There were 42 participants in the blitz tournament, held right after the Helsinki chess festival invitational tournament. Number of the best Finnish lightning chess players took part, and so did over ten foreign players too. After nine double rounds and eighteen hard-fought games, Toivo Keinänen was the one to win the tournament. Once again, as was the case in the junior tournament a few hours earlier.
A rare type of four rook ending occurred in Peebo – Mishuchkov. With four pawns each on the kingside white is struggling, but it should be holdable.
The first idea to come to mind is 32.Reh4 Rd5 33.f4, and I believe 33…h5 34.gxh6 Kh7 is unwinnable – black can only capture both the d4- and h6-pawns by allowing one pair of rooks to be exchanged, and that is it – but I’m not completely sure.
Similarly, 33.f4 leaves only limited chances.
33…Rd5 34.Kg3? Rf5
A pity, it would have been interesting to see this played out “correctly”.
35.Rf4 Rxg5+ 36.Rhg4 Rxg4+ 37.Rxg4 f5 38.Rh4 Kg7 39.Rh1 h5 40.Ra1 g5 0-1
Mishuchov moved to plus two, but Heikki Westerinen won his game and he and Rantanen lead with plus four going into the last round. The latter needed a bit of ingenuity to survive.
Kestutis Kaunas – Yrjö Rantanen
Very tempting, but c5-c4 is the standard reaction to cxb5, if playable, and here it’s best. Black doesn’t even particularly need to get his pawn back.
22.fxe4 Re5 is possible, but black will capture the e4-pawn and get possession of the open line, with fair chances.
22…g4 23.Qd2 Re5 24.c4 Qe7
It is better to take the bishop and pawn on e4, but that would have been very unlike Yrjö, as I know him. Surely the gun on the e-line is worth a couple of pawns, in a practical game.
25.Bd3 Re8 26.f4 Re3 27.a4?
Any consolidating move was called for.
He puts his finger on the right spot, but 27…Nxd5 28.cxd5 c4 already worked, white perhaps surviving 29.Bxc4 Qe4+ 30.Kf2 Qxc4 31.Rfe1.
He must play this, the guard dies but does not surrender. After anything else white plays safety moves, and he was in quite a bit of time trouble.
29.cxd5 Qxd5 30.Rae1
There is nothing after 30.Rad1 Qd4 31.Bc2 – 31…Rd3+ 32.Qf2 or 31…Rxg3+ 32.Kh1 – but that sort of thing is not easy with 30 seconds on the clock.
Presumably very happy with a draw, black, who in contrast had loads of time, eschews 30…Qd4, with a considerable advantage.
31.Rxe1 Rxe1 32.Qxe1 Qxd3 33.Qe8+ Kh7 ½-½
In the juniors Toivo Keinänen secured his tournament victory, while the girls’ saw a remarkable 5-0 victory for black. Mai Narva won her seventh straight game and looks to be sure as well.
In the junior group, Jens Ingebretsen decided the game against Casper Liu with a nice breakthrough. The game had been a fine slugfest all along, and black had allowed his winning position to slip away, and now the e4-pawn doesn’t look so dangerous at first sight.
Teasing the rook with 34.Bd6 makes a draw, for instance 34…Rb6 35.Bc5 b2 36.Rb1 and there is always Ba3. If the next game move was a winning attempt, it was ill advised in any case, there would be no winning chances even if black’s next move didn’t exist; it seems he spent very little time on it, although he had plenty left, something that the present writer can only too well sympathize with – speaking from experience.
And 35.fxe3 Bf5 36.Bc3 b2 37.Bxb2 Rxb2 offers no hope, nor does 35.Kf1 Bb5+ 36.Ke1 Bd3.
Now 36.Bc3 b2 is much the same.
36.f3 Bf5 37.Rb2 Rxb4 0-1
The leaders in the senior and junior groups took it easy, their opponents not challenging them. In the girls’ tournament Mai Narva took the sole lead with brisk win.
Mai Narva – Gabija Simkunaite
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e5 5.Nb5 a6 6.Nd6+ Bxd6 7.Qxd6 Qf6 8.Qd1
The Löwenthal variation may well be playable, even if all reasonable white queen moves hold promise of an advantage. There is a certain charm to it.
