Malcolm Pein on…A Bloodthirsty Round


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Malcolm Pein on…A Bloodthirsty Round

A bloodthirsty fourth round at the Superbet Chess Classic in Budapest saw the leader board considerably shaken up. Fabiano Caruana and 19-year-old rising local hope Bogdan-Daniel Deac had been leading, but both suffered defeats to send them back down to 50 per cent.

Wesley So outplayed Caruana, as we’ll see below, while Alexander Grischuk proved too strong for Deac, who erred in an inferior but tenable position and went down in a queen and rook endgame.

W. So – F. Caruana
English Opening

1.c4 e5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 Bc5!? 4.d3 c6 5.Nf3 d6 6.0-0 0-0 7.Nc3 a5 8.d4! (It’s worth a tempo to obtain some central pressure and open up the fine bishop on g2) 8…exd4 9.Nxd4 a4! 10.Rb1 Re8 11.e3 Qa5 12.Bd2 Bg4 13.f3!? Bh5!? (An ambitious response to an ambitious prod. 13…Bd7 14.Ne4 Qd8 must be fine for Black thanks to his pressure down the e-file) 14.Ne4 Qd8 15.Nxc5 dxc5 16.Ne2!? (16.Nf5 Bg6 17.Bh3 should be an edge) 16…Qd3

W. So – F. Caruana

White now makes a strong pawn sacrifice while avoiding 17.Rc1? when 17…Rd8 (or 17…Ne4! 18.Rc2 Rd8) 18.Rc2 Ne4! exploits his lack of coordination and leaves him struggling. 17.Nf4! Qxc4 18.b3 axb3 19.axb3 Qb5 20.e4 Bg6 21.Bc3 (Black’s bishop has been sidelined and its counterparts are strong. Now 21…Nbd7 was required to support the other knight) 21…Na6? 22.h4! h5? (Black’s kingside is far too weak after this. 22…Rad8 23.Qc1 Nd5! had to be tried, and if 24.Nxg6? Nxc3 or 24.exd5 Bxb1 25.Qxb1 cxd5 when White has attacking chances, but Black is fighting) 23.Qc1! Kh7 24.Rd1 Rad8 25.Qb2 (Lovely coordination from So) 25…c4 26.Bxf6! gxf6 27.Qxf6 Rxd1+ 28.Rxd1

W. So – F. Caruana

Test Your Strength

For today’s puzzle, why can’t Black capture on b3?

28…Qc5+ 29.Kh2 Qe7 30.Qxe7 Rxe7 31.bxc4 (White is a pawn to the good and his pieces dominate the board) 31…Kg7 32.Bh3 Nc5 33.Rd6 f6 34.Ne6+ Nxe6 35.Bxe6 Be8 36.c5! Bf7 37.Bc8 Re5 38.Bxb7 Rxc5 39.Rxc6 Rb5 40.Ba6 Rb2+ 41.Kg1 Be8 42.Rc5 Kh6 43.Kf1 Bd7 44.Be2! Be8 45.Kf2 Rb3 46.Rd5 Ra3 47.Bd3 Kg7 48.Ke3 Rb3 49.Kf4 Rb4 50.Rc5 Bf7 51.Rc7 Kg6 52.g4 1-0

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

28…Qxb3? 29.Rd7 or 28…cxb3? 29.Nxg6 fxg6 30.Rd7+ gives White a winning attack.

Play Through the Game

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