Saturday, January 17, 2009

Corus 2009 has begun, and 15-yr old Filipino GM Wesley So won his first round game as black against Nijboer. You will find GM So in Group C where there is plenty of good competition, but I think he can hold his own in Group B. Swap Mecking, who is in Group B, for So. With all due respect to the man, Mecking is no longer the world class player that he was. I know, he got sick and had to stop actively competing. Yes, what could have been. But, again, the reality is that he is no longer the same player he was in the 1970s. What are his latest successes? Is there a place for sympathy voting in chess? Looks like there is.
This game started out as a Sicilian, and ended as a rook / knight / pawn ending. Take a look at that white knight on c8. It will take one move to just get it back into the action. White actually has material advantage here. So's superior knight and king position plus a more advanced passed pawn made this a winning endgame. Here is the final position after 67...e3. A pawn race will be your first scenario, but that will be good for black : 68. g6 e2 69. g7 e1(Q) 70. g8(q) Qc3+ 71. Ka4 Qb4 mate. Nijboer could also hassle So with a few knight moves, but it's pretty late in the game really : 68. Nd6 e2 69. Nf5+ Kc5 ( there's no way to stop black's pawn from queening ) 70. Kc3 e1(Q) + and the win is much easier now.


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