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World Cup, Tromsø; day one, game of the day

August 12, 2013

Yesterday was the first round of the Tromsø World Cup, a 128 player knock out tournament involving virtually all the top players. I will be rooting for Michael Adams, fresh from his Dortmund success, and also hoping Gawain Jones does well.

Last night and this morning I have played through some of the games, and one combination stood out. Screenprints from Chessbase.

Ray Robson 1-0 v Andrei Volikitin

From a standard Petrov, with typical manoeuvring, the following position was reached.

I haven't put the game through an engine, but here I thought white only had the smallest of edges: I missed the strength and effect of 24 Bg4, which causes black a lot of discomfort, and soon the board explodes.

Black exchanged a pair of rooks, and then played 26…f5 (see my further comments below)

Here, Robson played a truly shocking move: shockingly good move. 27 Bf5, and after 27…Nf5, 28 Re8+ and the rook can't be captured because of 29 Qe8 mate, so the king is forced out, and 29 Qs7+ pushes it out into the wide open, whilst also hitting the LPDO Rc8.

And here, Robson 'quietly' moved the rook back to e1, and black turns out to be helpless. The combination of the LPDO Rc8 and bringing more pieces to the party, with g4, overcome black's defences. 30g4?? itself wasn't possible because of 30…Qd1+ 0-1, but with black disorganised, there is time to play the lovely retreat 30 Re1.

A wonderful combination.


Further comments

I suspect black should have played 24…Re1+ 25 Re1 Ne4!, since the knight can't be captured because white would be back rank mated. So say 26 Qf5 and 26…Re8, relying on the same cheapo (who says blitz is bad for your game) when white probably has to throw his h pawn forward, 27 h4 g6, when I think it is unclear- note that white can't hit the rook with 27 Qd7 because the queen must defend f2 from Qf2+ (same comment re blitz cheapos).

Or, maybe, 24…f5 without exchanging rooks, which I think is just a swap of the f pawn for the c3 pawn. I think even 24…Ne4 might suffice, since there are again back rank mate (25 Re4?? Qa1+) and Qf2+ threats: but 24…Re1+ and 25…Ne4 looks best to me.

However, Black's losing move was 26..f5: simply 26…Rf8 and if 27 Qc7 Nb5 gets the pawn back. There might be a back rank mate tactic in some lines (Bd7 and Qf8+) but I bet these could be avoided, and at worst black has a difficult ending with white having a passed d pawn. When I get home, and am reunited with Houdini, I might see what he has to say.


From → Chess

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