- The Washington Times - Friday, November 10, 2006

Chess news travels fast these days. When we took up this column a dozen years ago, getting information on tournaments abroad or game scores even from big U.S. tournaments could take weeks or months. A grandmaster with a hot opening novelty could trot it out a half-dozen times at various events before the biannual Informants would be published and reveal his secret.

Nowadays, of course, with the Internet (the “Worldwide Web,” as nobody calls it anymore) and an explosion of chess sites and game collections, trying to stay current on chess is like sipping from the proverbial fire hose. The Week in Chess, the indispensable site managed by Englishman Mark Crowther, regularly offers 1,000 or more games every seven days from events all around the world (www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic.html).

Feasting on the cornucopia, we forage further afield this week with an entertaining attack from a recent St. Petersburg tournament and an enterprising defensive gem from an event in Malaysia.

The St. Petersburg event, boasting as strong a field as many national championships, honors 19th-century Russian great Mikhail Chigorin. Veteran Russian GM Igor Yagupov’s victory over 16-year-old Eduard Gorovykh featured some powerful sacrifices that the swashbuckling Chigorin himself would have admired.

A Sicilian that eventually transposes into a Tarrasch French finds Gorovykh getting himself into early trouble because of an apparently uncontrollable desire to move his queen’s knight, which hops between c3, a4 and b5 to little purpose. Already by 21. Nc3 (the knight’s fourth visit to this square) Ng4!, Yagupov threatens 22…Rxf3! 23. Qxf3 Qxh2+ 24. Kf1 Qh1+ 25. Ke2 Nxd4+ 26. Kd1 Qxe1+ 27. Kxe1 Nxf3+ 28. gxf3 Ne5, with a winning edge.

But White’s 22. h3?, weakening the g3 square, leads to deeper problems after 22…Nxf2! 23. Kxf2 (pinning the knight on f3, but declining with 23. Qe2 Nxh3+! 24. gxh3 Qg3+ 25. Qg2 Rxf3 is no better) Nxd4 24. Ne2 (cutting off the queen’s defense of f3, but White could not save things with the tougher 24. Re3 Nxf3 25. Rxf3 Rxf3+ 26. gxf3 Qh2+ 27. Ke1 [Ke3 Bc5 mate] Rxc3!, and the tricky 24. Nxd5 fails to 24…Bxe1+ 25. Qxe1 Rxf3+ 26. gxf3 Qh2+ 27. Ke3 [Kf1 Rc2! 28. Bxc2 Bb5+] Qe5+ 28. Kf2 Rc2+! 29. Bxc2 Qh2+ 30. Ke3 [Kf1 Bb5+ wins again] Nxc2+, winning) Nxf3 25. gxf3 Qh2+ 26. Ke3 (see diagram).

White’s king is ripe for the taking, and a rook sacrifice does the job: 26…Rxf3+! 27. Kxf3 (Kd4 Be7 followed by 28…Bf6 mate) Rf8+ 28. Bf5 (Ke3 Qf2 is mate, as is 28. Kg4 e5+ 29. Kg5 Be7+ 30. Kh5 Qxh3 mate) Qxh3+ 29. Kf2 Rxf5+ and White throws in the towel. Checkmate is in the offing: 30. Kg1 Rg5+ 31. Kf2 Rg2+ 32. Kf1 Qf3 mate.

China and India already have produced chess superstars, and a number of other Asian countries are entering the mix. Vietnam boasts a corps of rising grandmasters, and GM Dao Thien Hai took first in this summer’s 3rd Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Open.

But Dao’s compatriot Nguyen Anh Dung fell victim in the event to the sturdy defense of Burmese IM Wynn Zaw Htun, who matched Dao’s 8-3 score in Kuala Lumpur but lost the title on inferior tiebreaks.

This Najdorf Sicilian stays a Sicilian, and Nguyen as White gets in a classic Sicilian sacrifice after 10. e5 Bb7 11. Qh3!? (setting the stage for the attacking orgy to come) dxe5! (accepting the challenge, as the conventional 11…Nd5? loses meekly to 12. Nxe6! fxe6 13. Qxe6+ Ne7 14. exd6, with a crushing attack) 12. Nxe6! fxe6 13. Qxe6+ Be7.

