24 e5+?!

24 Nf7 was bet­ter when if 24... Rxf7 25 e5+ Kh8 (prob­a­bly he should try 25... g6) 26 e6 Re7 27 Re1 White should be OK.

24... Kxh8 25 e6 Bb6+ 26 Kh1 Qg4 27 Qd6

Di­a­gram 3

Af­ter some thought, Caru­ana found this clear line.

28 Qe5 Rd5 29 Qb8+ Kh7 30 e7 Qh5+ 31 Nh2?

A blun­der in a very dif­fi­cult po­si­tion. 31 Qh2 Qe8 32 g4 was vile but he might have tried to fight on.

31... Rd1+ 32 Rxd1 Qxd1+ 33 Nf1 Qxf1+ 34 Kh2 Qg1+

And Carlsen re­signed.

In di­a­gram 1, Carlsen fin­ished off with

And Kar­jakin re­signed since 50... Kxh6 51 Rh8 and 50... gxh6 51 Rxf7 are both mate.

49 Rc8+ Kh7 50 Qh6+!

1 Mag­nus Carlsen (to play) v Sergey Kar­jakin 2 Mag­nus Carlsen (to play) v Fabi­ano Caru­ana 3 Mag­nus Carlsen v Fabi­ano Caru­ana (to play)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.