Monday 19 August 2019

Chess

Alexander Baburin

Many leading Irish players and several visiting Grandmasters will be competing in the Irish Open, taking place from this Wednesday to next Monday in Gonzaga College. It will be followed by the Malahide Open (May 4-6). For details on these and other tournaments, visit www.icu.ie.

Magnus Carlsen achieved his highest rating so far (2882) in May of 2014, when he was 67 points ahead of No 2 (Aronian). Recently the gap between the champion and his nearest rivals narrowed to as little as 10-20 points, but after his recent victory in the Gashimov Memorial, Carlsen is again 44 points ahead of No 2 (Caruana). Carlsen scored 7 points in 9 games, finishing two points ahead of Ding Liren and Karjakin, bringing his current rating to 2861.

There were many nice games played in that tournament, but all of them were long battles, so today I'd like to show a nice miniature from a recent tournament in Barcelona:

Alonso - Cruz

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6

3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6

5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6

7.0-0 b5 8.Bb3 Nbd7

9.Re1 Nc5? (D)

Black should have opted for 9...Bb7 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bh4 g5 12.Bg3 Ne5, with mutual chances. In the Najdorf Variation the first mistake often becomes the last one as it happened in this game after a series of energetic strikes by White:

10.Bd5! Bb7 11.b4! exd5

12.bxc5 dxc5 13.exd5+ Kd7

14.Nc6 Bxc6 15.dxc6+ Kc7

16.Qf3 b4 17.Bf4+ Kb6

18.c7! Qc8 19.Rad1 1-0

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