8…Qg6 9.Nc3 Nge7 10.Be3
For the most famous game of the variation, check Fischer – Tal, Curacao 1962, where black achieved a good position after 10.h4 h5 11.Bg5 d5 12.Bxe7 d4, although he lost in the end.
10…d5 11.exd5 Nb4 12.Bd3 Nxd3+ 13.Qxd3 Qxd3 14.cxd3 Bf5
This is the basic aim of the variation. It’s a defensive choice to enter this, but black should have no problems. On the other hand, there are no winning chances whatsoever; one must have the right attitude.
15.Bc5 Rd8 16.d6 Nc8 17.0-0-0 Kd7 18.f3 Kc6 19.Bb4 Nxd6 20.g4 Bg6
This was well played by Black. 18.f3 was clearly ment to hinder 18.d4 e4, and basically black can draw many positions comfortably a pawn down.
But this is a mistake. After 21…Nc4 white has no particularly good way to react to the threat on the d4-pawn, and a handshake, signalling peace, might be close. 22.b3 exd4 23.bxc4 dxc3 24.Bxc3 Bd3 is of course not yet dead.
This loses instantly, but in any case white was about to play Rhd1 and perhaps Nd5, and now the bishop on 6 doesn’t help at all.
23.Rc4+ Kd7 24.Rd1+ Ke6 25.Re1+ 1-0
Meanwhile our birthday child, Heikki Westerinen, scored another win in his sober, down to earth style, arousing speculation of a possible Finnish double success. Or perhaps he can snatch the whole tournament? His friend Yrjö better watch his step.
Heikki Westerinen – Kalle Peebo
1.e4 d6 2.d4 e5 3.Nf3 exd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Bc4 Nc6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.0-0 Be6 9.Qd3
9…Nf6 10.Bxe6 fxe6 11.e5 Ng4
Surely the knight belongs on d5.
12…cxd6 13.Qe2 Ne5 14.f4 is the tactical problem – now black is left with a shambles of a pawn structure.
13.Qh3 h5 14.Ne4 Qe5 15.Re1 0-0 16.Qg3
This allows 16…Qxg3 17.hxg3 Bd4 18.Re2 Nxf2 19.Nxf2 Rxf2 20.Rxf2 Rf8 21.Bf4 e5, and it will probably be a draw. Earlier 15.f3 was better.
16.Qd5? 17.h3 Be5 18.f4 1-0
The sixth round featured games between numbers one and two on the leaderboard in all three groups. Anastasia Nazarova, as white, had had problems typical of a Sicilian gone wrong – bad harmony between pieces, worse pawn structure – when she let her rook be trapped in the middle of the board. The ensuing loss of the exchange would have been hopeless, so she tried a desperado attack. Her opponent Mai Narva was on the alert and they now share the lead with 5/6.
After the following game, Keinänen is two points ahead with three to play, and faces the nearest pursuer, Ilja Semjonovs, in the seventh round at 10 am on saturday the 17th.
Marat Askerov – Toivo Keinänen
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 b5
A relatively new way of treating what can be called the main line of the open Catalan.
Ancient wisdom would have it that you cannot allow such holes on your queenside, at least not without hitting a knight on c3. The c4-pawn will obviously be lost, a recent game Ding Liren – Magnus Carlsen went 9.Nfd2 Nd5 10.Nxc4. But black gets active piece play; particularly the bishop on c8 is often the problem in the traditional lines, nothing of the sort in this game.
9.Bg5 Ba6 10.Nbd2
10…b3 11.Qc1 Nc6 12.Nxc4 Nb4 13.Nfe5 Rc8 14.Na5 c5
15.Nac6 Nxc6 16.Nxc6 Qd7 17.Nxe7+ Qxe7 18.d5
The entire sequence 10-17 was very natural, though there were alternatives. It already feels a little awkward for white, but no real damage has been done. After for instance 18.dxc5 Bxe2 19.Re1 Rxc5 20.Bxf6 gxf6 21.Qe3 black can’t really expect to win. It’s not easy to give a pawn so early with white…
18…exd5 19.Bxd5 c4 20.Re1 h6 21.Bxf6 Qxf6
But this simply very annoying. It’s now essential to prevent c4-c3 with the less-than-aesthetic 22.Rb1. The next move also crucially opens the line c2-f2.