More testing now might be 14. Bxb5! axb5 15. Nxb5 Qc6 16. Nd6+ Kd8 17. fxe5! (and not 17. Nf7+ Kc8 18. Qxc6+ Bxc6 19. Nxh8 Rxa2 20. Kb1 Ra5 21. Nf7 exf4, with the nod to Black), with chances for both sides.

White’s pressure looks ferocious after 14. Nxb5?! axb5 15. Bxb5 Be4 (threatening mate on c2 and sidestepping the threatened 16. Rxd7 Nxd7 17. Qxe7 mate) 16. c3 Rd8 17. Rhe1, but the Black king sidles out of numerous pins with the coldblooded 17…Kf8!.

One point here is that Wynn Zaw Htun can answer 18. Rxe4 with 18…Nc5! 19. Qxe5 Rxd1+ 20. Kxd1 Bd6! 21. Qe8+ (Bxf6 Bxe5 22. Bxe5 Qb6 23. Rb4 Ke7 also does not give White enough compensation) Nxe8 22. Rxe8+ Kf7 23. Rxh8 Bxf4 24. Bxf4 Qxf4 25. g3 Qe4 26. Kd2 Qg2+ 27. Be2 Qxh2, and White’s pawns will soon be rolled up.

The massive trade-off ending with 21. Bxe7+ Kxe7 22. Rxe4 Rf8! 23. a4 (fxe5 Rf2 24. Rg4 g6) Rxf4 24. Rxf4 exf4 leaves Black with a knight for two pawns — a knight that will prove singularly effective at restraining White’s trio of queen-side pawns while helping Black’s own pawns advance.

A few nice touches seal the point for Black: 30. b5 h5! (too messy was the plausible 30…Kxb5?! 31. a7! Nc4+ 32. Kd3 Nb6 33. c4+! Ka6 34. Ke4 Kxa7 35. Kf5 h6 36. Kg6 Nxc4 37. Kxh6 g4 38. hxg4 Ne3 39. g5 Nxg2 40. g6 f3 41. g7 f2 42. g8=Q f1=Q) 31. Ke2 g4 32. hxg4 hxg4 33. Kd2 Nc4+ 34. Ke2 (a cute zugzwang arises on 34. Kd3 f3! 35. gxf3 gxf3) Nd6 35. Kd3 Nxb5! 36. Ke4 f3 37. gxf3 g3! (saving the last pawn and winning) 38. Ke3 Nd6 39. f4 Kxa6 40. Kf3 Nf5.

White’s king can never leave and can never capture the Black g-pawn, allowing Wynn Zaw Htun’s king to saunter over to help his pawn queen. White resigned.

14th Chigorin Memorial, St. Petersburg, October 2006


1. e4c516. Nb5Be7

2. Nf3e617. Nc3Rac8

3. c3Nf618. b3Kh8

4. d3Nc619. Na4Qc7

5. Be2d520. Bb2Bb4

6. e5Nd721. Nc3Ng4

7. d4Qb622. h3Nxf2

8. 0-0f623. Kxf2Nxd4

9. exf6Nxf624. Ne2Nxf3

10. Re1cxd425. gxf3Qh2+

11. cxd4Bd626. Ke3Rxf3+

12. Nc30-027. Kxf3Rf8+

13. Bd3Bd728. Bf5Qxh3+

14. Nb5Bb829. Kf2Rxf5+

15. Nc3Bd6White resigns

3rd Malaysia Open, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 2006

NguyenWynn Zaw Htun

1. e4c521. Bxe7+Kxe7

2. Nf3d622. Rxe4Rf8

3. d4cxd423. a4Rxf4

4. Nxd4Nf624. Rxf4exf4

5. Nc3a625. a5Kd6

6. Bg5e626. Kd2Ne5

7. f4Nbd727. b4g5

8. Qf3Qc728. h3Kc6

9. 0-0-0b529. a6Kb6

10. e5Bb730. b5h5

11. Qh3dxe531. Ke2g4

12. Nxe6fxe632. hxg4hxg4

13. Qxe6+Be733. Kd2Nc4+

14. Nxb5axb534. Ke2Nd6

15. Bxb5Be435. Kd3Nxb5

16. c3Rd836. Ke4f3

17. Rhe1Kf837. gxf3g3

18. Bxd7Rxd738. Ke3Nd6

19. Rxd7Qxd739. f4Kxa6

20. Qxd7Nxd740. Kf3Nf5

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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