Archive for the ‘Corus 2010’ Category

The Fabulous 10s: Computer-Assisted Dragons

January 27, 2010

Or, Maybe, Computers NOT Assisting on Dragons in Holland

Random, bizarre move sequences appear on the board!  Or, maybe computers were NOT working – check the horrific blunder pair on moves 17 and 18!

[Event “Corus C”]

[Site “Wijk aan Zee NED”]

[Date “2010.01.26”]

[Round “9”]

[White “Li Chao”]

[Black “Robson,R”]

[Result “1-0”]

[WhiteElo “2604”]

[BlackElo “2570”]

[EventDate “2010.01.16”]

[ECO “B77”]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. h4 Ne5

Since Robson was leading the tournament, this opening choice was a terrible idea! Why don’t American players have safety openings?  Now, OTOH (on the other hand), young Ray gets bravery points.  But if the Dragon is not his regular opening (and it is not), it is a monumental and perverse task to “get used to” its idiosyncratic patterns.  It’s a one-of-a-kind death-defying choice.

11. Bb3 h5

Personally I’ve always regarded this move (I believe popularized by Soltis first, maybe others?) with suspicion.  It increases the force of Nd4-f5 sacrifices in many lines.

12. O-O-O Rc8 13. Bg5 Rc5 14. Kb1 b5 15. g4 hxg4

Dangerous Deviation Alert!

16. h5

Deviation alert!  16. Bxf6! is a very dangerous try here, eliminating black’s most important defensive piece!  16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. h5 gxh5 18. Nf5! Nxf3 19. Qh6 Rxf5!! (only this way!) 20. Qg6+ with a perpetual check!  Wow!  If black avoids a perpetual with 20…Bg7?, after 21. exf5 white is much better.  The text is an old try and “discredited” in the sense white gets no advantage.  But maybe it caught black by surprise.  Note that 16. Bxf6 exf6? 17. h5 gxh5 18. Qh2! Nc4 19. Bxc4 bxc4 20. Qxd6! gives white a big advantage.

16…Nxh5 17. Nd5

Old Theory Quiz: Black's best defense is.... ?

17…Nf6? (??)

Maybe my theory is out of date, but 17…Re8! 18. Rxh5 gxh5 19. Qh2 (as in an old Short game, Short-Mandl Germany 1986 where black botched the defense and went down in flames) is met by 19…gxf3! 20. Qxh5 Bg4! and black holds.  This happened in a game Lagumina – Magalotti, Forli 1991 and black indeed drew.

Note that also in the precomputer era, 19. Qh2 Rc4? 20. Bxc4 bxc4 21. Qxh5 with a big white edge happened in Karpov-Sznapik, Dubai 1986 Olympiad.

The computer shows no advantage for white after 17…Re8! – readers?

The game move looks really bad; i.e. immediately losing.  Is it possible Robson was making stuff up in this, the sharpest of all opening choices?

18. Bh6??

A monumental blunder in return. It’s impossible to say what Chao was thinking.   The guy is rated 2604 and he misses a win that any schoolboy would play – capture, capture, and mate!  Isn’t that the entire point of the Yugoslav Attack?

The elementary 18. Nxf6+ wins easily. If 18…Bxf6 19. Qh2! simply checkmates black. If 18…exf6 19. Bh6! forces 19…Bh8, since 19…f5 is crushed by 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21. Qh6+ Kf6 22. f4 and wins. After 19…Bh8, white wins with the easy 20. Bxf8 Qxf8 21. Qh2 Qg7 22. fxg4 Bxg4 23. Rdg1 and wins.

What was in the water in this game? (or the Dutch pea soup?)

18…Nxd5 19. Bxg7 Kxg7 20. Qh6+ Kf6

Did Chao miss the king could run? Embarrassing! But look what happens!

21. exd5 Nxf3 22. Ne2?

22. Nxf3 keeps the balance.  Now Chao has overstepped even the bounds of an even game!


22…Bf5 consolidates and wins for black without too much trouble!

23. dxe6 Bxe6 24. Qf4+ Rf5 25. Qxg4 Kg7 26. Bxe6 fxe6 27. Nd4 Nxd4 28. Qxd4+ e5 29. Qxa7+ R8f7 30. Qe3 Qg5 31. Qd3 Qf6
32. a3 Rf2 33. Qh3 Qf5?

Apparently black was down to increments.  33…Kg8! was bad  (but not losing) for him after 34. Rxd6 Rf1+ 35. Rd1! but it was forced.  But doesn’t white’s play over the last few moves look pretty random?  Maybe he was in time trouble too.

34. Qh8+ Mate 1-0

For the gawking observers, what the HELL was going on this opening? Will we ever know?

The Fabulous 10s: World Team 10, The New Chess

January 13, 2010

The New Chess!

When young Grandmasters whip out crazy theory backed by millions of pre-game CPU cycles, this is the new chess, Ladies and Gentlemen.