22.e4 c3 23.e5
The main problem is 23.bxc3 Rxc3 24.Qb2 Rxg3+. If the queen goes elsewhere on move 24, the passer on b3 is too strong.
23…Qb6 24.e6 cxb2 25.exf7+ Kh8
26.Qxb2 Rc2 27.Qxc2 bxc2 28.Re8 Qc5 29.Rae1 g5 30.Bb3 Bd3 31.Rxf8+ Qxf8 0-1
In the seniors, the next pair were a full point ahead.
Kalle Peebo – Yrjö Rantanen
1.e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Nc3 a6 4. g3 g6 5. d4 cxd4 6.Qxd4
White changes course after seeing g6, but the white pieces don’t play very well together in what follows.
6… Nf6 7. e5 Nc6 8. Qa4 Ng4 9. exd6
After 20 minutes’ thought. He will have considered 9…Qb6 10.Nd1, when 10…Qb4+ 11.Qxb4 Nxb4 12.Nd4 e5 13.a3 exd4 14.axb4 Bxd6 is a forced possibility, and black must be doing well.
10. Bg2 Qe6+
I think this enticed Yrjö, but firstly there is now 11.Kf1!?, typical of these g3-Sicilians…
11.Ne2 Bd712. h3 Nge5 13. Qb3
…and after the engines’ 13.Ng5 Qc4 – other queen moves don’t convince either – 14.Qxc4 Nxc4 15.b3 Bg7 16.c3 white has everything in order.
13…Qxb3 14. axb3 Nxf3+ 15. Bxf3 Nb4
16. Be4 O-O-O 17. c3
17.Bd2 Bc6 18.Bxb4 Bxe4 19.0-0 Bg7 would be a better version, but black has an obvious advantage.
17.Bc6 18. cxb4 Bxe4 19. Rg1
It may have been possible to castle, but of course white was concerned about 19.0-0 Bd3 20.Re1 Bxe2 21.Rxe2 Rd1+ 22.Kg2. However 22…Bh6 23.Bxh6 Rxa1 24.Rxe7 must be an easy draw – of course black doesn’t need to play 22…Bh6 (or 19…Bd3 for that matter).
19…Bg7 20.Nc3 Bc2
Surely 20…Bf3 wuold have ended the game quickly, but this is more than sufficient.
and black converted his advantage in a leisurely manner, deciding the game with a typical exchange sacrifice:
42… R6xd4 43.cxd4 Rxd4 44.Rb2 Bd5 45.Ree2 Rxb4
and the passed pawns forced white to resign on the 57thmove (0-1).
Kjetil Strand – Yrjö Rantanen
Rantanen tried an old, disputed favourite of many Finnish players. In the Sicilian accelerated Dragon, after
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bc4 0-0 8.Bb3 a5
the main argument arises after the gambit 9.f3 d5. Castling is not even mentioned in old theory books; yet things are perhaps not so clear as was assumed.
9.0-0 a4 10.Nxa4 Nxe4 11.Nb5 d6 12.Qe2
and black was not able to show the worth of the central pawns and pair of bishops (after Na5xb3).
Objectively black should have no hope, but as long as there is life there’s hope…
33.Nd5 is he refutation. After 33…Qxe4 34.Qh6 there is no check and 34…Rf7 35.Rd8+ mates. 34.Ne7+ is the threat and 33…Qf2 34.Re2 or 33…Qf3 34.Qh6 lose. Psychologically the trickiest is maybe 33…Kh8 34.Qh6, because Qh6 was not a threat and Rd7 is still hanging.
After 34.Qxb7 g5 white can exchange on h7 and take the knight.
34…Ne3 35.Qxb7 Nxg4+ 36.hxg4 Qf4+ 37.Kh3 Qf1+ 38.Kg3 Qf2+ 0-1
This saw Rantanen flying high in the standings and set him up for a round six clash with co-leader Kalle Peebo, who beat the 1974 Leningrad champion, Vladimir Karasev.
In the juniors’, black had misplayed a Kings Indian.
