- The Washington Times - Friday, February 23, 2007

Eight of the world’s top grandmasters are in action this week in the traditional Linares SuperGM Tournament, a Category 20 event that annually is one of the strongest in the world. Russian world champ Vladimir Kramnik is not in the field, but virtually every legitimate contender for his crown is taking part.

As it was last year, the tournament is being split between its traditional home in the small Spanish city of Linares and Morelia, Mexico, host to the first half of the round-robin event.

At 16, Norway’s Magnus Carlsen is not only the youngest player in the field, but also, at 2690, the only competitor rated below 2700. However, the rapidly improving Carlsen got off to a fine start in the elite field by upsetting Russian GM Alexander Morozevich in an absorbing struggle in the very first round, briefly seizing the tournament lead.

After a long period of decline, the King’s Indian Defense suddenly is the trendy new defense for Black, and the intricate duel that develops out of this KID Fianchetto line is perhaps one reason why.

After 10. b3 Ng4 11. h3 (a modest continuation; Romanian GM Mihail Marin, on the Chessbase.com Web site, cites a 1971 game won by Soviet great Efim Geller that went 11. e4!? f5 12. exf5 e4? 13. f6! Nxf6 14. Ndxe4!! Nxe4 15. Nxe4 Bxa1 16. Bg5 Bf6 17. Nxf6+ Rxf6 18. Qa1 Kf7 19. Re1!, and the idea of the rook lift to the third rank led to a White win) Nh6 12. Nde4 f6, Carlsen’s positional sacrifice 13. Nxd6!? Qxd6 14. Ne4 Qd8 (Qb6? 15. Be3 wins the c-pawn anyway and leaves Black much worse) 15. Nxc5 is pretty much mandatory if White wants to play for a win.

Carlsen’s play has a shrewd psychological point: Morozevich loves the initiative and always prefers to play the creative side of the position. Forced to defend, he decides to give back the material with 16. d6 e4!? (Nc5 and 16…Qc7 are plausible, but not 16…Bd7? 17. Nxd7 Qxd7 18. Qd5+, winning) 17. d7.

Black emerges a pawn down but with a big developmental edge. Nevertheless, his youthful opponent proceeds to outplay him in the ensuing middle game, trading down to a position where only White has winning chances.

The opposite-colored bishops still make the win problematic, but another Black oversight at the first time control changes the equation: 39. Bc4 Rd1 40. g4 f4? 41. exf4 Bxf4 42. Re2 Rd4 43. Bd3!, exploiting the pin and the Black king’s position to pick up a crucial second pawn.

Since 43…Rxd3? 44. Rxe4+ Kd6 45. Rxf4 is a straightforward endgame win, Black banks on the bishop ending after 43…Kf6 44. Bxe4 Rd2 45. Rxd2 Bxd2. But White shows excellent technique in jettisoning his king-side pawns to focus on the queen-side.

On 52. g5+ Kg7 53. Kc4! Bd6 54. Kb5 Bxf4 55. Kxa5, Black’s problem is that it will take him too many moves to collect the White pawns, and even then, his pieces will not be well placed for the ensuing pawn race.

It’s over on 65. a8=Q Kf3 (g2 66. Kd7+ Kf4 67. Qxg2) 66. b7 Bf4 67. Qf8 Ke4 (g2 68. b8=Q g1=Q 69. Qbxf4+ Ke2 70. Qe4+ Qe3 71. Qff3+) 68. Qe8+, and White will pick off the h-pawn and easily contain the passed Black g-pawn. Morozevich resigned.

In chess as in warfare, sometimes mobility is all.

Israeli GM Emil Sutovsky found a novel route to swing a key piece into attacking position in a miniature taken from the Aeroflot Chess Festival, a strong open Swiss tournament wrapping up in Moscow this week. His victim, Russian GM Sergei Dyachkov, thought he was winning a piece, but ended up losing a king.

In one of the sharpest French Defense lines (7. Qg4), Black uses his king to hold together his fragile king-side, hoping to survive to cash in his considerable positional chips. But White turns the tables with the stunning 10. a4! a6 (the bishop appears cornered, but Sutovsky finds an escape route) 11. Ba3+ Ne7 (see diagram) 12. Be8!!.

