Malcolm Pein on…a Missed Chance


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Malcolm Pein reports on a missed chance in today’s Daily Telegraph chess column, with a snippet which shows the importance of keeping a straight face when blundering.

There is another entertaining game from Daniil Dubov, who is becoming notorious for producing highly publishable games

Malcolm Pein on…a Missed Chance

MAGNUS Carlsen started slowly at the Airthings Masters on Chess24, hampered by the miss of a one-move win in his opening game against Levon Aronian. Aronian admitted he noticed immediately that he had blundered, but he kept a poker face. Carlsen’s six seconds of reflection must have seemed like an age and the game was drawn shortly after.

Carlsen still found himself in five-way tie for first on 4.5/8 after two cagey days, which saw lots of draws. Eight of the 12 players qualify for the knockout phase and so a +2 score will likely suffice. The Airthings Masters is the first Major of the Champions Chess Tour and has a $200,000 (£150,000) prize pot.

See if you can find the win Carlsen missed. Aronian has just played 42…Rf4-d4??

A Missed Chance by Carlsen

White to play and win

The Entertainer

As usual, Daniil Dubov provided the entertainment.

D. Dubov – D. Anton
Catalan 15+10

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 c6 6.0–0 b5 7.Ne5 Bb7 8.Nc3 a6 9.b3 cxb3 10.axb3 Be7 11.Bb2 0–0 12.Ne4 Nxe4 13.Bxe4 a5 14.Qc2 h6 15.Rfc1 (White has good compensation for the pawn as Black cannot easily develop the knight on b8) 15…Bf6 16.Ng4 Bg5 17.f4 f5 18.d5!! (A wonderful shot which confuses Anton)

D. Dubov – D. Anton

18…fxe4 (18…cxd5 19.fxg5 Qxg5 20.Bd3 fxg4 21.Qc7 Rf7 22.Bh7+ Kxh7 23.Qxf7 Nc6 24.Qxb7 Qe3+ 25.Kg2 Qe4+ = was possible) 19.dxe6 Bf6? (19…h5 20.fxg5 hxg4 and giving up the knight on d7 if necessary was playable) 20.Nxf6+ gxf6 21.Qxe4 Qe7 22.f5 Na6 23.Rxa5 h5 24.Qf3 Qh7 25.Rd1 Rad8 26.Raa1 Qh6 27.Kf2 Rd5 28.Rxd5 cxd5 29.Ra5? (29.Rxa6!! Bxa6 30.Qxd5 Kh8 31.e7 wins. Now 29…Nc5! was unclear) 29…d4? 30.Qxb7 Qe3+ 31.Kf1 d3 32.Qf3 Qd2 33.Rxa6 Qxb2 34.Qxd3 Rc8 35.e7 Re8 36.Re6 Kf7 37.Qf3 Qc1+ 38.Kg2 Qh6 39.Qd5 Kg7 40.Qxb5 Kf7 41.Qc4 Rxe7 42.Re4+ Ke8 43.Qg8+ Kd7 44.Rd4+ 1–0

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer to today’s puzzle.

43.f4+ wins the rook on h3. Black had to play 42…Rh2+ 43.Kb1 Rd4 with good chances to draw. Carlsen continued 43.Rxd4?? Kxd4 44.Rb3 Rh2+ 45.Kb1 Rh3 and Black had enough activity to draw easily.

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