Hilmir Freyr Heimisson – Luitjen Akselsson Apol
A simple line like 24.Rhxg6+ hxg6 25.h4 leaves white probably winning in higher sense. Possibly misled by the fact that a couple of moves earlier black had avoided Nh5xf4 gxf4, and somewhat short of time, white invaded on the open line.
24.Rd6 Nxf4 25.gxf4 Qh6
And a piece had gone west. It is unusual for a queen to trap a knight in the middlegame. This is what constitutes brilliance, according to Boleslavsky: you attack a piece (not with a pawn, of course) and there is nothing the opponent can do about it. Although he wouldn’t have included the run-up to the position in that category.
White wisely avoided taking on f5, activating black, and such was the dominance of his position that after
26.Rg3 Qxh4 27.Rg5 Qh6 28.a4
he had almost enough compensation, and later on he did. The game was drawn after 44 moves.
There would have been a nice line 45.Kh2 Qg5 46.Qxh7+ Rh6 47.Qf7+ Kg4+ 48.Kg1 Qc1+ 49.Bf1 Rh1+ 50.Kxh1 Qxf1+ 51.Kh2 Qxf2+ 52.Kh1 Qxb6.
Andrei Timoshin – Toivo Keinänen
34.h6+ Kg8 35.Qe3 Rd4
The pin on the long diagonal prevents 36.g3. It is possible to play 36.Rf1, e.g. 36…gxf4 37.Rxf4 Qg5?? 38.Rxd4. The back rank played a role also after
36.fxg5 Re4 37.Qg3 Qd6
and now there is 38.Qd3, although black has the better endgame.
38.Re1? c4! 39.bxc4 b3
And now there was something of an echo on the other back rank:
40.Qc3 Rxe1+ 41.Qxe1 Be4+ 42.Ka1 Qxe5 and 60 0-1
In the girl’s tournament, an interesting endgame occurred. White had lost her earlier excellent winning chances, and seeing that black is about to play f5-f4, she must make sure of the draw.
Ellen Fredericia Nilssen – Mai Narva
42…f4 43.hxg5 fxg3 44.fxg3 is a draw, but now the bishop should go to b7.
was already unpleasant, the threat being 44…Rd8, and 44.Bxh7 Ra2# is not on. 44.Bb3 is still OK.
Now after 45.Ka4 gxh4 there is a check on d4 (there is still 46.Bxh7, but according to computer tablebases, it is still a loss).
45.Ka6 f4 46.Bxh7
46.hxg5 fxg3 47.fxg3 Rd6+ 48.Kb7 Rd7+ 49.Ka6 Rg7 50.Ba2 Rxg5 51.g4 will now also lose – the f3-pawn will drop.
46…fxg3 47.fxg3 Rd6+ 48.Kb7 gxh4 0-1
Because of 49.gxh4 Rd7+ – 48.Ka5 would have made no difference.
The junior group saw a dramatic battle, where white didn’t shun risks and ultimately fortune favoured the brave. With the win, Askerov kept the leader Keinänen in his sights.
Marat Askerov – Andrei Timoshin
1.d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. cxd5 cxd5 4. Bf4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. e3 e6 7. Bd3 Bd6 8.Bxd6 Qxd6 9. f4
The exchange variation is not the sharpest try against the Slav, but by delaying the development of the g1-knight white has prevented symmetry, and now he can play a stonewall without his nominally worse bishop.
9… a6 10. Nf3 b5 11. O-O O-O 12. Rc1 Bb7 13. Ne5
White starts an attacking plan which was already popularized by Harry Nelson Pillsbury in the 1890s. Here it is very double-edged, because the open c-line guarantees black good counterplay.
13… Ne7 14. Qf3 Qb4 15.Rc2 Nf5 16. g4 Nd6
Thematic, but 17.f5 is also dangerous. The black queen may have erred too far to the left.
17… Nfe4 18. Qh5 Nf5 19. Rf3 g6
19…f6 20.exf6 Nxf6 keeps a more breathing position and would perhaps be the choice of the nervous player.
20. Qh3 Qe7
21. Bxe4 dxe4 22. Ng4
Very sharp indeed, and incorrect in the final reckoning. If white had played 21.Ng4, the normal reaction would be 21…h5 22.gxh6 Kh7.
