- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2006

With one glaring exception, Russian GM Alexander Morozevich dominated the Category 17 field on his way to winning the premier event at the 39th Biel International Chess Festival, an annual chesstravaganza held in the Swiss city.

Morozevich went 71/2-21/2 in the six-grandmaster double round robin despite losing both of his games in Biel with emerging Norwegian superstar Magnus Carlsen. Against the other four GMs in the field — Teimour Radjabov of Azerbaijan, Lazaro Bruzon of Cuba, Yannick Pelletier of Switzerland, and Ukraine’s Andrei Volokitin — Moro won seven and gave up only a last-round draw to Radjabov.

The 15-year-old Carlsen dropped a couple of games to finish third at 5-4 in Biel, but his wins over the Russian star are only the latest confirmation of his enormous promise and his emergence as a potential contender for the world championship.

In the first of his two wins over Morozevich, Carlsen as White takes the odd tack in a King’s Indian Bayonet of using two moves (10. b3 and 12. b4) to accomplish what usually is done in one. The lost tempo only sharpens the play, however, and Morozevich goes for material over aesthetics with 17. c5 dxc5 18. Bc3 (Bxc5?! Bxd2 19. Qxd2 [d6!? is also a possibility] Nxe4) c6 19. dxc6 bxc6 20. Na3 fxe4, winning two pawns but saddling himself with an ugly pair of doubled isolated pawn islands.

Central tension mounts following 23. Nd6 Re7 24. N2c4, but now Black would have been better advised to trade off one of the troublesome knights with 24…Ba6, as White gets the better of the play after the game’s 24…Be6?! 25. a6 Nb4 26. Qc1 Nd3 27. Bxd3.

But Carlsen returns the favor, missing 28. Rd1! Bd5 29. Rxd3 Rxe5 30. Nf7+, winning, and giving back much of his advantage after 28. Qc3?! Bxc4 29. Qxc4 Qg8 30. Qxc5; now Morozevich could have played 30…Rxe5! 31. Qxe5 Nd5 32. Qe1 Bxa1 33. Qxa1+ Qg7 34. Qa4 Qc3, keeping things equal.

But the young Norwegian proves stronger in the clutch as the time control approaches: 35. Rb1 h6 36. Qc4 Rb6? (the ungainly 36…Rga7! was much better here, as Black holds on 37. Rb8+ Kh7 38. Qd4 Ra1+ 39. Kh2 Qxd6+) 37. Rxb6 Qe1+ 38. Kh2 Nxb6 (Black’s endgame prospects are dim after 38…Qxd2 39. Rxc6 Qf4+ 40. Qxf4 Nxf4) 39. Qf4! (a wonderfully versatile move that defends d2 and d6, attacks the Black h-pawn, and threatens 40. Nf7+ Kg8 [Rxf7 41. Qxh6+ Kg8 42. Rd8+] 41. Rd8+ Kh7 42. Qxh6 mate) Nd5 (see diagram).

Black had to play 39…Qe7 40. Qxh6+ Kg8 and hope to hold on, as the knight move allows a killer sequence for White: 40. Rxd5! cxd5 41. Qf8+ Kh7 (Rg8 42. Qxh6 mate) 42. Ne8!, and Morozevich resigns in light of 42…Qe5+ (Re7 43. Nf6 mate; 42…Rg8 43. Nf6+ Kh8 44. Qxg8 mate) 43. f4 Qd4 44. Nf6+, costing Black his queen.

The exchange sacrifice — giving up a rook for a knight or bishop — is one of the defining features of modern chess strategy. Today’s players are far more willing to part with the castle for positional compensation than were their Romantic forebears, and practice has shown there are far more situations when the exchange sacrifice can be used for both offensive and defensive purposes.

