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Malcolm Pein examines two games from the Icelandic Cup Final in today’s Daily Telegraph chess column and presents an opportunity to test your strength on a fine kingside attack.

Malcolm Pein on the…Icelandic Cup Final

Hjorvar Steinn Gretarsson defeated Hannes Stefansson 2-0 to win the final of the Icelandic Cup, an eight-player knockout staged in Reykjavik. The Sicilian Najdorf is best challenged head on. White plays a sharp line, but avoids the critical continuation and Black secures a comfortable game.

H. Stefansson – H. S. Gretarsson

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 h6 8.Bh4 Nbd7 9.Be2 (9.Qf3 is the critical line. White can also go 9.Bc4 and 9.Qe2!?) 9…Be7 10.0-0 Qb6! (Transposing to a decent version of the Delayed Poisoned Pawn variation for Black, …Qb6, usually being played back on move eight these days) 11.Bf2 Qxb2 12.Qd3 Nc5 13.Qf3 e5! (Ruling out e4-e5, and with tempo) 14.Nf5 Bxf5 15.exf5 Rc8 16.Bc4? (16.Rab1 Qa3 17.Rfd1 creates some complexity, although with an extra pawn for Black) 16…b5 17.Rab1 Qxc2! 

H. Stefansson – H. S. Gretarsson

18.fxe5 dxe5 19.Rfc1 Qd2 20.Nxb5!? (Desperation in view of 20.Rd1 Qf4 and 20.Bb3 Nxb3 21.axb3 Ba3) 20…axb5 21.Bxb5+ Kf8 22.Ba6 e4 23.Qg3 Rd8! (Due to a fork, the knight is taboo, so Black emerges a piece ahead) 24.Bxc5 Bxc5+ 25.Rxc5 Qd4+ 0-1

Play Through the Full Game

Thirteen-time Icelandic Champion Stefansson had earlier followed the old adage ‘if in doubt, push a pawn’.

B. R. Thorfinnsson – H. Stefansson
Nimzo-Indian Defence

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 d5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 c5 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.dxc5 Qa5 9.e4 Ne7 10.Be3 0-0 11.Qb3 Qc7 12.Bb5 Nec6 13.Ne2 Na5 14.Qb1 e5! 15.0-0 Be6 16.Qe1 Bc4 17.Rb1 Bxb5 18.Rxb5 Nc4 19.Qf2 Nxa3 20.Rb3 Nc4 21.Rfb1 Nd7 22.Rxb7 Qc6 23.Ng3 g6 24.Bh6? (24.Nf1 maintains the rough balance, and if 24…Nxe3 25.Nxe3 Nxc5? 26.Nd5!) 24…Nxc5! 25.Bxf8 Nxb7 26.Bh6 a5! 27.f4 a4 28.fxe5 a3? 29.e6! Nd8? (29…fxe6 30.Qf6 Qc5+ 31.Kh1 Qe5 was essential) 30.e7 Ne6

Test Your Strength

Icelandic Cup Final B. R. Thorfinnsson – H. Stefansson

What strong blow did White miss here?

31.Qf6? a2 32.Rf1 Qc5+? 33.Kh1 Ne5 34.Be3? (34.h3! a1Q 35.e8Q+! Rxe8 36.Rxa1 would save the day) 34…Qxc3 35.Nf5 gxf5! 36.exf5 a1Q 37.fxe6 Qxf1+! 0-1

Highlight the space below this line to reveal answer.

31.Nh5! wins in view of 31…gxh5 32.Rb8+! Rxb8 33.Qg3+ Kh8 34.Qxb8+ and 31…a2 32.Nf6+ Kh8 33.Qxa2! Rxa2 34.Rb8+

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