22… exf3 23. Nf6+ Qxf6 24. gxf6 Nxe3 25. Nd1 Nf5 26. Rc5 h5
Black is OK materially and positionally white has no hope, so he tries quite a remarkable swindle.
Black used a good deal of time on this move, leaving himself relatively little, but he missed something: 27…Nxe3 28.Rxh5 gxh5 29.Qxh5 Nf5 30.Qg5+ Kh7 31.Qh5+ Nh6, or 29.Qg3+ Ng4 30.h3 and 30…Kh7 is the simplest.
28. Nxf5 exf5 29. Qf1 Rfe8 30. Qc1 Rcd8 31. Re5
Black collapses in a now unclear position. Probably he overlooked that the queens passage to h6 opens, so he can’t play Rd7 next.
31… Rxe5 32. fxe5 f4 33. Qc7 Rxd4 34. Qxb7 g5 35. e6 Rd1+ 36. Kf2 Rd2+ 37. Kxf3 g4+ 38. Kxf4 Rf2+ 39. Kg5 1-0
On to the third round. I can’t help showing another of Toivo’s wins, so clearly it stood out. It seems he has worked on some sharp opening preparation.
Hilmir Freyr Heimisson – Toivo Keinänen
1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bf4 0-0 6.e3 c5 7.dxc5 Bxc5 8.a3 Nc6 9.Qc2 Re8
Carlsen surprised Anand in the 2014 World Championship match with this very rare move of David Janowski’s from 1898. Anand avoided the critical test by playing 10.Bg5; later, he continued the discussion…
10.0-0-0 e5 11.cxd5
…for black. His game against Topalov in the 2016 London Chess Classic continued 11.Bg5 d4 12.Nd5 and Anand went on to win a spectacular game with 12…b5 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.cxb5 Na5 15.exd4 exd4 16.Nb4 Bxb4 17.axb4 Be6 18.Nxd4 Rc8 19.Nc6 Nxc6 20.bxc6 Qb6, 34.0-1.
11…exf4 12.dxc6 Qc7 13.Nd5 Qxc6 14.Nxf6+ Qxf6 15.Rd5
Clearly white can’t contemplate 15.Qxc5 Bf5, so black is more than comfortable. Now even 15… Bxa3 16.bxa3 Be6 would be possible, white subjected to a terrible attack. But unless one knows or can calculate everything to the end, it’s understandable to take a clear and easy positional advantage.
15… Bb6 16.Ng5 g6 17.Ne4 Qe7 18.Nc3 fxe3 19.Bb5 Rf8 20.fxe3 Qxe3+ 21.Kb1 Be6 22.Rhd1
Understandable desperation. All simplification leads to a clear cut technical endgame win.
22… Bxd5 23.Nxd5 Qe5 24.Qb3 Rad8 25.Bc4 Bd4 26.a4 b6 27.Rf1
Again, some other moves may be analytically more precise, but 28.Qxb2 Rxd5 29.Bxd5 Qxd5 leaves no questions.
28.Nf6+ Qxf6 29.Rxf6 Bxf6 30.Bd5 Rd7 0-1
The rooks will shortly roam in white’s backyard.
This left Keinänen a full point in front, but there are three chasers. In the seniors, four players are tied on 2/3; how long can the equality last? The winner of the following game has maximum points in the girl’s competition.
Anastasia Nazarova – Sarabella Norlamo
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3
The fashion – in the 1860s as well as in the 2010s.
5…d6 6.c3 g6 7.0-0 Bg7 8.Re1 0-0 9.Nbd2 b5 10.Bc2 a5
I don’t think this weakening can be justified. The additional a6-square is hardly relevant. Still, similar moves have been played by Keres and Carlsen, not to mention yours truly.
11.Nf1 Re8 12.h3 Bb7 13.Ng3 Qd7 14.Bd2 Ba6 15.d4 exd4 16.cxd4 a4
When Keres tried said ideas, circumstances were such that he could now exchange off the bishop with Nb4. Now it just drops back to b1.
17.a3 Rac8 18.Bc3
White’s position is purely optically beautiful. Black is in the usual dilemma: if she tries any plan, new weaknesses will emerge, but doing nothing is not really an option.
