Sunday, January 14, 2007

Corus 2007
Here's Topalov's win over Van Wely in Round Two, Sicilian Najdorf. I must say that this game is a good example of the Sicilian game wherein black attacks on the queenside and white attacks on the kingside. Who gets there the " fastest with the mostest " is the winner.
Topalov allowed Van Wely to play 33.. Ra2, and I asked myself why? The rook check on a1 is mate, and white better have something in mind to prevent it. I couldn't see anything on the 8th rank that would work for white because of the rook on b8. The rook on a2 is not free. If white captured the rook with 34. Ka2, then 34... Ra8+ leads to the same mate. What to do?
Evidently, there is an illusion at work here, and probably one of the reasons why masters are masters and people like me are not. White playing 34. Qd3 gets him out of the mating net but this is not the knockout punch that will put black away since 34... Ra1+ keeps black in the game. Topalov played 34. Qg8+, Ke7 and then 35. Ka2! Now the rook is free because the check on a8 is no longer possible, and that's what the illusion was. The queen is also attacking the black rook in the same way that the rook is attacking the queen. So, Van Wely resigned here because after 35... Rg8 36. Bg8 white is a rook up.

Victory from the jaws of defeat. That is the only way I can describe the following game. Once in a while, your pieces are all in the right places to make it possible. If not for the tempo-gaining checks, I would not be able to pull off this great escape.
Black had just played the seemingly crushing 32... Rb1. There are two main variations from here and both begin with the very convenient and temporizing 33. e7+.
Let's see how the game went from here: 33...kf7 34. e8(Q)+, kf6 35. qe6+, kg6 36. rg7+, kf4 37. qe5+ ( missing 37. qe4# ) , kf3 38. rg3+, kf2 and finally 39. qe2# with only four seconds left on my clock!
The other variation goes from 33. ...ke8 34. rc8+, kf7 35. e8(Q)+, kg7 36. qh8+, kg5 37. rg8+, kf7 and finally 38. qg7#. There are sub-variations under these two main lines, and I will leave it up to the reader to explore them.

Corus, 2007
The world champion Kramnik managed to break through Shirov's position via the open C file. Kramnik played a positional game up to this point very much unlike the complicated and tactical game that Shirov is known for. Perhaps, time trouble led Shirov to move his rook to b7 from b8 with 34... Rb7? Nevertheless, this move is Shirov's ticket to the Blunder Club of which Kramnik is chairman ( Fritz 10 match ). Kramnik did not even have the opportunity to play 35. Re6 when Shirov resigned.

Monday, January 08, 2007

So, we get angry with ourselves for commiting gross blunders. Here's something to ease your mind, and you can take it easy on yourself when such things happen. Morozovich had a winning position against Radjabov at the first ACP World Rapid Chess Cup at Odessa, January 2007. Morozevich had just played the incredible move 64. b5?? Radjabov took the rook on c5 and Morozevich immediately resigned his game.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

It's one of those times when your position looks like it came out of an endgame manual. Which pawn to push? I chose the wrong plan which begins with 37...Ra1. The white king was able to menace tha passed A pawn and rook, and ultimately the A pawn was captured. The right plan would have started with 37... Rg4, seeking an exchange of rooks. White will, of course, refuse to exchange the rooks and play something like 38. Ra6. At this point, black should move his king and passed H pawn down the file while his rook screens them from any attack. The passed A pawn will serve only as a diversionary tactic.