Wednesday, September 05, 2007

UK versus China, again. So, I harshly criticized Wang Hao yesterday but now I am full of praise for the young man. Here he is, in Round Two, against one of the newest GMs of the UK, David Howell. There guys are very young. I think Wang Hao is 18 and Howell only 16. Howell owned a pair of bishops, but Wang controlled the G file plus a pawn anchor on H3. Howell never got to enjoy his bishop pair due to Wang's blitzkrieg along the G file and the H1-A8 diagonal. Wang Hao was simply top class in this game.

From the position above, Howell played 29. Be3. Why not challenge Wang on the G file with 23. Rg1? Well, there is 23..Ng4+ 24. Kh1 Nf2+ ( 24. Rg4 Rg4 ). Okay, lets continue with 29...Rg2+ 30. Kh1 Bc6
and black sets up for a very nasty discovered check. What to do? Howell fired off 31. Bf7 ( position below ). This move surprised me, but I quickly realized that there is nothing Howell can do to prevent the discovered check. Say, 31. Rg1 would fail against 31...Rf2+ 33. Rg2 Rg2.

From here, Wang played 31... Bf3. I wondered why not 31... Rg7+? Well, there is 32. d5 Nd5 33. Be6+ Kc7 34. Kh2 and white isn't as bad as in the game continuation. So, the game continued 32. Be6 Kb8 33. Bh3 Rdg8 ( what a move! ) 34. Bg2 Rg2 and white resigned (position below).

There is a serious threat of 35...Ng4 followed by 36...Rg3. If white played 35. Rg1 here, Wang could go 35...Rf2+ 36. Rg2 Rg2 37. Rf1 Bd4 with his victory secured.


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