Still, it’s not every day that a single game contains four exchange sacrifices — pretty much the practical maximum if you discount any screwy pawn promotion gimmicks. Ukrainian IM Kateryna Lahno and Lithuanian IM Viktorija Cmilyte hit for the cycle here, and Lahno’s triumph helped clinch clear first in a strong recent women’s invitational event in the Russian city of Krasnoturyinsk.

How does one sacrifice a rook? Let us count the ways.

No. 1: 19. Na2 Nd3 20. Rxd3! cxd3 21. Nb4, and coming out of this classic Benoni battle, Cmilyte’s minor pieces threaten to overwhelm Black’s queen-side.

No. 2: 25. Nc4 b3 26. Qd1 (despite her material deficit, White’s game is much easier to play, while the knight of c6 greatly hampers Lahno’s development, explaining Black’s next move) Ba6!? (Ra6 27. e5! dxe5 28. d6 Qd7 29. Nb8 Qa7 30. Nxa6 Bxa6 31. Nxe5 wins back the exchange anyway and gives White the superior game) 27. Nxb6 Qxb6, and suddenly Black has real counterplay.

No. 3: 29. Be3 Qc7 30. Bd4!? (fighting to hold her precious center, White rejects the passive 30. Rf1 dxe5 31. Qxb3 e4 32. Be2 — at the cost of yet another rook for minor piece) Nxe1 31. Qxe1. After 31…Bb7 32. Qb4 Bxc6! 33. Bb6 Qc8 34. dxc6, White’s two bishops look menacing, but Lahno correctly judges that Black can handle the White c-pawn and resume her own attack. The clincher come on exchange sacrifice number…

Four: 36. Bg4 (Qxb3 Qb8 37. Qb4 Bxh2+) Qxc6 37. Be3 Bd6 38. Qd2 (Qb6 Qe4 39. Kf2 Qc2+ 40. Be2 Rxe3! 41. Qxe3 Bc5) Rxe3!, and this time accepting the rook allows a fatal pin after 39. Qxe3 Bc5; Cmilyte resigned.

39th Biel International Chess Festival, Biel, Switzerland, July 2006


1. d4Nf622. Bxe5Bg7

2. c4g623. Nd6Re7

3. Nc3Bg724. N2c4Be6

4. e4d625. a6Nb4

5. Nf30-026. Qc1Nd3

6. Be2e527. Bxd3exd3

7. 0-0Nc628. Qc3Bxc4

8. d5Ne729. Qxc4Qg8

9. a4a530. Qxc5d2

10. b3Nd731. Rad1Rxa6

11. Ba3Bh632. Rxd2Nd5

12. b4axb433. Bxg7+Rxg7

13. Bxb4f534. h3Qe6

14. Nd2Kh835. Rb1h6

15. a5Rf736. Qc4Rb6

16. Nb5Nf637. Rxb6Qe1+

17. c5dxc538. Kh2Nxb6

18. Bc3c639. Qf4Nd5

19. dxc6bxc640. Rxd5cxd5

20. Na3fxe441. Qf8+Kh7

21. Nac4Ned542. Ne8Black


Northern Urals Cup, Krasnoturyinsk, Russia, July 2006


1. d4Nf620. Rxd3cxd3

2. c4e621. Nb4Nd7

3. Nf3c522. Nbc6Qc7

4. d5exd523. Qxd3b4

5. cxd5d624. Qc2Nc5

6. Nc3g625. Nc4b3

7. e4Bg726. Qd1Ba6

8. Be20-027. Nxb6Qxb6

9. 0-0Re828. e5Nd3+

10. Nd2Na629. Be3Qc7

11. f4Rb830. Bd4Nxe1

12. a4Nb431. Qxe1Bb7

13. Ra3b632. Qb4Bxc6

14. Bf3a633. Bb6Qc8

15. Nc4b534. dxc6dxe5

16. axb5axb535. fxe5Bxe5

17. Na5Rb636. Bg4Qxc6

18. Re1c437. Be3Bd6

19. Na2Nd338. Qd2Rxe3

White resigns

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at [email protected]washington times.com.

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