18…Nb8 19.d5 Qd8 20.Nd4 c5 21.dxc6
The standard sacrifice 21.Ndf5 already came very much into question.
21…Nxc6 22.Nxc6 Rxc6 23.Qf3 Rc8 24.Rad1
In these structures it is not unusual for black’s open lines and diagonals to compensate for the d6 weakness; but I would very much prefer the pawn a4 on a6 and the bishop on b7.
The obvious 25.e5 was also strong, if 25…Ne8 26.Be4 and on to d5.
25…Ne8 26.Bxg7 Kxg7 27.Ba2 Re7 28.Qg4 Kf8 29.e5 Qb6 30.e6 fxe6 31.Rxe6 Rf7 32.Re3 d5 33.Bxd5 Nf6 34.Qb4+ Kg7 35.Bxf7 Kxf7 36.Qe7+ 1-0
The live transmission of the games had some problems during the first two rounds. Hopefully that is now a thing of the past and everybody not watching at the playing site can also fully enjoy the show.
In the senior group nobody won both games, so perhaps we can expect a tight race. The games were entertaining, of which you can see a couple of examples below. In the juniors, this years Finnish champion Toivo Keinänen is trying an early breakaway, while in the girls’ section the Elo favourite Mai Narva suffered a first round upset.
Bengt Hammar – Bragi Halldorsson
1.e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Bc4 Nf6 7. N1e2 e6 8.O-O Bd6 9. f4
An old favourite of Keres. His game with Golombek in Moscow 1956 went 9…Qc7 10.f5 exf5 11.Nxf5 Bxh2+ 12.Kh1. But 9.f4 weakens the central squares and makes the c1-bishop less effective; the legendary 17th match game Tal – Botvinnik 1960 featured similar positions. Seirawan and the very young Kasparov have tried 9…Qd7.
9… Bf5 10. Nxf5 exf5 11. Ng3 g6 12. Re1+ Kf8
This has been the modern treatment – an old recommendation of Makogonov’s. Black’s control of e4 and the e-line gives good compensation for the pair of bishops and pawn structure. An idea for white is 13.b3 and Bb2, and then playing a rook to e5, leaving it there to be taken. The prototype for such an exchange sacrifice, now a standard procedure, is another Botvinnik game, against Liublinsky in 1943.
13.Bb3 h5 14. a3 Nbd7 15. Qf3 h4 16. Ne2 Ne4 17. c4 Ndf6 18. Bc2 Kg7 19. b3 Re8 20.Bb2 Kg8 21. Nc3
A tactical slip, which could be punished with 21…Bxa3. White loses the knight after 22.Bxa3 Qxd4+, but that is the best he can do. 22.Rxa3 Qxd4+ 23.Qe3 Nxc3 24.Qxd4 Rxe1+ 25.Kf2 and now 25…Rae8 was not so easy to visualize. Black threatens 26…R8e2+ 27.Kf3 Rf1#, but also 26…Ng4+ 27.Kf3 Nxh2+ 28.Kf2 Rf1#, or 27…Re3+.
21… Qc7 22. g3? hxg3 23. hxg3
23… Nxg3 24. Qxg3 Bxf4 25. Qh3
25.Qf3 Ng4 26.Ne4 would make it more difficult for black.
25… Kg7 26. Qf3 Ng4 27. d5 Be3+ 28. Kg2 Qh2+ 29. Kf1 Bd4 30. Ne2 Bxb2 31. Ra2 Ne3+ 0-1
In the junior group, another Botvinnik idea was tested. He first played 7.g4 in the match with Petrosian in 1963. The idea is not so much to start attacking on the kingside, but to restrict black’s minor pieces. Nowadays g2-g4 is played in all conceivable positions.
Karolis Juksta – Toivo Keinanen
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 c6 6. e3 Bf5 7. g4 Be6 8. h3 Nd7 9. Bd3 g5 10. Bh2 h5 11. f3 Nb6 12. Qc2 Bd6
A typical, strategically unclear position for this variation. Preparing the normal push e3-e4 is double-edged: the d4+e4 pair can be also weak. For black a normal reaction is c6-c5, to get at the e3-pawn; but with no safe place for the king on the kingside, the knights a long way from c6, and particularly after the exchange of the bishops, it is no longer so alluring.
