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Thursday 19 September 2019

Chess

Alexander Baburin

The seventh Sinquefield Cup finished three days ago in Saint Louis. Ding Liren and Magnus Carlsen tied for first with 6.5 points out of 11, while Viswanathan Anand and Sergey Karjakin shared third on 6 points.

In the tie-break for the title, Ding Liren defeated Carlsen 3-1. Carlsen lost a few rating points in this tournament, but he is still way ahead of the field with his current rating of 2,876. Caruana remains second with 2,812, but after his Sinquefield Cup success, Ding Liren is just one point behind him.

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In chess, it is much easier to attack than to defend. The attacking side can focus on one line of play, while the defender has to consider all possible options, which often looks like navigating between Scylla and Charybdis. Few players can do it and in the following game from the Korchnoi Memorial Open in St Petersburg, Black failed in that task:

Bykov - Ismagilov

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6

3.Nc3 c6 4.e4 dxe4

5.Nxe4 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Qxd4

7.Bxb4 Qxe4+ 8.Be2 Na6

9.Ba5 Bd7 10.Nf3 Nf6

11.0-0 0-0 12.Re1 c5

13.Bd3 Qg4? (D)

Black was facing a difficult choice - he probably rejected 13...Qc6 in view of 14.Bc3! Rfd8 15.Ne5 Qb6 16.Re3! Be8 17.Rh3! h6 18.Ng4 and White's attack is unstoppable.

Only 13...Qf4! would have allowed Black to stay in the game. Black's move looked reasonable too, but White refuted it with a very clever manoeuvre:

14.Qc1!! Nb4 15.Bxb4 cxb4

16.Re5! Nd5 17.cxd5 Rac8

18.Qd2 exd5 19.h3 1-0

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