Tuesday 22 August 2017

The Easter holiday traditionally is a busy time for chess players in Europe, as numerous tournaments take place across the Continent.

The Easter holiday traditionally is a busy time for chess players in Europe, as numerous tournaments take place across the Continent.

One of the biggest is the Neckar Open in Germany, where almost 400 players competed this year, including a sizeable Irish contingent.

IM Sam Collins had the best result among the Irish, scoring 6.5 points in 9 rounds and finishing in 14th place. 15-year old Gonzaga College pupil Conor O'Donnell also did well, finishing on 5.5 points.

The tournament was dominated by young Chinese Grandmaster Li Chao, who scored 8.5 points. This superb result gained him 18 rating points and moved him to the 15th position in the rating list.

I'd like to show one of his wins from this tournament.

Li Chao - Neef

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6

3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6

5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5

7.dxe5 dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8

9.Bg5 Rf8 10.Nd5 Nxd5

11.cxd5 c6 12.0-0 cxd5

13.exd5 e4 14.Nd2 f5

15.Rac1 Nd7 16.d6 Bf6

17.h4 Kg7?!

This move gives White the initiative. It was better to play 17...Nb6.

18.Rc7 h6

19.Bxf6+ Kxf6 20.f4 Nb6

21.g4! Rf7 22.g5+! hxg5 (D)

Black was probably expecting 23.hxg5+ Kg7 24.Nc4 Be6, with roughly equal chances. But the Chinese Grandmaster found a way to launch a deadly attack despite the limited material left:

23.Nxe4+! Kg7 24.Rxf7+ Kxf7

25.Nxg5+ Kf6 26.Bb5 a6

27.Re1! 1-0

Black resigned as after 27...axb5 28.Re7 he would not be able to avoid checkmate.

Sunday Independent

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