13. O-O-O Nf6 14. Bxd6 Qxd6 15. Nge2 O-O-O 16. Kb1 Kb8 17. Qd2 Qe7 18. Ng3 Rde8 19. Rde1 Qc7 20. Qf2 Bc8
This is probably just an oversight, missing 23…h3.
21…gxh4 22. Nxh5 Nxh5 23. gxh5 h3 24. Qh4 Rh6 25.Rhg1 Reh8 26. Rg5 f6 27. Rg6 Rxh5 28. Qxf6 Nc4
Black managed to keep the material balance, but the h-pawn outweighs the possibility of building a passed pawn in the centre. The problem for black is that there is no obvious way of proceeding. Most probably he should find the best way of exchanging the h-pawn for one of white’s.
29. e4 Qb6 30.Bxc4 dxc4 31. Rh1 h2 32. Ne2 Qa5 33. Rg2 Rh3 34. Qf4+ Qc7 35. Qxc7+ Kxc7 36. Kc2 b5 37. b3 cxb3+ 38. axb3 a5 39. Nc3 R8h7 40. Rf2 Be6 41. Nb1 Rd7 42. Rhxh2 Rxh2 43. Rxh2 Rxd4 44. Nd2 a4 45. bxa4 bxa4
Gradually the game has levelled and white should have no particular problems.
46. Kc3 Rd8 47. Rh7+ Kb6 48. Rh1
48.Nc4+ is an easy draw. Was white perhaps entertaining ideas of winning – after all, he has connected passed pawns?
48… a3 49.Ra1 a2 50.Nb3 Rf8 51.Nd4 Bg8 52.Nf5
52.Kb2 and then Nb3 had to be played. White may have to sacrifice his knight for black’s last pawn and show that he can draw with rook vs. rook and bishop.
Suddenly white is powerless against the rook’s infiltration. The knight cannot protect d3.
53.Rc1 Rb8 54.Kc2 Bc4 55.Ne3 Rb1 0-1
In the second round, a Fischer classic came to mind.
Kjetil Strand – Bengt Hammar
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O b5 8. Bb3 Nbd7 9. Re1 Nc5
Black can not afford this, but now he was without a good move already. The bishop sacrifice on e6 was in the air. 8… Be7 was played repeatedly in 1993 Kasparov – Short match.
10. Bd5 exd5 11. exd5+ Kd7 12. b4
Now the knight, having provoked a strong sacrifice, loses yet more time. In Palma de Mallorca 1970, Fischer had beaten Rubinetti after 8… Bb7 9.Re1 Nbd7 10.Bg5 h6 11.Bh4 Nc5 (here 11…g5 12.Bg3 Ne5 is playable) 12.Bd5 exd5 13.exd5+ Kd7 14.b4 Na4 15.Nxa4 bxa4 16.c4 Kc8 17.Qxa4 Qd7 18.Qb3 g5 19.Bg3 Nh5 20.c5 dxc5 21.bxc5 Qxd5 22.Re8+ Kd7 23.Qa4+ Bc6 24.Nxc6 1-0.
12… Na4 13. Nxa4 bxa4 14. c4 Kc7 15. Qxa4 Bb7 16. Bf4
Black cannot prevent white opening lines against the king with c4-c5, and as the white rooks are ready to open fire, losing the piece back in the game makes no real difference.
16… Nh5 17. Nc6 Qd7 18. Be3 Bxc6 19. Qa5+ Kc8 20. dxc6 Qxc6 21. Qxh5 g6 22. Qg4+ f5 23. Qd4 Rg8 24. b5 Qb7 25.bxa6 Rxa6 26. Rab1 Bg7 27. Qd3 Qc6 28. Qb3 Ra8 29. Bf4 Rd8 30. c5 Be5 31. Bg5 Rd7 32. cxd6 Qxd6 33. Qg8+ 1-0
Some photos from the first round by Panu Laine. More photos (by Toivo Pudas) can be found here.
Arbiter in chief IA Margit Brokko from Estonia and our own deputy chief arbiter IA Jouni Lehtivaara with photographer Toivo Pudas.