Monday 19 August 2019


Alexander Baburin

A week ago Magnus Carlsen won the Croatia Grand Chess Tour tournament with 8 points out of 11, with a rating performance of 2948. The world champion called it one of the best results in his career.

Carlsen has again reached his peak rating of 2882 - and now crossing the 2900 barrier looks quite possible.

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In the Croatian tournament, Wesley So came second with 7 points, while Levon Aronian and Fabiano Caruana tied for third on 6 points.

Many chess players choose risky openings, trying to fight for the initiative from the very beginning. This is a viable strategy, but it requires precise play from early on - something Black failed to show in the following game from a recent open tournament in Serbia:

Asadli - Peng

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 a6

3.g3 b5 4.Bg2 Bb7

5.Nge2 e6 6.d4 cxd4

7.Nxd4 Nf6 8.0-0 (D)

Black had chosen a risky opening line, delaying development of his kingside. But had he followed with his main idea with 8...b4!, chances would be equal after either 9.Na4 Bxe4 10.Bxe4 Nxe4 or 9.Nd5 exd5 10.exd5 Bc5, albeit in a very sharp position. Black's next two moves landed him in big trouble:

8...Qc7? 9.Re1! h5?

The line 9...d6 10.a4! b4 11.Nd5! exd5 12.exd5+ Kd8 13.Bg5, with a strong attack, would be a lesser evil for Black.

10.Bf4 d6 11.e5 dxe5

12.Bxe5 Qc8 13.Bxf6 gxf6

14.Nd5 Nd7 15.Qe2 Kd8

16.Nxe6+! fxe6 17.Qxe6 Bc5

18.Rad1 Bxd5 19.Rxd5 Ra7

20.Bh3 1-0

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