CHESS #1363

Topics CHESS | sports

Suryasekhar Ganguly won the prestigious One Belt One Road Open in Hunan, China, with 7 points from 9 games to bag $50,000. His wins included one incredible 16-mover against Wei Yi.  Yu Yangyi and Amin Bassem (both 6.5) tied for second-third. SSG’s performance rating was an amazing 2876 Elo, with a gain of 27-28 Elo, from a baseline rating of 2638.

In other good news, the World Cup will have a contingent of 11 Indians in the field of 128. The WC will be on the usual Knockout format, running from September 9 to October 4 in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia. The two finalists qualify for the 2020 Candidates. In the last 2017 edition, there were “only” six Indians. This time, ten including Viswanathan Anand, have qualified, while Nihal Sarin gets the FIDE President’s wild card. Incidentally, the Indian National Championships is now a full zonal so Aravindh Chithambaram enters as the national champion.

There is, as always, a massive Indian contingent at the Abu Dhabi Masters with 20-odd players in the Masters and another 20-odd in the Open (both run concurrently with the Open attracting the lower rated). Seven rounds in, Baadur Jobava (6.5) leads while Murali Karthikeyan is one of a group of six players on 5.5 chasing Jobava.

Meanwhile in Amsterdam, Russian billionaire Ilya Levitov sponsored the “Levitov Chess Week”, which was inspired by the legendary Melody Amber events (1992-2011). Levitov used a similar format; invitation only, with the games to be released later, with a blitz followed by rapids. Vladimir Kramnik, who retired from formal competition at Wijk An Zee this January, was persuaded to play. Ian Nepomniachtchi edged Alexander Grischuk (both 5 pts) because Nepo won their individual encounter.

In the Diagram, White to Play, (White: Ganguly Vs Black Wei Yi, Belt & Road 2019), Wei has just played 9.—Bc5. It’s a well-known tabiya from the English Opening. Here 9.—Rb8 is more popular, but Bc5 has been played several times before.

White usually responds 10. O-O. Ganguly found 10. Bf4!! Bxf2+ 11. Kf1 Nfg4 (Note that 11. — Neg4? 12. Nc7+ wins. It’s hard to move that knight. But black has a strong-looking attack.) 12. h3!! g5 (No discovery works here 12. – Ne3+ 13. Kxf2 Nd1+ 14. Ke1 Nxb2  15. Qb3 Nbxc4 16. Na3) 13. Bxg5 Bxg3 14. c5!! Qxc5 (White must see that the Queen can be pulled into a fork). The game ended 15. Ne4 Qg1+?! Wei Yi who has a great sense of humour grinned and resigned when Ganguly responded 16. Kxg1 for of course, 16. Rxg1 Nh2#. (1-0). Very accurate tactics had to be demonstrated, even if SSG had worked it all out earlier.

Devangshu Datta is an internationally rated chess and correspondence chess player

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