[Event “World Team”]
[Site “Turkey”]
[Date “2010.01.12”]
[White “Vitiugov, Nikita” (Russia)]
[Black “Rodshtein, Maxim” (Israel)]
[Result “1-0”]

[ECO “D15”]

1. c4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 a6 5. d4 b5 6. b3 Bg4 7. h3 Bxf3 8. Qxf3 e5!!?

The New Chess, Indeed

I believe Levon Aronian started to popularize this wild shot.  What follows is a sequence of bizarre and somewhat logical moves resulting in more computer-aided insanity.

9. dxe5 Bb4 10. Bd2 Bxc3 11. Bxc3 Ne4 12. Bb4 bxc4 13. Qg4

So far, so crazy modern theory.  Note that 13. bxc4 Nd7! (13…c5 14. Rd1!) 14. Rb1 Rb8 15. cxd5 cxd5 16. Qd1 Qh4 17. g3 Nxg3 18. fxg3 Qe4 19. Rh2 a5 is equal!

13… c5 14. f3 Nc6 15. fxe4 Nxb4 16. Qxg7 Rf8 17. exd5


17…Qh4+ My computer, admittedly running on fewer cycles than the players, prefers the absolutely craven material grab 17…Nc2+ 18. Kf2 Nxa1 19. Bxc4 Nc2 20. Qxh7 Na3 – talk about a laborious capture-and-slink-back! –  and here is a sample absurd continuation: 21. d6 Nxc4 22. bxc4 Rb8 23. Rf1 Qg5 24. Rb1 Rxb1 25. Qxb1 Rg8 26. Qb7 Qh4+ 27. Kg1 Kf8 28. Qc8+ Kg7 and black is happy since his King has somehow found safety.  Well, if my computer is much newer, its shorter ponder time might have accomplished the same cycles.  The players and I need to compare computer benchmarks.

18. Ke2 Qe4 19. Kf2 (19. bxc4?! Nc2 20. Qh6 Nd4+ 21. Ke1 Rb8)

19… Nc2 20. Qh6 Qg6 21. Qf4 Nxa1 22. Bxc4 Nc2 23. d6 Rg8 24. g4!

This is terrible for black.  White completely dominates.  I refer to the prior note on move 17 for a possible improvement.

24…Ra7 25. Rd1 Qg5 26. Qe4 Rg6 27. Ke2 h5

A nice win is to be had

28. Rd5?

Here White missed a vicious win.  28. d7+!! Rxd7 (28… Kd8 29. Bxf7 Rh6 30. e6 Nb4 (30… Qe7 31. Qc6 wins) 31. e7+ Qxe7 32. Qxe7+ wins) 29. Bxf7+ Rxf7 (29… Kxf7 30. Rxd7+ Ke8 31. Qb7 Qxe3+ 32. Kd1 and wins, an amazing variation and the one most likely missed by white!) 30. Qa8+ Ke7 31. Qd8+ Ke6 32. Qd6 mate)

28… Kd8? In mild time trouble, black has to try the tricky 28… Qh4! – the only correct response is  29. Qxc2!.  Note after 29. Rxc5?? Qe1+! black turns the tables and wins!

After 29. Qxc2!  Qxh3 30. Rxc5 white should take the point.

29. Qxc2 Now white wins without much trouble and even gets to finish it with a nice blow.

29…hxg4 30. e6 Qh6 31. e7+ Ke8 32. Qf5 Rd7 33. Qxf7+! Nice.  Mate in 8.

The rather cruel computer points out that 33. Rxc5 is Mate in 7!

At any rate, in the game, if black takes it is indeed mate: 33… Kxf7 34. Rf5+ Kg7 35. Rf7+ Kh8 36. e8=Q+ Rg8 37. Qe5+ Rg7 38. Rf8+ Kh7 39. Bd3+ Rg6 40. Qh8 mate.


A competitively important win for white – vive the New Chess!

Corus “B” Prediction

Here’s the round 1 pairings.

Round 1 – Saturday the 16th
Ni – E. l’Ami
E. Sutovsky – D. Reinderman
T. Nyback – L. Nisipeanu
A. Giri – P. Harikrishna
D. Howell – P. Negi
A. Muzychuk – V. Akobian
A. Naiditsch – W. So

Looking at this list of strong grandmasters, and noticing young GM Parmesan (Cheese) Negi, and other luminaries of the junior chess world, I predict the redoubtable Wesley So from the Philippines to have a monster result.  Not sure if he will win it ahead of tough cookie Nispy or Arkady (Mr Vienna) Naiditsch, but So has a great shot at winning the “B”.  So there!   Recent games from Wesley (Wesley is the name of a crazed serial killer in books by Andrew Vachss, but that doesn’t relate to the Corus prediction) have been most impressive.     Super young GM Giri is a force, but I think So having only half the letters brings double the chess to the table.  Look for Giri to do well and So to do even better.  Hopefully Naiditsch will lose in a Vienna causing him to CHANGE OPENINGS!   I don’t like it when a strong GM repeats a single, narrow variation ad nauseum.

For A Change in Perspective

First, a giant cactus.

It's tall

Second, a vessel sink schematic (you wouldn’t know this, but the material is Italian Travertine granite).


Thirdly, a new toy line.