Sunday 22 September 2019


Alexander Baburin

Last weekend Gavin Melaugh won the Malahide Millennium tournament, while Gonzaga qualified to the first division in the Four Nations Chess League. Meanwhile the world's top players are competing in the Grand Chess Tour tournament in Abidjan. It consists of rapid chess and blitz. Magnus Carlsen has won the rapid chess event with 7.5 points out of 9, finishing 1.5 points clear of Hikaru Nakamura. The blitz tournament will come to an end today.

Computers have dramatically changed chess at every level - nowadays even casual players have access to powerful chess-playing programs and massive databases. Yet, players often fail to do their homework properly and commit the same mistakes as many did before them. The following game, played a week ago in the championship of Vietnam between two players rated around 2000, is a case in point:

Pham - Duong

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6

This is the Philidor Defence, named after the 18th Century French player, who was then probably the best player in the world. Philidor was the official composer of the French court, as well as a bestselling chess author - his chess primer was translated into more than 100 languages!

3.Bc4 c6 4.d4 Nd7

5.dxe5 dxe5 6.0-0 Be7

7.Ng5! Nh6? (D)

Black had to settle for a slightly worse, but playable position arising after 7...Bxg5 8.Qh5 Qe7 9.Qxg5 Qxg5 10.Bxg5, but he fell into a well-known opening trap.

8.Ne6! fxe6 9.Bxh6 gxh6?

10.Qh5+ Kf8 11.Bxe6 1-0

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