Carrinthe’s masterpiece at Tata Steel Chess and the joy of chess, by HAN SCHUT


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The other day a colleague asked me for my hobbies, and I answered that chess was one them.

“Ah chess,” my colleague said, “I have not played that game in a long time. I used to play it with my brother in front of the tent when we were on vacation. Each day, after dinner we set up the board and would play games until sunset.”

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2019
The Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2019

“How nice that must have been,” I thought. Just the joy of chess, unencumbered by the burden of opening lines, tactical motives and endgame strategies. Just two people exploring chess together, while enjoying each other’s company while the sun went down.

With all the knowledge we acquire we are losing that initial innocence and if we are not careful we risk losing some of the joy of chess. Now think about how we teach children to play the opening.

Pawns in the center, develop your pieces, knights and bishops first, bring you king into safety, make sure your knight does not get pinned and do not lose your bishop pair. So time and again, they end up with the following position:

We teach them the all typical plans and nuances of the position. Whether to trade bishops or not, when a6 and when a5, when is h6 a weakness and when not etc. Of course, this is all well and good, but haven’t we lost part of the joy of chess along the way?

That is why I created two simple opening courses for beginners (rated 1000-1800): the Evans Gambit and the Scotch Gambit.  Both courses lead to unbalanced positions with concrete plans.

Analysing at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2019
Analysing at the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2019

One of the students, Carrinthe, is currently playing at the ‘Wimbledon of Chess’: The Tata Steel Chess Tournament. Fifteen hundred amateurs are playing alongside the best of the world, including Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Shakh Mamedyarov and Anish Giri.

Please have a look at his game. It is a real masterpiece and a true celebration of the game of chess. This is the Joy of Chess!

Lourens Willemsen (1765) – Jan Londers (1709) [C56]

Tata Steel Chess 2019 Vierkamp 5N (3), 16.01.2019


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.e5 d5 6.Bb5 Ne4 7.Nxd4 Bd7 8.Bxc6 bxc6 9.0–0 c5 10.Nb3 Bb5[This move was not covered in the beginner’s course. White reacts very well. e1, followed by f3–f4,c3 is the best way to play.]

11.Re1 c6 [Theory continues now with: 11…c4 12.Nd4 Bc5 13.Nxb5 Bxf2+ 14.Kh1 Bxe1 15.Qxe1 0–0 16.N1c3 White has 2 pieces against a rook and a pawn. White is better.]

12.f3 Ng5 13.f4 [Willemsen improves over the play of IM Hautot.]

[13.Nc3 Ne6 14.f4 g6 15.Nxb5 cxb5 16.c3 Qd7 17.Qf3 a5 18.Be3 a4 19.Nd2 Rd8 20.Rad1 Be7 White is better and should now have continued his attack with f5!. ½–½ (30) Hautot,S (2409)-Sokolov,I (2641) Antwerp 2010]

13…Ne4 14.Nc3! [Better than d2 as after xc3 Black’s pawn on c3 limits the expansion of Black’s centre pawns and White can also take advantage of the open b-file.]

14…Nxc3 15.bxc3 g6 16.Be3 [Despite being confronted with a new setup by Black (c5 and Bb5), White played all the thematic moves (f3–f4, Nc3, Be3) and came out of the opening with a winning advantage.]

16…c4 17.Nd4 Qd7

18.e6! [A beautiful move! The Black king is still in the middle. White has mobilized his forces and decides to go after the king by opening up the e-file.]

18…Qb7 19.Rb1 Ba3 20.Qg4 [20.exf7+ Kxf7 21.f5 was probably easier. The Black queen is tight to the defense of b5. After xf7 the black king has become even more vulnerable. But White has a strong continuation in mind.]


21.Nxf5!! [Who said the Black king is safe? Gain access to the king, bring attackers and mate!!]

21…gxf5 22.Qxf5 Qe7 23.Qh5+ Kd8 24.f5 Bc5

25.f6! [White sacrifices a pawn to bring his rook on b1 with tempo into the game. White is playing with a queen and 2 rooks versus one active queen of Black. Black’s king is unsafe and both black’s rooks are unprotected and not developed.]

25…Bxe3+ 26.Rxe3 Qxf6 27.Rf1 Qg6

28.Qe5! [Do not trade pieces when you are ahead in development! White attacks the unprotected rook on h8 and attacks the square d6.]

28…Re8 29.Qd6+ Kc8 30.Qd7+ Kb8 31.Rf7 [A game that every master would have been proud of.]

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