Black has problems if he captures the cheeky bishop; e.g. 12…Kxe8 13. Qxg7 Rf8 (Rg8 14. Qxf7 f5 15. Bd6, with full compensation) 14. exf6 Rf7 15. Qh8+ Rf8 (Kd7 16. Ne5+) 16. Qxh7 Rxf6 17. Ne5 Nbc6 18. Qh5+ Ng6 19. Nxg6 Qf7 20. Qh8+ Kd7 21. Ne5+ Nxe5 22. dxe5 Rxf2 23. Be7!, winning.

Still, Dyachkov’s choice proves no better on 12…Qd8?! 13. Bh5!, and now the White bishop helps lay down a withering crossfire targeting the Black king from its new king-side perch.

White wraps up the point on 14. exf6 gxf6 (g6 is no better because of 15. Bxg6 hxg6 16. Qxg6 Rg8 17. Qxh7 Rg4 18. 0-0, with a clear edge) 15. Ng5! Qa5 (fxg5 16. Qf3+ Kg7 17. Qf7+ Kh6 18. h4 Ng6 19. hxg5+ Kxg5 [Qxg5 20. Bxg6+ Qh5 21. Bc1 mate] 20. Bc1+ Nf4 21. Bxf4 mate) 16. 0-0 f5 17. Qh4!.

White’s threat is 18. Nxe6+ Bxe6 19. Qf6+ Kg8 20. Qxe6+ Kg7 21. Qf7+ Kh6 22. Bc1+, and neither 17…Kg7 18. Nf7 Rf8 19. Qg5+ Ng6 20. Bxg6 hxg6 21. Qh6+ Kxf7 22. Qxf8 mate, nor 17…Qc7 18. Nxe6+ Bxe6 19. Qf6+ Kg8 20. Qxe6+ Kg7 21. Qf7+ Kh6 22. Bc1+ f4 23. Bxf4+ Qxf4 24. Qxf4+ offers relief. Dyachkov resigned.

24th SuperGM Morelia/Linares, Morelia, Mexico


1. d4Nf635. e3a5

2. c4g636. Kg2Kf7

3. g3Bg737. Rc2Ke7

4. Bg20-038. Be2Rd5

5. Nc3d639. Bc4Rd1

6. Nf3c540. g4f4

7. 0-0Nc641. exf4Bxf4

8. d5Na542. Re2Rd4

9. Nd2e543. Bd3Kf6

10. b3Ng444. Bxe4Rd2

11. h3Nh645. Rxd2Bxd2

12. Nde4f646. Kg3Be1

13. Nxd6Qxd647. Kf3Bb4

14. Ne4Qd848. h4h6

15. Nxc5f549. Ke2Bd6

16. d6e450. Kd3Bc5

17. d7Nf751. f4h5

18. Rb1Qe752. g5+Kg7

19. dxc8=QRaxc853. Kc4Bd6

20. Na4Rfd854. Kb5Bxf4

21. Qe1Nc655. Kxa5Bg3

22. Nc3Nd456. Kb5Bxh4

23. Bb2b557. a4Bxg5

24. Nd5Qd658. a5Kf6

25. Bxd4Bxd459. a6Be3

26. Rd1Be560. Kc6g5

27. Qa5bxc461. b4Ke5

28. Ne3Qc762. b5Kxe4

29. Qxc7Bxc763. b6g4

30. Nxc4Ne564. a7g3

31. Rxd8+Rxd865. a8=QKf3

32. Rc1Nxc466. b7Bf4

33. Rxc4Rd1+67. Qf8Ke4

34. Bf1Bd668. Qe8+Black


6th Aeroflot Chess Festival, Moscow, February 2007


1. e4e610. a4a6

2. d4d511. Ba3+Ne7

3. Nc3Bb412. Be8Qd8

4. e5c513. Bh5Nbc6

5. a3Bxc3+14. exf6gxf6

6. bxc3Qc715. Ng5Qa5

7. Qg4f616. 0-0f5

8. Bb5+Kf817. Qh4Black

9. Nf3c4resigns

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

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